How to Clean Drain Filters on a Kenmore Elite Dishwasher

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It is recommended that you clean your dishwasher's drain filters so that it works best.
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For a Kenmore Elite dishwasher, a clean filter will not only optimize the cleaning cycle, but also lead to more efficient water use and a quieter machine. The manufacturer recommends removing and cleaning all filtration components on a regular basis for best results.

Dishwasher Filter Purpose

Dishwasher filters play an important role in the performance of the machine because they ensure clean water reaches your dishes throughout the cycle while also preventing clogs in the drain hose.

Although it's ideal to rinse and scrub your dishes before loading them into any dishwasher, it's inevitable that some grease will remain. A dishwasher filter is designed to trap grease and dirt so that it does not recirculate over your dishes. If you notice a greasy film remains on your dishes after the wash cycle is complete, your filter may be overdue for a cleaning. In fact, consider filter cleaning your first line of defense for Kenmore Elite dishwasher troubleshooting.

Kenmore Elite's ULTRACLEAN™ Filters

The Kenmore Elite line of dishwashers uses ULTRACLEAN™ filters consisting of two parts: an upper filter and a lower filter. Despite its name, the lower filter is the more readily visible kidney-shaped component that traps larger debris, allowing the smaller grease particles to pass through to the upper filter. This second filter consists of a much finer material and helps ensure that only water passes through into the drain hose, preventing the need for a Kenmore dishwasher pump cleaning.

Kenmore Elite Dishwasher: Clean Filter

The Kenmore Elite dishwasher filters are located on the right-hand side of the dishwasher floor. No tools are necessary to remove and replace the upper and lower filters. Simply turn the circular component of the upper filter counterclockwise 90 degrees and lift it out. Then, lift out the kidney-shaped lower filter by grasping the circular opening and pulling up.

Rinse the filters under hot water to remove debris. If you need to loosen any grease or particles, gently use your fingers or a soft toothbrush. Wire brushes, scouring pads or aggressive scrubbing may damage the upper filter and should be avoided.

When you're satisfied that most of the grease and particles have been rinsed off, you can reassemble the filters in your dishwasher. Place the lower filter in first, and then line up the notches in the upper filter so that it drops in. Then, turn it 90 degrees to the right to lock it in place.

How Often to Clean Your Filters

The manufacturer's recommendations for a filter cleaning schedule vary based on the number of cycles you tend to run per week, your typical prewash preparation and the hardness of your water. If you do not scrape, rinse or wash your dishes before loading and you tend to run your dishwasher every day, check your filters every two weeks. If you only run your dishwasher once or twice per week and wash your dishes and scrape and rinse before loading, yearly filter maintenance should suffice.

Hard water will lead to calcium deposits on the filters and requires more frequent filter cleaning regardless of your typical dishwasher use habits. White residue on your dishes offers a clue that hard water is affecting your filters and/or overall dishwasher performance.

Finally, get into the habit of glancing at the lower filter assembly every time you load the dishwasher. If debris is visible on the filter, reach in with a paper towel to remove it. Otherwise, it will recirculate inside the dishwasher, and over time it may cause standing water in the dishwasher due to poor drainage.

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Cathy Habas enjoys distilling even the most complicated home improvement tasks into bite-sized pieces. She believes in empowering homeowners one article at a time.

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