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Kenmore Dishwasher Sprayer Not Working

It is difficult to know what is happening inside the dishwasher once you close the door and press ‘start’. However, having dirty dishes at the end of the cycle usually indicates that something is not right. One of the reasons behind this is if the spray mechanism is not working as it should. If you suspect this is the case with your Kenmore dishwasher, this article will guide you through a number of reasons why this is happening.

The sprayer in a Kenmore dishwasher will not work if there is not enough water, damage to the spray arms or pump, a blockage in the filter, pump or spray arms, dishes preventing the spray arms from spinning, or a circuit board failure. There may also be a blockage between the two spray arms.

Dishwasher top rack glass cups

I will explain these issues in more detail below. There are also issues unique to each spray arm not working, which you can also find throughout this article.

Kenmore Dishwasher Sprayer Not Working

There are many reasons why your dishwasher’s spray arms aren’t working. If the spray arms aren’t working, some dishes will not be sprayed with any water or suds and will not be clean by the end of the cycle. Below are reasons why your spray arms may not be spinning or spraying water.

Not Enough Water

One major cause of the spray arms not working is when the dishwasher does not have enough water to begin with. The pressure of the water being pumped into the spray arms is what makes them spin, and what makes the water spray out the holes with force.

If there is little or no water available, there will be no movement of the arms and no water available to spray. Below are common reasons why your dishwasher does not have enough water. You can test this by pouring 1-2 quarts of water into the dishwasher tub before the cycle to see if it helps.

· Float switch in stuck in the up position

· Water inlet valve is faulty

· Water inlet is blocked

· Drain pump is running continuously

Clogged Spray Arms

Another issue is when the spray arms become clogged. There could be a build-up of either food debris or lime scale within the spray arm, preventing water from spraying out. As I mentioned earlier, this will also prevent the arms from rotating.

To fix this, you can try using wire or a toothpick to unclog the holes in the spray arm, which will allow water to pass through once again. If the debris is embedded deeper within the spray arm, you may need to use a cleaning solution to help dissolve the debris. Be careful not to use anything that will damage the plastic.


To reset a Kenmore dishwasher, press the “Cancel/Drain” button to clear the current cycle. After the drain cycle completes, which may take up to two minutes, disconnect the dishwasher from the power source. Wait one minute before reconnecting to reset the electronic control board. This can resolve many common issues and is often the first step in troubleshooting.

Damaged Pump

The pump plays a role in circulating the water from the bottom of the dishwasher into the spray arms. The pump is driven by a motor, which spins an impeller, which forces the water through the pump and tubing. If there are any issues with the pump, this could also prevent the spray arms from rotating and spraying water.

One possibility is that the motor is broken. This will stop all water circulation. A broken motor must be replaced because repairs do not last long enough to justify their cost.

Another possibility is that the impeller is damaged, which would also need to be replaced. If this is the case, there may still be some spray coming through, but the water pressure would be very low. Low water pressure means that the spray arms will not be able to spin.

A blocked pump would also prevent water from spinning the spray arms and spray the dirty dishes. This could be either food debris or a build-up of lime scale. A blocked pump can be cleaned and used again, unless the blockage has caused structural damage.

Clogged Sump Filter

Another component that may become blocked is the sump filter. This is the main filtration system for the dishwasher, which is designed to prevent food debris entering the pump system and spray arms.

Usually, the filter should be cleaned out anywhere between weekly and yearly, depending on how often you use your Kenmore dishwasher. If it is not cleaned out and debris builds up in the filter, this will prevent water from entering the pump housing and being circulated throughout the dishwasher.

Damaged Spray Arms

Any damage to the spray arms can prevent them from spraying or from spinning as they should. This could be caused by hitting dishes, caused by excessive heat or if they have been installed incorrectly. If this is the case, they will need to be replaced.

Broken Circuit Board

The circuit board is responsible for all electrical signals within the dishwasher. It controls every function that requires electricity, including the pump motor. If the circuit board is damaged, this could be the reason your pump is not working.

This damage could also be responsible for a continuous draining issue or a water inlet valve not working. However, you should be able to see some degree of damage when physically inspecting the circuit board.

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Spraying Water

A full clean dishwasher

A common reason for a Kenmore dishwasher not spraying water is a clogged spray arm. Over time, food particles and mineral deposits can block the spray holes, preventing water from spraying out. To fix this, remove the spray arms and rinse them thoroughly under running water. Use a small brush or toothpick to clear any blockages in the holes, then reattach the arms and run the dishwasher to see if the problem is resolved.

Another potential issue could be a malfunctioning water inlet valve. This valve controls the flow of water into the dishwasher. If it’s faulty or clogged, water won’t enter the machine, leading to no spraying. First, check if the valve is receiving power and that the filter screen is not clogged. If necessary, clean the screen or replace the valve if it’s defective.

Finally, a problem with the dishwasher’s pump or motor can also result in a lack of spraying. These components are crucial for circulating water inside the dishwasher. If they fail, the water won’t be pushed through the spray arms. Listen for any unusual noises indicating a motor or pump issue. You may need to inspect these parts for any signs of wear or damage, and consider replacing them if they are not functioning properly.

Kenmore Dishwasher Bottom Spray Arm Not Spinning

Dishwasher bottom spray arm

The bottom spray arm will not spin for the same reasons mentioned above. The movement all depends on the pressure of the water running through the arm. However, there may also be an obstruction of some kind preventing the rotational movement.

This could be due to a utensil or something like a small bowl/dish falling below the bottom rack. If this has occurred, you may be able to hear the spray arm hitting the object several times during the cycle. This can be prevented by placing dishes in their recommended location within the dishwasher, which can be found in the Kenmore user manual.

Kenmore Dishwasher Top Spray Arm Not Spinning

Dishwasher spray arm water glaseses

It is easier to determine if the top spray arm is not spinning, because you can use the same coffee cup method as mentioned above. After placing many coffee cups right-side-up in the top rack and running the cycle for a few minutes, you should notice water in all of them. There should also be roughly the same amount in each cup.

If there is a noticeable difference in water levels between the coffee cups, this means that the top spray arm is not rotating. All of the issues mentioned above can contribute to this issue.

It is more common for the top spray arm to be obstructed by dishes because there are dishes stacked beneath it. If the dishwasher has been overloaded, the spray arm may be hitting the top of a large pan. The utensil basket is also located on the bottom rack, meaning that tall utensils could be in the way as well.

Another possibility is that there is a blockage in the connection tube between the bottom and the top spray arms. If this is the case, the water would not be able to get to the top spray arm and would be forced through the bottom arm only.

Low water pressure may also prevent the top spray arm from spinning. As mentioned earlier, this may be due to a damaged impeller within the pump housing.

The bottom spray arm is much closer to the pump, and therefore less force is required to spray water through the holes and make it spin. For the top arm, water must be pumped against gravity to cause the arm to spin.

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Copyright protected content owner: and was initially posted on July 9, 2021.

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