I have the same problem...I think I mixed the soap types (Enzyme based with Bleach based). The manual clearly says not to do this.
What I did was brought out my trusty wet-vac and sucked it out while using HOT water to break up the crusty mess. I am going to fill the dispenser with water and add soap the old way until I see the "low soap" light go on.
I'll keep you posted if this happens.
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Also, if you are using dry detergent (that is not pre-measured in pods, etc.), you may be overfilling the detergent dispenser. When the dry detergent gets wet, it swells and causes the detergent dispenser door to stick.
dishwashers have a rinse aid
dispenser. If your dishwasher has this dispenser, fill it up
periodically and it will release the appropriate amount of rinse aid
automatically at the right time during the wash cycle. This will help
your dishes rinse more cleanly.
Rinse aid in solid form
Some older dishwashers or basic models do not have an
automatic rinse aid dispenser. In this case, you can buy rinse aid in
solid form that attaches to your dishwasher rack. Solid rinse aid can be
hard to find in stores because it is not commonly used, but it can be
Vinegar or lemon juice
Appliance repairmen will tell you that one of the common
problems they see with dishwashers is the buildup of excess detergent.
If there is too much detergent in your dishwasher, your dishes will not
rinse cleanly, no matter how good the dishwasher is or how much rinse
aid you use. To clean the excess detergent that has built up inside your
dishwasher, put 3 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice (concentrate is
fine) in the empty dishwasher and run the dishwasher through a complete
cycle with no dishes. Do this twice, for two complete cycles of the
empty dishwasher with only vinegar or lemon juice added. The acid in the
vinegar or lemon juice will break up the detergent that has built up in
your dishwasher's interior.
After you have cleaned the detergent
buildup from the inside of your dishwasher, follow the steps below to
keep the buildup from happening again and to help your dishes rinse
cleanly and prevent residue from accumulating on the dishes.
Gel dishwasher detergent
Switch to a liquid or gel dishwasher detergent. Any brand will do.
Fill one compartment half full
Dishwashers will effectively clean dishes with much less
detergent than manufacturers often recommend. The bleach in the
detergent, combined with the extremely hot water used in the dishwasher
wash cycle, will clean and sanitize your dishes completely, even in
small amounts, and using less detergent helps prevent buildup and
residue from accumulating on your clean dishes.
Fill only one
detergent compartment(the one that snaps closed) half full with gel
detergent. Snap the opening closed and run your dishwasher as you
normally would. Your dishes will come out sparkling clean with no
buildup or residue, plus you'll save money by using less detergent!
Was the dispenser cup wet when you added detergent?
Make sure the dispenser cup is dry before adding powdered detergent. If dispenser cup is wet, the detergent can clump.
Is the cycle incomplete?
If the previous cycle did not complete, the detergent can become caked in the dispenser cup if it is left sitting in the dishwasher.
Is the detergent old?
Older detergent exposed to air will clump and not dissolve well, which will cause the dispenser door to stick to the detergent. Replace detergent if necessary and store the detergent in a tightly closed container in a cool dry place.
Is the water temperature too low?
For best washing and drying results, water should be 120oF (49o C) as it enters the dishwasher.
Were items blocking the dispenser that kept it from opening?
Items blocking the detergent dispenser will keep it from opening. Make sure water action can reach the dispenser.
Use automatic dishwashing detergent only.
Other detergents can produce excessive suds that can overflow out of the dishwasher and reduce washing performance.
Store tightly closed detergent in a cool, dry place.
Fresh automatic dishwasher detergent results in better cleaning.
Add detergents just before starting the cycle.
The amount of detergent to use depends on the hardness of your water and the type of detergent.
If you use too little, dishes won't be clean.
If you use too much in soft water, glassware will etch.
Suggested fill amounts are for standard powdered detergent. Amounts may vary if you use liquid or concentrated powdered detergent. Follow instructions on the package when using these detergents.
Water hardness can change over a period of time. Find out your water's hardness by asking your local water department, water softener company, or county extension agent.
An automatic dishwasher
detergent dispenser door can become stuck for a few different reasons.
Some problems are easy to fix, while some require more work. Repairs
are basically the same no matter what brand of automatic dishwasher you
have, although specific parts might be required. Fortunately, even if
the detergent dispenser needs to be replaced, the problem is not an
emergency. The dishwasher will clean dishes fine even with a stuck
Fixing a Stuck Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Dispenser
the basket that holds silverware as far from the detergent dispenser as
possible, or make sure no tall items are blocking the dispenser. Also,
keep other items such as plates and pans away from the dispenser.
Anything that winds up touching the dispenser during the wash cycle can
cause the dispenser door to stay closed. Run the dishwasher to see if
this solves the problem.
the front door panel according to your instruction manual, or find the
manufacturer's instructions online, which will probably be in a PDF
file. The panel is typically held on by 6 to 8 screws along the edge,
which you can see when the door is open. With most models, you won't
need to remove the screws at the bottom of the door, which are part of
the hinge assembly.
the detergent dispenser thoroughly from the inside of the dishwasher
and the exterior side as well. Accumulated detergent and other material
can interfere with the spring mechanism or halt the pivot action of the
door. Use very hot water and a micro-sized brush. You also can use a
mix of hot water and vinegar.
dispensers have a bimetallic strip or switch, attached by screws, which
triggers the door release. With the front door panel removed, locate
the switch, and push on it gently with a screwdriver until the
dispenser door opens. You might simply need to adjust the alignment of
a new switch if re-aligning the old one does not fix the problem.
Typically, these switches cost under $10. See Resources for a link to
different manufacturers where you can buy the part.
the two wires connected to the switch so you can correctly reconnect
them afterward, and then remove them from the terminals by holding the
slip-on connectors --- not the wires --- and pulling firmly. Use a pair
of needle-nosed pliers for a better grip. Then remove the switch from
the dispenser by removing the screws holding it in place. Connect the
wires to the terminals of the new switch, and attach the new switch to
the detergent dispenser. Replace the door panel.
the dishwasher again to see if the switch replacement has done the
trick. If not, decide whether to replace the entire dispenser according
to the manufacturer's instructions, or call a repair technician.
The detergent reservoir should pop open allowing the wash water to "wash" the detergent clean. It sounds like your DW is not "spraying" with full force. From your description, it sounds like your water pump is malfunctioning OR your drain is clogged with food and the water flow is restricted, because the wash water is the original rinse water from the first cycle and it recirculates. Check and make certain your drain is not clogged before you call the repairman or replace the machine.
There are two different types of dishwasher detergent types, bleach based and enzyme based. The owner's manual states that if the two are ever mixed that the mixture will congeal, clogging the dispenser.
I don't know exactly how to safely remove the detergent that is in there, perhaps a wet/dry vaccuum. There is likely a service mode for the dishwasher if it has electronic buttons, in the service mode you could activate the pump that dispenses the detergent. Use caution, the thicker the clog, the harder the pump has to work and it may fail. Hope this helps.