Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining – Causes and How to Fix

It’s messy and unhealthy if your Kenmore dishwasher does not drain. Don’t worry. There is already a fix to your problem. In this article, I’ll discuss Kenmore Dishwasher not draining – causes and how to fix it.

If your Kenmore dishwasher does not drain, perhaps the drain hose is clogged, or the solenoid is not working and is not making the drain valve open. Over time, this drain hose gets clogged with debris, or the check valve goes bad. These things will prevent water from flowing out through the drain. 

What you can do initially is to loosen the drain hose clamp. And then disconnect it from the drain tee, garbage disposal drain port, or air gap. Afterward, check and clean the drain connector or drain hose’s end of any food waste buildup or other debris. Lastly, reconnect it to your dishwasher by tightening it to the hose clamp.

Read on to learn more about why a Kenmore dishwasher does not drain and how you can fix this problem.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining

kenmore dishwasher not draining

Clogged Drain Hose or Malfunctioning Solenoid

One reason why your Kenmore dishwasher does not drain is because of a clogged drain hose. Or it could be a malfunctioning solenoid. If this solenoid does not work, it cannot make the drain valve open. Over time, food waste and other debris will accumulate in the drain hose and drain valve.

Check the Hose and the Valve

You have to check the hose and the valve and then remove all the food buildup and other debris that prevent water from the sink from flowing out. If the water doesn’t drain after cleaning it, you must replace this valve. It is not working anymore.

Loosen the Drain Hose Clamp

If the wastewater does not drain out, you can loosen the drain hose clamp to disconnect it from the drain tee, garbage disposal drain port, or air gap.

Check it, and then clean the food buildup or debris inside or at the end of the hose. And then reconnect it again and then tighten the hose clamp.

Clogs Cause Water to Accumulate at the Bottom of the Dishwasher

Clogs in the drain hose, air gap, garbage disposal, air gap, or filter might cause water accumulation at the bottom of the dishwasher. Any food buildup within these systems will cause your Kenmore Elite dishwasher not to drain properly.

Locate the Clogged Area and Remove the Accumulated Debris

You need to locate the clogged area and remove the accumulated debris. This is one of the effective ways you can help your Kenmore dishwasher to drain out wastewater properly.

It is normal for your dishwasher to have a small amount of water at its bottom. But if you see the water at its bottom is above the drain level, you should suspect that your Kenmore dishwasher is not draining out wastewater properly.

At this stage, water will start leaking on the kitchen floor when you open the door.

Why Is Your Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining

There are several reasons why water cannot drain out from your dishwasher. You need to know the exact reason for this problem to be able to apply the right fix. Here are the details of the most common causes of this problem:

1. Clogged Drain Hose

The drain hose usually gets clogged when connected to the drain below the sink. Over time, food waste and debris accumulate in your kitchen sink drain system section.

If you don’t have any drain strainer or food waste filtering system at the kitchen sink, you will encounter this problem repeatedly.

You can solve this problem by preventing food waste from going down your kitchen sink. You can also install a drain filter on your kitchen sink:

First, lift the dishwasher’s front cover. Then remove the food wastes and debris that are blocking the drain hose. There are Kenmore dishwashers that have two drain hoses. If you have this type, you need to check both hoses.

There is a star-shaped clip that attaches the drain hose to the main drain pipe of your sink.

If you have a detached clamp, wastewater will flow out instead of draining into your dishwasher. What you can do is replace the missing clip. You can find one in any auto parts store.

2. Clogged Air Gap

Kenmore dishwashers come with air gaps that prevent wastewater from coming back and contaminating already clean dishes. A clogged air gap might have food waste and other debris. When that happens, your Kenmore dishwasher won’t be able to drain out wastewater.

You will know if your dishwasher has an air gap if you see a small silver cylinder close to the faucet. Remove its top cover and pull it straight up to see if it’s clogged or not.

Depending on its design, you can release or unscrew the taps on the inner cap of the top cover. Once you have pulled it out, you will see if there are food wastes or debris inside it. If there is any buildup, remove them and reassemble the air gap.

3. Kinked Drain Hose

Your Kenmore dishwasher will easily drain the waste water if its drain hose is clean, straight, and untangled. However, if you have a slightly kinked hose, you will have problems with its ability to drain the wastewater.

Not adequately supported drain hose results in kinks.

They also occur in sections where the hose goes through the kitchen cabinet below the kitchen sink, connecting it to the dishwasher and onto the drain. Kinks will also appear if the hose is coiled below or behind the dishwasher.

So, check these three areas if your Kenmore dishwasher is not properly draining out wastewater. Make sure that the hose has no sharp bends. If you see any kinks, try to straighten them out and test your dishwasher to see if the problem is fixed.

How to Unclog a Dishwasher

Other Reasons Why a Kenmore Dishwasher Is Not Draining

kenmore dishwasher not draining completely

Aside from the three most common causes of this problem, there are other reasons that you need to be aware of. Due to some particular situation, these other reasons can make your Kenmore dishwasher not drain out the water properly:

1. Clogged Drain Filter

The drain filter of your Kenmore dishwasher prevents food waste and other debris from contaminating the already cleaned dishes. However, because of this kind of work, it will be clogged with debris. Your Kenmore dishwasher will have trouble draining out waste water when that happens.

You can locate this drain filter by looking at your owner’s manual or by checking it at Kenmore’s official website. Once you know where it is, remove it and clean out the debris you will find.

Use a stiff brush to remove the accumulated dirt. Once it is cleaned, reinstall it according to the instructions on the owner’s manual.

2. Stuck Check Valve

Check if your Kenmore dishwasher has a check valve. This check valve controls the reverse or backflow of wastewater into the sump of the dishwasher. You can find this check valve close to the chopper blade or inside the upper sump assembly.

If this check valve is damaged, the wastewater may first flow out of your dishwater while the Kenmore dishwasher drain pump is running. However, the water will then try to flow back into the dishwasher after the drain pump stops.

You must examine the check valve for clogging or damage if this occurs. Clean it if there is an accumulation of debris. If it is already damaged, you need to replace it.

3. Malfunctioning Drain Pump

The drain pump of your Kenmore dishwasher is there to drain the wastewater. It also keeps the water pressure in the system at the right level. If this drain pump goes bad, it won’t be able to do its work, and you will have a dishwasher that is not draining out the water.

Perhaps the pump is not getting power from the source or is not working entirely. To check if it’s still working, get a multimeter. Check if there is continuity in its electric circuit. If there’s none, you need to repair its electrical circuit.

Check the pump’s impeller as well if it is spinning freely. Also, spin the food chopper to check if it is still working well. It should be able to process large food bits and not let them slip by. Replace the drain pump if you cannot repair it.

4. Clogged Garbage Disposal

Remove the garbage disposal plug before you run your Kenmore dishwasher. If you do not remove it, your dishwasher won’t drain the wastewater. A still plugged garbage disposal may be why your Kenmore dishwasher is not draining.

Another possible reason is if you have an old garbage disposal unit in your Kenmore dishwasher. Over time, it could be clogged with food waste and other debris.

You must remove the drain hose from the garbage disposal to solve your problem. Then clean the hose and the part that meets up with the kitchen sink.

5. Wrong Detergent

Using the wrong type of detergent can also cause your Kenmore dishwasher not to drain water properly. The manufacturer of Kenmore dishwashers usually recommends certain types of detergents to be used on their machines.

This is due to the different water temperatures and cycles in which these dishwashers operate. You need to refer to your owner’s manual as to what kind of detergents you are advised to use on your Kenmore dishwasher.

6. Incorrect Timer Setting

If your Kenmore dishwasher’s timer was incorrectly set, it could also cause it not to drain water out properly. You should always set the timer of your dishwasher to the correct cycle.

Your owner’s manual will show you the appropriate timer setting for the particular dishwashing cycle you choose.

It can also be that the timer itself is not working. You can check it by using a multimeter. Check its continuity. If it fails this continuity test, you need to replace it.

7. Poor Maintenance

To operate your dishwasher without any problem for a long time, you need to perform regular preventive maintenance on your machine. If you don’t do this regularly, your dishwasher will have operational problems such as not draining the water properly.

Periodically, you need to inspect and empty the drain hose, the cleaning filters, and the drain basket. It is also good to inspect the dishwasher’s spray arm from time to time. The owner’s manual will include certain periods where you need to do these things.

8. Wrong Operation

Your Kenmore dishwasher may not be draining out the water properly because you are not running it correctly. It is best to consult your owner’s manual to know that you are using your dishwasher properly. This is especially true if you have just bought a new Kenmore dishwasher.

Again, why is your Kenmore dishwasher won’t drain? Your Kenmore dishwasher is not draining due to possible clogs in the following areas:

  • Filter,
  • Garbage disposal,
  • Drain hose,
  • Drain pump, or
  • Air gap.

You could fix the said issue by locating the clog and removing its reason.

How Do You Fix a Kenmore Dishwasher That Won’t Drain?

kenmore dishwasher not draining properly

Here are the common fixes to the specific causes of this problem:

1. Bad Drain Pump

If the pump malfunctions, your dishwasher will not drain the wastewater. You need to check its continuity by using a multimeter. You need to replace it if it is not getting power from the source and has no continuity. This type of pump is not repairable.

2. Broken Impeller

The water pump of your Kenmore dishwasher has an impeller that forces water out of the drain hose. If the pump’s impeller is damaged, it will not be able to do its work. Remove the broken impeller and replace it with a new one of the same type and size.

3. Damaged Check Valve

The check valve is the part that prevents water from coming back to the dishwasher after it has been drained out. There are times when the check valve gets stuck and remains closed. You can try to unstick it. But if you can move it, you need to replace it.

4. Bad Drain Solenoid Kit

A solenoid kit in the drain valve causes the water to drain out of the dishwasher. This solenoid kit can fail. If it does, it won’t open the drain valves, and your dishwasher will not drain out the wastewater. Replace it for your dishwasher to work.

5. Damaged Belt of the Water Pump

The water pump of your Kenmore dishwasher is run by a belt connected to the electric motor. Not many dishwashers have this water pump belt.

So, check if your dishwasher has this belt. If it has, and it is already worn out or damaged, it could be the cause of your Kenmore dishwasher not draining. Replace this belt.

6. Stuck Check Ball

The check valve has a plastic ball inside to open and close the valve. If the ball is stuck in a close position, it will prevent water from draining out of the check valve. You can try to unstick this ball. You must replace the entire check valve if it doesn’t move.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you want to remember the essential points I have given in this article, you need to read the answers to the most often asked questions about this topic:

What Is the Most Common Cause of a Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining?

There are many reasons for this problem, but the most common one is the drain hose is clogged.

Over time, this drain hose will be clogged with food waste and other debris. When this happens, there is nowhere the wastewater could go out. It will stay in the water sump of the Kenmore dishwasher.

What Are the Other Causes of This Problem?

Some of the other causes of this problem include the following:

  • Clogged air gap
  • Kinked drain hose
  • Clogged drain filter
  • Stuck check valve
  • Failing drain pump
  • Clogged garbage disposal
  • Not using the right detergent
  • Incorrect setting of the timer

How Can I Fix This Problem?

The fix to your problem depends on the specific cause of your problem. First, you need to find out the specific cause of the problem. Since you now know the possible causes of this problem, it will be easier for you to pinpoint the cause of the problem.

Once you have zeroed in on the reason, you can try to repair the damaged part. If it is no longer repairable, you have to replace it with a new one of the same type and size.

Can You Prevent This Problem from Happening?

Yes, you certainly can. If you perform regular preventive maintenance on your Kenmore dishwasher, you will be able to check the problem before it worsens.

Your owner’s manual will have some instructions on how you can perform regular checks and maintenance on your Kenmore dishwasher. Try to stick to the schedules of checks and maintenance of your machine, and you won’t have to experience this problem.

In Closing: Causes of Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining and How to Fix

One reason why your Kenmore dishwasher does not drain is probably a clogged drain hose or a malfunctioning solenoid that does not activate the drain valve to open. Over time, this drain hose gets clogged with food wastes and other debris, or the check valve malfunctions.

There are other causes of this problem. When any of these things happen, water will not be able to flow out through the drain.

The important thing is: that there are already several known fixes to whatever is causing your Kenmore dishwasher not to drain. So, you don’t need to worry as you can fix this problem.

Read next:

Tips on the Proper Placement of Dishwasher