Dryer Door Locked & Won’t Open? Try These 7 Tricks

Dryer error codes

A dryer can save a significant amount of time. You probably count on your dryer to help you save time when it comes to doing laundry. However, there are situations where a dryer can pose a significant issue. I know it can be frustrating when your dryer door is locked and will not open.

But don’t worry; you’ve come to the right place for answers.

There are several reasons why your dryer door won’t open. In some cases, the door is still spinning. In other cases, there might be a sensor issue, or your dryer door dram might even be a bit sticky.

Regardless, you must figure out how to get into your dryer. To figure out what to do if your dryer door is locked and will not open, look at the 7 simple tricks below.

Are you ready? Let’s go!

Why trust us? This article was written by Craig Anderson and Andy Fulenchek.

Craig has helped thousands of other homeowners repair their appliances since 2016.

Andy is one of our resident appliance repair experts with over a decade of experience. He currently runs his appliance repair company with a team of trusted technicians.

How To Open a Locked Dryer Door: 7 Tips To Follow

When your dryer door won’t open, you have several options available. Take your time and follow the tips below carefully to open your dryer successfully.

#1 Cancel the Cycle

In my experience, one of the most common reasons your dryer door won’t open is that it’s running a cycle. When the dryer starts its cycle, it locks the door because it doesn’t want to leak heat. Heat preservation is key for dry clothes and low electricity bills.

If you cannot get into your dryer, it might be because the drum is still spinning. You’ll need to stop the drum and drying cycle before you can open the dryer door.

dryer settings
Cancel the cycle to open your dryer’s door.

Even if you hit the cancel button, the dryer drum may still take a few minutes to stop spinning. Therefore, you’ll need to wait for the drum to stop spending before you can get inside the appliance. 

Pro Tip: You can always flip the breaker switch that supplies power to your dryer.

#2 Unplug the Dryer

Another effective way to address the situation when your dryer door won’t open is to unplug the appliance from the wall outlet. From what I’ve seen, unplugging the dryer will unlock the door immediately. You may have to shift your dryer to access the plug.

You’ll need to move the dryer out of the way to access the plug. Then, you’ll have to wait a few seconds for the drum to stop spinning. 

moving dryer
Carefully move your dryer to unplug it.

After you open the dryer door, your clothes are likely very hot, so be careful not to burn yourself.

#3 Test the Door Lock

If your dryer door still won’t open, you’ll want to test the door lock itself and the switch it uses. The door lock is very strong, and you’ll have difficulty opening the door if something’s wrong.

I find that depending on the dryer brand and model you have, the process for checking the door lock and switch will vary. If you’re unsure how to proceed, you can always contact a professional for help or check your Owner’s Manual for instructions.

#4 Ensure the Door Is Not Sticky

Sometimes when your dryer door won’t open, the simplest explanation is the right one: The dryer door might not be locked but rather sticky.

What can make a dryer door sticky, you ask? For one, using too much fabric softener.

Although fabric softener leaves clothes smelling and feeling like heaven, it can also easily make your dryer door sticky. I recommend cleaning the dryer door frame after every cycle with a damp cloth to remove any fabric softener residue.

dryer door
Clean your dryer’s door frame regularly.

#5 Swap Out the Door Latch

If your dryer door still won’t open, you’ll want to try swapping out the door latch. The door latch is responsible for keeping the dryer’s door locked. So, if the latch has a problem, the dryer won’t unlock. In case of a faulty door latch, you’ll want to replace the component entirely.

dryer door latch
If there’s an issue with the door latch (or “lock), you won’t be able to open the door.

Before replacing the latch, you must first ensure it’s working properly. Take a look at your Owner’s Manual to figure out where the door latch is located. Once you can access the latch, you can perform various tests to determine whether it needs replacing.

Should you feel uncomfortable or unsure during the process, please get in touch with a professional for assistance.

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.

#6 Swap Out the Door Hinges

Swapping out faulty hinges can also make a night and day difference when your dryer door won’t open. While it’s unlikely that bad hinges are preventing you from getting into your dryer, they can make an existing issue worse.

There are several reasons why your hinges are not working properly, with exposure to excess moisture and damage being the most common.

Luckily, replacing the hinges on a dryer door is not too difficult.

If you decide to replace the hinges, you should look at your Owner’s Manual carefully to ensure you get the right hinges for your dryer model.

A diagram of where a dryer's hinge is located
If your dryer won’t turn on, check the door lock and switch as well as the hinges.

#7 Check for Magnet Issues

Many dryers have magnets in their door sensors to detect when the door is open. So, if your dryer door won’t open and all else has failed, the magnet could be to blame.

To address the situation, first, unplug your dryer from the wall outlet. Often, the magnet works with electricity, so unplugging the dryer might release it.

Provided you’re unsuccessful, now would be a good time to call a certified technician.

Fixing a Locked Dryer Door

That about sums it up!

When your dryer door won’t open, a simple task such as doing laundry can become a tedious and neverending process.

Luckily, as I hope this piece has helped you better understand, addressing the most common causes behind a dryer with a door that won’t open is easy and quick. More often than not, something as simple as unplugging the dryer from the wall outlet and cleaning the door frame after every cycle will do the trick.

Thanks for reading. If this article proved useful and answered your questions, please check out our other resources below and consider subscribing to our newsletter.

Have a wonderful week!


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