A dishwasher door slightly ajar

How to fix a dishwasher door that won’t close or latch

Not only does a faulty dishwasher door disrupt the integrated look of your cabinetry, but it can also prevent your appliance from washing dishes correctly. Several reasons could be behind a dishwasher door not closing correctly, including problems with the door springs, leveling and the door seal.

However, there are several ways you can address these problems. This step-by-step guide will explain common reasons behind a dishwasher door not closing or latching, advice for door latch installation, as well as helpful dishwasher troubleshooting tips.

A loaded Whirlpool® dishwasher with an open door A loaded Whirlpool® dishwasher with an open door

4 common reasons a dishwasher won’t close

A dishwasher that doesn’t close or latch properly can be a real inconvenience, preventing you from properly cleaning your dishes. This guide explores the most common reasons for why a dishwasher door might not close or latch, including problems during installation, stuck items and damaged dishwasher parts.

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1. The door spring tension is improperly set

If the dishwasher door won’t close or latch, it might be because the door spring tension is improperly set. This means that the tension on the door springs isn’t strong enough to keep the door closed. You can try fixing this problem by adjusting the tension on the springs for a tighter fitting door.


Follow these steps to check the door spring tension of your Whirlpool® dishwasher according to its type. Note that exact instructions may vary if you have another brand dishwasher:

 

Stainless steel tub models

  • Open and close the door to check the spring tension.

  • Locate the door spring adjustment screws at the base of the dishwasher door.

  • Using a Phillips-head screwdriver, turn screws clockwise to increase tension or counterclockwise to decrease door tension.

Plastic tub models

  • If the door closes too quickly, decrease the spring tension by moving the spring end toward the front of the dishwasher.

  • If the door falls open, increase the spring tension by moving the spring end toward the back of the dishwasher.

  • Springs should be in the same notches on the left and right sides.

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2. The dishwasher isn’t level

If your dishwasher wasn't leveled correctly during installation, this can lead to the door not closing or latching properly. You can try to fix this problem by leveling your dishwasher. 

 

Inspect your appliance for signs of misalignment. The dishwasher must fit well in the cabinet—if the tub opening is not square, the door will not seal properly. To operate properly, your dishwasher must be supported by the leveling legs and rear wheels which help it sit flat on the floor.

 

Level your dishwasher by following these tips:

  • Route the power cord, water supply and drain into the cabinet opening before  sliding the dishwasher into its final position.

  • If your appliance has one, ensure the insulation blanket isn't preventing the dishwasher from fitting correctly in the cabinet opening.

  • Align the front of the dishwasher door panel with the front of the cabinet doors and check that the leveling legs are firmly against the floor.

  • With the dishwasher door closed, check the level of the appliance at the front panel. If necessary, adjust the leveling legs until the dishwasher is positioned correctly.
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3. Items are stuck between the door seal and the tub of the dishwasher

If you notice your dishwasher door isn't closing properly, it might be a sign that  something is stuck between the door seal and the tub of the dishwasher:

  • Check that no items such as silverware have become stuck between the door seal on the dishwasher door and the tub of the dishwasher during or after loading.

  • Check both racks for items that may be stuck and protruding. Remove any item that is protruding outside of the rack.

  • Check for large food particles around the door seal and clean the dishwasher part as necessary. 

  • If you can’t remove the object on your own, you may need to call a technician to help dislodge it.

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4. The door latch is broken or damaged

A common reason behind a dishwasher door not closing is a broken or damaged door latch. Inspect the various components of the door latch for signs of damage or excessive wear, including bent hinges or a misaligned strike plate.

Dishes loaded on the three racks of a Whirlpool® dishwasher Dishes loaded on the three racks of a Whirlpool® dishwasher

How do I know if my dishwasher door latch is bad?

A broken or damaged door latch can cause the dishwasher door to not close properly. If you find that your dishwasher door needs to be slammed shut in order to close completely, then it may be a sign that your door latch has gone bad.

Inspect your appliance for signs of aging. If your dishwasher door falls open often, it's possible that the worn latch is not catching properly.

Clean dishes in a dishwasher Clean dishes in a dishwasher

How do you install a Whirlpool® dishwasher door latch?

If you’ve been noticing problems with your dishwasher door not closing, inspect the door latch for signs of wear that could call for a replacement. Consult your owner's manual for product-specific information before taking any dishwasher components apart. Prefer to leave installation up to the experts? Arrange for professional service for your Whirlpool® dishwasher installation with a trusted technician.

How do you reset a dishwasher door latch?

Over time, substances like food, soap and grime can build up and stick between the dishwasher’s door latch and the surrounding metal. If you’ve noticed your dishwasher not closing properly, you can try resetting the door latch by cleaning any residue and testing the door again for a proper latch.

Dishes being rinsed in a dishwasher Dishes being rinsed in a dishwasher

Where can I find dishwasher replacement parts?

If you’re considering an upgrade, dishwasher replacement parts can help you keep your appliance up and running to take on cleanup after your family’s weekly meals.

From the door latch to the internal workings of the appliance, find replacement parts for your Whirlpool® dishwasher or contact a technician to help you choose the right components.

Explore Whirlpool® dishwashers

For busy families constantly on the go, Whirlpool® dishwashers offer a variety of features that make cleanup quick and easy. With helpful features like 1-Hour Wash and Sensor Cycles on select models, you can rely on an appliance built with convenience and functionality in mind to streamline cleanup and keep your family’s day moving. Explore the full collection of dishwashers by Whirlpool brand to find the appliance that's right for your home.

Learn more about dishwashers with Whirlpool brand

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