Dishwasher Pods Not Dissolving – 7 Reasons Why & How to Fix

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We’ve all been there. You open your dishwasher after a cycle, expecting gleaming dishes. Instead, you’re met with a lump of undissolved dishwasher pod.

Frustrating, isn’t it? 

Fear not! I’m here to enlighten you about the reasons for your dishwasher pods not dissolving. And, more importantly, I’ll show you how to fix the problem.

Why Are My Dishwasher Pods Not Dissolving?

The reason for dishwasher pods not dissolving is typically due to the water not being hot enough. But it could also be a minor mechanical issue that’s usually easy to diagnose and fix. 

Ensure your pod dispenser, spray arms, circulation pump, and inlet valve function properly. Using quality pods will go a long way to ensuring your dishwasher pods dissolve correctly.

7 Reasons for Dishwasher Pods Not Dissolving

Here are the 7 reasons why your dishwasher pods are not dissolving:

  • Insufficient Water Temperature
  • Obstructed Pod
  • Faulty Pod Dispenser
  • Malfunctioning Spray Arms
  • Defective Circulation Pump
  • Inlet Valve Failure
  • Poor Quality Dishwasher Pods

Insufficient Water Temperature

Dishwasher pods are engineered to dissolve at temperatures typically around 120 to 160°F. If your dishwasher’s water temperature falls short of this, the pod might not dissolve entirely, leading to ineffective cleaning.

How to Fix

Firstly, check your home’s water heater settings. Most heaters allow you to adjust the temperature. If it’s set below 120°F, try increasing it. But take care. Setting the temperature too high can risk scalding, especially if you have young children at home.

If your water heater settings are correct, try running hot water from your kitchen tap before starting the dishwasher. This helps ensure that hot water enters your dishwasher from the start of the cycle, aiding in the pod’s dissolution.

Obstructed Pod

Typically, the dishwasher pod dispenser is near the top of the dishwasher door. However, the water needed to dissolve the pod will be at the bottom of the tub. 

Water enters the tub from the inlet valve, reaching a level just above the lower spray arm mounting hub. So, placing something large at the front of the dishwasher could prevent the pod from getting to the water. 

How to Fix

Try opening the dishwasher about two minutes into the cycle to ensure this is the issue. If your dishwasher pod’s path is obstructed, you’ll likely find the pod stuck in the door or on one of the racks. 

To circumnavigate this problem, avoid placing large dishes at the front of the dishwasher. Try stacking items such as cutting boards, large serving plates, and sizable pots and lids further back.

Faulty Pod Dispenser

Sometimes the issue lies within the dishwasher itself. For example, a faulty dispenser door can interfere with the pod’s release, resulting in dishwasher pods not dissolving.

Some of the reasons your dispenser lid might not be opening when required could be:

  • Blocked dispenser
  • Damaged wax motor solenoid
  • Malfunctioning dispenser latch
  • Missing or damaged dispenser lid spring

How to Fix

Follow these guidelines to resolve the issue, depending on which pod dispenser part is faulty:

  1. Blocked dispenser: If you notice debris or old detergent buildup, clean it out using a soft brush and warm, soapy water. For stubborn residues, a mixture of vinegar and baking soda can help 
  2. Damaged wax motor solenoid: Use a multimeter to check its ohms (refer to the tech sheet for ideal values) and replace it if necessary
  3. Malfunctioning dispenser latch: Consider replacing the latch to ensure proper operation
  4. Missing or damaged dispenser lid spring: Replace the spring to restore functionality

Depending on the dishwasher model, you may need to replace the entire dispenser or individual parts like the spring. Removing the inner door panel is typically required to access, test, or replace the dispenser.

Malfunctioning Spray Arms

One common reason for dishwasher pods not dissolving is the malfunctioning of spray arms. The spray arms in a dishwasher dispense water onto the dishes during a cycle. 

The tiny holes in these arms can get clogged, or the supply hose could be misaligned. This could jam the components or impede the water flow necessary for the pods to dissolve. 

How to Fix

Start by examining the spray arms for any visible dirt or blockages. Pour white vinegar over the arms to dissolve limescale and leave it for a few minutes. 

For food debris or other blockages, remove the spray arm and clean it using warm water and dish soap. Unclog the holes using a pin, paper clip, or wire brush. But take care not to damage the spray arm. 

If the arms are damaged or unable to spin, they must be replaced. 

Regular cleaning of the spray arms will help ensure water circulation, ensuring your dishwasher pods dissolve effectively.

Defective Circulation Pump

The circulation pump distributes water around the dishwasher, including toward the spray arms that wash the dishes. If this pump malfunctions, the water will not circulate as it should. And this will prevent the dishwasher pods from dissolving.

How to Fix

Despite the urge to troubleshoot and fix the problem, repairing the circulation pump isn’t suitable for DIY enthusiasts. It’s recommended to hire a professional for this task. 

To diagnose the issue, listen for any unusual noises or lack of sound from the dishwasher after it has filled with water. This could indicate a malfunctioning pump. A trained technician will use a multimeter to check the pump for continuity.

Inlet Valve Failure

The water inlet valve controls the amount of water that enters the dishwasher during a cycle. If the inlet valve is defective, the dishwasher may not receive sufficient water to dissolve the dishwasher pod.

How to Fix

Start the dishwasher and then pause the cycle after a few minutes. Check the bottom of the dishwasher for water. Plastic tub models should have about ⅜ of an inch of water. And porcelain and metal tubs require roughly ½ an inch

If there’s insufficient water, the inlet valve likely needs replacing. 

However, this is a complex task and poses potential risks. Therefore, I recommend enlisting a professional to help replace the water inlet valve.

Poor Quality Dishwasher Pods

The quality of the dishwasher pod itself can be a factor. Not all dishwasher pods are created equal. Some low-quality pods might dissolve less effectively, leaving you with less-than-sparkling dishes.

How to Fix – Use Higher Quality Dishwasher Pods

If you’ve ruled out all other issues and your dishwasher pods are still not dissolving, consider switching to a higher-quality dishwasher pod. 

Look for pods from reputable brands with good customer reviews. It might be more expensive, but the results and peace of mind are worth it.

Dishwasher Pod Stuck in Dispenser – What to Do?

When a dishwasher pod is stuck in the dispenser, it’s typically due to issues with the latch or spring in the dispenser door. 

Here’s a brief guide to tackle this problem swiftly and efficiently:

Step 1: Give it a Quick Clean

Start by inspecting the dispenser for any visible blockages or residue. Using a damp cloth, give the dispenser a thorough clean. 

An old toothbrush can help to reach any small crevices. Ensure to remove any leftover pod residue and check if the latch is operating correctly.

Step 2: Dispenser Latch and Spring Check

If cleaning doesn’t fix the issue, disconnect the power, and examine the dispenser door latch and spring. A faulty or worn-out spring or latch might be preventing the door from functioning correctly. 

If you’re comfortable doing so, try to adjust or reseat the spring. Or you could replace the latch or spring if needed.

Step 3: Consider Replacing the Dispenser Unit

If the issue persists, it may be time to replace the wax motor solenoid or the entire dispenser unit. Following your dishwasher model’s instructions, you can order a replacement and install it yourself. 

However, if your dishwasher is still under warranty or you’re unsure how to do it, it’s best to call a professional.

What Are the Best Pods to Use for a Dishwasher?

Using quality pods is a great way to combat the issue of dishwasher pods not dissolving. It also ensures more effective and hygienic cleaning of your dishes. 

Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods

This is the dishwasher pod I recommend. I switched to Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pods a while back when experiencing problems with a cheaper brand. And they are, hands down, my go-to choice for spotless dishes. 

Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pod Pros:

  • Powerful Cleaning: Each pod is packed with the grease-busting power of Dawn dish soap. Pre-washing dishes isn’t required, which saves me water and time
  • Recommended Brand: Being the No.1 recommended brand in North America by dishwasher brands definitely reassures me of its quality
  • Easy to Use: The pre-measured pods dissolve quickly, releasing their cleaning power early in the cycle. There’s no need to unwrap or deal with fiddly packaging
  • Environmentally Friendly: These pods are phosphate-free, making them a greener choice.

Cascade Platinum Dishwasher Pod Cons:

  • Temperature Dependence: The pods perform best at higher water temperatures (120-140 degrees F), meaning your dishwasher settings may need adjusting
  • Requires Regular Dishwasher Maintenance: Filters and spinner arms need to be cleaned regularly for optimal results

These dishwasher pods are easy to use and offer impressive cleaning power, leaving my dishes pristine. They’re an easy recommendation for anyone seeking a reliable and robust dishwashing solution.


Are dishwasher pods supposed to fully dissolve?

Yes. Dishwasher pods are designed to dissolve completely during the wash cycle. Once fully dissolved, they release the detergent into the water for effective cleaning.

Are dishwasher pods better than liquid?

Dishwasher pods are typically more convenient and less messy than liquid detergent. They also provide a pre-measured amount of detergent, preventing overuse.

Can you just throw a pod in the dishwasher?

Yes, you can. However, the pod should be placed in the detergent dispenser for optimal results. This ensures it dissolves at the correct time in the dishwashing cycle.

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Niels Joensen is the founder and chief editor at Niels is a professional painter who runs his own painting company. When not painting he likes to write about home renovation and appliances.