The Washer door won’t open is one of the most common callout’s on front Load washing machines.

Washer door won't openWhy then don’t the manufacturers make the washer door handles on a front loading washing machine stronger?

Simple the washer door handle forms part of the safety system of the machine. They are designed to break to prevent small children getting into a machine when it is operating. Remember your machine spins at over 1000 rpm so the last thing  anyone wants is a small child getting into a machine when it is spinning.

As a result the door handles are designed to break if anyone tries to open them during the operation of the machine. Usually most manufacturers recommend that you only open your front loading washing machine 5 minutes or so after it has finished to allow time for the seals to release properly. Because the door handles are designed to break they are the most common part on your front loader to need replacing.

So here are a couple of tips:

  1. If your machine breaks down and the handles have not been replaced within the last 2-3 years ask the service technician to replace them at the same time he / she comes to repair the machine. Much the same way you would
    replace a worn out car tire before it causes you an accident you can replace the handle on your washer before it breaks. Handles are not expensive as a general rule (i.e. less that $30) and it will likely save you a second service
    call at a later date.
  2. Look at replacing both the handle and the latch at the same time. Again latches are not expensive and as many latches have rubber cushions to protect the handle the ‘rubber’ on the latch will ware out.

Inevitably most people will eventually find themselves with a broken handle and will want to get the cloths out of the washer. Can I state quite clearly:

If you don’t absolutely have to get the clothes out you should not try to open the door yourself. If you absolutely believe you can’t wait for a technician then disconnect the machine totally from the power (i.e. pull the plug right out of the wall socket).

fix-washing-machineThe reason for the warning is each brand has its own ‘trick’ to opening a door with a broken handle and even the best technicians sometimes break a door trying to get into a machine (and replacing a door is usually expensive). Makes sense when you think about it. There would be little point in developing a safety mechanism like a ‘door lock’ if it was so easy to open even a ‘child could do it’!

But if you absolutely must get into your broken washing machine here are some guidelines:

  • Get the towels ready and surround the machine.
  • Make sure there is a clear path for the water to travel to the drain in the laundry floor.

For Samsung Front loading washing machines:

  • Pull the handle towards you.
  • There should be a gap created between the door and the handle.
  • Look through the gap and you should be able to see the leaver.
  • Using a flat head screw driver pull the top of the leaver towards the handle and the door should release.
  • If it doesn’t release easily then you may have a problem with your door lock as well in which case STOP and wait for a qualified technician.
  • A word of warning if done wrongly you will damage your door.

LG front loaders

  • Find the handle on your door.
  • At exactly at the ½ way point of your handle slide a credit card or something similar (usually a membership card is better as there is no magnetic strip which can be damaged) between the door and the cabinet.
  • The door should open easily.
  • If it doesn’t you may have a problem with your lock and will need to call a qualified appliance repaire.

Some Front loaders

  • Due to the problem of handles breaking and people getting annoyed that they can’t get a technician out straight away, some front loaders now have a door release tab.
  • Normally the door release tab is located in the same area as your pump in the kick plate.
  • Your instruction manual is the best place to find out if you have a release tab.
  • Note most manufactures have copies of user manuals on the Internet for easy access.
  • Type your model number and user manual into Google.

Don’t be too cranky if you have to replace a washer door handle every few years after all you have to have your car tyres replaced every so often. Good maintenance is essential for any appliance and your washing machine is no different.