Kenmore Washer Not Spinning Clothes Dry | Fix It

If you have ever put a load of dirty clothes in your washing machine only to discover the load is still soaking wet at the end of the wash cycle, then you know how frustrating this issue can be. The washer should be one of those appliances you simply set and forget, but when it doesn’t work as it should, it is inconvenient and maddening. 

If your Kenmore washer not spinning has you saying choice words and scratching your head, the following information might help. The solution to this issue might be as simple as an unbalanced load, or it could be something more serious. Either way, I will try to help you diagnose and fix it so you can get this tedious chore done. 

Why Your Kenmore Washer’s Not Spinning Clothes Dry

There are a number of reasons why your Kenmore washer’s not spinning clothes dry. In one scenario your machine might enter the spin cycle but at the end the clothes are still soaking wet and not just damp as you would expect. This indicates the is a minor problem with drainage, and most likely related to the drain hose. The other scenario is where the washer will not start the spin cycle at all. This is a more complex diagnoses and could indicate that the drum is incorrectly loaded, or that there is a component or program failure.

In the sections that follow, I’ll go over each possible cause and help you to identify your washer’s issue, along with providing troubleshooting steps to get your washer back up and running.

Unbalanced Load or Overloading

For any washing machine to work correctly, the load of clothes must be balanced and within the weight capacity of the machine. Your washer spins at high speed and creates significant force, so a smooth rotation of the drum is essential to good performance. The washer’s control board (computer) will recognize when the content of the drum are creating an irregular spin, or when the drum is overloaded and creating too much resistance on the motor and supporting power transmission system. In response, as a sort of preventative safety measure the washer will stop spinning or not commence a spin cycle.

Check you appliance model to confirm the drum weight capacity, and ensure you are working within the limits of the machines capabilities. If you are struggling to establish this, simply try to wash a lighter load and see if the spin cycle works. If it does you have identified the problem.

For an unbalanced load, this is simply a case of making sure the contents of the drum or evenly distributed. If a single heavy blanket is loaded into the drum and it gathers on one side of the drum during the spin, it will create an unbalanced load. It’s a good idea to add several extra items to spread the load around the drum offering a more even weight distribution and a smoother spin.

fixing an unbalanced washing load -Kenmore Washer Not Spinning

If you have the correct weight load and it seems to be evenly distributed then the issue must be mechanical or electrical, so move onto the next step and check the drain filter.

Blocked Drain Pump Filter

The pump filter is designed to catch small items such as hair, coins, debris and any other loose objects within the drum that might otherwise clog up the drainage system. If the filter becomes clogged, and water cannot drain from the drum, the washer’s control board would prevent the washer entering a spin cycle, to avoid damaging the machines components.

Here’s how you locate, check and clean the drain pump filter:

  1. Disconnect the Power and Water Supply: Always unplug the washer and turn off the water supply before performing any sort of inspection or maintenance.
  2. Locate the Drain Pump Filter: On most Kenmore washers, the drain pump filter is located in the lower front area of the washer. Look for the flip panel door near the bottom of the washer. Once you’ve opened this small access door, you should see the filter. See image below illustrating the filter compartment.
  3. Remove and Clean the Filter: The filters are typically cylindrical and can be unscrewed by hand or simply pulled out. Once you have removed it, wash it thoroughly with warm water and use a soft brush to remove any lint, debris, or small items that may be trapped in it. Make sure to clean the filter housing too.
  4. Reinsert the Filter: After cleaning, replace the filter in the same way you removed it, by screwing or pulling / pushing. Make sure it’s securely in place and shut the lid.
  5. Run a Cleaning Cycle: It’s a good idea to run a short cycle without any laundry after cleaning the filter to ensure everything is working correctly.
Kenmore drain pump filter location
Kenmore drain pump filter location

If cleaning the drain pump filter doesn’t resolve the issue, or if you notice any damage to the filter, you may need to replace. If that doesn’t work move onto the next step, inspecting the drain hose.

Kinked or Clogged Drain Hose

There is one more very easy check to make before we consider the possibility of a mechanical or electrical issue with the washer, and that is to inspect the drain hose.

The drain hose is responsible for removing dirty water from the washer drum throughout the  spin cycle. If the hose is kinked or clogged, it will restrict the flow of water and lead to problem with drainage.

The washer has a sensor that informs the control board that the water isn’t draining properly. This can either stop a cycle or prevent a spin cycle, as the washer sees this as a red flag or safety measure. It’s also possible that the drain hose is partially restricted, so it allows some water to drain, but not all of it. This can lead to the washer working through the spin cycle, but leaving some residual water in the drum at the end of the program, resulting in soaking wet clothes.

Pull your washer away from the wall to inspect the drain hose for any kinks or obstructions. Check to ensure that it is properly connected and positioned to allow for smooth water flow. Clearing any clogs or straightening out kinks in the hose will potentially resolve the problem.

If your drain hose is kinked or damaged, then it is well worth considering purchasing a replacement to avoid future problems. You can purchase a replacement drain hose here on Amazon for under $20.

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Replacement Drain Hose

Faulty Shift Actuator

The shift actuator is responsible for shifting of the transmission from the agitate cycle to the spin cycle. If the shift actuator malfunctions or fails, it will prevent the washer from switching over to the spin cycle. This could be due to either a mechanical problem within the actuator or a faulty sensor.

When the shift actuator fails, it disrupts the sequence of operations necessary for spinning clothes dry and will need replacing.

To test the shift actuator in your Kenmore washer, you can follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the washer: Before performing any testing or maintenance,  as always be ensure to unplug the washer from the power source. to avoid electric shock.
  2. Access the shift actuator: Depending on your specific Kenmore washer model, the shift actuator may be located at the bottom or back of the machine. See the image below as visual reference or consult your washer’s manual to locate the actuator.
  3. Disconnect the actuator: Once you have located the shift actuator, disconnect the wiring harness or connectors. I would recommend taking a photo of the connections for reference during reinstallation.
  4. Check for continuity: Set your multimeter to the continuity or ohms setting. Place the meter’s probes on the corresponding terminals of the shift actuator. You should refer to the wiring diagram or the actuator’s documentation to identify the correct terminals for testing continuity.
  5. Test the actuator’s resistance: Again using your multimeter, measure the resistance across the shift actuator’s terminals. Compare the reading to the specifications provided in the manufacturer’s documentation. If the measured resistance significantly deviates from the specified range, it may indicate a faulty shift actuator that needs to be replaced.
  6. Inspect for physical damage: While testing the shift actuator, visually inspect it for any signs of physical damage, such as loose wires, broken parts,, burn marks or excessive wear. Any visible damage could be an indication of a malfunctioning actuator.
Locate the shift actuator
Locate the shift actuator

Remember, if you are uncomfortable with testing the shift actuator it’s best to seek assistance from a qualified appliance technician. Below I have included a video guide on how to locate and replace a Kenmore washer shift actuator.

How To: Whirlpool/KitchenAid/Maytag Shift Actuator WPW10006355

Faulty Lid Switch

The lid switch or door switch (on front loading models) on a washing machine, acts as a safety feature to ensure the washer only spins when the door of securely shut. If the switch is faulty it’s a signal to the washer’s computer that a flood risk is possible, of that there is a risk of injury is a person places their hands inside the drum whilst it’s spinning. So the washer simply will not commence spinning.

To test the lid switch in your Kenmore washer, you can follow these steps:

  1. Unplug the washer: Start by unplugging the appliance to avoid electric shock.
  2. Locate the lid switch: The lid switch can be found near the door or lid of the washer. It is often activated by a small plastic or metal prong on the lid or door that depresses the switch when closed. Refer to your washer’s manual or manufacturer’s instructions for precise guidance on locating the lid switch, if you’re struggling to find it.
  3. Inspect the switch and wiring: Examine the lid switch and its wiring for any visible signs of damage, such as frayed wires or a broken switch. You can also open and close the lid or door and listen for a click. If you hear the click it indicates the switch is working. However, if you cannot hear the click or if you notice any visible damage it indicates the switch is faulty and needs to be replaced.
  4. Use a multimeter to test continuity: You can also perform a continuity test to check the switch. Set your multimeter to the continuity or ohms setting. With the lid closed, carefully disconnect the wiring harness or connectors from the lid switch. Place the multimeter probes on the appropriate terminals of the lid switch and check for continuity by activating the switch If the switch shows no continuity in the closed position or continuous continuity in the open position, it is likely defective and needs to be replaced.
  5. Replace the lid switch if necessary: If the switch fails the continuity test or shows visible signs of damage replace it.

Other Less Common Causes

If the above check failed to get your washer working in good order, it’s time to check some of the less likely causes listed below.

Slipping Drive Belt

Your washing machine’s tub is belt driven. This means a motor turns a rubber belt that wraps around the tub and through a pulley systems inside the washing machine. The rubber drive belt can become worn, break or stretch over time, which in turn will prevent the drum from spinning.  A worn or stretched belt can often make a screeching noise as it slips on the drum and fails to gain traction. A broken belt doesn’t really offer any audible clues, so you will need to inspect the drive system to check it.

Remove the access panel off the rear of your washer and inspect the drive belt for cracks or other signs of wear. Also, make sure the belt is nice and tight around the tub and each pulley. If it appears loose, or is damaged in any way, replace it. 

Here’s a short video demonstrating how to replace a drive belt on your Kenmore washer:

Kenmore Washer Repair – How to replace the Drive Belt

Worn Drive Pulley

The drive pulley that turns the drive belt can also wear over time. A good working pulley should operate without making a noise. So gently turn the pulley by hand and listen for any rough or scratchy noises as it spins, it is probably worn and not allowing the drive belt to turn as fast as it needs to spin your clothes dry. Again, replace the pulley if it shows signs of wear and tear. 

Ceased Clutch

If your Kenmore washer is a direct drive washer, and it is not spinning properly, its clutch could be faulty. This often happens when users regularly overload their washing machines, so it’s important to adhere to your machine’s load capacity. 

To diagnose this issue, look at the back of your washing machine. Take the access panel off and observe the gear case and clutch assembly. If you see oil surrounding this area, the clutch is likely faulty. Replace the gear case and clutch. 

Failed Drive Motor

If nothing I’ve mentioned above seems to resolve your washer, not spinning dilemma, the last thing to check is the drive motor. The drive motor is what turns the belt that turns the pulley that turns the tub. If this motor fails, your washing machine won’t be able to agitate, much less spin. While this is a not-so-common reason your washer isn’t spinning, it does happen from time to time. And although you can replace the motor, you might be better off purchasing a new washing machine instead.

Faulty Control Board

Your Kenmore washer has a built-in timer that tells the machine when and how long to run each cycle. For example, if you watch your machine while it is draining, it should eventually go into the spin cycle once most of the water has drained from the tub. If, after about three minutes it hasn’t entered the spin cycle, try opening the lid and then closing it again. If the machine begins to spin, it likely has a faulty control board/timer that should be replaced. 

Program Failure

Sometimes, a washing machine can just get “confused” and fail to complete its programmed wash cycle. The fix for this issue is to simply restart your washing machine from the beginning and let it run its course. 

You may also be interested in Kenmore Dryer Not Heating Up

Verdict: Kenmore Washer Not Spinning

As frustrating as it is to open your washer to find it didn’t spin your clothes dry, the solution to this issue is often straightforward and simple. Some of the most common reasons for a Kenmore washer not spinning include an unbalanced load, a blocked drain filter or drain hose, a faulty shift actuator or control board, and a simple failed program. Less common reasons for a washer not spinning as it should include a faulty clutch, worn drive belt and/or pulley, and a failing drive motor. 

If you are an avid DIYer and enjoy diagnosing and repairing appliances, don’t be afraid to tackle your Kenmore washer not spinning problem yourself. As always, though, if you aren’t comfortable with doing so, don’t hesitate to call in a professional. 

FAQs Kenmore Washer Spin Problems

Kenmore Washer Won’t Finish Spin Cycle

Most washers experience this issue from time to time. The most common reason this happens is an unbalanced load. Try redistributing the clothing in the tub and starting the spin cycle again. 

Kenmore Washer Not Spinning Or Draining

A washer not spinning or draining properly could be caused by a blocked drain pump filter or drain hose. Detach the drain hose and check for blockages and clean out the drain filter to restore proper water flow. 

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