Three Ways to Open a Locked Washing Machine Door

Woman Pausing Washing Machine Cycle

If your washing machine door has jammed shut you need to find a fix fast. Leaving your damp clothes in the machine will cause your laundry and the machine itself to smell. The fact that you can see your clean clothes through the window, but just can’t reach them only adds to the frustration of the situation!

There are three likely reasons why your washing machine door won’t open so read on and we’ll explain what can be done to open it. But first things first, please remember to switch off and unplug your appliance before starting your fix.

The Washing Machine Hasn’t Drained Properly

If there is some sort of obstruction in the drainage system stopping your washing machine from draining, the door will stay closed. Look inside your machine, if you can see that it’s still filled with water it would appear there’s a drainage issue.

Opening the machine now will cause all the water inside to come flooding out so it’s best to drain it first if possible. The most likely place a blockage will be found is the filter; here’s how to check it:

After you’ve removed the blockage (or if you can’t find one), try running your machine on a drain cycle to remove the excess water.

If your machine connects directly to the pipes under a sink you can also try disconnecting it and empting it into a bucket to remove the water. Once you’ve managed to successfully drain your machine you should be able to open the door.

The Washing Machine Handle is Broken

Washing Machine With Door Facing Out

Your may find your washing machine has had no problem draining but the door handle is loose or floppy. In this case the handle is most likely broken. Luckily there are two ways to manually open your washing machine door.

If the handle of your machine faces out (as in the washing machine pictured) you may be able to release the catch with some garden wire or string trimmer line threaded around the edge of the door. Simply pull the wire or line sideways, gently but firmly, towards the handle to release the door catch and open the door.

If this hasn’t worked or your washing machine handle faces the opposite way you can still release the door catch. Unscrew the top of the washing machine and lift it off so you can access the back of the door catch.  You’ll be able to push on the tip of the catch to release it. You may need a flathead screwdriver to help you if the catch is too stiff or fiddly to release with your fingers.

Watch our video to see in more detail how to release the catch:

Any water left in the machine will pour out once the door is open, so if your machine is still waterlogged try lowering the drain hose to let the water out then be sure to put down some old towels before opening the door to avoid flooding your floor!

You may find that your door handle is broken and you need a new one; if so we have replacement parts for hundreds of appliances.

The Thermal Lock is Preventing the Door From Opening

The thermal lock should release the washing machine door about two minutes after the cycle ends. It works by heating up and expanding, so even when the washing machine is switched off the door won’t unlock immediately. The trick is to leave the washing machine disconnected for about five minutes so the lock can cool and release. Then you should be able to open your door.

Sometimes the thermal lock will stick. In this case, striking the catch area firmly may let you release it.

Bear in mind that all washing machine makes and models differ and there are a number of reasons why a washing machine door won’t open, so the above fixes may not be the answer to unlocking every single stuck washing machine door. However, they’re certainly a good starting point for most machines as the three issues above are the most common problems stopping a washing machine door from opening.

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