How to Fix a Dishwasher Door That Won’t Close or Latch

July 22, 2019
Dishwasher Repair

Like many appliances, your dishwasher requires the door to be both closed fully and latched in order to perform a wash cycle. The dishwasher door is specifically designed so that when closed, it will not let any of the splashing symphony of water out into your home and has sensors in place to make sure this happens. So not only won’t the appliance run, but you don’t want it to run either unless you are in the mood for mopping up water. If your dishwasher door won’t close, there are a number of small and easy to fix culprits that you can check in order to make the right repair.

Before You Consider Repair

When the dishwasher won’t close, it may not always mean a part has failed. You should begin by checking more innocent causes of this issue before turning to the parts that may be malfunctioning. The first potential issue is that the dish racks are protruding out of the dishwasher. If the dishes are stacked too high or even too tight, it could prevent the dish racks from sliding in easily. You may need to rearrange or remove items so that the dish racks fit in fully and allow the dishwasher door to close.

Another potential cause is that the dishwasher door is hitting the cabinet of the area it is installed in. This is most common with new installations that were not done correctly. However, if your dishwasher is an older installation, you may want to check the screws that secure it to the cabinet to see if they have come loose and are preventing the door from closing. Even just a few centimeters of protrusion can affect how the dishwasher door closes.

Malfunctioning Parts That Can Prevent a Dishwasher From Closing

If you have checked the above innocent causes of a dishwasher door not closing, then, unfortunately, you are probably in for a repair. There are a number of parts in the door assembly that can cause a door not to close, but as they are closer to the outside of the appliance, in many cases they are fairly easy to replace because you do not have to disassemble a huge part of your appliance.

Door Latch

The door latch on your dishwasher not only latches to form that watertight seal that keeps water in, but it serves a crucial purpose of also activating a sensor to tell your dishwasher that it is safe to turn on. On occasion, if you close your dishwasher door haphazardly, it can bump the latch out of alignment. This means it will not go into its alcove and will sit out of alignment. Furthermore, if the door does close, but the latch does not activate, it is likely either a mechanical or electrical issue with the latch, meaning it needs to be replaced. However, you simply need to take off the interior of your dishwasher door to do so.

Strike Plate

Similar to the door latch, the strike plate, otherwise known as the area where the latch inserts into, can be misaligned. If it has become loosened or misaligned, the latch will not go into it. It is very rare that this single metal plate becomes damaged, so you probably won’t need to replace it unless it has grown rusty. Instead, you will likely need to loosen the screws and readjust it to its proper position.

There are models of dishwashers that use a plastic strike plate. These do not rust, but they can be damaged quite easily. Unfortunately, they will need a replacement.

Door Hinge

Does your dishwasher door appear to be a bit crooked? Did you notice a bit of a squealing noise when you closed the door before? These are both indicators of a hinge problem. Hinges may break, loosen, or even rust over time. You can generally tell if it is a hinge problem by pushing down firmly (not hard) on the dishwasher door. Sturdy hinges won’t allow it to move. Old or rusty hinges will allow some wiggle room and they need to be replaced.

Door Spring

In conjunction with the hinges, the door springs work to allow the door to open and close smoothly. While you are checking the hinges, you will want to check the nearby springs. If a spring has come out of place completely, the door will not close evenly and thus the latch may not be able to go into its alcove or hit the sensor it needs to. Similarly, if spring is damaged, it could physically prevent full closure of the dishwasher door. While checking the hinges, make sure that the spring is in place on each side. You will also want to check it for rusting and if there are any gaps or deformities in what should be even coils.

Door Gasket

If your dishwasher is getting up there in age, there is a distinct possibility that the door gasket will need to be replaced. This strip pliable rubber that runs along either the inner edge of the door or the inner edge of the tub is what helps your dishwasher form a watertight seal. When pressed tight by a door latching, the gasket makes sure no water can escape. However, if the seal has become deformed, it can prevent the door from closing or the latch from being fully activated.

Typically when the door gasket is going out of your dishwasher, you may notice some slight leaking when the dishwasher is running. However, the gasket can completely come loose suddenly and the door simply will not shut fully. However, when this happens, you need to replace it rather than try to refit it in. Luckily, the replacement is easy to make since you really just need to remove the interior of your door and slip the new gasket into place before replacing the cover. If you had any leaking problems, this will likely fix them and may even go a little further towards making your dishwasher more energy efficient.


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