A dishwasher is an automated home appliance that uses a combination of heat, pressurised water jets and specialised soap to clean dishes. The soap is placed inside a dispenser, and is then expelled into the water. Occasionally, the dishwasher soap dispenser becomes stuck or clogged, and hampers the efficiency of the washing process.
Remove any dishes in the dishwasher. Unhook the dishwasher's dish trays or racks from their tracks, and set aside. Empty the soap dispenser if it contains unused soap that failed to dispense. Use a wet rag to wipe down the interior of the dishwasher, as well as the inside of the dispenser.
Close the dispenser, and shut the dishwasher door. Turn the dishwasher on to a manual setting, then stop it and open the appliance. Check to see if the dispenser is open. If it is, continue to Step 2. If the dispenser is closed, skip to Step 4.
Switch dishwasher soap. Some dishwasher dispensers have difficulty with dry or liquid dishwashing soap, depending on the make and model of your dishwasher. Incompatibilities typically result in the dispenser sticking shut, which explains why the dispenser opens when empty. Switch to liquid soap if you are using dry powder soap, or vice versa.
Check the dishwasher soap dispenser's spring. The spring is located behind the dispenser top's hinge. Consult your dishwasher's original manufacturer's manual or user guide to find a replacement spring. Pop the old spring out with a screwdriver, and replace with a new spring. This should resolve any issues related to the dispenser failing to open.