Kitchen equipment

Why is my Kenmore Dishwasher not draining?

Ever opened your Kenmore dishwasher at the end of a cycle only to find dirty water standing below the bottom rack? Well, I have.  This normally means that you have a drainage problem.

There are a few reasons why a Kenmore dishwasher may finish a cycle and yet you find the tub still filled with water.

When this happens, the first thing you should do is check the sink drain to make sure that there is no blockage from food particles or debris.


If the sink drain is clear you could try canceling the dishwasher cycle.

If the dishwasher still does not drain, your dishwasher probably has another problem.

Investigate these areas if your Kenmore dishwasher is not draining. I have listed the possible issue and the solution to each.

Also, Read on Why My New Dishwasher Not Draining

  1. Drain valve

Over time, debris can clog the drain valve. Normally, the drain valve prevents water from draining back into the Kenmore dishwasher. 

If it is clogged, it is the reason why your Kenmore dishwasher is not draining. Clean the valve to ensure that water can flow through it properly.

If the drain valve is clean and yet the dishwasher is still not draining, replace it with a new drain valve.

  1. Drain impeller

Normally, the drain impeller pushes water to the garbage disposer or drain line through a drain hose.

A broken drain impeller may make your Kenmore dishwasher not drain. Check to see if it is broken and replace it if need be.

  1. Drain pump

Drain pumps use drain impellers to force water through the drain hose. If the Kenmore dishwasher is not draining, it is possible that the drain pump motor is no longer working the way it should.

You will have to examine it to see whether it is defective.

To do this, check for continuity using a multimeter. If the multimeter shows that the motor does not have continuity or that it is getting power but doesn’t run, you will have to replace the drain pump.

You cannot repair a drain pump, so just cut your losses and replace it.

  1. Drain solenoid kit

The drain solenoid opens the drain valve and allows water to exit the dishwasher.  The drain water should function properly so that water drains out.

If it fails, the drain valve will not open and consequently, your dishwasher will not drain.

  1. The drain hose

If the drain hose is clogged, your Kenmore dishwasher will not drain. Inspect it to see if it is clogged. If the drain hose is clogged, remove it from the dishwasher and sink drain and clean it so that it is unclogged.

Most of the time the drain hose is usually clogged close to the garbage disposer or dishwasher drain branch tailpiece.

  1. Pump and motor assembly

In a Kenmore dishwasher, the motor drives an impeller that forces water out of the drain hose. If the motor does not run during the drain cycle, or if it just hums instead of running, you might have to replace the motor assembly.

However, if the motor runs during the drain cycle, simply check for a blockage in the drain line and unblock it.

  1. Garbage disposer

A garbage disposer that is clogged or not properly installed could be the reason why your dishwasher is not draining.

If you installed it recently, it is possible that you did not remove the drain plug. When you purchase a garbage disposer, it normally comes with a solid plug in the drain tube.

The plug must remain in the drain tube if you have not connected the garbage disposer to the dishwasher. However, if you have connected it, you must remove the plug from the drain tube.


If you have not recently replaced the garbage disposer, there is a possibility that it is clogged. Remove the drain hose from the garbage disposer and clean it out. Once unclogged, your dishwasher will drain properly.

  1. The check valve

The check valve should prevent water from returning to the dishwasher once the dishwasher has drained. 

For this reason, the check valve should not get stuck closed as it would prevent water from draining. Consequently, your Kenmore dishwasher will not drain.

Check if your check valve is stuck closed and replace it if necessary.

  1. The check ball

A check ball is a small plastic ball found in the check valve. It prevents water from returning to the dishwasher when the dishwasher has drained.

The check ball should not get stuck. If it does, it will prevent water from draining through the check valve. Inspect the check ball. If it is stuck, try to free it so that your dishwasher can drain properly.

  1. The water pump belt

Very few Kenmore dishwashers have a water pump belt. Check your model number and search for it to determine whether yours has a water pump belt. If the water pump belt is worn out or broken it may make your dishwasher not drain.


To access the belt, remove the lower panel. It is normally located at the bottom of the motor.

If you find that the belt is either worn out or broken, replace it so that your dishwasher can drain the way it should. A worn-out water pump belt will make your Kenmore dishwasher not drain.

  1. Timer

A timer dictates when each component should operate throughout a cycle. It normally advances the knob on the control panel forward.


This determines when the cycle should end. The timer should be able to move the control knob. If it doesn’t, other components of your dishwasher may not receive the signal that it is time for the water to drain.

If your dishwasher has a defective timer, it may interfere with its ability to drain water properly.

To make sure that your timer is not defective, you can test its timer mechanism. If the timer is faulty, replace it. You can replace the timer’s motor or the entire timer assembly.

  1. The motor

The motor is very important when it comes to your dishwasher’s ability to drain water.

A defective motor will negatively affect your dishwasher’s ability to drain water. Test the motor of your dishwasher for continuity. 

If it fails the test, simply replace the motor.

  1. Electronic control board

The electronic control board normally controls all the dishwasher’s moving parts. It should be able to receive electricity and communicate with parts of the dishwasher.

If it receives electricity but does not communicate with other parts of the dishwasher, there is a possibility that it is defective or damaged.

If it is indeed damaged, it is the reason why certain components fail to drain water from your dishwasher. You will have to replace it so that the dishwasher can start draining water.

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Fixing drainage issues in your Kenmore dishwasher

  1. Unplug the dishwasher from the power

Before you try fixing anything in your dishwasher, unplug it or switch off the circuit breaker in the electrical panel. This will prevent electric shock.

  1. Drain water standing in your dishwasher

Drain any water that is standing in your dishwasher by lining the bottom of your dishwasher with towels and using a plastic container to scoop water out of the dishwasher.

When the water becomes too little to scoop, use towels or paper towels to drain the excess water.

  1. Check the drainage system

The most common reason why the dishwasher does not drain is that there are debris and food particles that have clogged the drainage system.

Check the drain and clean the drain basket. Use a wire to unclog debris and ensure no object is covering the sump area in the back of the tub.

  1. Clean the pump.

The pump has two impellers, the upper one and the lower one.  The lower one pumps water out to the drain.

Broken glass and debris can prevent the impellers from turning. This might cause water build-up. Clean the pump and remove any debris that can cause blockages

  1. Clean the sprayer arms

The sprayer arms are usually located at the bottom of your dishwasher. Pop them out and check the holes for debris.

Use a wire to clean the debris out of the holes.

  1. Clean the filter

Check the dishwasher’s user manual to see where the filter is located and remove it using a screwdriver.

Wipe the surrounding area of the filter using a damp sponge and rinse off the screen with water. Replace the filter screen.

  1. Straighten the drain hose

The drain hose should be straight for your dishwasher to drain properly. Old drain hoses can form kinks which in turn cause blockages. Gently straighten any kinks on your drain hose.

  1. Clean the drain line

The drain line is located near the back of the dishwasher. It is under the filter screen. Clean the drain line using a baking soda solution.

  1. Run a complete cycle

To ensure that your Kenmore dishwasher is draining properly, run a complete dishwashing cycle. When the cycle is complete, check to see whether there are any water remains at the bottom of the dishwasher.

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