why isn't my kenmore dishwasher draining

Why isn’t my Kenmore dishwasher draining? Usually, that is due to the accumulated dirt in some components inside the dishwasher. Solutions vary depending on the component involved, 

When the Kenmore dishwasher is not draining, you must clean it thoroughly and unclog all hoses and draining components. Usually, the components that fail and must be replaced are the drain pump and the check valve.

If the dishwasher can’t drain, it is impossible to keep using it for more washing cycles. Such a situation is insufferable.

Below we will teach you all you can do to get your dishwasher back to work. 

Why Isn’t My Kenmore Dishwasher Draining?

why is my kenmore dishwasher draining

When you have a Kenmore Dishwasher water not draining, there are a few possibilities behind the situation.

Some are mechanical and related to the water flow, while others are electrical/electronic. 

Are you looking to perform the best troubleshooting? It is important to understand the causes before being able to try any solution step.

Below we discuss briefly the most widespread problems that prevent a Kenmore dishwasher from draining:

Draining System Is Clogged

A dishwasher can get its hoses and other water-circulation components clogged if you forget to clean it for a long time.

Damaged Drain Pump

As the name suggests, the drain pump has the duty of taking the water out. When damaged/broken, it doesn’t have the strength to do that.

Clogged Air Gap

The air gap is another component in the dishwasher that regulates many functions. When it is clogged, plenty of functions will not work, such as draining.

Stuck Check Valve

The check valve controls the water flow’s direction. When stuck with debris or for other reasons, draining will not happen.

Clogged Filter

The filter is another important part that will bring your dishwasher to a halt if it becomes too dirty. 

How To Fix A Kenmore Dishwasher Draining Issues

how fix kenmore dishwasher draining

Kenmore dishwasher won’t drain? Now that you know what can be wrong with your dishwasher, you are probably already investigating it.

You can check its hoses, filter, pumps, etc. However, it is important to learn how to solve the situation before acting.

Some components need cleaning, while others might need a replacement.

Whether one option or another, it is important to follow the correct steps, so you don’t damage your appliance.

Solution #1: Clean The Filter

Perhaps your dishwasher already washed plenty of dish loads and suddenly stopped draining.

On the other hand, if you are a new dishwasher owner, you might have forgotten to clean the filter. 

Cleaning the filter is crucial since the filter is one of the components responsible for ensuring that the water used is clean.

However, it will eventually get clogged with debris from filtering too much water. 

Remove The Filter For Cleaning

remove the filter for cleaning

If the filter is dirty, dishes can start getting dirty, and the water flow will not be smooth.

Here is how to clean the filter:

  1. Open the dishwasher’s door.
  2. Locate the filter (if you don’t know where it is, check the user guide)
  3. The filter cover must be removed.
  4. Rotate the filter counterclockwise
  5. The filter may be taken off now

It is necessary to remove the filter and any component associated with it that can be removed. That way, you will have the opportunity to clean everything nicely.

Next, all you have to do is:

  1. Clean with soap and water
  2. Let the filter dry up
  3. Put it back into the appliance

Sometimes the filter is too dirty; in that case, you can use a bit of vinegar and bicarbonate.

Tip: It is recommended to do this often. If your family washes many dishes, the filter will get clogged easily.

Solution #2: Run A Cleaning Cycle

run a cleaning cycle

This method is very simple, and it is meant to prevent clogging in your dishwasher once in a while.

After all, if you can get rid of the daily/weekly clog, it is harder for the dishwasher to stop functioning.

What you will do is the following:

  1. Fill the dishwasher’s dispenser with a bit of vinegar
  2. Run a washing cycle
  3. Wait for it to end

Suppose doing the steps above managed to get rid of the earlier clog blocking the draining process.

In that case, now you must run a normal cycle without vinegar. 

Note: If the water is still stuck even after running a cycle with vinegar, skip to the next solution.

Solution #3: Unclog The Air Gap

unclog the air gap

The dishwasher’s air gap helps prevent the dirty water from flowing back into the home’s water supply.

However, water can overflow or not drain from the dishwasher when it gets clogged by too much dirt.

Identifying if the air gap is clogged is very simple. You must look inside the top of the air gap for any debris.

If there are food leftovers or any other accumulated dirt, do the following:

  1. First, remove all that is possible with a toothbrush
  2. Slowly pour a cup of water into the air gap. 

If the water doesn’t flow normally, that is because the air gap is clogged.

Then it is time to clean the air gap:

  1. Remove the tubes that are attached to them. 
  2. Run water with vinegar and bicarbonate on the tubes
  3. Clean all debris with a toothbrush/small brush
  4. Reattach the tubes
Tip: If the clog refuses to go away, even with vinegar and bicarbonate, you can use a bit of warm water. 

Solution #4: Replace The Drain Pump

replace the drain pump

The drain pump is the component responsible for applying the necessary force to get the water out of the dishwasher.

Unfortunately, it can get defective, and the dishwasher won’t drain anymore.

Check The Pump’s Status

Here is how you can get to the drain pump (also called the drain impeller) and inspect it:

  1. Set the machine down on a level surface;
  2. Find the drain pump in the appliance’s base (near the motor);
  3. Pull out the nut or clip that’s holding the part in place;
  4. Take out the drain pump

Now take a good look at it. Does it show any sign of damage? If you don’t know what it should look like, you can visit the manufacturer’s site and look for replacement parts.

Then compare a new component and your old drain pump.

Replace The Broken Component

replace the broken component

Once you’ve determined that the old pump is the cause of the dishwasher failing to drain, you must buy a new drain pump.

With it in hand, do the same as you’ve done in the steps above, positioning the appliance where it is easy to install the new part.


  1. Place the new pump
  2. Be sure to fasten the clip/nut around it
  3. Put the appliance in its correct place
  4. Test if the dishwasher works now
Note: Changing a drain pump at home is easy since it is a mechanical component. 

Solution #5: Inspect The Check Valve

inspect the check valve

Many dishwashers have a check valve on the drain hose to prevent water from flowing backward into the dishwasher’s sump.

Check valves inside the upper sump assembly or close to the chopper blade. 

Clean The Check Valve

First, let’s examine the check valve’s condition:

  1. Find the check valve
  2. Remove it 
  3. Inspect for dirt; clean if necessary
  4. Once clean, put it back in place
  5. Try out the dishwasher

Replace The Check Valve

replace the check valve

Depending on your check valve’s condition, it could fail to function even when it is clean.

If that happens:

  1. Buy a new, compatible check valve
  2. Use pliers to remove the old check valve
  3. Assemble the new one in place
  4. Tighten it with pliers
  5. Reconnect the whole dishwasher’s water system

Now it is time to test if your dishwasher can drain water normally.

Read Next: My Bosch Dishwasher Won’t Start?

What We Learned

Why isn’t my Kenmore dishwasher draining? We understand that it can be desperate when you depend heavily on the dishwasher to help your family get around the chores.

Thus, the guide above teaches all you can immediately do to get your dishwasher working perfectly again.

Nicole B