What is Wrong With Your Dryer Door?

Dryers are simple machines that are essential to modern household comfort. When the door is closed and power is connected, your dryer creates heat and spins clothing so that it dries in an even and fluffy manner. Repairing the drum or the heat can be quite challenging but sometimes a problem with your dryer is caused by the door itself. Most modern dryers won’t run unless it perceives the door to be fully closed. This is a matter of safety and practicality in one simple move.

However, your dryer door also gets a lot of use; opening and closing hundreds of times over a single year. Maybe even thousands. So it should come as no surprise when your well-used dryer stops latching correctly and the dryer won’t start. Fortunately, this is one of the easier dryer maintenance problems to fix. 

Unplug Your Dryer

As with all appliance maintenance, it’s best to start by disconnecting the appliance from its power source. Investigating the dryer door is almost completely electrocution-proof but it’s best to be on the safe side. No matter what kind of maintenance you’re doing, always start by unplugging the appliance. It should be noted that dryer plugs are enormous, and may be difficult to pull from the socket. When you do, be very careful that your fingers don’t slip around the back of the plug and touch the prongs as you pull. Do not let your fingers touch the prongs. 

Investigate the Door Latch

The first culprit of a misbehaving dryer door is the latch itself. The door latch for most dryers is a small metal spring-clamp and a plastic clasp. If either part is bent or damaged, then the door may not be able to fully latch shut. This can either cause your dryer door to shake open during the process or refuse to start the dryer because a proper connection was not made.

– Test the Latch

The best way to test if the latch is the problem is to simply open and close the dryer door, paying close attention to how firmly it shuts at the latch point. Listen for the click upon closing the door, then pull gently to test how easily the door falls open. Give the latch a careful visual inspection as well to see if there is any visible damage to either part of the latch contraption.

– Replacing the Latch

Both halves of the dryer door latch are likely to squeeze in and out of place. However, you may need to loosen the screws that hold the dryer door together and pry the sides apart to access the door-side latch component in order to replace it. In many models, the plastic dryer-side latch component can be squeezed to snap into or out of place. There might also be screws along the side that will be clearly apparent. 

Lint Buildup and Debris Blockage

Carefully inspect all the way around your dryer door for lint or debris. After hundreds of uses, dryers can build up a surprising amount of gunk. Some dryer models can overflow with lint if you don’t clear the lint trap often enough, which can block the door. Or there may be something lodged in the hinges or the latch related to the laundry or something falling in your laundry room. Never underestimate the power of debris, even a small woodchip that came out in the wash, to throw off your dryer door. Look carefully in the grooves around the door as well and use a putty knife or screwdriver to clear out areas that seem clogged with old lint, dust, or lost socks. 

Bent Door

Next, grab a small hand-level or use your own eyes to assess the evenness of the door. If your dryer door is bent, even a small amount, it will no longer fit into the door aperture and it will not latch properly. Dryer doors are usually bent by one of three things: impacts, children swinging off of them, and heavy laundry baskets set on them.

If your dryer door is bent, you may be able to pop or pull it back into shape or you may need a replacement. A yardstick or a bubble level can help you determine if the door is subtly misshapen in ways your eyes cannot detect. 

Bent or Damaged Hinges

The same influences can damage a door’s hinges instead of (or in addition to) bending the door. If a door’s hinges are bent or mis-hung, the hinges or the door will need to be replaced. Depending on the model and if the damaged hinge is removable.

To check the hinges, you will need to open and close the door, checking for where the resistance points are and how the door hangs. Watch the arch of the door to see if it swings lop-sided. Feel where the door resists, and gauge the point where it swings open or swings closed.

Try loosening or removing the screws that hold the hinges tightly in place and test again. You may be able to repair the hinge by adjusting the screws for an evener balance. Or you may be able to bend the hinge back into place. But in most cases, a damaged hinge will need to be replaced.  

Bent or Damaged Door Spring

Finally, the problem may be with the door spring inside the door. Door springs are the most involved piece of the door to replace and not all dryer doors have them. You can test your door spring with a similar method of testing the hinges. Open the door carefully and feel where there is pull or resistance. If the door spring is stretched out or broken, the door will not pull itself closed unless the hinges balance it to do so.

If your door spring is damaged, you may need to take apart the front of your dryer to replace it.—Keeping your dryer in good repair is essential for ensuring your household has warm fresh clothes and fluffy towels every week. Fortunately, you can do a lot of troubleshooting at home before getting a professional involved. For more tips on how to figure out and repair your dryer, check out the blog. If you can’t find the information you need, or the repair is too involved to DIY with confidence, contact us today to schedule a consultation on your dryer troubles.

Let us know in the comments how this article helped you, or how we can improve!

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