Home Improvement

Washing Machine Door Won’t Open – How to Fix it

Washing machines are essential to our everyday lives and we rarely ever pause to think about them. That’s why it’s always out of the blue when your laundry is done, you go for the door handle, as you always do, and find that it won’t open. Surprising and frustrating at the same time.


  • You have an old washing machine with a stuck door, but you don’t want to buy a new one;
  • Your washing machine reached the end of its cycle and the door won’t open;
  • You unplugged and plugged it back in again, but the door is still stuck.

Here are some possible reasons and solutions to why your washing machine door won’t open.

Table of Contents:

Washing machine door won’t open

Drainage problems

Take a look inside the washing machine to check if there’s still water in the drum. If there is, then there’s likely a drainage problem or a waste pipe blockage that prevents the water from leaving your unit. Many washing machine models are programmed to keep the door locked until the drum is completely empty of water. With that said, here is:

How to drain a washing machine

In order to fix this problem, you’ll have to drain the washer. Follow the steps below:

  1. Unplug the machine from the mains. Tape the power chord on top of the washer or somewhere else. The point is for it not to touch the floor that will be wet in just a few minutes.
  2. Find the drain pump filter – it’s usually located in the lower front of the unit, hidden behind a protective panel.
  3. Open the panel.
  4. Place some dry rags or a pan below the filter.
  5. Drain the filter.
    1. Unscrew the pump filter.
    2. Let the water drain onto the placed pan or rags.
    3. Clean the filter – remove any hair, paper, and even coins that can build up over time and cause a blockage.

* Some models have a drain hose beside the filter. If yours does:

  • Unclip it from its place.
  • Place it over the pan.
  • Remove its cap so the water can drain.
  • Return it to its place.
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Door is jammed

The door can become jammed for two main reasons: faulty interlock or broken handle. Here is how to check: try to open the door. If the handle is stiff, then the lock is probably jammed. If the handle is loose, then it’s broken and the lock is okay.

Thermal interlock

This device works by heating up and expanding, so unless the washing machine is cool, it won’t unlock. Sometimes it will stick, especially if you use your washing machine quite a lot in a short window of time.

How to fix it: unplug the unit and wait until it cools down for a few minutes to one hour. Afterwards, try to open the door. If the door is still stuck, strike the handle area firmly. It might help to release the lock.

Broken door handle

Washing machine handles are fragile and thus easy to damage. Don’t try and force open the washing machine; instead, find a thin string. Wrap the string around the door frame and pull to the other side of the do – the side opposite the lock. The point is for the line to move the hook so the door opens.

If all else fails, unscrew the top of the washing machine. Then, find the back door catch and push it so it releases the door. Most models have a manual release, so you can get your laundry out before calling a specialist to fix the unit.

Now that you know how to take care of a washing machine that won’t open, let’s take a look at the other side of the coin.

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Washing machine door won’t lock

In this case, the problem is with the door interlock or the release mechanism and can happen to almost any machine, regardless of whether it’s 3 years old or more. You have probably encountered this situation:

  • The washing machine makes a clicking noise when you close the door, but it won’t lock or start.
  • The door is not clicking at all when closed.
  • You switched your washing on a cleaning cycle and left the room. When you returned, you discovered the unit door wide open while the machine is working

In this case, you can replace either of the two parts causing the problem.

How to replace a washing machine door lock

Here’s the process of replacing a washer door lock explained: 

  1. Turn off the washing machine from the mains.
  2. Open the door widely to gain access to the interlock.
  3. Remove the retaining band. Use a flat-headed screwdriver to do this.
  4. Remove the rubber seal from around the interlock.
  5. Unscrew the screws holding the interlock.
  6. Slip your hand below the interlock and get it out. You will find it’s connected with cables.
  7. Unclip the cables from the old interlock and clip them to the new one.
  8. Follow the steps in reverse order to attach the new lock.

How to replace a door release mechanism

If you need to replace the door release mechanism, follow the steps below:

  1. Remove the door from the machine by unscrewing the nuts holding it there.
  2. Separate door trims by unscrewing the screws that hold them together. The mechanism is located between the inner and outer door trim.
  3. Unclip the trim.
  4. Lift the bowl and the trim.
  5. Replace the old locking mechanism with a new one.
  6. Follow the steps in reverse order.

Need help with your washing machine?

Try out our appliance repair services!

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Get in touch with professionals

If you can’t open or close your washing machine, then perhaps it’s time you turned to the professionals. Fantastic Services works with experienced and fully equipped technicians who will repair your washing machine and replace whatever part necessary. Let us save you time and effort!


If the door won’t open:

  • If your washing machine is still full of water, check for a clog in the drainage hose.
  • Check if the door is jammed because of a faulty interlock or broken handle.
  • Try to open the door either with a firm hit or with a very thin wire.

If the door won’t lock:

  • Change the interlock.
  • Change the door release mechanism.


Are you having problems with your washing machine? Did you manage to resolve the issue on your own? Let us know by leaving a comment!

Image Source: Shutterstock / Andrey_Popov

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