How to Clean a Kenmore Dishwasher: Descaling Guide + Maintenance Tips

Tired of dealing with a dirty Kenmore dishwasher that just won’t sparkle? Ever wondered how to get it looking brand new again? Let’s dive into some simple yet effective cleaning tips to make your dishwasher shine like a star!

Picture this: you open your Kenmore dishwasher after a cycle, expecting squeaky clean dishes, but instead, you’re greeted by spots, grime, and a not-so-pleasant smell. Sound familiar? Don’t worry; we’ve got your back! In this article, you’ll discover easy-to-follow steps to keep your Kenmore dishwasher in top-notch condition.

Prepare for Cleaning

  • Clear out your Kenmore dishwasher completely.
  • Remove any dishes, utensils, or debris that may be blocking access to the different parts of the dishwasher.
  • Check and clean the dishwasher filter.
  • The filter is usually located at the bottom of the dishwasher and can often get clogged with food particles.
  • Refer to your Kenmore dishwasher manual for specific instructions on accessing and cleaning the filter.
  • Gather your cleaning supplies.
  • You’ll need items like white vinegar, baking soda, a soft brush or cloth, and possibly a dishwasher-safe cleaner.
  • Inspect the spray arms for any blockages.
  • Ensure the spray arms move freely and aren’t obstructed by food particles or buildup.
  • Run a rinse cycle with white vinegar.
  • Place a cup of white vinegar on the top rack of your dishwasher and run a hot water cycle to help remove any lingering odors and bacteria.
Facts & Data
Kenmore dishwashers are known for their reliability and durability.
Regular maintenance can extend the lifespan of your dishwasher.
A clean dishwasher also helps to ensure your dishes come out spotless and free of odors.

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Clean the Exterior

When cleaning the exterior of your Kenmore dishwasher, it’s essential to focus on both aesthetics and functionality. Here are some tips to help you maintain the exterior of your dishwasher:

  • Wipe Down: Start by wiping down the exterior of the dishwasher with a damp cloth to remove any visible dirt or smudges.
  • Use a Gentle Cleaner: For stubborn stains, use a mild detergent or a dish soap solution to clean the surface.
  • Avoid Abrasive Cleaners: Make sure to avoid abrasive cleaners or scrubbing pads as they can damage the finish of your dishwasher.
  • Pay Attention to Handles and Buttons: Don’t forget to clean the handles and buttons on the dishwasher, as they can accumulate dirt and grime over time.
  • Dry Thoroughly: After cleaning, make sure to dry the exterior of the dishwasher with a soft cloth to prevent water spots.

Regularly cleaning the exterior of your Kenmore dishwasher not only keeps it looking great but also helps in maintaining its overall condition.

Clear and Clean the Filter

When cleaning your Kenmore dishwasher, one essential step is clearing and cleaning the filter. This component plays a crucial role in trapping food particles and preventing them from recirculating onto your dishes. Follow these simple steps to effectively maintain your dishwasher’s filter:

  • Locate the Filter: The filter in your Kenmore dishwasher is typically found at the bottom of the tub. It can usually be twisted or lifted out for easy access.
  • Check for Debris: Inspect the filter for any food particles or debris that may be trapped. Remove these carefully to ensure proper filtration.
  • Rinse the Filter: Gently rinse the filter under warm running water to dislodge any stubborn residue. Avoid using harsh scrubbing tools to prevent damage.

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Regularly attending to your dishwasher’s filter can improve cleaning performance and prevent clogs that may lead to malfunctions. By incorporating this simple maintenance task into your cleaning routine, you can ensure optimal dishwasher operation and cleaner dishes after each cycle.

Descale the Interior

To descale your Kenmore dishwasher’s interior, follow these steps:

  • Prepare a descaling solution by mixing white vinegar with warm water.
  • Fill the detergent dispenser with the solution.
  • Run a hot water cycle without dishes to allow the descaling solution to clean the interior thoroughly.
  • Wipe down the interior using a damp cloth after the cycle is complete.
  • Repeat descaling every few months to prevent mineral buildup and maintain optimal dishwasher performance.

Remember, descaling is crucial to preserve your dishwasher’s efficiency and extend its lifespan.

Run a Cleaning Cycle

To keep your Kenmore dishwasher in top condition, it’s crucial to Run a Cleaning Cycle regularly. Here’s how you can do it effectively:

  • Step 1: Ensure the dishwasher is empty. Remove any dishes or utensils before starting the cleaning cycle.
  • Step 2: Check the drain. Make sure it’s clear of any debris to prevent clogging during the cleaning process.
  • Step 3: Add a dishwasher cleaner or a homemade solution to the detergent compartment. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the correct amount.
  • Step 4: Select the appropriate cycle. Opt for a heavy-duty or sanitize cycle to ensure a thorough cleaning.
  • Step 5: Start the cycle. Let the dishwasher run through the complete cleaning cycle to remove any residue or buildup inside.

By following these steps and running a cleaning cycle regularly, you’ll help maintain the efficiency and performance of your Kenmore dishwasher.


That’s it! By following these simple steps, you can keep your Kenmore dishwasher running smoothly and efficiently. Regular maintenance is key to ensuring your dishwasher works at its best. Remember to descale it with a vinegar and water solution, run cleaning cycles, and wipe down the interior. These practices will help prevent mineral buildup and prolong the life of your appliance. Keep up with these maintenance routines, and your Kenmore dishwasher will continue to sparkle and perform at its peak for years to come.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I descale my Kenmore dishwasher?

It is recommended to descale your Kenmore dishwasher every 3-6 months to prevent mineral buildup and keep it functioning efficiently.

What is the best solution to descale a Kenmore dishwasher?

A mixture of white vinegar and water in equal parts is the best solution to descale a Kenmore dishwasher effectively.

How do I run a cleaning cycle on my Kenmore dishwasher?

To run a cleaning cycle, ensure the dishwasher is empty, check the drain for any blockages, add the descaling solution, select a cleaning cycle, and let the dishwasher complete the cycle.

Why is descaling important for a dishwasher?

Descaling is important to remove mineral deposits that can clog the dishwasher’s components, improve cleaning performance, and prolong the appliance’s lifespan.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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