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Top Rack of Kenmore doesn't clean

We have a high end three year old Kenmore dishwasher. I used to boast that I could load this thing with anything and it would clean everthing flawlessly.

Suddenly, the top rack of dishes don't look like they have so much as been touched after the dishwasher runs its cycle. Further, the lower isn't near what it once was.

Around the time it stopped working, I had unplugged it to make room while I unplugged a jammed garbage disposal...and we had also switched detergents - from Cascade to Shaklee.

Could it be that when the garbage disposal was backed up that it impacted the dishwasher...or is it the soap...or something else?


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Re: Top Rack of Kenmore doesn't clean

The chances are the water pipes are blocking in the base. check all the hoses are clear of debris then check things like the spray arm holes are clear and also check on the water level in the cavity.

Posted on Jan 20, 2008

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Items in the bottom tray are clean; items in the top are not.

The first thing to check is whether the spray arms are clogged up. Small, hard food particles such as pepper seeds can block the holes. Some spray arms can be removed very easily for cleaning. Our old Kenmore spray arm needed a star-shaped bit. Check the overhead spray arm as well as the ones under the racks. You might also try running Lime-Away through if the inside looks clogged up with calcium deposits.

In our old Kenmore, we had food residue on the top rack when the grinder blade was chipped, broken or obstructed by an olive pit, a date pit or a cherry stone. Don't know why the top was worse than the bottom. A new one cost about $25 at that time and was not to hard to replace, but it is a poor design, since it is nearly impossible to keep such things out of the dishwasher. We replaced the grinder three times in 5 years.

Even though modern dishwashers brag that you don't have to rinse first, it is helpful to knock off seeds and pits that can cause trouble. To save water, have a small vessel of water--perhaps a pan you are soaking--and use a brush to quickly swipe each plate or bowl before loading.

Jul 26, 2011 | KitchenAid Dishwashers

1 Answer

Top wond (rack) doesn't clean. Dishes are very dirty at the end of the cycle. However, the bottom rack is fine......please respond asap if possible. Thanking you in advance. Connie

Connie,, make sure in loading the dishwasher you have room for the soap and water to make it to the top rack, (older models) on newer models you have a sprayer just under the rack make sure the sprayers are working fully,, to clean them you can use a hard brush and vinegar,, let stand for 5 minutes and rinse off, also, you can run vinegar ( white) through your machine,, to help clean the jets,, use in place of the soap , then run a couple of times empty to remove and let over odor

May 17, 2011 | Dishwashers

1 Answer

Our dishwasher is approximately 13 years old. Today I turned it on and it did not clean the dishes. After trying to wash the dishes three times, the dishes on the bottom rack were clean but the top rack...

13 years old?!? LOL, you're lucky it turns on!!!

Pop the sprayers off and check for clogs. Otherwise, get a new one, this machine is way, way, way past its life expectancy.

Nov 20, 2009 | Magic Chef Dishwashers

1 Answer

Kenmore Dishwasher Holding Water

lost your tube that supplies water to upper spin rack? look in your strainer

Apr 14, 2009 | Whirlpool GU2400XTP Built-in Dishwasher

1 Answer

Top rack in Kenmore ultrawash not being cleaned

Check to make sure the upper wash arm is not plugged with debris. All Plates on the bottom rack and bowls on the top. Position the arm at 12 o'clock and check at the end of the cycle to see if it has moved positions.

Jan 20, 2009 | Kenmore 15899 Built-in Dishwasher

1 Answer

Kenmore Dishwasher Not Cleaning


I have an older dishwasher also and recently my wife also complained about it not cleaning right... so me being the man I am tried in vain to clean the things... Bought new spray arms online and installed them in the thing works like new... However I have also found that if the heating element goes bad then that also can mess things up bad... So I would buy new spray arms, and also check out the heating element to make sure it is working... Here is a tip that will help you with the online buying...

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A bad heating element causes many problems in dishwashers...

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Jul 31, 2008 | Kenmore 24 in. 15142 Built-in Dishwasher

1 Answer

The top rack is not getting clean.

This is one common possibility
It may be the food chopper assembly. Mine broke last year from a toothpick,
the food doesn't get chopped because the blades are broken, then the filter clogs and water wont spray high enough.
Heres a test--turn on the dishwasher and wait until you can hear water running then open the door really fast and look at how high the water is spraying--there should be alot of water all over the top rack running down

Jan 31, 2008 | Kenmore 24 in. 17482 / 17484 / 17489...

2 Answers

Kenmore Elite

This is a guess but worth trying:

First, check to see if there is any food material in the drain area. There is a screen which may be restricted. This will restrict water flow. Second, if that doesn't work, there is a solenoid which directs water from the pump to either the drain or to the wash nozzles. It is probably stuck part way. It may be cleaned. I once found a toothpick in one!

Sep 01, 2007 | Kenmore 15129 Built-in Dishwasher

2 Answers

Dishes not getting clean

brittgee, there has been a number of service flashes on this model. One that has to do with the upper spray arm assy. Complaint is poor washability; gritty glasses, food redeposited on glasses, especially in the corners. They redesigned the upper spray arm to improve water spray to all corners of the upper rack. The new part number is 8269022. They also redesigned the third level spinner for more consistant rotation and better washability. This was also under a service flash. Part number.8193768. Other reasons for poor wash would be; low water temperature, rinse aid disp. not working, loading etc. back.

Nov 25, 2006 | Kenmore 24 in. 15933 Built-in Dishwasher

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