Terry Caliendo

ON January 12, 2013

Fixing the sticking Diswasher Detergent Dispenser (Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06)


Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06 dishwasher installed under kitchen counterAbout every six months the door of the dishwasher detergent dispenser that is supposed to open during the wash cycle starts sticking shut.  Our dishwasher is a Bosch model SHE4AP06UC/06, but I assume this happens on most machines.

What I think happens is that dried up detergent sticks to the plastic around the opening of the dispenser. The spring that opens the door isn't that strong, so as the buildup gets thicker it causes friction between the moving parts and the door ends up sticking closed during the wash cycle, not releasing the detergent into the machine.

It could be that our water is really hard and is causing the white buildup, but if that were the case, from the amount of buildup, I'd think the Jet Dry clear rinse dispenser would be covered in the buildup, and the spouts that shoot the water during the wash cycle would be clogged as well.

Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06 diswhaster detergent dispenser / containerThe first time we noticed the detergent door not opening, and hence discovering the buildup, we were using the cheapest liquid detergent we could find at Wal-Mart.

After cleaning the parts that I'll talk about below, we upgraded to the more expensive Cascade brand, figuring the cheap detergent was causing the residue issue.

But alas, even with the more expensive (and therefore psychologically higher quality) Cascade, the buildup keeps doing its thing... building up over time.

So, about every 6 months or so I have to clean the dispenser when we notice the dishes aren't getting cleaned and subsequently re-inspect the dispenser door.

The first time I attempted to clean the sticking buildup-covered parts, I thought I needed to remove the entire dispenser unit.  So I took all the screws out of the main door, took the front panel off, and figured out how to release the entire unit.

After doing all that work, I realized that I was no closer to getting at the caked on buildup than when the dispenser unit was still installed in its place in the dishwasher door.  And unfortunately, though I consider myself a pretty mechanically intelligent guy, I now have 2 screws and a plastic spacer in the garage, because after putting the whole thing back together, I was too lazy to pull everything apart and figure out where the extra parts went back.

So do yourself a favor and try doing the easy fix first, before pulling the whole thing apart.

Really, all I needed to do, to clean the caked on white deposit was gently release the moving door from its tracks with a butter knife and scrape around the released door and the edges of the un-removed detergent reservoir.

Removing dispenser door of Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06 with a butter knife

To remove the door, I had to move the door part way down the track and wedge the butter knife between the door and its frame, releasing the tiny little plastic knob that rides in the track.  I released one side, then put the butter knife on the other side and released the second side.

Once released, I scraped the white buildup on the door and the reservoir.

Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06 diswasher degergent door cover with white residue buildup

The only tricky part when releasing the door is to pay attention to the spring that loads the door so that it opens when the inner automatic latch (or the manual latch you press to open detergent the door) is released.

Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06 dishwasher dispenser spring

The spring may come off, and you might have a tough time reconfiguring it so that the door springs open after you reinstall the door.

When reinstalling the door, you'll want to make sure the spring ends up in the groove that is cut out for the movement of the spring as the door opens.

Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06 dispenser door spring groove

Or you can simply purchase a new Bosch Dispenser for your Dish Washer




26 comments on “Fixing the sticking Diswasher Detergent Dispenser (Bosch SHE4AP06UC/06)”

  1. Thanks. I found an easy way to clean out the caked on detergent. I poured regular white vinegar (standard 5% acidity) into the cup and slowly poured it while I moved the door back and forth to get the vinegar into the tracks. Then put some in dispenser tray then raised door to the vertical position. This dissolved the caked crud on the inside of the sliding door. Then repeated the process (a bit anal, but wanted to be sure.) After the vinegar cleaning the door opened and closed THREE TIMES as fast as before. Works great now. So, you are correct, This stuff builds up a good vinegar cleaning (about 2 cups to repeat the process twice) solved the problem on my Bosch dishwasher. (The dispenser assembly is the same as in your picture.) My Bosch is a model SHE3AR721 UC. Paul. Santa Monica, CA

    1. Used vinegar this morning and could not believe the built up scum that came out of the dispenser! The worse part was behind the little grey button that you press to open a closed dispenser (mine looks just like the one in the photo). Behind the grey button is the spring mechanism. If you use something thin enough you can trigger the spring and it will open the dispenser. A lot of scum had built up in that small area and beneath the grey button. After using the vinegar I ran the washer on Quick Wash and heard the dispenser spring open! Thanks for the suggestion of using vinegar, Paul! Sure was a lot less expensive than a new dispenser!

  2. So glad I found this solution from both the removal point of view and the white vinegar point of view. I'll try the vinegar first and if that doesn't work then I'll go to taking the door off and just clean it. Thanks for both suggestions.

      1. I tried the vinegar and it sort of worked, but the problem is the way the door is configured. You can't get enough vinegar to stay in one spot long enough to make a difference. So I just took the door off instead, which is a fairly easy process and cleaned it by hand, which took a minute or so. Put everything back on and works like brand new.

  3. I also had a problem with the door opening, so much that Bosch was becoming a swear word in my household.
    When I took the door off it was perfectly clean. What I did find was that as the door closed there was a bit of preload on the seal along the bottom edge. In my case, the spring did not appear to be strong enough to reliably overcome the friction on the seal. What I did was to file a couple of small flats with a needle file on the two bottom pins that run along the track. I only had to take off about 0.5mm to make the door just gently kiss the seal without any preload.
    I haven't had any problem since. I can't say whether this will work for anyone else but I do suggest people at least look at this possibility.

  4. Sorry to say I'm having trouble getting the spring loaded part to work again - the small dark grey button has popped out and I'm not sure how to get it to work again? any hints as to where the spring should sit?

    1. The spring circle part goes in that semi-circle groove. It slides along the groove as the door goes up and down. (I think... I've since moved and don't have this dishwasher anymore).

  5. The problem with my dishwasher seems to be maybe the timing or the spraying of the detergent being released. After the load runs the dispenser door it open, but there is some stuck on trail of dishwasher detergent leading from the dispenser. I'll try cleaning with vinegar, but I'm thinking I don't have to try to take the door off since it's not stuck. Maybe.


  7. Very frustrating experience here. In the past, I've disassembled the door/spring mechanism because the door would not close when holding the detergent. Worked like a charm.
    Today, my wife informed me the detergent door would not latch. I disassembled again, thoroughly cleaned the door - spring - bin for the detergent. Reassembled - the catch for the door still will not engage.
    The spring is not broken - both points of the spring seat in their corresponding holes. For whatever reason, the Kitchen Gremlins have chosen OUR dishwasher to fail.
    NOTE: Our Bosch SHE4AM16uc was installed (new) 02/03/2010.
    Anyone w/input can reach me at safetypro@mail.com

  8. 1. Don't take the front door off and don't try to disassemble the door mechanism. You will only get into trouble. The problem is not soap scum or anything else clogging the mechanism. Remember, this is a dishwasher and it removes soap scum or food buildup from the mechanism just like it removes it from your dishes.
    2. The problem is that over time, the hot water causes the plastic base of the dispenser to warp and the connection between the top and base becomes so tight that it sticks and the door does not open when the solenoid is activated. To fix this, take a small piece of medium grit sandpaper, 120, 150, 180 grit, it doesn't matter, and fold it in half so the grit is on both sides. Close the dispenser on the paper so it is between the base and the top. Then move it back and forth to remove some of the plastic material, mostly from the base. The article up above which suggests using a knife will also work. This may take 5 minutes. You will see the plastic dust in the dispenser and on the door. I don't think it matters how much you remove but be sure that when you are finished, you can close a piece of paper in the door and when you lift the door upright, the paper falls out. If the opening is too loose, water may get into the soap during the pre-rinse but as long as the soap doesn't fall out this should be ok. If you feel this could be a problem with powder, use pods. These will get your dishes, and particularly pots and pans, REAL clean. Be sure not to put sensitive items in. The pods will remove the pattern and gold rims from antique dishes REAL quick.

  9. You should also check that your wife has not placed the BBQ tongs in the middle of the top shelf in the top draw preventing the detergent-dispenser door from opening. Bugger!

  10. Second this one. Check to make sure there isn't anything in the top rack pushing up against the dispenser cover. The detergent dispenser extends just slightly into the upper rack space.

    Bosch 300 series circa 2013. Detergent dispenser acting. Googled. This page first non-video result. Started to accept my fate when I noticed a cutting board in the top rack. It was laid in the top rack over top the dividers. Angled just right to allow the door to close, but the cutting board corner was right at the detergent dispenser. Removed the board, added back some "normal" dishes, and voila all was well again.

  11. 2015 bosch - dispenser stopped “holding” - the opposite of stuck. This is the 2nd dispenser to fail in EXACTLY the same way. Design flaw. And these dispensers keep getting more expensive to replace. So frustrating. I still have not figured out the “trick” to getting the spring back correctly - might not be possible since this, in fact, might be the design flaw itself.

  12. Thought I should make a wee note to say the info you provided here (inc comments) is still proving useful 7 years after you posted it. Going in circles thru official channels sending me quietly demented, found this, problem resolved. Thanks from sunny Sydney in Australia. August 2021

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