Dishwasher Not Dissolving Your Soap Pods? Here’s Why

Man hand putting a detergent tablet in dishwasher detergent box

Is your dishwasher pod not dissolving?

Don’t worry, I’ve been there too. I know how frustrating it can be to have this happen. After all, dishwashers should make our lives easier, not the opposite.

Luckily, you’ve come to the right place for answers.

If your dishwasher pod is not dissolving, chances are your water temperature is too low, you have water flow issues, or the spray arms are damaged. A blocked dispenser door could also explain the issue.

Don’t worry, though. Keep reading to learn more about how to fix these issues!

Why trust us? This article was written in collaboration with James Blackford, our appliance repair expert. James has over 16 years of experience as an appliance technician, works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair company.

4 Reasons Why Your Dishwasher Pods Are Not Dissolving (With Fixes)

In this section, you’ll learn why your dishwasher pods are not dissolving, as well as different ways to fix the issue.

Soap pod not completely dissolved

Note – For some of the provided solutions, you may need to refer to the manufacturer’s manual. If you can’t find yours, be sure to read our detailed guide on how to find any product’s manual online.

#1 The Water Temperature Is Low

If your dishwasher pods aren’t dissolving, there’s a good chance that the water is not hot enough.

In order for the pods to dissolve properly, the temperature of the water in the dishwasher needs to be around 120 F (48.89 °C).

Most dishwashers and kitchen sinks share a hot water line. So, you easily estimate the water temperature by briefly placing your hand under the running water in your sink.

If it feels excessively hot, and you find yourself pulling your hand away after just a few seconds, it’s a good indication that the temperature in your dishwasher is within the desired range.

You can also use an external thermostat to measure the temperature.

If the water is too cold, then the heating element may be faulty. To check if that’s the case, you’ll need to unplug your dishwasher and access the heating element. Then, test it with a multimeter.

Test your heating element with a multimeter

To do it, set your multimeter to the resistance setting. Then, touch each probe to the terminals.

You should get a reading between 4 and 14 ohms (or the one recommended by the manufacturer).

If that’s not the case, the heating element will need to be replaced. You can do this on your own or call a professional.

#2 Water Flow Issues

If your dishwasher pod is not dissolving, chances are you have water flow issues.

To check if that’s the case, you simply need to switch on the dishwasher to a washing cycle. After a few minutes, press the pause button and/or slowly open the dishwasher door, and see if water is sitting in the bottom of the unit.

If the water seems low, try taking a pitcher of water and adding it to the dishwasher. If the pod dissolves properly with the additional water, then the lack of water was the main issue.

This may happen if the water supply valve connected to your dishwasher is not fully open or if the water supply line is blocked or kinked.

But, if adding the pitcher of water doesn’t solve the issue, then the water flow problem is probably caused by a worn-out motor. Unfortunately, a new motor costs anywhere from $250 to $550, and you’ll need to call a professional.

#3 The Dispenser Door Is Blocked/Jammed and Can’t Open

If the dispenser door fails to open, the dishwasher pod will simply remain in place and not drop into the water. As a result, it won’t dissolve, and your dishes won’t get cleaned effectively.

There are a few different reasons why your dispenser door is blocked or jammed and can’t open. One reason is you may be overfilling your dishwasher or stacking the dish rack improperly. If this is the case, there could be a dish or part of the dish that is keeping the door from opening during the washer cycle.

The solution to this is simple: restack the dishwasher and ensure that no dish is blocking the dispenser door. Then, make sure that no tall utensils or large dishes are near the dispenser door, which will ensure that there is free movement of the door.

A second reason the door isn’t opening is that it is getting stuck. This can occur when the door becomes faulty for whatever reason, such as a broken latch.

A good cleaning of the door and the latch may remedy the situation, but if it does not, a repair is necessary.

Dishwasher dispenser door locked
Bear in mind that if the dispenser is not properly closed or if it does not open during the dishwasher cycle, you can be sure the dishes won’t come out clean.

If you wish to avoid problems with the dispenser in the future, you can simply place your pod directly in the dishwasher’s tub, allowing you to bypass the dispenser entirely.

#4 The Spray Arms Are Damaged

Yet another reason your dishwasher pods aren’t dissolving during the wash cycle is due to the spray arms not working as they should.

You see, these are designed to spin around and spray water around the inside of the unit during a wash cycle to dissolve the pod. Unfortunately, loose food particles can get trapped within the tiny holes in the spray arms, resulting in performance problems.

Ultimately, the best way to inspect the spray arms is to take them out and look carefully for any signs of damage. They can be removed in a counterclockwise motion or with the use of a screwdriver.

Soak the spray arms in warm soapy water and clean them. You can also use white vinegar for stubborn debris and food particles.

But, if the spray arms are indeed damaged, they must be replaced with new ones. Don’t worry, though – spray arms typically cost around $15-$30.


That about covers it!

I hope that with the help of this article has helped you gain some more confidence in solving the problem with your dishwasher.

Remember, if your dishwasher pods are not dissolving, you’ll need to check the water temperature, the water flow, and the spray arms. If there’s a more serious issue with your dishwasher, you’ll require a diagnosis from a qualified technician.

Thanks for reading this quick article. If you found it helpful, please check out our other related posts below.

Hi there! I’m Craig, and I’m the founder of Appliance Analysts. When it comes to appliances and anything electrical, I’ve always loved opening things up, figuring out how they work, and fixing them. This website is where I share free advice from myself and our experts to help our readers solve their appliance/HVAC problems and save money. Read more