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The soap dispenser is openned mechanically by the movement of the knob by the timer. So even when it is unplugged the soap dispenser will open if you turn the knob. Try a different plug. Otherwise check the cord. Next you would check the power supply inside.
There is a metal tab on the unit that triggers a interlock switch. The switch is located in the door and is part of the door handle. This tells the machine that the door is closed and that it is OK to start.
Most probably the first experience with the machine continuing to work with the door open was that the switch in the door was stuck in the on position. When you closed the door it moved to off and stuck there.
Open the door and use a screwdriver to move the switch to the on position. Move the timer to on. You should hear the unit start. If so it is the switch. Repair or replace it. You could try WD40 and switching it on and off a few times to free it up. Once you can see it is working make sure it is aligning with the tab correctly. You can bend the tab to adjust the alignment.
Turn the breaker off.
There are screws on the frame of the door and in the door to hold the control panel in place. Carefully remove the control panel to access the switch. Once you see it you will be able to remove it easily as it just screws in. Replacement is the reverse of removal.
This may or may not be the answer you are looking for but I know with mine the soap dispenser will not close unless the outside dial is completely in the "off" position. Trying turning the dial clockwise very slightly. If you hear a click and it resets the soap dispenser position that should work. Otherwise I have no idea. :)
Sometimes these get gunked up and need to be coaxed....so take a butter knife...insert it in the edge of the dispenser tray...pry gently...all the while turning the timer control knob...it should pop open at one point if not try a little more pressure...and once open .clean thoroughly..if it persists you may have a timer or control panel issue...also use factory recommended soaps...
I hope this helps...Good Luck and Good day....thank you for rating my effort.....The Fang.
Your question is: Why won't your soap dispense anymore?
Yes, you're correct. This is best looked at by a local pro! You may want to compare the cost of repairing a six year old dishwasher now verses temporarily putting the soap in manually till you can find a good price on a new one. Personally, I loath throwing good money after bad so I go for the latter and we're coming up on the holiday discount season.
Feel free contact me again! Please give me a rating here at fixya.com before you sign off Thank you, Harvey your Master Plumber
Make sure the dial that you turn to start the dishwasher is all the way to the beginning. Sometimes my little grandson comes by and plays with it, turning it. I load, add soap and the dispenser won't close. I check the outside dial, and sure enough, set it to the very beginning and the dispenser locks in place!
I had the same problem with my GE Adora. The dishes were getting cloudy and the soap dispenser would not open. Turns out the hard water deposits were causing the soap dispenser to stick shut. I purchased and used Dishwasher Magic which is a dishwasher cleaner designed to remove limescale, rust and buildup. I used as directed and now my dishes are sparkling and the soap dispenser pops right open.