Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining? 13 Proven Fixes

Encountering a Kenmore dishwasher not draining properly can be more than a minor inconvenience; it disrupts your daily routine.

Fortunately, addressing this common household headache can be simpler than you think.

Whether it’s a Kenmore dishwasher drain pump not working or just a minor clog, you can restore your Kenmore dishwasher easily with our troubleshooting tips.

Pro Tip: Quickly fix a Kenmore dishwasher not draining by clearing clogs, checking the drain pump, and ensuring proper detergent use for smooth operation.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining

Troubleshooting Kenmore Dishwasher not Draining?

When your trusty Kenmore dishwasher won’t drain, there’s no need to call for repairs immediately.

A few targeted DIY troubleshooting steps might just do the trick, saving you time and money.

1. Clogged Drain Hose or Filter

An obvious possibility is a clog in the drain hose or drain filter. Food and other debris can sometimes get stuck here, blocking drainage.

How to Fix:

You should disconnect the drain hose from the sink and inspect it for clogs. Run a wire coat hanger through the hose to remove any stuck debris.

Then, flush it with hot water to clear out any remaining particles. Reconnect the hose and test the dishwasher drain again. If it’s still clogged, you may need to replace the drain hose.

2. Solenoid Kit Failures

The solenoid kit in your Kenmore dishwasher serves a crucial role. It engages the drain valve at the right moment during the wash cycle.

However, this component may fail over time or due to electrical surges.

When this happens, the dishwasher will sit idle with water pooled at the bottom because the signal to drain never comes.

How to Fix:

First, examine the solenoid kit for any wear or electrical failure signs. If it’s indeed the culprit, you’ll need to replace it.

Secure a new solenoid kit, disconnect the faulty one, and install the new kit, taking care to connect it properly.

This should restore the function of your drain valve and allow your dishwasher to empty as needed.

3. Drain Impeller Issues

A compromised drain impeller is often the reason for a Kenmore dishwasher problem

This small but mighty component can succumb to wear or become jammed, leading to ineffective water expulsion.

Fixing Kenmore dishwasher not draining

How to Fix:

To repair this, ensure your dishwasher is unplugged and remove the lower rack for better access. The impeller should be visible for inspection.

If it appears damaged or obstructed, it’s time for a replacement.

After safely removing the damaged impeller, install a new one and reconnect your dishwasher.

It’s a straightforward fix that can have a significant impact on resolving the dishwasher’s draining issues.

4. Drain Pump Malfunctions

Blockages or electrical mishaps are usually to blame when your Kenmore dishwasher drain pump stops working.

A quick visual inspection may reveal debris that’s halting its operation.

How to Fix:

Begin fixing the Kenmore dishwasher by clearing any blockages in the pump. If the pump itself is not the issue, use a multimeter to check its electrical continuity.

If the pump is electrically dead or physically damaged, it’s time for a new pump.

With a new pump installed, your dishwasher should be ready to drain efficiently again.

5. Issues with Garbage Disposer

Problems with the garbage disposer are often overlooked when your Kenmore dishwasher won’t drain properly.

A poorly installed or clogged disposer can cause water to siphon back into the dishwasher.

How to Fix:

Check your garbage disposer for blockages and ensure it’s installed according to Kenmore’s user manual.

If you’ve just installed a new disposer, remove the knockout plug to allow water to pass through.

Clearing out any blockages and securing a tight connection between the hose and disposal will facilitate better water flow.

6. Using the Wrong Detergent

The choice of detergent is not merely about scent or cleaning power; it’s also about compatibility with your dishwasher’s design.

Liquid detergents may leave behind a residue that not only affects your dishwasher’s performance but can also lead to long-term drainage problems due to the buildup.

How to Fix:

The fix here is as straightforward as it is effective: switch your detergent type.

If you’ve been using liquid or gel-based detergents, consider swapping to a powder or pod made specifically for dishwashers.

Kenmore dishwashers, like many models, are designed to work optimally with certain types of detergents. Check the user manual for recommendations for your specific model.

By using the correct detergent, you’ll reduce the risk of clogs and ensure that your dishwasher can drain properly after each cycle.

This simple change is not just a fix but a preventative strategy to keep your dishwasher running smoothly.

7. Pump and Motor Assembly Faults

A Kenmore dishwasher draining problem may often point toward a faulty pump and motor assembly, where internal clogs or failed components can prevent proper drainage.

How to Fix:

Initiate a drain cycle to listen for any abnormal noises coming from the motor.

If the motor and pump are in good working order, the issue may lie within the drain hose—ensure it’s clear from obstructions.

For motor or pump failures, however, replacing the entire motor assembly is often the most reliable solution to get your dishwasher draining correctly once more.

Kenmore dishwasher won't drain

8. Check Ball Blockages

The check ball is a small component that, if stuck or out of place, can prevent your dishwasher from draining.

How to Fix:

Locate the check ball inside your dishwasher near the drain.

If it’s stuck or displaced, gently adjusting it or clearing any debris around it can resolve the issue, allowing water to exit the dishwasher once again.

9. Faulty Check Valve

A check valve stuck in the closed position or clogged with debris can be a subtle cause for inefficient Kenmore dishwasher draining.

How to Fix:

Locating and either cleaning or replacing the check valve should be your go-to fix. This part is often found on the drain line and should be easy to access and service.

10. Drain Valve Clogs

When troubleshooting the Kenmore dishwasher not draining, one common discovery is a clogged drain valve.

Debris, such as food particles or mineral buildup, can prevent the valve from opening, thus stopping water from draining out.

It’s a typical scenario that can halt even the most reliable dishwashers in their tracks.

How to Fix:

First, cut the water supply to mitigate any potential spillage. After ensuring the power to your dishwasher is turned off, locate the drain valve; it’s usually found beneath the dishwasher behind the kickplate.

Inspect the valve for obstructions, and if you spot clogs, use a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub them away.

For persistent debris, a solution of vinegar and baking soda can help dissolve the buildup.

If, after a thorough cleaning, the valve still doesn’t operate smoothly, it may be time to replace it.

Once done, reconnect the water supply and test the dishwasher to ensure it’s draining correctly.

11. Water Pump Belt Breakage

A water pump belt is essential for the smooth operation of your Kenmore dishwasher.

It links the motor to the pump, and when it breaks or wears out, it can bring the draining process to a complete halt.

Regular wear and tear or a misalignment can lead to the belt deteriorating or snapping unexpectedly.

Kenmore dishwasher draining problem

How to Fix:

First, ensure your dishwasher is unplugged to avoid any electrical hazards.

You’ll need to access the lower part of the dishwasher to reach the belt, which usually involves removing the lower access panel.

Once you have located the old belt, carefully remove it and compare it to the new one to ensure proper sizing.

When placing the new belt, check for proper tension and alignment, as these factors are crucial for the successful operation of the pump.

Once installed, rotate the belt manually to ensure smooth movement before reassembling the access panel.

Then, run a test cycle to ensure the dishwasher drains properly.

12. Air Gap Obstructions

The air gap is a critical component that prevents dirty water from siphoning back into the dishwasher.

Over time, debris, soap scum, or accumulated food particles can clog this gap, hindering water flow and causing backup in the dishwasher.

How to Fix:

Fixing a clogged air gap is typically a matter of cleaning. Start by locating the air gap, usually a small cylindrical fixture, on top of the sink.

After removing the cover, inspect the inside for any obstruction.

Cleaning out the air gap might require a small brush or a pointed tool to dislodge the gunk. Be sure to check both ends of the connecting hose and clean them as well.

Once everything is clear, reassemble the air gap and run a cycle to ensure the water drains out of your dishwasher easily.

Keeping the air gap clean is a simple yet crucial step in ensuring your dishwasher functions as intended.

Repairing Kenmore dishwasher draining issue

13. Malfunctioning Timer

An improperly set or faulty timer can disrupt the completion of the drain cycle.

How to Fix:

If adjusting the cycle time doesn’t work, you’ll likely need to replace the timer.

You’ll ensure that the cycles run as intended by accessing the control panel and swapping out the old timer for a new one.


Facing a Kenmore dishwasher not draining can truly throw a wrench into your daily kitchen routine. But remember, more often than not, the power to fix it lies in your hands.

From examining a pesky drain hose to tackling a faulty drain pump, you can easily solve the issues with simple DIY tips.

So don’t despair when your Kenmore dishwasher malfunctions – equip yourself with the right knowledge to conquer this common repair challenge.

Check out the following troubleshooting blogs if you have a different dishwasher brand:

Steven Settles Author

Steven Settles is an ISCET-certified master in appliance repair. He has aced the National Appliance Service Technician Certification Exam, showcasing his exceptional diagnostic and repair skills. With an in-depth understanding of the latest repair technologies and a keen eye on evolving industry standards, Steven is a go-to expert for any appliance issue.

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