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Kenmore Elite Dishwasher Not Cleaning

While dirty dishes might sound like a small problem in the grand scheme of life, opening up a dishwasher after the cleaning cycle to find it full of dirty dishes is a frustrating issue, especially when you don't have the time to wash them by hand. While the Kenmore Elite dishwasher offers multiple cleaning cycles to handle different dish washing challenges, it can encounter problems just like any other appliance. Fortunately, you can solve most of these problems yourself without having to shell out cash for a repairman.

Troubleshoot your Kenmore dishwasher to avoid hand washing your dirty dishes.
  1. Open your Kenmore Elite dishwasher and gently turn the spray arms with your hands. The arms should move freely but if an object in the dishwasher is block the arms, this could explain why your dishes are not clean. Remove the obstruction and try running the dish washing cycle again.

  2. Empty the top rack of your Kenmore dishwasher and pull the rack toward you to completely remove it from the dishwasher. Flip the rack over to expose the upper spray arm and twist the nut at the center of the spray arms counter clockwise to remove it and release the upper spray arm.

  3. Empty the bottom rack and pull it toward you to remove it from the dishwasher. Grasp the lower spray arm located in the bottom center of the dishwasher and pull it straight up to remove it from the dishwasher.

  4. Examine the spray arms closely. These arms have several small holes used to spray water onto your dishes and if these holes are clogged, your dishes will not get clean during the wash cycle. Hold the spray arms under running water to remove any obstructions and then return them to the dishwasher.

  5. Use between 1 and 3 tbsp. of dishwasher detergent in your Kenmore Elite dishwasher. Kenmore suggests starting with 1 tbsp. of detergent and gradually increasing the amount if needed to properly clean your dishes.

  6. Avoid overfilling your dishwasher. If dishes are crowded together, the water spray may not be able to reach all of the surfaces, resulting in dirty dishes.

  7. Choose the proper soil level on your Kenmore Elite dishwasher. If the dishes are heavily soiled, choosing the light soil wash may result in dishes that are still dirty after the cycle is complete.

  8. Run hot water from the faucet nearest your dishwasher to check the temperature of incoming water with a kitchen thermometer. Kenmore advises that 120 degree F incoming water is optimal to clean your dishes. If your incoming water temperature is too low, you can adjust the temperature on the thermostat of your hot water heater.

About the Author

Kittie McCoy has been a freelance writer since 2008. She is also a part-time personal trainer and licensed entertainer in Las Vegas. She enjoys sharing her love of physical fitness and experience in the entertainment industry via her writing.