We've independently reviewed this article to make sure it's as accurate as we can make it.
To find out more about our article creation and review process, check out our editorial guidelines.
Is your dishwasher door not closing, and you’re just about ready to throw it in the garbage?
Don’t! I understand how annoying it can be to have a dishwasher with a door that won’t close, no matter what you try. But before you make any rash decisions, I recommend you take the time to troubleshoot and analyze some things.
If you are finding that you cannot get your dishwasher to close, there are several possible reasons why. These include:
- A dishwasher that tub has not been installed correctly or is otherwise misaligned.
- A faulty door latch in your dishwasher door is preventing it from closing properly.
- Your dishwasher’s top or bottom racks have not been set properly, preventing them from closing.
- A faulty door strike in your dishwasher that is preventing it from closing completely.
Fortunately, you came to the right place for answers. Below, you’ll find a detailed article explaining all the reasons why your dishwasher door is not closing properly, as well as some simple ways to address each one.
Ready? Let’s dive in!
Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.
James is one of our resident appliance experts, with over 16 years of experience. He currently works as a Master Technician for SquareTrade, and runs his own appliance repair business.
#1 The Dishwasher Tub Has Not Been Installed Properly
The first problem could be that the dishwasher’s top has not been installed correctly. You must ensure the dishwasher is on a level surface and leans back slightly.
To test this, place a spirit level on top of your dishwasher (or sitting on a flat part of the interior / racks).
The unit should slightly tilt back, which takes pressure off of the door and helps keep it closed.
If the dishwasher is flat or tilted forward, that may be what’s preventing the door from staying closed properly.
If you are looking for a dishwasher, you will quickly realize you have multiple options. Plastic tubs are generally more sensitive to small alignment issues than steel ones. Therefore, you may realize that plastic dishwashers are more likely to be shifted or knocked around, causing the dishwasher door to not function properly.
Dishwashers can be awkward to install because they fit tightly into a small space, hiding all the complicated parts behind panels and doors.
If your dishwasher isn’t level, adjust the front feet to raise the front slightly. Adjusting the dishwasher’s feet will not only help to keep the door closed but will also prevent water from leaking over the front of the bottom tub.
#2 The Door Spring Tension Is Not Set Properly
Few people know this, but most dishwashers use springs on their doors to control the opening and closing movement. The springs’ tension can adjust the smoothness of the dishwasher’s door motion and make a night and day difference when set properly.
If your dishwasher’s door doesn’t close properly, you’ll want to look closer at the door springs’ tension and try to adjust it to see whether you get better results.
To adjust the springs’ tension, please do the following:
- Unplug your dishwasher so that there’s no electricity going into it.
- Depending on the model you own, the spring might be located behind the bottom front panel of the dishwasher. Remove it by undoing a couple of screws.
- Locate the springs (they’re typically next to the door latch).
- Once you have a clear view of the springs, unhook them from the notch they’re in, and place them on a different one. The further away the new notch is, the more tension the springs will be under.
- Since you’re having trouble keeping the door closed, I recommend hooking the springs to a notch further away, as more tension means the dishwasher door is more likely to stay closed.
- Test to see whether the dishwasher door stays closed now. If so, reassemble the front panel. If not, try hooking the springs to the next notch so that there is more tension and retry.
In my experience, adjusting the spring tension is often all it takes to address a dishwasher door that won’t close. But if the door is still not closing, don’t worry – there are many more fixes to try below.
#3 There Is a Malfunction with the Latch of the Dishwasher Door
Another possible reason why the dishwasher door is not closing is that something is wrong with the latch. Your dishwasher’s door latch is supposed to keep your door shut after you close it. If the dishwasher door is not closed, then it will flood your kitchen when you turn on the dishwasher.
If a door latch is not functioning properly, you may have difficulty closing the door of your dishwasher.
What Can Cause a Faulty Dishwasher Door Latch?
There are two possible reasons why your dishwasher’s door latch could fail. The first is that something is wrong with the electrical system of the door latch. If the electrical component is not working properly, the door latch may not lock into place. Electrical components degrade over time, so if your dishwasher is on the older side, it would explain the door latch failure.
The second reason the door latch may not be working properly is that something mechanical has happened. For example, the door may be opened and closed too hard, stressing the door past the point of breaking. If there is a mechanical issue with the door latch, the component cannot lock into place, causing the door to stay open.
How Can You Fix the Latch?
The exact nature of the fix is going to depend on the type of dishwasher you have. With an older dishwasher, it should be relatively simple to open up the door latch, unscrew it, and screw it back into place.
You may need to remove the inner door panel if you have a newer model. The inner door panel is usually where the door latch assembly is located. You should always ensure you disconnect the power and water supply from the dishwasher before you do so. Sometimes, you may even have to remove the entire control panel before revealing the door latch.
Most of the time, the inner door panel is what’s connected to the hinge assembly; when you remove the screws (usually using Torx bits, but a Phillips head screwdriver for LG and Samsung models), the outer door panel slips off, letting you access the door lock.
Hopefully, it’ll just be a bit of dirt or grime that needs cleaning so that lock can close again. Otherwise, you’ll need to order a replacement online.
If you want to get any replacement part – or see how much one would cost – click to enter your model number in the search bar below. Our partners at AppliancePartsPros stock almost every part with free guides on how to install them.
You will find more information on replacing your dishwasher’s door latch in your User Manual. If you are uncomfortable with anything in this step, you should contact a professional for help.
#4 The Racks of the Dishwasher Are Preventing the Door from Closing
If you have a dishwasher, you probably have a top and bottom rack. Both are supposed to hold your dishes, allowing them to get washed when you turn on the cycle.
Usually, these racks are put on tracks. In my experience, if these racks are knocked off the tracks, your dishwasher door may not close properly. Even though you like to fit as many dishes in the racks as possible, you must ensure you protect the racks. If the racks do not sit on the tracks properly, your dishwasher door may have a problem closing.
Make sure the racks sit on the tracks properly.
Why Are Your Racks Getting Knocked Off Their Tracks?
There are numerous reasons why the dishwasher racks are getting knocked off their tracks. Some of the most common causes are:
- You may have closed the dishwasher door too hard at some point, colliding with one of the racks and knocking them off of their tracks.
- You may have put a bunch of dishes in the racks that were far too large. During the jostling process, the rack may have fallen off its track.
- You may have put too many dishes on the rack, causing them to fall off the tracks. These racks are only designed to support a certain amount of weight.
- You may have accidentally bumped the dishwasher racks when loading them, causing them to fall off their tracks.
Ultimately, there are countless reasons why the racks may have been knocked out of place. Regardless, the result is that you cannot turn on the dishwasher because you cannot close the door.
How Can You Place the Dishwasher Racks Properly?
Fortunately, the solution to improperly placed racks is relatively straightforward. You need to remove all the dishes from your dishwasher. Then, it would be best if you lifted up the racks. Make sure you place them gently on the tracks again. After this, you should be able to close the door.
If reorganizing your racks doesn’t work, you’ll need to look closer at the racks themselves. If the racks are deformed, they may not sit properly on the tracks, so replacing them will be your best bet.
#5 The Door Strike Is Not Behaving Properly
Finally, you should also take a closer look at the door strike. The door strike is the piece that is supposed to catch the door latch when you close the dishwasher door. Ideally, the door latch should fit seamlessly into the door strike, locking the door tight.
Why Could Your Dishwasher’s Door Strike Be Failing?
There are numerous reasons why the door strike in your dishwasher is not behaving properly; however, the most common ones are related to mechanical issues. Like other parts, the dishwasher door strike will wear down over time. If the dishwasher door has been opened and closed too many times (or too hard), then the door strike could break, causing the door latch to have a hard time fitting into it.
Ultimately, if the two parts are not working together, you will not be able to close the door to your dishwasher. When messing with the door strike, you should also ensure the problem is not the door latch. Make sure you figure out what the problem is before you go about disassembling it.
How Can You Fix the Door Strike?
The first thing you need to do is remove all power to the dishwasher. After this, you should be able to find the door strike in the center. It is usually located where the door meets with the body of the appliance.
After locating the strike, you need to look for any alignment issues. You can usually remove the door strike with a simple screwdriver. Then, you can reassemble the strike, and see if it works properly. If it does not, you’ll need to replace the strike.
You can remove the strike by pulling the dishwasher out by about 2-6 inches to access it. Depending on the model you own, you may be able to bend it using your hand.
When your dishwasher door won’t close no matter what you do, the simple task of doing the dishes can quickly become the challenge of the day.
Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you better understand, troubleshooting the most common dishwasher door issues is often easy and quick. More often than not, checking the latch, the strike, and the leveling of the appliance is all it takes to get things back to normal.
Thank you very much for reading. If this article answered your most burning questions and proved interesting, please check out our other incredible resources below and consider subscribing to our newsletter.
I wish you all the best!