Dishwashers can be a very convenient appliance to have in your home. It sure beats having to wash the dishes yourself, especially after a long day. Unfortunately, like most things that are electric, your dishwasher can stop working on you.

When this happens, your dishes may not come out as clean as they should. One reason this may occur is when the soap pods that you put in the dishwasher to clean the dishes fail to dissolve completely or at all. As a result, the dishes don’t come out clean.

There are numerous reasons why your soap pods are not dissolving properly. If you would like to find out what these are, keep reading and we will delve right into them.

Soap pod not completely dissolved
One of the causes why the detergent is not dissolving during the cycle is that the soap dispenser door is broken or blocked.

Reasons Why Your Soap Pods Are Not Dissolving

The Water Temperature Is Low

One of the main reasons that the soap pods aren’t dissolving in your dishwasher is because the water is not heating up to a hot enough temperature. In order for the pods to dissolve properly, the temperature of the water in the dishwasher needs to be between 120 and 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

If the water fails to reach somewhere in this temperature range, for whatever reason, the soap pods will not dissolve, and the unit will simply not function accurately.

In order to determine if low water temperature is the source of your issue, you must check the unit’s internal thermostat once the appliance has been filled with water. Most dishwashers come with a built-in thermostat, but if yours does not, an external thermostat can be used to check the temperature of the water manually.

One way to check the water manually without using the dishwasher is to use the water from your kitchen sink. Simply turn the hot water on at the faucet and fill a glass with the hottest possible water. Use a candy thermometer (or something similar) to check the temperature of the water.

Remember it should be no lower than 120 degrees Fahrenheit. If it is, you can first try to increase the temperature of the water as it leaves your water heater. If this does not fix the problem, then the heating element may be faulty. If this is the case, the heating element will need to be replaced, and it is a relatively simple repair to perform on your own.  

However, if you feel uncomfortable performing this repair, contact a service repair technician for professional assistance.

The Inlet Valve Is Faulty

Another reason that your soap tablets are failing to properly dissolve is due to a defective water inlet valve. This valve opens up and allows water into the unit during a wash cycle. Should this valve fail, the appliance won’t get sufficient water, keeping the pods from dissolving.

In order to determine if the water inlet valve is defective, 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 there is water in the bottom of the unit, then your water inlet valve is in good working order. This means that you should move on to the next potential cause of your pods not dissolving properly.

If there is no water, this can be seen as a good or bad sign! A good sign because you know what the problem is, but a bad sign because it likely means that the water inlet valve is either clogged/blocked or faulty and requires replacement. Luckily, replacing the inlet valve is an easy DIY replacement, but if you are uncertain, contact a professional.

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

If the dispenser door is blocked and cannot open during the washer cycle, the dishwasher pods cannot release into the dishwasher and dissolve. If the door fails to open, the pod will simply remain in place and not drop down into the water. As a result, the pod 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. Moving forward, 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 because 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.

If you wish to avoid problems with the dispenser in the future, you can do this. Simply place your soap tablet directly in the tub of the dishwasher, allowing you to bypass the dispenser entirely.

Dishwasher dispenser door locked
However, 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.

The Spray Arms Are Damaged

Yet another reason your dishwasher soap pods aren’t dissolving during the wash cycle is due to the spray arms not working as they should. The spray arms are designed to spin around and spray water around the inside of the unit during a wash cycle, dissolving the soap pod.

Unfortunately, loose food particles can get trapped within the tiny holes in the spray arms. When this happens, they won’t work properly (spraying water and thereby dissolving dishwasher pods). In some instances, the spray arms can become cracked, which can also keep them from working the way they should.

Ultimately, the best way to inspect the spray arms is to take them out and inspect them 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 water, which will clean them in case food particles have gotten lodged inside. Alternatively, white vinegar can be used for a more thorough cleaning. If you notice any debris inside of the holes, use a small piece of wire to remove the particles.

If the spray arms are indeed damaged, they must be replaced with new ones. If you don’t notice any signs of damage during your inspection, make sure to clean them thoroughly, return them back to their position in the dishwasher, and run the unit through a wash cycle to see if the issue has been resolved. If not, you may need to reach out to a professional for further assistance.

The Circulation Pump Is Defective

The circulation pump in your dishwasher is responsible for distributing water around the appliance during a wash cycle. In the event this component becomes defective, the unit will be unable to work efficiently. As a result, the soap tablets won’t dissolve due to an insufficient supply of water.

The easiest and most effective way to check and see if the circulation pump is defective is to see if water is being pumped into the appliance when the unit is turned on. If it is, then you’ll want to check to ensure that water’s spraying out of the spray arms and that water is being pumped into the appliance once the dispenser door opens.

In the event that this doesn’t occur, this is a sign that the circulation pump is indeed defective and requires replacement. This tends to be a difficult repair, and because of this, it is recommended to have a qualified repair technician perform the repair for you.


Hopefully, you have solved the problem with your dishwasher and your unit is now dissolving the dishwasher soap pods. If not, there may be a more serious problem with your dishwasher that requires a diagnosis from a qualified technician.

Thanks for reading, and please check out our other helpful articles.