Whirlpool washing machines will sometimes automatically lock the door, and you won’t be able to open it. If this happens, it means that there is something wrong with one of the components within your washer.
Before you inspect the internal components, the first thing to do is try to unlock the washer by following these five steps.
- Wait a few minutes after the cycle has ended before trying to unlock the door. This is because the washer needs a few minutes for the motor to completely stop and then send a signal to the control board to open the door. If your washer has stopped mid-cycle and the door won’t open, this is because the washer is probably full of water that will need to drain before the door can open.
- If the door doesn’t open as it should after the cycle has ended, the next step is to hold the “control lock” button down for 3 seconds. You should be able to hear an unlatching sound followed by being able to open the door.
- If that didn’t work, the next step is to press down the “end of cycle” button (if your specific washer has one) for a few seconds – this will manually reset the washer, and the door should be able to be opened.
- If manually resetting your washer didn’t work, you should unplug the washer for 45 minutes or longer and then plug it back in. The washer’s programing should completely reset. You can now see if the door has unlocked.
- If your washer door is still locked, the last option is to manually unlock it. To do this, you need to use a flathead screwdriver to remove the toe panel (it’s a metal strip), which is located at the bottom of the washer. Once the panel is removed, you should be able to reach up inside the front panel and then find the door latch. At the bottom of the door latch, there should be a teardrop-shaped tab – once you find this tab, you need to pull it until you hear a click. The door should now be able to be opened.
Now that you’ve (hopefully) opened your washer door, the next step is to check what caused it to lock. Please note that if your door opened after a reset, then you can probably just keep using your washer as normal; you only need to check these components if the problem persists or you had to open the door manually.
Here are the main components to check:
The Lid Switch
The most common cause of a Whirlpool washer door being locked and not being able to open is a faulty lid switch (including the striker). The door switch locks and unlocks your door depending on which stage your wash cycle is at. When it becomes defective, your washer door may not unlock when it’s supposed to.
Here’s how to check the lid switch and striker:
- Unplug the power to the washer.
- Locate the lid switch (consult your manual if necessary).
- Check that it is aligned correctly and isn’t loose. If necessary, realign it and then test if the problem has been solved.
- If it’s aligned correctly, you need to remove the switch from the washer so you can test it for continuity.
- Once removed, test the door switch with a multimeter.
- If the test shows the switch has continuity, it is working fine, and you can reattach it to the washer and then move on to checking the next component. However, if it doesn’t have continuity, it will need to be replaced.
- Once replaced, you need to test to see if the door lock now works correctly. If not, move on to checking the next component.
The Actuator Motor
The next component to check is the actuator motor. If the actuator motor breaks down, or if the wires that power it become loose, your washer will stop working (possibly during a cycle), and the door might be unable to open.
Here’s how to check the actuator model:
- Before testing the motor with a multimeter, the first thing you can do is turn your washer on a cycle (if possible) and listen for a loud, grinding noise coming from the actuator motor. If you can hear a grinding noise (it will be obvious), this means the motor is defective and will need to be replaced.
- If no obvious noises are coming from the motor, you now need to unplug the washer and locate the actuator motor (use your manual if necessary).
- Once located, check the wires that are attached to the motor to ensure they are all attached securely.
- If the wires are all attached correctly, you now need to test the motor with a multimeter.
- If the test shows continuity, it is working correctly, and you can move on to checking the drain pump. However, if it doesn’t have continuity, you’ll need to replace the motor.
- Once replaced, check to see if the problem has been solved. If not, check the drain pump.
The Drain Pump
The next possible cause of your Whirpool washer door not unlocking is a faulty drain pump. The drain pump can sometimes become clogged or break down completely, and this can cause the door to lock up.
Here’s how to check the drain pump:
- Make sure the power is still switched off to the washer.
- Locate the drain pump (check your manual if required).
- Once located, make sure that the impellers can freely move around (they’re like a fan). If not, this is a good sign the motor is damaged.
- Test the motor with a multimeter.
- If the test shows continuity, it is working correctly, and you can move on to the next component. However, if it doesn’t have continuity, you’ll need to replace the drain pump unit.
- Once replaced, check to see if the problem has been solved. If not, move on to the final component.
The Control Board
If your Whirlpool washer door is not unlocking, then it could be due to a defective main control board. However, this is only the cause in extremely limited cases, so make sure you check out the other common causes before replacing the mainboard. If you need to replace the mainboard, then it can be very expensive and, depending on the washer, may not be worth doing.