What Is the Suds Lock on a Kenmore Washing Machine?


Kenmore washing machines help users diagnose problems by displaying a two-digit error code on the LCD display. The code "SL" indicates a suds lock in the drum, a situation in which the machine has become clogged with bubbles from the detergent. Resolving a suds lock involves running a few tests and troubleshooting how you use the washing machine. In general, a suds lock is easy to clear and prevent without special tools or expertise.

Identify a Suds Lock

  • Newer Kenmore washing machines automatically shut off and show "SL" on the LCD display after the motor has tried to clear the suds with three short cycles. Older models may simply overflow with suds if there is a problem with the detergent.

Preventing a Suds Lock

  • Always use the correct amount of detergent in your wash; too much causes excess suds and could trigger a lock. A full load on a standard sized washing machine uses around a cup or 237 milliliters of detergent, less for smaller loads. Use a reduced amount of "HE" or high efficiency detergent if the washer's manual calls for it.

Clearing a Suds Lock

  • Press the "Stop/Cancel" button to cancel the current cycle, remove your clothes and run the washing machine empty without detergent. The suds lock should clear after a being flushed out. Check for other causes of a suds lock error then call customer support if the "SL" warning appears again.

Other Causes

  • Kenmore washers sometimes display a "SL" warning because of a failure elsewhere in the appliance. Try washing your clothes in smaller cycles and check the drainage hose and drain for signs of a blockage. A defective drain pump sometimes generates an suds lock warning.

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