Detergent Drawer Stuck Closed? 4 Tricks To Try

Washer with cleaning products

Is your detergent drawer stuck closed, and no amount of force will get it open?

That sucks! While laundry days are not something we look forward to at the end of the week, they’re necessary to keep our favorite outfits sparkling clean.

I know how annoying it can be to have your washer’s detergent drawer stuck closed – especially when you already started a cycle. But don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place for answers. Below, you’ll find a list including 4 tricks you can try to solve the most common causes behind a stuck detergent drawer.

When your detergent drawer is stuck closed, try removing the locking clip, cleaning excessive soap buildup, realigning the control panel, and cleaning the drawer frequently.

Read on to release your washer’s drawer!

Why Your Detergent Drawer Is Stuck

Although not a common issue, there are cases like yours where the detergent drawer is stuck and won’t come out no matter what you try.

Many reasons can explain the problem – from something as simple as a locking clip that’s doing its job to a more complex issue, such as a misaligned control board. It should be noted that, as opposed to older washing machines, newer appliances are not likely to have stuck drawers; however, there are some models out there that can still give you trouble.

In my experience, front-load washers are more likely to have stuck detergent drawers than Top-load versions. Without further ado, here are some things I recommend you try to release the detergent drawer.

#1 Check for a Locking Clip

If your detergent drawer is stuck and your washer is an older model, there’s a good chance that the locking clip is to blame.

If you own a Front-load model, feel around underneath the handle for any clip or locking mechanism. Assuming you can’t find one, but you want to be sure, you can always check your User Manual.

Solution: If you no longer have your User Manual handy, there’s nothing to worry about; you can either go to Google and search for “[Your Washer’s Brand and Model] locking clip” or refer to our free resource below to find the right one.

Once you’ve found your User Manual, you can determine whether your washer has a locking clip. If so, you likely now know its location; otherwise, please read on for more solutions.

#2 Clean Excessive Soap Buildup

If your detergent drawer is still stuck closed, and there’s no locking clip mechanism, the next thing you’ll want to consider is the frequency with which you use your washer.

Ideally, you use your appliance once or twice a week to do large loads of laundry. However, if you left the washer unattended for long or went on a 3-week vacation (must be nice), chances are there’s old detergent caked on, keeping the drawer stuck close.

A detergent pod
Remove any detergent residue to release the drawer.

Solution: Pull the drawer out to try to release it. It’s hard to break a detergent drawer, but even if you do, replacements are affordable and easy to install, so don’t be afraid to put some elbow grease into it!

Once you’ve released the detergent drawer (hopefully in one piece), thoroughly clean it and the housing in the washer to remove any caked-on residue.

#3 Check the Control Panel’s Alignment

When neither caked-on detergent residue nor a locking clip is to blame for your detergent drawer being stuck closed, my usual advice is to check the alignment of the control panel next.

From what I’ve seen, a control panel misalignment is rare if your washer hasn’t been repaired since it was released from the factory. But if you just had the appliance serviced recently and the control panel was removed, there’s a chance that whoever did it failed to put it back into place correctly, resulting in a stuck detergent drawer.

Solution: If you can’t pull out the drawer at all, the following fix won’t work. But if you can pull the drawer out, albeit with some difficulty, try your best to remove it from its housing.

Look closely at how the drawer’s housing aligns with the control panel and all other surrounding edges. Try sliding the drawer back into place and see how much resistance you encounter. If you notice the control panel is eating up part of the drawer’s space or if you notice too much resistance, the control panel is likely misaligned.

You can try moving the control panel delicately to see if you can get it back into place. Alternatively, if you’re afraid to break something expensive, you can always call a technician and have them realign the panel for you.

#4 Clean the Drawer Regularly

Lastly, let’s talk about a washer good practice that you must implement into your daily routine – cleaning the drawer regularly.

By ensuring the drawer is always clean, you’ll be preventing issues, such as caked-on residue, and you might also be able to notice a misaligned control panel or drawer housing during the cleaning process.

Cleaning a washer
A clean washer will work well and last a long time.

If you do laundry very often, I recommend you use a clean, damp rag to remove any detergent residue from the drawer at least once a week or after every cycle if you want to be extremely thorough. For proper disinfection of the drawer, I find that a mixture of equal parts water and vinegar to soak the rag.

Just be careful not to use too much, as the vinegar can combine with the detergent and leave your clothes smelling vinegary.

Releasing Your Detergent Drawer

That about covers it! When your detergent drawer is stuck closed, doing laundry and leaving your clothes smelling great can become challenging.

Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you better understand, addressing the most common causes behind a detergent drawer that’s stuck closed can be easy and quick. More often than not, simple good habits, such as cleaning the drawer frequently and checking for control panel misalignment, will do the trick.

Thanks for reading; if this article was useful and answered your most burning questions, please check out our other resources below and consider subscribing to our newsletter.

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I've been helping homeowners with appliance repair since 2016. Starting out as an enthusiastic amateur, I've since worked with many Appliance, HVAC, and DIY experts over the last 7+ years. My mission is to help fix your appliances and prevent future issues - saving you stress, time, and money. Visit my author page to learn more! Read more