What to Do When a Washer Pops Open Mid-Cycle

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You’ve had your front-load washer for years, and it has done its job admirably. However, one day, you put your clothes in the wash, the door latches, the wash cycle start, but in the middle of it, the door unlatches and opens. Clothes, soap, and water are spilling out everywhere. It’s complete bedlam. However, while this question may wait until after you have everything cleaned up, you will still want to know why this happened.

If your front-load washer ended up opening mid-cycle, then it is almost assuredly a door latch problem. In your washer, the wax motor is responsible for latching your door. However, there are systems in place in most washers so that if the wax motor doesn’t latch the door, the washer won’t start at all. This means that if your washer started as normal, the wax motor sent the signal to latch the door, but the door didn’t actually latch.

When the washer moves into more vigorous cycles, the vibration from that combined with the clothes hitting the door will force it open. Typically, the latch prevents this by locking into place. Of course, without that actually happening, there is nothing to stop that door from opening.

The MacGyver fix would be to prop the door closed, but that doesn’t solve the issue completely. Furthermore, you will likely experience some leaking as well. It is best just to get it fixed.

There is some good news when it comes to this problem. As it is not a wax motor issue, you likely just have a faulty door lock. While this does mean you have to take the top plate off your washer, a door lock assembly can be removed easily by unscrewing the screws located at the top and bottom of the latch area and simply pulling it out and plugging in a replacement.