What Does the Diverter Motor Do in a Dishwasher

When it comes to the modern kitchen, the dishwasher has become an indispensable appliance. It saves us time, energy, and ensures sparkling clean dishes with minimal effort. Behind the scenes, a complex system of components and mechanisms work together seamlessly to make this happen. One such crucial component is the diverter motor. In this article, we will dive deep into understanding what the diverter motor does in a dishwasher and why it is so vital.

The Dishwasher Basics

Before we delve into the specifics of the diverter motor, let’s establish a fundamental understanding of how a dishwasher operates. Dishwashers are designed to automate the process of washing and drying dishes, freeing us from the tedious chore of handwashing. They work by spraying a mixture of hot water and detergent onto the dirty dishes, effectively removing food particles and stains. But how does this process unfold, and where does the diverter motor fit in?

The Heart of the Dishwasher

At the core of every dishwasher is a pump that circulates water throughout the machine. This pump is powered by the diverter motor, which plays a pivotal role in controlling the flow of water and directing it to different parts of the appliance.

The Diverter Motor: A Closer Look

What Is the Diverter Motor?

The diverter motor is a small but mighty component within the dishwasher’s machinery. It is an electric motor that controls a diverter valve. This valve is responsible for directing the flow of water to various parts of the dishwasher during different cycles.

How Does It Work?

The diverter motor operates based on signals received from the dishwasher’s control board. When you start a washing cycle, the control board communicates with the diverter motor, instructing it on where to send the water. This process ensures that water is distributed efficiently, depending on whether it’s needed for washing, rinsing, or draining.

Washing Cycle

During the washing cycle, the diverter motor directs water to the spray arms. These arms are equipped with nozzles that spray water onto the dishes, dislodging dirt and food particles.

Rinsing Cycle

In the rinsing cycle, the diverter motor redirects water to the rinse aid dispenser and the upper spray arm. Rinse aid helps in spotless drying, while the upper spray arm ensures thorough rinsing of the dishes.

Draining Cycle

After the cleaning and rinsing are complete, the diverter motor switches its focus to the draining cycle. It directs water towards the drain pump, which removes the used water from the dishwasher.

Why Is It Important?

The diverter motor’s ability to control the flow of water to different parts of the dishwasher is crucial for two main reasons:

  1. Efficiency: By directing water where it’s needed at the right time, the diverter motor ensures optimal cleaning and rinsing, which ultimately leads to cleaner dishes.
  2. Resource Conservation: Efficient water usage means the dishwasher consumes less water and energy, making it an environmentally friendly appliance.

Maintenance and Troubleshooting

Keeping the Diverter Motor in Good Shape

To ensure your dishwasher functions smoothly, it’s essential to take care of the diverter motor. Regularly cleaning the dishwasher’s filter and checking for clogs in the diverter valve can prevent potential issues.

Common Problems and Solutions

Like any mechanical component, the diverter motor may encounter problems over time. Some common issues include:

  • Motor Failure: If the diverter motor fails, it may need replacement by a professional technician.
  • Clogging: Debris can clog the diverter valve, affecting water flow. Regular cleaning can prevent this.
  • Noisy Operation: Unusual noises during operation may indicate a problem with the motor or valve.


In conclusion, the diverter motor is a critical component in your dishwasher that plays a significant role in ensuring efficient cleaning and resource conservation. Understanding how it works and how to maintain it can prolong the lifespan of your appliance and keep your dishes sparkling clean.


Q1: Can I replace the diverter motor myself?

Replacing the diverter motor should be done by a trained technician to avoid damaging the dishwasher further.

Q2: How often should I clean the diverter valve?

It’s advisable to check and clean the diverter valve every few months to prevent clogs and maintain optimal performance.

Q3: Are there any signs that the diverter motor is failing?

Noisy operation, inconsistent water distribution, and incomplete cleaning cycles are signs that the diverter motor may be failing.

Q4: Is the diverter motor a common point of failure in dishwashers?

While not the most common point of failure, the diverter motor can malfunction over time due to wear and tear.

Q5: Can a faulty diverter motor lead to higher utility bills?

Yes, a malfunctioning diverter motor may lead to inefficient water usage, resulting in higher water and energy bills.

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