How to Troubleshoot a Dishwasher Door that Won’t Close

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Dishwashers are one of the best things ever introduced to the modern kitchen. The ability to load a dishwasher, even with pre-rinsing, and come back later to clean dishes is amazing to anyone who’s spent real time washing dishes after every meal. However, nothing gets done if your dishwasher door won’t latch.

The dishwasher door latch is designed to press easily closed, sometimes with an extra mechanical lock for stability. If the door doesn’t latch, the cleaning cycles can’t begin. So how do you fix a dishwasher door that won’t close?   

Inspect the Handle and Latch

Start with an inspection of the mechanism that you can see. Look at the plastic part of the handle to determine if it might have broken. Then look at the metal latch to see if it’s out-of-place or possibly blocked by something. If you see an obstruction, remove it. If try the latch again. If this isn’t apparently your problem, continue troubleshooting. 

Clean the Latch

A dishwasher latch is surprisingly easy to block. Everything from detergent scum to drips from the counter above can gum up the works. After inspecting your latch, take a wet sponge and clean the mechanism so you’re sure nothing is getting in the way of a proper closing.  

Check the Hinges

Take a close look at the dishwasher door hinges. Determine whether the hinges are straight and if the door hangs level on the hinges. You may need to adjust the door and tighten the hinges so that they allow the latch to align and close. 

Level the Dishwasher

If your dishwasher isn’t level, it can cause a number of problems. Along with leaking, drain troubles, and uneven washing, an un-level dishwasher can also prevent the door from closing correctly. Adjust the feet underneath the dishwasher by turning them clockwise to retract or counter-clockwise to extend each foot. Use a bubble level to test your work. 

Review Your Dishwasher Fill Strategy

It is also possible that the dishwasher racks or the dishes therein are blocking the door. Items dropped into the hinge or sticking out to impact the door might be preventing the door from closing and the latch from locking. Consider the location of panhandles, tall spoons, and tall dishes. Make sure you’re also not blocking the soap dispenser lid. 

Clean the Soap Dispenser

The soap dispenser controls are closely linked to the door latch, and sometimes are wired so wone cannot function without the other. When troubleshooting your dishwasher door latch, take some time to clean and inspect the soap dispenser tray. Make sure that soap isn’t blocking its latch or hinges, and that everything is working correctly. 

Reset the Power

Another trick you can try is to cycle the power on your dishwasher. If there is an electronic control over the latch that has malfunctioned, a reset can sometimes also reset whatever is wrong with your dishwasher door. Try a reset through the control panel, if possible, or pull the plug, or flip the breaker to reset your dishwasher’s power and settings. 

Begin More Serious Repairs

Once you have reset the power, it’s time to consider repairs that require disassembly of the dishwasher. You may need to replace half or all of the latch mechanism. You might need to repair the door or the hinges. You may need to get inside the dishwasher door’s layers or the top of your dishwasher cabinet. This is often deeper than most homeowners are comfortable diving with screwdriver in-hand.

Contact us today if you have explored the safe troubleshooting options for why your dishwasher is not functioning. Our team would be happy to provide more detailed DIY guides or the personal assistance of an appliance repair technician.

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