How to Fix a Dishwasher Door That Won’t Close

Paradise Appliance
July 7, 2021
Dishwasher Repair

Dishwashers have become a must-have appliance in most of our kitchens. So much so that when the dishwasher stops working, it can cause a major disruption to our daily routine. When the issue is the dishwasher door, it can be particularly frustrating – why won’t it close? Fortunately, with a little DIY confidence, a Torx-head screwdriver, and this guide, you should be able to get your dishwasher door working again.

Simple Solutions

  • Are there dishes or dish racks protruding out of the dishwasher to stop the door from properly closing?
  • Is the dishwasher door hitting the cabinet, countertop, or mounting screws? Has a screw come loose that is stopping the door from properly closing?

Door Latch

A damaged door latch is the most common cause of a dishwasher door not being able to close correctly. The dishwasher door latch keeps the door closed and the water inside while the dishwasher is operating. The door latch is connected to the door switch, which will not allow the dishwasher to start unless the door is properly closed.

The latch can become defective due to soap suds or food dripping down from the kitchen countertop. Giving the door latch a clean may solve the issue.

Over time, the latch can become worn or bent and not close the door securely. If the door latch is defective or damaged, you will likely need to replace the door latch assembly.

With some dishwashers, the dishwasher door may not be closing because of an electrical problem with the door switch. Testing the door switch for continuity with a multimeter may solve the issue. If there is no continuity (a continuous electrical path inside the switch), the door switch will need to be replaced, which will likely solve the dishwasher door issue.

Accessing the Door Latch Assembly

On some dishwashers, you will need to remove the control panel to access the door latch. Depending on the model, you may be able to unthread the screws that secure the dishwasher’s control panel to the door, or you may need to unthread all of the screws holding the inner and outer door panels together.

Some dishwashers may require the dishwasher to be pulled out from the countertop or cabinet to gain access to the control panel or door latch assembly. Be careful not to pull the dishwasher out too far, as you may break a wire or hose connection. Check if the dishwasher is mounted to the cabinet or countertop, and remove the mounting screws if required.

To access and replace the door latch assembly:

  1. Disconnect the power to the dishwasher.
  2. If required, unthread the screws holding the outer and inner door panels together. On most dishwashers, a T-15 Torx bit will be needed to unthread the screws.
  3. Unthread the screws securing the control panel.
  4. Detach the control panel.
  5. Unthread the door latch assembly screws. Some dishwashers may have retaining tabs instead of screws that need to be bent back and the door latch slid out.
  6. Disconnect the wiring harness to remove the door latch assembly from the dishwasher.

If the door latch or door switch needs to be replaced, be careful not to throw out any components that the new door latch assembly may be missing.

Door Hinge

The dishwasher door hinges allow the dishwasher door to open and close. Over time, the dishwasher door hinges may become bent or loose and stop the dishwasher door from closing correctly. If the dishwasher door uses a pulley system, it may have become damaged and unable to close the door properly.

Inspect the door hinges. If they are not straight or the door is not hanging level on the hinges, they may need to be adjusted or replaced.

To access the hinges, on most models the dishwasher frame or top and side panels will need to be removed.

To access the door hinges:

  1. Disconnect the dishwasher from the power source.
  2. Remove the top and side panels using a Torx-head screwdriver to remove the screws that secure the panels.
  3. Most hinges will be held under tension by a spring and pulley system. Close the door and release the springs. Be careful, as the door will be heavy when the tension on the door is removed.
  4. Remove the screws that hold the inner door panel to the outer door panel.
  5. Use a flat-head screwdriver to remove the metal clip to disconnect the door from the dishwasher.
  6. Lay the door down so that you can easily access the door hinges. If it is easier, you could remove the wiring harness, but make sure you will remember how to reconnect it.
  7. Remove the door hinge mounting screws.

Door Strike

The dishwasher strike is located at the top of the dishwasher on the dishwasher frame. The strike is the part that the door latch hooks into to close the dishwasher door. If the alignment is wrong or the door strike is damaged, the dishwasher door will be unable to close.

To replace the door strike:

  1. Open the dishwasher door.
  2. Depress the tabs that secure the door strike to the dishwasher frame. On some dishwashers, you may need to unscrew the door strike.
  3. Remove the door strike and replace it with a new one. If secured with tabs, the new door strike should snap into place.

Door Gasket

The dishwasher door gasket is the rubber seal that goes around the dishwasher door to prevent water from leaking from the dishwasher. If there is wear and tear or the gasket is not aligned, it could be preventing the dishwasher from closing. If the gasket is damaged, it should be replaced.

To replace the door gasket:

  1. Remove the door gasket by pulling and unthreading it from the dishwasher. Needle-nose pliers, or your fingers, can be used.
  2. Clean the door gasket area, making sure all debris is removed.
  3. Using a low heat setting, warm the new gasket with a hairdryer to help smooth out any creases.
  4. Hold the gasket up and find its midpoint. An equal amount should hang down on both sides.
  5. Align the new gasket and press it into the channel to secure it. Take care to install the gasket with the correct side facing out.

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