How To Clean A Kenmore Dishwasher? [Inc. The Filter]

Like any other appliance you have in your kitchen, your dishwasher should be regularly cleaned and maintained. While it sounds like a bothersome chore, cleaning your Kenmore dishwasher can be quick and easy, and will add years of life to your machine. But how do you clean it? We've checked with Kenmore to see the best steps.

The Kenmore brand dishwasher can be thoroughly cleaned in just three steps. If you routinely clean your Kenmore dishwasher, you'll find that it will not only last longer but will keep cleaning your dishes like it was new, years after you had it installed. The steps to cleaning your Kenmore are listed here:

  1. Rid the Kenmore dishwasher of food remnants 
  2. Clean your Kenmore dishwasher with vinegar
  3. Apply baking soda

How do you accomplish each cleaning step? Where is the filter on a Kenmore dishwasher? What is the best way to clean the inside of a dishwasher? How do you reset your Kenmore brand dishwasher? Keep reading this post to find out the answers to these questions and more.

A young woman cleaning dishwasher in kitchen, How To Clean A Kenmore Dishwasher? [Inc. The Filter]

Cleaning A Kenmore Dishwasher Step By Step

While cleaning your Kenmore dishwasher is much more than just wiping the inside out with a cloth and cleaning agent, you'll find that it's not labor-intensive and takes very little time. You don't even need to be mechanically inclined to do these recommended steps to keep your Kenmore washing machine running well for years to come.

Woman putting tablet in dishwasher detergent box

1. Rid the Kenmore dishwasher of food remnants

As anyone who has used a dishwasher to clean heavily soiled pots and pans, you have undoubtedly noticed that debris from these dishes will collect at the bottom of your machine. While there is a filter in your Kenmore washing machine to catch these remnants, it's still important to remove them during routine cleaning.

Remove any dishes from the dishwasher. Then gently remove the dishracks and set them aside. Using a sponge or paper towel, remove any remnants you see at the bottom of the Kenmore. Now it's time to clean the filters.

A dishwasher filter with dirt

The first filter protects your spray arm. Locate this, and gently pop out the filter. This filter protects your spray arm from any smaller dishes or utensils that might move around during the dishwasher's cycles. Once removed, let this filter soak in a soapy solution of hot water and dish detergent.

The other two filters are in the very back of your Kenmore dishwasher. One is a coarse filter that traps larger food particles and removes them so that they can be washed out of the unit while it's cycling. The other filter is very fine and allows for only water to flow back through the dishwasher.

Unscrew both filters. Any food remnants caught on the coarse filter should be removed and discarded into the garbage. Soak both filters in the same solutions as the filter you removed from the dishwasher's spray arm.

Wipe down the inside of your dishwasher. You can do this with a sponge and a tiny bit of liquid dishwashing detergent.

Replace all three filters and the dishracks. Now it's time to run the dishwasher on empty, as detailed in the next step.

2. Clean your Kenmore dishwasher with vinegar

Use one cup of white vinegar by pouring it into a small bowl or a sturdy mug. Place this container on the top rack of the Kenmore dishwasher. Run the dishwasher through one cycle, empty of everything except the container full of white vinegar.

Using white vinegar has several uses inside your dishwasher. The acidic nature of the white vinegar is strong enough to remove any grease or oil that you couldn't by hand but is gentle enough to not harm the components of your appliance. The vinegar is also great for removing any foul odors your dishwasher might be holding, as well as acting as a preventative for these smells building up.

Using white vinegar will also force it into the drain, which makes it remove any other buildups in this part of your dishwasher.

3. Apply baking soda

After the vinegar cycle is completed, you might want to use baking soda to act as an additional cleaning agent. Sprinkle several teaspoons of baking soda and run your Kenmore dishwasher on a hot cycle. The baking soda will remove any smells or oils/grease that the vinegar might have missed.

As you might recall from science class, vinegar and baking soda will violently foam and release gases when the two agents are combined. Do not use them together in the same cycle when cleaning your dishwasher.

Where Is The Filter On A Kenmore Dishwasher?

There are three filters in your Kenmore dishwasher. The most noticeable filter will be the one protecting the dishwasher's spray arm. It's the piece that fits over the spray arm, protecting it from any smaller dishes or utensils that might be flying around the dishwasher while it's in the middle of one of its cycles.

The other two filters are related to removing food remnants from the inside of your dishwasher. They are located under the spray arm mechanism at the bottom of your Kenmore.

Cleaning dirty filter from dishwasher

What Is The Best Way To Clean The Inside Of A Dishwasher?

The best way to clean your Kenmore dishwasher is to use preventative cleaning measures. There are products on the market that act as dishwasher cleaning agents, that are used while your dishwasher is being run through its normal cleaning cycles. This cleaning agent will help prevent any unwanted buildup of grime and grease and should be done every 30 to 90 days, depending on how frequently you use the dishwasher.

For a more thorough clean, it will take a bit of elbow grease. You can get the most thorough clean by following the cleaning steps we mentioned earlier in this post.

Click here to see this dishwasher cleaner on Amazon.

How Do You Reset A Kenmore Dishwasher?

Resetting your Kenmore dishwasher is as easy as pressing buttons on the unit in a certain sequence. Press on the heated dry button, then press the standard wash button, then the heated dry button again. Finally, press the standard wash button again. Once you press those four buttons in a row, your Kenmore dishwasher will start a 12-minute test cycle.

How Do You Clean The Food Trap On A Kenmore Dishwasher?

The food trap and filter systems are located in the bottom of the dishwasher's basin, underneath the spray arm assembly. Remove the filters, as outlined earlier in this post, and then wipe out or scoop out any food remnants from the trap.

In Closing

Making sure your Kenmore dishwasher is cleaned regularly is key to keeping it running for years to come. We've learned of some preventative cleaning techniques, as well as some that should be performed routinely to make sure you're able to neutralize odors, keep grease and oils from building up, and stop food remnants from clogging your food trap.

For more information about dishwashers, we suggest reading the following posts:

Are Plastic Food Containers Dishwasher Safe?

Can You Put a Pasta Maker in the Dishwasher?

Can Nutribullet Go In The Dishwasher?


  1. I can’t get the start button to work on my kenmore dish washer all the other buttons light up when pushed. I have an Ultra Wash Model. It has work for year. What should I do

  2. I have a Kenmore that is 14 years old. I can’t believe I don’t see anything looking like a filter in the bottom, at least nothing that I can “gently pop out” or even unscrew. I wish there were more photos so I make comparisons. The manual says nothing about filters. Does anyone know where they are in an older model, and how many? They must be somewhere.

  3. I have a Kenmore dishwasher model number 363.14451692 the water around the drain is very black and I can’t find a filter. What do I do and can you tell me if there is a filter in this model that I need to clean? HELP !

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