Washing Machine Door Won’t Open? (here’s how to unlock it)

We’ve all suffered from this particular problem at some point, and almost always when the washing machine is full of washing. It can be quite frustrating and you might even be tempted to force open the door. But please resist that temptation as replacing the door can be expensive and you might have to wait some time for a replacement door to arrive.

The first thing to try is unplugging the machine and allowing 15 minutes to pass before attempting to open the door again. This can free the mechanism in some cases.

There are a number of reasons the door might have stuck in the locked shut position. Keep reading to find out exactly what has caused it and more importantly how to resolve it so that you can get to your clean washing.

Why Won’t The Washing Machine Door Open?

There are several reasons why the door on your washing machine won’t open. It could be any of the following;

  • Interrupted power supply
  • Drain filter or pump clogged
  • Drainage pipe twisted
  • Defective pressure switch
  • Defective temperature sensor
  • Broken door catch
  • Door handle stuck
  • Faulty control board
  • Machine displaying a fault code

The above list can look daunting, but many of these problems have a relatively easy solution.

Interrupted Power Supply

This might sound obvious but the first thing you should check is that the machine is plugged in and the power is turned on. Check the machine to see if the lights are on, if they’re not on, plug something else into that same socket and see if it works. If it does, then we can rule out the socket.

Drain Filter Or Pump Clogged

The drain pump is responsible for removing all of the water from your machine. If the pump or its filter are clogged or even partially blocked, the machine will not completely drain all the water away and result in the door lock remaining active.

This is because of internal sensors which can sense that there’s still water inside the machine. If you can see water in the drum, the door will not open and it will probably be due to the pump or the pump filter.

To remove any blockage from the filter, open the bottom front panel of the machine and place towels around the floor to soak up any spillage. If there is water visible in the drum of your machine, place a shallow bowl on the floor in front of the panel you just opened.

Unscrew the filter and catch any water which gushes out in the bowl. Then inspect the filter for any dirt, trapped items like buttons, screws, nails or anything that could have fallen from the pockets of the laundry.

Inspect the pump’s impeller by spinning it gently using a finger. If it spins freely, the pump is probably fine. Then wash the filter and replace it, ensuring it is screwed in correctly.

Drainage Pipe Twisted

The drainage hose comes from the machine and is attached to the pipe which is secured to the wall. If it has become twisted or kinked, this could prevent the water from draining away completely and stop the door from opening. 

Whilst checking the drainage hose for twists or blockages, also ensure it is no further into the wall pipe than 6 inches (15cm) as any deeper can also prevent correct drainage.

Defective Pressure Switch

The pressure switch detects the amount of water left inside the machine. If it becomes defective, it will sense the machine is full of water even when it is empty and prevent the door lock from freeing. This is a job for a professional.

Defective Temperature Sensor

The temperature sensor detects the water temperature and sends a report to the control board. If the water temperature is too high, the door will not be allowed to open. If you switch the machine off and remove the plug for around 10 to 15 minutes, this might allow the sensor to shut off and then the door should open. 

You will need an engineer to replace the sensor but at least you’ll have access to your laundry.

Broken Door Catch

The door handle is a simple lever that pulls on the door latch. The latch then removes itself from the door lock. If any of these interconnecting parts are damaged or broken, the door will not open.

There is a way to open the door under these circumstances. Just pass a piece of strong string or fishing wire between the door and the machine’s body. Then pull the string towards you sharply whilst standing on the opposite side to the door catch. On most machines this will open the door and you can access your washing and inspect the various parts of the door catch and replace as necessary.

Door Handle Stuck

This is usually caused by the thermal lock which should release the door lock around 2 minutes after the wash program has finished. It works by heating up and expanding. This is why the door takes around 2 minutes to open, because this is how long the thermal lock takes to cool down enough to contract allowing the lock to open. 

If after 5 to 10 minutes, the door still won’t open, try firmly slapping the door at the catch area with an open palm – that should do it.

Faulty Control Board

The electronic control board controls everything in your washing machine and sometimes it can cause the door to not open. You will need an engineer to solve this and expect a large bill too because control boards are expensive.

Machine Displaying A Fault Code

If the door won’t open and the machine is displaying a fault code, make a note of it and check in your user manual. Fault codes are brand specific and in some cases, model specific too. This means you’ll need to check the user manual before deciding what action to take next.

Ways To Open The Washing Machine Door

Most washing machine doors are relatively fragile and so you will need to treat them gently if you don’t want to compound the problem even further. Some of the causes from above can be remedied in the short term by doing the following;

  • Drain Filter Or Pump Clogged
    Unclog the filter by removing it and cleaning it
  • Drainage Pipe Twisted
    Untwist the pipe and check it is not too far into the plastic wall pipe (no more than 6 inches/15 cm)
  • Defective Pressure Switch
    It is sometimes possible to temporarily solve this by running a rinse and spin cycle. This can reset the pressure switch and allow the door catch to open.
  • Defective Temperature Sensor
    Try switching the machine off and unplugging it for around 15 minutes before trying to open the door again. This can be enough time for the sensor to have cooled sufficiently.
  • Broken Door Catch
    There are a number of ways to open the door if the door catch has broken. Try threading some fishing line or strong string between the door and the body of the machine. Then give a short, sharp tug on the string from the point furthest away from the lock. Or try sliding an old credit card between the door and the frame. It is possible to push the hook away from the catch and open the door. This might take some time as door locks often have a ridge that can cause the card to not get at the door hook. It might take some maneuvering. 
  • Door Handle Stuck
    If the door handle is stuck try giving it a short, sharp slap with the palm of your hand on the catch area. This can sometimes release the catch, allowing the door to open.

If all else fails, contact the manufacturer if the machine is still under warranty if not, call an engineer.

Many of these techniques have been successfully used to open the doors on washing machines of many brands including;

  • Beko washing machines
  • Bosch machines
  • Whirlpool washers
  • LG washing machines
  • Hoover washers
  • Logik machines
  • AEG washing machines
  • Samsung washers
  • Indesit machines
  • Candy washing machines

Frequently Asked Questions

What causes a washing machine door not to open?

There can be a number of reasons why a washing machine door won’t open. These include, the machine has failed to drain properly due to the pump or pump filter being blocked, a faulty pressure switch, a faulty thermal sensor, broken door catch, broken door handle or a control board fault.

How do you manually open a washing machine?

It is possible to manually open a washing machine by threading a length of string or fishing wire between the door and the machine’s body and giving a short sharp pull away from the catch area. Or sliding an old credit card between the door and the body of the machine to push the hook open.

How can I open my Miele washing machine door when the power is out?

Miele washing machines have a small panel at the bottom left of the machine. Open this panel to reveal a yellow tab, pull this tab to release the door catch.

Bosch washing machine door won’t open after washing. What should I do?

If your Bosch washing machine door won’t open after washing, press and hold the start button for 5 seconds until you hear a beep and the key symbol disappears from the display panel.

How can I open the door on my LG washing machine?

If the door on your LG washing machine won’t open after use it’s probably because the machine needs to cool down before it will allow the lock to open. If, after 5 to 10 minutes the door will still not open, remove the plug from the wall and allow another 5 to 10 minutes to elapse before trying to open the door which should now open freely.

How do I unlock my Beko washing machine door?

If there is a padlock symbol on the display panel of your Beko washing machine, it indicates that the child lock function has been activated. To remove the child lock press the 2nd and 4th buttons simultaneously and hold for 5 seconds.

What do you do if your Samsung washer door won’t open?

Ordinarily all you need to do is wait until the end of the cycle to open the door on your Samsung washer. If this fails ensure the machine is turned on then try again. If not you could try draining the machine using the emergency drain hose at the bottom front of your machine. Once all of the water has been removed, the door should open.

What do I do if my Hotpoint washing machine door won’t open?

If your Hotpoint washing machine door won’t open try hitting the catch with the palm of your hand. This should release the catch.

How do I force my Hoover washing machine to unlock?

To force your Hoover washing machine door to unlock switch the appliance off via the button on the control panel, this will unlock the door.

How do you open a locked AEG washing machine door?

To open a locked AEG washing machine door, switch the mains plug off and leave it switched off for around 5 minutes. Then switch it back on again and test if the machine is working again. The door lock icon should now be reset.

What do you do when your Whirlpool washer won’t unlock?

If your Whirlpool washer won’t unlock at the end of the wash cycle, disconnect the power supply for around 5 minutes. Then reconnect the power and run a drain and spin cycle. This should then allow the door to unlock.

What do you do when your Candy washer won’t unlock?

If your Candy washing machine door won’t open at the end of the cycle try pressing and holding the dry and spin buttons at the same time for 5 seconds. This should allow the door to be opened.

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