9 Reasons Why Dishwasher Rinse Aid Is Not Dispensing

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If you take a look at your dishwasher, you’ll see the detergent compartment and next to that, you’ll see another compartment for rinse aid. This is the liquid that helps your dishwasher work better and it leaves your dishes coming out sparkly clean. It’s the rinse aids ingredients that gives the dishes their shine – it’s made up of surfactants, salts and acid.

The rinse aid is helpful to your dishes and they’ll never be as clean without them. After the dishes have been washed by the dishwasher, rinse aid is dispensed to give the dishes an extra clean. If your dishwasher isn’t dispensing this rinse aid, it can leave them coming out dirty and grimy and this won’t be pleasant to eat with – it could end up with your dishes smelling when they leave the dishwasher.

Jet dry rinse aid is a popular rinse aid brand and it’s used to dry your dishes and prevent water spots. Finish jet dry rinse aid has a few things in it that helps your dishes get clean. The citric acid and the tetrasodium remove the calcium that’ll cause the water spots. If they aren’t rinsed away, the calcium will remain in the water causing water spots. If you want to know why you dishwasher isn’t dispensing rinse aid, you can check out the reasons down below.

Why Your Dishes Need Rinse Aid

Detergents don’t work like they used to because the Environment Protection Agency and other regulators stopped companies adding phosphates to the detergents – this is a great cleaning agent but since it’s no longer allowed, something else needed to replace it. Every new dishwasher now has a rinse aid dispenser that dispenses rinse aid because its mandatory if you want your dishwasher to work well. Rinse aid acts as a replacement for all the limitations that have been put on normal detergents.

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Water – the first thing that the rinse aid has is water. This helps to wipe away any grime and dirt that could be left one the dishes.

Alcohol Ethoxylate – a non-ionic surfactant that helps the water slide off the dishes so they can dry faster and come out shiny. This is one of the most important substances in rinse aid that helps to clean the dishes.

Sodium Polycarboxylate – this is an anti-reposition polymer that covers around the dirt that the dishwasher washed off so that it can’t cover the dishes again.

Citric Acid – this is an agent that removes the calcium out of hard water. The Calcium can bind with the surfactants in the rinse aid which can stop them from cleaning and rinsing the dishes properly. The Citric acid acts as a protector to the surfactant so it can do its job.

Sodium cumene sulfonate – this is another surfactant that has an electric charge so the water tension on the dishes can be broken. This does a similar job to the alcohol ethoxylate, but it comes in a foamy texture which isn’t good for rinse aid.

Tetrasodium EDTA – this is a cheating agent that covers the dissolved minerals in the water. This stops them from covering the dishes which will make them dirty again.

Mi and MCI – these are preservatives that keep bacteria from growing inside the rinse aid bottle. If you’re exposed to them over time, they can cause an allergy so it’s best not to get rinse aid on yourself.

Ci Aid Blue 9 – this is the dye that makes rinse aid blue.

Why is My Rinse Aid Dispenser Not Working

1. Rinse Aid Compartment Is Dirty

Before you check any components in the dishwasher that could stop it from working, you should first try to remove it and clean it. The rinse aid compartment is opened at a certain point during the wash cycle to remove all the bits of food, grease marks, stains and water droplets from the dishes. You should only clean it when the dishwasher is empty of dishes. Once the dishwasher is empty and the door is opened, you’ll need to remove the dispenser cap to get to the canister that holds the rinse detergent.

Grab a bottle of vinegar (View on Amazon) and pour about 3 cups. Then, run a cycle with the rinse function. You may have to do this a few times before all the deposits that have built up on the dispenser have been cleaned off. You can also submerge the rinse aid cap in warm vinegar while the rinse cycle is ongoing. This will clear off any deposits that have built up on the lid.

2. Water Not Hot Enough

If the water isn’t hot enough, it could prevent the rinse aid or jet dry from dispensing. You need to make sure that your dishwasher is getting at least 120F degrees of hot water into it. When the water isn’t hot enough, the dishwasher can’t dissolve the detergent that’s put into the dishwasher. If the temperature is at least 120F, there may be a clog inside the dispenser. You also need to check that the dispenser hole isn’t blocked. You can use try and use a cleaning solution using hot water in the dishwasher to see if that unclugs the jet dry dispenser.

3. Bad Dispenser

If you’ve ran an empty cycle with the cleaning solution and the hot water, and you notice that the jey dry or rinse aid still won’t dispens, chances are you have a bad dispenser. There could be an electrical problem with the dispenser or it could be clogged internally. You can remove the dispenser to see if you’re able to unclog it. If it is clogged, you’ll notice gunk under the jet dry compartment which is what’s preventing it from dispensing.

4. Damaged Dispense and Rinse Aid Compartment

Both the dispenser and the rinse air compartment store and release detergent into the dishwasher during a cycle. There are two compartments and each one is for different parts of the cycle. The open compartment is for the pre-wash and the closed compartment is for the main cycle when the rinse aid is dispensed.

If you want to inspect these compartments:

1. Disconnect the dishwasher from the power.

2. Find the dispenser and inspect it for any cracks, wear, damage, or debris. You won’t have to remove the dispenser to inspect it.

3. If you find any debris in here, you’ll need to clean it.

4. If you find any damages that could stop them from working, you need to replace the dispenser.

Sometimes the dishwasher rinse dispenser can build up with debris to the point where its damaged and isn’t going to work anymore. If the lid won’t close properly or open at the right time during a cycle, then you’ll need to replace it with a new compartment. If you want to replace it yourself, you can do so.

Remove the cap so you can get the container easily. Use a screwdriver and move it around the rim of the rinse compartment. Remove the container making sure not to damage the inside door. Replace the part with a new rinse compartment.

5. Loose Rinse Aid Cap

The rinse aid cap may be the reason why the rinse aid isn’t dispensing. The cap may not be placed properly or it could be loose. It could also be damaged from the heat of the water in the dishwasher. In this case, you’ll need to inspect it.

1. To inspect the rinse aid cap, you’ll need to locate the cap inside the inner door panel.

2. Remove the cap from the door.

3. Check if it’s placed properly, loose, melting, damaged, cracking, or discolored.

4. If you find it to be damaged in any way that could affect the rinse aid from dispensing, you’ll need to replace the rinse aid cap (View on Amazon).

6. Wax Motor Not Working

On newer dishwashers, you’ll find a wax motor that’s used to release the rinse aid dispenser door catch. If the motor isn’t working, then the rinse aid compartment can’t be opened for the rinse aid to be dispensed. The wax motor is activated by the timer and the piston releases the catch for the dispenser door. If this part is faulty, it will stop the compartment from opening when it’s time for the rinse aid to be dispensed. To test this wax motor with a multimeter (View on Amazon):

1. Disconnect the dishwasher from the power.

2. You may have to remove the door panels to access the wax motor – this is located near the dishwasher dispenser cup.

3. Set the multimeter to Rx1 and touch the probe to one terminal each to test them. If the reading is infinite, you’ll need to replace the wax motor because it’s damaged.

7. Door Spring and Hinge Pin Broken

The door sprint and hinge pin allow the dispenser door to move properly. Its spring-loaded and held into position by a catch – if any of these parts are broken, it could prevent rinse aid from leaving the compartment. If you want to inspect the door spring and hinge pin, you won’t need any tools to do so.

1. You can locate the door spring and the hinge pin on the inside of the dishwasher door, and it could be covered by the detergent dispenser assembly. You’ll need to remove anything covering it.

2. Inspect the door spring and hinge pin for any damages, check if they’re broken, bent or corroded.

3. If you find that there’s an issue that could stop the rinse aid from dispensing, you need to replace the door spring and hinge pin (View on Amazon).

8. Faulty Timer

The dishwasher uses a timer to operate the detergent dispenser. There’s a certain time for the dispenser door to be released for the rinse aid – the timer activates a lever, and this releases the door catch. The timer and the door catch are linked and if it’s not, the timer will need replacing. Before you do this, you can check if the timer is defective.

1. Disconnect the dishwasher from the power source.

2. Locate the time in the unit’s control panel. Some or all of the cabinets will need to be removed to access it.

3. Remove the timer to test it using the multimeter. If the timer has one contact, you can test this contact. If not, you’ll need to check the diagram on the dishwasher’s manual to check which contacts you should be testing.

4. Set the multimeter to Rx1000 and touch each probe to the contact wire. You should receive a resistance of 2000-3500 ohms. This changes depending on the dishwasher you have. If you still have the manual, you can check the correct resistance the contacts should give off. If the reading was way outside of this, you’ll need to replace the timer.

9. Faulty Bi-Meta Release

The bi-metal release is the release that operates the dispenser door catch. It uses an electric current to release the door catch using mechanical action. If this part is faulty, the door catch won’t be released when it’s time for rinse aid to dispense. If you want to test the bimetal release using a multimeter:

1. Disconnect the dishwasher from the power

2. Find the bi-metal release – you may have to remove the door panels to access the bi-metal release before you’ll be able to remove it. When removing the door panel, you should check if the release is aligned. To align it, you can close the detergent cup and push the metal with a poking tool until the detergent cup opens.

3. If you weren’t able to fix this, you need to remove the metal and set the multimeter to Rx1. Touch the problem to the metal release and if the multimeter gives a reading of infinity, you need to replace the bi-metal release.

Know When to Replace

While cleaning the dispenser and getting rid of anything that could be clogging it up, in a lot of cases, you’ll need to replace the dispenser completely. If the dispenser compartment isn’t closing or opening properly during a cycle, you’ll need to replace it with a compartment that works properly.

Rinse Aid Dispenser Replacement Cost

The cost to replace your rinse aid dispenser can be between $90 and $180 depending on the handyman you choose. A rinse aid dispenser costs $40 to $80, and the labor costs $50 to $100. A reliable well-known repair company will usually cost more than your local handyman. You should look at all the handymen in your area and determine which one is the cheapest and is the most trustworthy. The price of the a rinse aid dispenser replacement is also determined by the model that you have that you use – the model and year all affect the labor costs.

If you want to save money on the rinse aid dispenser unit replacement and do it yourself, down below are the steps you need to do so. The unit that you need to replace can be purchased for as little as $40 – this is for a second-hand part. It could cost upwards of $80 for a new part.

If you decide to go with a handyman since you don’t have the correct tools to perform the replacement yourself, then you should speak to some handymen in your area. You’ll be able to get good quotes from some over the phone. If you’ve only been able to get one quote for the replacement, you should check with other handymen/repair companies in your area to check if you can get other competitive prices.

Replacing the Rinse Aid Dispenser

  1. Switch off the diswasher and unplug it. This will cut off any electricity to the diswasher and it’ll stop you from getting electrecuted.
  2. Remove the front panel. To gain access to the dispenser, you’ll need to remove the front panel of the dishwasher that houses it. There are screws holding the panel in place on the inside door and these will need to be removed.
  3. Disconnect the wires off the old dispenser. There are wires connecting the dispenser, these will need to be removed. There are two sets of wires behind the dispenser. You’ll see this when you remove the panel.
  4. Remove the old dispenser unit. To unclicp the dispenser from it’s metal surround, lift it up and push it through. To prise the metal up, you can use a flat head screwdriver. Just work your way around it until it’s completely unclipped. Once unclipped, open the door and pull it out.
  5. Fit the new dispenser unit. To loosen the new seal on the new dispenser since it can be quite tight, you can lubricate it with some washing up liquid to help it slide into place. Push it in place and press it down firmly until it clicks into place. Once it’s in place, check that the seal is completely sealer and all of the clips are in place.
  6. Reasemmble everything. Now that it’s in place, attach the two wires and screw the front panel back on. The rinse aid or jet dry dispenser is now in place and you’ve successfully replaced it.