What To Do When Your Kenmore Dishwasher Is Not Spraying Water

By Cory White
What To Do When Your Kenmore Dishwasher Is Not Spraying Water

If your dishes are dirty after a wash cycle then you may have a problem with your Kenmore dishwasher’s spraying arm. The problem is usually a clogged spray arm, a blocked spray arm, or a defective spray pump. Follow the troubleshooting steps below to fix your dishwasher.


Don’t forget to turn off the electricity and water supply to the dishwasher while you fix it for safety purposes.

1.Dishwasher Is Overloaded

If you have put so many dishes in the dishwasher, some dishes might be blocking the spray arms from turning. Your Kenmore dishwasher won’t be able to spray and dishes won’t be washed well. 

Put the maximum allowed quantity of dishes in your machine. Make sure there is space for the spray arms to turn and do their job. 

Rearrange the dishes while following your dishwasher user manual. You should also remove excess dishes. 

Overloading a dishwasher could also block the water from reaching some dishes. This is why some dishes come out dirty at the end. 

2.Blocked Spray Arm

The dishwasher could have failed to spray because it has been blocked and can’t turn.

Check that dishes are not blocking the spray arm. Try to turn the spray arm manually to ensure nothing is preventing the spray arms from turning. 

You can also notice this when you hear the spray arm hitting things inside the dishwasher. The arm tries to move but it’s blocked by a dish that was badly placed. 

The spray arm could be blocked by other foreign items that got stuck in the dishwasher, for example, a tea bag that you forgot in your cup. 

Remove any debris that could be blocking the spray arm. 

3.Clogged or Broken Spray Arm

The spray arm has holes that allow water to be sprayed all over the dishes inside the dishwasher. These holes can be clogged with food particles and debris over time. Make sure you clean the spray arm well. 

Soak the spray arm overnight in vinegar to remove the food particles. Scrub the spray holes with a toothbrush or a toothpick to remove the stubborn food particles. 

Check the spray arm and ensure it turns well. If there’s any resistance, the arm is probably faulty. 

If it’s broken, you cannot repair it. You need to replace it with a new one. 

4.Circulation Pump Failure

First remove the lower rack, the spray arm, then remove the filter, now you can have access to the circulation pump. You will need to use a screwdriver to access it. 

The circulation pump helps the water to be circulated in the dishwasher during a wash cycle. 

It uses a motor to pump water into the dishwasher that is eventually sprayed during washing. If the circulation pump is not working, your Kenmore dishwasher won’t be spraying any water. 

Test the pump’s motor for continuity. If it tests positive then the pump is fine. If it tests negative, you have to replace the circulation pump. 

5.Circulation Pump Clogged

Check the circulation pump and make sure it’s not clogged with food particles or any foreign object. 

You have to remove the circulation pump from the dishwasher to clean it well. 

The dishwasher’s filters sometimes fail to filter out some foreign objects and they end up clogging up the circulation pump. 

This could result in water not being circulated well to the spray arm. This reduces the pressure of the water. Now you have a spraying problem.

Cleaning the area around the pump should solve your problem.

6.Chopper Blade Has Jammed

Be careful while handling the chopper blade. It could cut you. 

This is responsible for cutting food particles into smaller particles that can easily be drained out after a wash cycle.

Usually, when the chopper blade is jammed, the pump also stops working. Eventually, your dishwasher fails to spray. 

The chopper blade can get clogged up by food material and other debris. Check it and clean it well. Try to rotate it carefully with your hand to make sure it is not jammed.

7.Water Inlet Valve Issue

Locate the water inlet valve with the help of your user manual. 

If your water inlet valve is faulty, water won’t be able to flow into your dishwasher. 

This is because this valve opens and closes to allow water to enter and not to enter the dishwasher accordingly. 

This means that water won’t reach the spray arms and your dishwasher won’t be spraying. 

Your water inlet valve could be clogged by foreign items that come from your home water supply. 

Look at the water inlet valve and clean out any debris. 

Your water inlet valve may also burn out or short circuit over time. You need to replace it if it’s burnt out or has some burn marks and a burnt smell. 

8.Water Pressure Issue

If the dishwasher is not spraying, the water pressure in the washer could be caused by several reasons.

Check your house’s water supply to see if the general water pressure is low. Low water pressure could prevent the dishwasher from spraying effectively. 

The spray can be there but it might be weak. The dishes won’t be washed properly.

The water pressure could also be low if something is blocking the impeller.

Foreign objects like food particles or broken glasses could find their way to the impeller. Even if the impeller can move, it might be slow. 

Remove any foreign objects in and around the impeller and the pump.

9.Overfill Float Switch Malfunction

The float switch helps the dishwasher not to overfill. It triggers the water inlet valve to close once the water has reached the maximum allowed level. 

Woman Pressing Button Of Dishwasher

When your float switch is malfunctioning, the water inlet valve can close itself. This means that water won’t be entering the dishwasher. The arms won’t be spraying any water. 

Locate the float switch by checking exactly under the float. But you have to first remove the front kickback panel. Gently remove the wires connected to the switch. Don’t just pull. 

Use a multimeter to test whether the dishwasher’s float switch is okay or not. Adjust the multimeter to Ohms.

Put the two multimeter probes on the two terminals of the switch. The multimeter should display a reading of zero or infinity. 

Turn on the switch and the reading should be the opposite of what you got in the first test. (If you got zero, it should be infinity and vice versa)

If the multimeter fails to get the above results, you should replace the float switch because it’s faulty.

Other areas to check

1.The float 

The float is designed to prevent your dishwasher from overflowing. It rises with the water level until it reaches the maximum allowed level. It then triggers the float switch which triggers the water inlet valve to stop letting in water. If the float is faulty, water won’t be able to enter the dishwasher hence it won’t be able to spray. 

To locate the float, open the dishwasher door and identify it using your user manual. Test it by pulling it up and dropping it several times. If it moves freely then it’s okay. If it doesn’t move, it’s faulty and you need to replace it. 


Check your dishwasher’s filters and make sure they’re not clogged. Food particles and debris can accumulate in the filter hence preventing the dishwasher from draining. 

Remove the filters and clean them well. Use hot water and soap to remove all the food particles and grease.

3.Water Supply 

It seems obvious, but the water supply to your dishwasher could be off. 

Check if the tap that supplies the dishwasher is turned on. If the water supply valve has been turned off, please turn it on. 

Then start the dishwasher and listen closely. The dishwasher should start filling with water and you can definitely hear it spraying.

Seeking professional help

Your Kenmore dishwasher can fail to spray for a number of reasons. Fixing it may require replacing parts like the pump and motor. Extra caution should be taken while replacing electronic parts because you could damage the wires inside. 

Some parts require you to uninstall the entire unit from the wall. You might not even have the tools required to install the machine. 

If you’re not sure of what to do, you need the help of a qualified technician. 

First, follow all this troubleshooting guide. If your Kenmore dishwasher is still not spraying, you can now call a qualified technician to look at it. 


There are many reasons why your Kenmore dishwasher is not spraying. It could be home water supply with an issue. But the problem is most likely with your dishwasher. 

Regular cleaning of your dishwasher will also save you from issues like a clogged or blocked spray arm. 

However, you should follow this troubleshooting guide with the help of your Kenmore dishwasher user manual.

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