When Washing Machine Door Won’t Open

A washing machine makes life easier when it comes to doing laundry but when washing machine door won’t open, it may mean you have to repair the unit or buy some replacement parts.

These efficient home appliances turn and whirl fabric in lather-filled tubs or compartments transforming filthy clothes into sparkling new garments ready to be worn again. However, they may need to be fixed when washing machine door won’t open. This article will guide you through the parts of the appliance you should check to get the machine working again.


What is a Washing Machine?


A washing machine is an electrical appliance that is used to clean or wash different types of fabric. Basically, a washing machine removes the physical efforts it would otherwise have taken if you had to do your laundry.

Without a washing machine, you would have to use your bare hands to rub clothes together in soapy water to wash them. You would also have to squeeze them tight to expunge water from clothes and get them ready to be dried.

However, with many washing machines today, you can clean clothes automatically without needing to monitor their operation. Just open the door and put the clothes in then select wash mode.

The washing machine can calculate and take in the volume of water and detergent needed to begin washing. It can even set a timer required for washing, rinsing, and drying based on the set mode and clothes quantity.


Types of Washing Machine


There are two major types of washing machines. These are the top loading and front loading washing machines.


Top loading washing machine


As the name implies, the top loading washing machine opens at the top for clothes to be placed in the unit. There’s a round-shaped vessel at the bottom of the loading unit. This vessel functions as the washer. In some models, it can even function as both rinser and drier together.

Many people prefer this type of washing machine because they do not have to bend over to load clothes into the unit.


Front-loading washing machine


The front-loading washing machine has a door in front of the unit. Through this door, clothes can be loaded into the unit. This washing machine model uses much less water and detergent to function. There’s also a popular belief that they tend to give better washing results than their top loading counterparts.


When washing machine door won’t open


A washing machine is usually built to be tough and durable. Unfortunately, like all other appliances, they can malfunction due to various reasons. A washing machine door that won’t open is one of the issues you might face with your unit. This section will discuss some of the possible causes responsible when washing machine door won’t open.


1. Door Lock or Interlock


Also referred to as interlock, the door lock is a safety mechanism usually found in front load washing machines. It can also be found in some top load units. Interlock prevents the door or lid from staying open while the machine is working.

The system is made up of a door-mounted catch as well as a door lock setup at the back of the door shroud/front panel or main top. The lock apparatus is made up of some switches and usually, a lock/unlock solenoid.

Once the wash cycle commences, the washer control will trigger the lock wax motor or solenoid to stop the door or lid from opening. When the wash cycle ends, the control deactivates the door lock wax motor or solenoid.

Usually, it takes around a minute or two for the wax motor solenoid to activate or deactivate. But if the lid or door of the unit won’t open at the end of the cycle, then it is likely that the lock system is faulty.

Lots of washers have a manual release apparatus for unlocking the mechanism so you can open the door or lid. Usually, the release can be accessed from either below the door lock or in certain models, from within their soap dispenser housing.

Below is how to check the door lock in a washing machine

  • First, turn off your appliance from the power source.
  • Search for and clean the door lock to take out any debris that might have built up. You can find it around the frame of the washing machine, under the lid.
  • After cleaning it, if it doesn’t still open, then remove the door lock from the appliance to inspect it. Check for damage or cracking or wear. You may have to take out all or part of the unit’s cabinet to remove the switch.

If your switch exhibits any of the symptoms discussed above, then you will need a replacement door lock.


2. Door Strike or Catch & Hook


When washing machine door won’t open, you may likely have to check the door strike or catch & hook. This part of the unit is also a safety mechanism. It is installed in front loading washing machines as well as top loaders to activate the lid switch.

In front load washing machines, the door hook usually engages the lock mechanism. But if the door hook gets broken, it will not activate the door lock assembly properly. In most cases, it won’t disengage easily from the lock system after a wash cycle ends.

The hook or door strike is often made of tough plastic and can break when the door is used on a regular or if someone tries to force open the door while the lock is engaged.

Here’s how to check a washing machine’s door strike when its door won’t open. This inspection doesn’t require disassembly nor tools:

  • Look for your door strike – you can find it at the door frame of your washing machine.
  • Observe the strike to be sure it engages with the door lock assembly properly. Also, make sure it releases without any hitches.
  • Inspect the strike and look for any signs of cracking, wear, or damage.

If you discover any problems while inspecting the door strike, then prepare to get a replacement.


3. Lid Hinge & Pin


Many standard top loader washing machines have two hinges that attach the lid to their main top. These hinges can be made from plastic or metal and usually start showing wear signs from regular use after a while. When washing machine door won’t open, you should inspect the lid hinge & pin. Here’s’ how:

  • To do this check, you will have to expose some electrical components so ensure you turn off and unplug your washing appliance before starting.
  • Begin the inspection by lifting the lid and checking the lid hinges and pins. Look for signs of wear, cracking, or damage. Additionally, check if a buildup of dirt may be clogging the hinges.
  • Remove or lift the main top to review all sides of the hinges and pins.

In the process of doing this, if you see any issues related above, you may need to get replacement lid hinges.


Final Words


One of the common problems faced by washing appliances occurs when washing machine door won’t open. There are different reasons why this may happen including but not limited to certain parts becoming worn out or broken. If your unit experiences any of the issues discussed in this article, then it may be time to get replacement parts.

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