Kenmore Dishwasher Not Draining? Here’s The Fix

Attention all Kenmore dishwasher owners! Are you frustrated with your dishwasher refusing to drain? Wave goodbye to standing water and say hello to sparkling clean dishes by following this troubleshooting guide.

In this article, I will delve into the most common reasons your Kenmore dishwasher fails to fully drain, and provide you with practical solutions to get your appliance back in working order. Don’t let a clogged drain ruin your day, simply read this guide to discover the fix.

Why Your Kenmore Dishwasher Won’t Fully Drain

A dishwasher that will not drain can be very frustrating and may even cause an unpleasant odor, but the good news is, there are only a handful of reasons why this situation occurs. To diagnose the exact cause for your specific problem we will need to work through a set of troubleshooting actions. First, here are the most likely reasons your Kenmore dishwasher has standing water in the sump.

Blocked Water Filter

Every brand of dishwasher contains a water filter to catch debris, food particles and other foreign objects before they can make their way into the drain line. Naturally, this filter accumulates debris over time causing it to become clogged. 

If the filter mesh is covered with grease or any other debris it restricts or completely blocks the flow of water through the filter being drawn into the sump and out of the dishwasher via the drain pump. Luckily, water filters are easy to access and clean and we will discuss this further shortly.  

Drainage Hose Kinked or Obstructed

The drainage hose allows wastewater to flow out of your Kenmore dishwasher and into the sink sink drain or garbage disposal drain if you have one. Sometimes during installation, the hose becomes kinked, which hinders the flow of water during the drain cycle. 

As debris or grease is transported in the waste water it will often settle and accumulate at the lowest point of the drain hose, which over time restricts or blocks the hose completely. A blocked hose will mean water cannot leave your dishwasher and instead will pool at the bottom of the appliance.

Air Gap or Garbage Disposer Blocked

If you have a garbage disposal located under your counter or sink where your dishwasher is connected, any form of clog will lead to similar issues as a blocked drain hose. The same applies for the air gap, in the pipework under your sink, any collection of grease, dirt, hair or other debris will close off the exit path for the waste water, often causing gurgling noises and leaving standing water in the base of your dishwasher.  

Possible Component Failure

Dishwashers have several mechanical and electrical components that work together to drain waste water out of the appliance during the wash cycle. The drain pump, which includes a small rotating impeller, as well as other solenoid valves or non-return valves, that control the flow of water in the draining process. 

If either of these components fail, the dirty water will not be able to exit the appliance as it should. So later in the guide we will discuss in more detail where to find these components and how to check if they are working correctly.

Fixing A Dishwasher With Water Standing Water

Now that you know what causes water to sit at the bottom of your Kenmore dishwasher, rather than draining, I will move onto the troubleshooting process, leading us to diagnose the problem and implement the solution. As with all troubleshooting processes I will start with the easiest option to diagnose and fix, then move onto the more complex and challenging possibilities. 

1. Clear the Drain Filter

The first thing to check is the dishwasher drain filter for blockages or obstructions. The goal here is to remove the filter and check it is clean and will allow water to freely flow through the fine mesh gauze. 

So first we need to locate the filter, see the image below of the filter location and follow the instructions to remove it.

Locate and removing a Kenmore dishwasher filter
  1. Open the dishwasher and take the lower dish rack.
  2. You will find the filter located at the bottom of the tub under the lower spray arm. There will be a large plastic or metal flat filter, and the drain filter, a circular, plastic cartridge filter in the centre of it.
  3. Turn the drain filter counter-clockwise to remove it
  4. Remove any visible debris and rinse the filter under warm water. 
  5. Replace the filter in the dishwasher and put the bottom dish rack back in place.
How to remove your Kenmore dishwasher filter

2. Check Drain Hose for Obstruction 

From time to time, the dishwasher drain hose becomes clogged, as it accumulates grease and scum over time. These particles tend to settle at the lowest point in the hose and create a barrier to the water flow. To check the hose you will need to first test it to see if water flows, and then potentially remove it to clean it or replace it. Here’s how you can do that: 

  1. Locate the dishwasher hose under your counter or sink and disconnect it from the air gap or garbage disposal.
  2. Look into the hose and remove any visible clogs you find. 
  3. Take a water pitcher or jug and slowly pour water into the hose pipe. If it is clear, the water will flow into the sump or bottom of the dishwasher. If the water overflows out from the hose it is blocked. 
  4. Disconnect the other end of the hose from the drain pump. To do this remove the base plate or kickboard to access the underneath your appliance. 
  5. Remove the hose from the drain pump, but be prepared for water to spill here so have a towel ready.
  6. Again, inspect the hose and clear any visible blockages and remove them.
  7. If this has not resolved the hose blockage there will be grease or other scum sitting deep in the hose. You can either remove it and replace it with a new hose, I would recommend replacing it with a low-cost universal drain hose available here. Or you can attempt to clear your existing hose with a long piece of wire. 
  8. Once you have done this, replace the hose and test it by running a wash cycle. 

If the hose was not blocked, or if you have installed a new hose and it still has not worked, move on the check the air gap or garbage disposal. 

3. Check The Air Gap and Garbage Disposal

If you have a garbage disposal, try running it for a few seconds before starting the dishwasher. This will help clear the drain of any food or debris that could hinder the draining process. It is also a good idea to perform a visual inspection of the connections for any blockage or debris within the hose. If this doesn’t work, or your dishwasher is connected to an air gap follow these simple steps:

  1. Look under the sink and locate the dishwasher’s drain hose. 
  2. Disconnect it from the garbage disposal or air gap. It should come apart easily and you shouldn’t need any tools. 
  3. Clear any visible blockages from the disposal or air gap. 
  4. Reattach the drain hose. 

4. Check the Drain Impeller

The drain pump in your dishwasher uses a small plastic impeller to push water out of the appliance during the drain cycle. If the impeller becomes blocked and won’t spin, your dishwasher will not drain. To check the impeller follow these simple steps:

  1. Disconnect the dishwasher from its power source. 
  2. The impeller is usually located in the sump at the lowest point inside your dishwasher. So remove the dish rack and spray arm to access it.
  3. Next, remove the pump filters and look inside the sump. 
  4. Remove the access panel and locate the drain pump. This is where you will find the impeller. In the image below you can see it as the gray plastic component in the center. Or it may have a small plastic cover that you will need to lift, and the impeller will look like a cog.
  5. Check that the impeller is clear of any debris. 
  6. Spin the impeller with your finger. It should spin freely and easily. If it doesn’t, it should be replaced. 
Locattin a Kenmore impeller in the sump

4. Inspect the Check Valve

Your Kenmore dishwasher not draining could be caused by a faulty or ceased check valve. The check valve is responsible for keeping the dirty water that has exited the appliance at the end of a wash cycle from flowing back into the machine and onto your clean dishes. If this valve gets stuck in the closed position, the dirty water won’t be able to exit. 

Depending on the model the check valve can look like a small plastic ball around ½ inch in diameter, or it will be a small gate-like device. 

  1. Start by turning off the dishwasher and unplugging it from the power source for safety.
  2. Slide out the lower dish rack and set it aside to access the lower part of the dishwasher.
  3. Look for a small cylindrical or dome-shaped plastic component near the drain pump, typically situated at the bottom of the dishwasher. The check valve is responsible for preventing water from flowing back into the dishwasher.
  4. Carefully examine the check valve for any debris or obstructions. If you notice any buildup, use a soft brush or cloth to clean it thoroughly. Ensure the valve moves freely without any resistance.
  5. Once the check valve is clean, reinsert the lower dish rack and securely close the dishwasher door. Plug the dishwasher back into the power source and run a test cycle to check if the drainage problem is resolved.

Here’s a short video demonstrating how to locate and replace the check valve

How To: LG/Kenmore Check Valve 5220ED4004A

6. Drain Pump Malfunction

The drain pump is arguably your dishwasher’s most important component during the drain cycle. If it does not work, dirty water will remain within the bottom of the appliance. Unfortunately, the only way to fix it i

  1. Disconnect the power from the dishwasher.
  2. Remove the access panel at the base of the dishwasher to reveal the drain pump. 
  3. First, remove the hose connected to the drain pump to check that no foreign objects are blocking the pump’s normal operation. 
  4. If there are no visible blockages, use a multimeter to test the pump electronically. 
  5. Connect the red and black pins to opposite terminals on the pump. The correct resistance should read 15-40 Ohms. A reading below or above this range means the pump is faulty and should be replaced. You can watch this short video for a full demonstration of testing the pump for continuity. 
  6. Here’s a short video demonstrating how to find, and replace and Kenmore dishwasher drain pump 
Kenmore Dishwasher Drain Pump Replacement 154580301

8. Check The Water Pump Belt

Not all Kenmore dishwashers have a water pump belt, but if yours does, this could be the reason the appliance is not draining properly. Follow the steps below to check the belt.

  1. Remove the front access panel at the bottom of the dishwasher, and look below the drain pump for the drain pump belt. 
  2. Check for visible signs of wear and tear such as cracking, stretching, or breakage. 
  3. If you see signs of damage, replace the belt. 
  4. If there are no visible signs of damage, or the belt has simply slipped off its pulleys, put the belt back into place and run another load to determine if that has solved your drainage issues. 

Call An Appliance Technician For Support

The majority of issues that lead to your Kenmore dishwasher not draining, are simple enough for you to repair yourself. However, if you are not comfortable with making these kinds of repairs or don’t feel as if you are experienced enough to make a proper diagnosis, don’t hesitate to schedule an appointment with a licensed repair technician. 

A professional dishwasher repair person will be able to quickly diagnose the problem and get your dishwasher back up and running in no time. 

FAQs Standing Water In Kenmore Dishwasher

Where is the reset button on a Kenmore dishwasher?

To do a hard reset on your Kenmore dishwasher, you simply need to unplug it from the power source for at least 30 seconds. After 30 seconds, plug it back in. The 30+ second wait is enough time for the appliance’s circuit board to reset, which should make the dishwasher work correctly once again. 

Appliance Service Technician | Website | + posts

Andy has over 8 years of experience working on residential household appliances, performing diagnostics, and repairs across most major brands. He graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology, is NASTeC certified, and has worked for Mr. Appliance. Andy has contributed to features on major publications including Better Home & Gardens, Family Handyman, and