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.
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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!
We mistakenly switched liquid detergents and mixed enzyme based and bleach based. They gelled in the dispenser. I took the outer door cover off and could not figure out how to take the white plastic despenser off of the main door without breaking it. I disconected the electrical harness and took the main door off the hinges so I could take it outside, turn it upside down and use the garden hose pressure nozzle to blast the gellout of the white plastic dispenser. I use a piece of plastic coat hanger to poke around inside to break up the gell several times. It all came out in marble size pieces.
But first you must remove or mash the gelled detergent into very small pieces so it can pass through the pump and outlet. You must clean out most of the gelled detergent down in the door going towards the pump and the outlet at the base of the door. You can disassemble the door, or I used a length of 3/8" soft plastic tubing pushed down into the detergent cavity repeatedly to break up and pull the chunks up to the fill door where I could remove or mash them. You may also need to this between the first run of the procedure and the second. You may need to do the purge filling the dispenser with water (I used hot - 120F) more than the once in the procedure.
It is probably because your Smart Dispenser is full of water and there may be a clog of some type in the pump. Try purging your Smart Dispenser and see if it fixes the problem!! It fixed ours!!
How to Purge Smart Dispenser
purge routine operates the bulk dispenser pump continuously to drain
the bulk dispenser tank when an incorrect liquid was poured in the
tank. The process consists of setting up the dishwasher to run the
purge mode, running the purge mode and then cleaning up the purged
Follow these steps carefully to have a successful purge run.
For Top Control Models:
Make sure Pre-wash, Added Heat and Heated Dry LEDs are off.
Press Heated Dry and Down Arrow buttons together for 3 seconds. All LEDs will illuminate.
Press Added Heat and Up Arrow buttons together for 3 seconds. The Anti-bacteria LED will illuminate
Press Start button one time
Select Normal and make sure Pre-wash, Added Heat and Heated Dry LEDs are off.
Press Start button one more time and dishwasher
will run a complete cycle without the main motor running. Cycle is
complete when the Clean light illuminates. This should take
approximately 60 minutes.
Open door and wipe up excess detergent from the door and tub
Flush remaining detergent off by pouring water on the door and tub where there is detergent residue.
Remove SmartDispenser cap and fill tank with water and then replace cap.
Repeat Steps 1 through 9 one time.
Then, repeat Steps 1 through 6. When the Clean
LED illuminates, the system is purged and ready to be refilled with the
Front Mount Controls (same as above except for the changes in the two below steps):
2. Press Heated Dry and Cookware together for 3 seconds. All LEDs illuminate.
3. Press Added Heat and Cookware together for 3 seconds. The Anti-bacterial LED illuminates.
is it liquid or powder? we had this problem with cascade powder.... tried liquid cascade and the same thing happened even though i'd been using cascade for YEARS.... manual said could be detergent was "old" and beyond its shelf-life, or that we used too much or too little (go figure that one out LOL).... not trying to promote a brand here, but we switched to palmolive ECO gel and haven't had a problem since -- no goop left in dispenser!.... hope that helps... -cynthia :)
Either your dishwasher is not getting the water hot enough to dissolve the powder, or you need to switch brands. Try a liquid/gel type of dishwasher detergent. Try stopping the washer a few minutes after you start a wash cycle. Open the door -- if there is a lot of steam coming out at you, it's not the water temperature. If there is no steam, your dishwasher is not getting hot water and/or the heating coil is not working.