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Washing machine soap dispenser blockage


Bluesofa
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We've had our Hitachi top loader for I think about eight years.

In that time never had a problem with the soap dispenser on the inside of the drum (where you pour the soap powder in).
Very recently it it's become blocked with hard soap powder to the point nothing will flow through it.

Yesterday I spent an hour with a hosepipe forcing water into it, to dislodge the hard soap. Got 90% of it off.

After two washes it's now in the same state again. I can't work out why?

Is there some solution I can pour in that will dissolve the hard soap without affecting the machine?

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It sounds like you're not getting water to the dispenser. Have you checked that water is flowing into the dispenser? As for a solution you could try white vinegar but maybe use agricultural vinegar (30-40%) instead of the 5% stuff from the grocery store. Dilute some down to 10% and see if that helps, increase the acidity a bit at a time. You can fill the tub with water so when it flows through the dispenser it immediately gets diluted and won't hurt the pump or fittings.

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Had our Hitachi top loader for about the same period, but no such problems.

The water is much colder with the change in temperature and therefore may not be fully dissolving the powder, or the water pressure flow through the dispenser isn't sufficient.
You could try liquid soap as an alternative.

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Hi BS, we had the samish problem, maybe your machine is blocked with calcium, we tried Calgon which was very good, but every time after using the machine we got calcium particles out with the wash. How old is the machine and I suppose the water will be very hard?

I ended up taking the drum out (top loader) and giving it a good pressure wash. You may need to aquire some specialist equipment to enable you to engage in the task. You will need a big socket type tool (I ended up making one) which can be bought on Lazada and maybe a puller if the drum is tight on the spigot shaft, not expensive. It is not a difficult operation but some may find it so, "do ya feel lucky punk, well do ya" 😉

 

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Never use soap powder for the last 15 years as I found low water pressure often would allow soap build up that turned it to stubborn gunge. Always used either Ariel 3 in 1 liquid capsules or now Breeze 3 in 1. 

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In light of Covid, I did away with washing machines and washing clothes all together. Then, I decided that I would do away with clothes all together.

This is me now, and I am happier for it.

image.jpeg.5f55ac8bad7dda8563abf582b9d73d2b.jpeg

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I occasionally use soda fire, add a couple of tablespoons & put it on a long wash. Then when it's finished, wipe the drum & do another long wash.

I stopped using the washing powder as it never seems to dissolve adequately.

Now, I use Baby mild liquid from Makro.

Go on treat yourself for Christmas...555!

 

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Thanks for all the replies, and so quickly too.

The vinegar idea sounds good, but I can't see that working as the soap dispenser is inside the drum at the top of the machine. It's not in a horizontal drawer, but mounted vertically.

After some more investigation with the top off, JamesE seems to have hit the nail on the head, so to speak.

There is no water supply directly to the soap dispenser.
The machine fills from a valve statically mounted inside the top cover. That's the blue unit with about 50 round holes in it - a couple of pics of that with the top cover unscrewed and standing on end.

From what I can see, as the drum rotates, the water should hit the soap dispenser. This doesn't appear to be happening. The water definitely overshoots the soap dispenser - the blue unit with 15-20 square holes on the inside of the drum. You can see in the two pics of it.

Unless I've missed something obvious, the next question is why is the water overshooting the soap dispenser?
The valve is mounted in a moulded area inside the top cover, so physically mot adjustable.
The inlet pressure hasn't changed, as it's always been pump-fed. I have no idea if the valve might be adjust able, but I'd guess it's made with a preset output level? 

20211207_105428-edit1.jpg

20211207_105433-edit1.jpg

20211207_110525-edit1.jpg

20211207_110527-edit1.jpg

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One possible solution is to place your soap powder/liquid in the bottom of the tub prior to introducing clothes. Agitation by the movement of the clothes/tub/water should be enough to dissolve the powder. Unusually hard water may contribute to poor dissolution. You do have a fair amount of scale on the visible portions of of the water supply unit. Probably worse inside. You might try to probe those openings with a wire such as a coat hanger to see if you get a return of scale as they may be blocked. If it were possible a 24 hr soak in vinegar or scale remover may help. To do that however would require removal of your blue water dispenser. I love DIY stuff and wish you the best of luck!

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4 hours ago, JamesE said:

It sounds like you're not getting water to the dispenser. Have you checked that water is flowing into the dispenser? As for a solution you could try white vinegar but maybe use agricultural vinegar (30-40%) instead of the 5% stuff from the grocery store. Dilute some down to 10% and see if that helps, increase the acidity a bit at a time. You can fill the tub with water so when it flows through the dispenser it immediately gets diluted and won't hurt the pump or fittings.

So by 'agricultural vinegar' you mean wood vinegar or just high concentration distilled white vinegar? Thanks.

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Great stuff Mr Sofa .. mark my words it's threads like this that will set T T apart from the other lot .. as for ze problem white vinegar as James E has suggested may help break it down .. though you might have to chip at it a bit as well .. my bird asked me if I'd forgotten to put the dishwasher on , taking a sip from my vase of coffee I said " no why ? " ..

 

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I've since looked at what i thought was the 'valve', but is actually just a spreader to spray the water into the drum.

I took the spreader apart, it wasn't blocked at all.
When I put the spreader back, I thought if I could 'tip' it inwards then the water might just reach the soap dispenser. 
I cut some pieces of a plastic lid from an ice cream container and put them under the spreader unit and screwed it back into place. Three of them are 3mm thick.

Now the water does hit the soap dispenser. I have no idea what happened to cause the original problem though.

I tested it, and it does hit the soap and makes the soap go into the drum.
Brits reading this will I'm sure understand when I say Heath Robinson lives on!
 

The valve is further along. Below is the water spreader, it wasn't blocked at all:
20211207_140700-edit1.jpg.806d96433c2e0ddb1516759437b14ec8.jpg


The water spreader below (with the pinkish top) and the hose going to the solenoid valve, top right.
20211207_144700-edit1.jpg.ccc8ef67e0ee1dd76fb1ba2d4410e804.jpg

Below a close-up of the packing I inserted (three blue pieces)
20211207_144000-edit1.jpg.433f653612df75c1f42bae2af0cb916d.jpg

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Could there be any blockage in the water inlet pipes which would increase the water pressure causing it to shoot further into the drum than normal. As your pictures show, there is no obvious adjustment but the water is pouring in ok but with too much force.  Maybe a quick look through the inlet pie and check there isn't a built in filter where it joints the back of the machine that I have on my Hitachi . 

just a thought 

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How is the pressure at taps etc in the rest of your place ? sounds odd but I had an increase in water pressure before  the electronic switch on my outside water pump broke. 

Try turning a tap on and going out to the water pump and see if it has its normal sound or if it has lost its positive on/off sound. I replaced the pump switch and the water pressure was back to normal but maybe your pump is fine and not related to the issue. 

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Easier Bluesofa to start using liquid sachets that you just drop in with the washing. Ones the water temp rises they dissolve releasing the soap no more chunks of goo in your machine.

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Great you got the problems solved with a few shims. On the photo of the interior of the dispenser, are those scale deposits on the exit holes? I enlarged your pic but the resolution isn't high enough to see clearly. As those exit holes become smaller the water pressure increases which in turn can cause the water to jet out with greater force. 

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1 hour ago, gazmo16 said:

Could there be any blockage in the water inlet pipes which would increase the water pressure causing it to shoot further into the drum than normal. As your pictures show, there is no obvious adjustment but the water is pouring in ok but with too much force.  Maybe a quick look through the inlet pie and check there isn't a built in filter where it joints the back of the machine that I have on my Hitachi . 

just a thought 

I have a filter on the inlet, but there's no blockage on it.

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59 minutes ago, gazmo16 said:

How is the pressure at taps etc in the rest of your place ? sounds odd but I had an increase in water pressure before  the electronic switch on my outside water pump broke. 

Try turning a tap on and going out to the water pump and see if it has its normal sound or if it has lost its positive on/off sound. I replaced the pump switch and the water pressure was back to normal but maybe your pump is fine and not related to the issue. 

The pump is fine. It switches on and off as normal.
A couple of years ago we did have a problem and I had to replace the pressure switch on the pump, although that didn't affect the washing machine at all.

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17 minutes ago, El_Trauco said:

Great you got the problems solved with a few shims. On the photo of the interior of the dispenser, are those scale deposits on the exit holes? I enlarged your pic but the resolution isn't high enough to see clearly. As those exit holes become smaller the water pressure increases which in turn can cause the water to jet out with greater force. 

They were just marks around the outside of the sprayer, which I washed off anyway.

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52 minutes ago, vlad said:

Easier Bluesofa to start using liquid sachets that you just drop in with the washing. Ones the water temp rises they dissolve releasing the soap no more chunks of goo in your machine.

Ha ha! I wish. Our machine is completely cold wash, no hot water at all.

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10 hours ago, El_Trauco said:

So by 'agricultural vinegar' you mean wood vinegar or just high concentration distilled white vinegar? Thanks.

High concentration distilled white. We buy it at an ag store, hence, agricultural.

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This is going on longer than a soap (dispenser) opera.

I had a cunning plan Baldrick. I thought instead of the three shims I put in, it might have been easier just to reduce the water inlet pressure.

The washing machine must have some way to recognise how much water is in the drum - it has to allow for different water pressures over a wide range of installations surely?

I removed the three shims.
With the stop-tap open fully (as normal) I set the machine to fill the minimum amount of water - 20 litres. Then I stopped it and measured the depth of water in the drum.
Drained the water out, closed the stop-tap to about half and watched the drum fill again with a lot less pressure, for the same 20 litres.
It still filled the water to the same depth. However, this time the water from the spreader went completely into the soap dispenser.

Will there be another exciting episode, or is everyone asleep already?

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