Is your dryer’s control lock stuck on? This is a common problem amongst people who own Whirlpool dryers. This safety feature is still catching people off guard. Here’s how you can turn that control lock off and not get locked out of your dryer on laundry day.

The control lock is a safety feature designed to stop children from accidentally turning the dryer on. It can typically be turned off by holding down the control lock button. In other models of dryer you need to swipe the lock away on the touchscreen. A stuck control lock could also be a sign that you need to replace your dryer’s Main Control Board. 

Let’s dive into these fixes and put you back in control of your dryer. 

What Is Control Lock on a Whirlpool Dryer?

Most modern dryers come with a control lock. This feature can be found on nearly every model of Whirlpool dryer as well as dryers by other brands like Kenmore. If you accidentally got your control lock stuck on, it might help you to know that you’re not alone.

So, what does the control lock even do?

This is a safety feature that has been built into modern dryers. The control lock prevents unwanted commands from being entered into the dryer. When the control lock is on, you can’t change any settings or operate the dryer. 

That might sound like a nuisance rather than a feature, but it’s actually great for families. The control lock was designed to prevent children from accidentally operating the dryer. This cuts down on the risk of injury, fire, and misuse of the appliance. 

Since this is a new feature, plenty of well-meaning adults have accidentally gotten their control locks stuck on. Here’s how you can turn off the control lock on a whirlpool dryer. 

Error Code “Loc”—How Can You Tell if the “Control Lock” is On?

Does your Whirlpool dryer have an LCD display? If it does, you might see an error code pop up if you attempt to enter a command while the control lock is on. This error code will read “Loc” and might have a small red-colored key graphic on the display. 

This is just letting you know that the control lock feature is on. Your model of Whirlpool dryer might not even have this error display.

There might be a red LED light next to text that reads “Control Lock” or something similar to let you know that this feature is active. Modern Whirlpool dryers with touchscreen displays will have their own messaging that lets you know that the control lock is activated. 

Control Lock in dishwasher panel
If the display shows LOC it isn’t saying that there is an error, it’s just letting you know that this feature is active.

How to Unlock Control Lock on a Whirlpool Dryer

It’s very easy to turn your control lock off. We’ll cover the fast solution as well as a more in-depth fix. 

Keep in mind that you will need to pause the current dryer cycle if it is on. All of our button-based solutions only work when the dryer is either paused or not current in a drying cycle. 

Let’s get started. 

The Easy Fix

This should be the first thing you check if your control lock is stuck on. This fix applies to older models of Whirlpool dryer that have button controls. If you have a touchscreen control on your dryer, you can skip ahead to the next solution. These are essentially identical, but they do work differently based on the change and controls.

  1. Locate the “End of Cycle Signal” button. This is located on the right side of the Duet model dryer 
  2. Push the button and hold it down for 3 seconds
  3. The Control Lock LED should turn off letting you know that your dryer is no longer locked 
End of cycle button
Try this solution with older models of Whirlpool dryers.

Other Control Lock Buttons

Other buttons on your Whirlpool dryer can toggle the control lock feature.  Is not always the “End of Cycle Signal” button. However, the button that controls the locking feature should always be labeled with something like the following text: “Hold for 3 seconds to lock / unlock control.” 

You might need to consult your owner’s manual to locate the correct button to press it to toggle the settings for your control lock. Your control lock might even have its own dedicated button. 

The Touchscreen Control Lock

The most recent versions of Whirlpool dryers use a touchscreen control. This has a slightly different operation when turning off the control lock.

 You should be able to see that your Whirlpool dryer is locked on the touch screen display. You will see a graphic that looks like a small padlock inside of a circle. This let you know that the dryer is currently locked.

 To unlock your Whirlpool dryer, all you need to do is swipe up on the touch screen. This will turn the control lock off and allow you to resume operating your dryer.

Hard Resetting the Main Control Board

Did you know that there is actually a small computer that controls your dryer? Many people are surprised to learn that there is a piece of computing technology that controls an appliance as simple as a dryer. However, this computer can occasionally run into an operating error.

It’s common for dryers to have their control locks stuck in place if they’re suffering from some kind of error. Here’s what you need to do to fix your dryer’s control lock if none of our other solutions have worked.

  1. Unplug your dryer
  2. Wait for 30 minutes. This is the amount of time it takes for the dyer’s Main Control Board to reset
  3. Plug the dryer back in
  4. The control lock should be off
  5. If the control lock is still on, you should be able to deactivate it using one of the other methods on this list 

If that still doesn’t unlock your dryer, you might have a broken Main Control Board

Replace Your Main Control Board

The Main Control Board, or the MCB, is the brains of the operation for your dryer. Whenever you change cycles or enter a command, it’s the Main Control Board that translates those button presses into dryer cycles. 

If the MCB starts to fail, it can stick the control lock in the “locked” position. Here’s how to replace your MCB.

  1. Get your tools. You’ll need a screwdriver set to access the MCB and a putty knife, or something similar, to remove the Main Control Board
  2. Unplug your dryer
  3. Unscrew the dryer’s top panel. There should be screws on the back that hold the panel in place 
  4. Slide the panel off of the dryer 
  5. Use your smartphone or a camera to take a picture of how the Main Control Board is wired. You can use that picture for reference later 
  6. Unplug the MCB from the cable harnesses that connect into it 
  7. Unthread the screw that holds the MCB in place 
  8. Slide the old MCB off and pop it out with the putty knife 
  9. Slide the new MCB into place
  10. Screw the new Main Control Board down
  11. Attach the cable harnesses as per your picture 
  12. Slide the lid back on the dryer 
  13. Screw the lid in place 
  14. Plug your dryer back in

Always check your owner’s manual to learn about the specifics of servicing your make and model of dryer. 

Final Thoughts for Unlocking a Whirlpool Dryer Control Lock 

The Control Lock is a great safety addition that can cause some headaches for people new to this feature. Most of the time, all you need to do is press a button to disengage this safety lock. There’s a small chance that this is a sign of your dryer’s Main Control Board failing, but even that only needs one tool to repair. 

Let us know what you did to fix your Control Lock problems. Don’t forget to check out our other articles on appliance repair!