How to Troubleshoot a Dishwasher Door Latch

What You'll Need
Silicone spray

When the dishwasher door latch does not operate as it should, your machine will not run. This can be a major annoyance but should also be an easy thing to repair. The latch serves two purposes. The first is to pull the door tight and keep it closed to prevent water leaks; the second is to push the safety switch. If your dishwasher will not run or attempts to run with the door open you may have a faulty dishwasher door latch. Below are the steps to repair it.

Step 1 - Test

The first thing you need to do when repairing a dishwasher door is to figure out if the latch is the problem or if it is the safety switch. To test the switch, turn the dishwasher on with the door slightly open. Then, depress the switch. This will be inside a hole in the unit; to locate it, look for a spike that protrudes from the door and see where it enters. Keep the door as closed as possible as the dishwasher will spray water if it comes on. If the dishwasher does not come on, the problem is the safety switch and you will simply need to replace it. If it does comes on, the latch itself is the problem.

Step 2 - Inspect the Latch

If the problem is the dishwasher door latch, the next step is to closely inspect it. Sometimes food particles or other debris can become wedged inside, making it hard to open or close. When enough is present, it will make the dishwasher stop working altogether. So, if you find a sizeable amount upon inspection, clean it out with a rag and a small screwdriver. Then you can test if this fixes your problem.

Step 3 - Lubricate

Sometimes repairing a dishwasher door latch is as simple as spraying a little silicone spray onto the parts to lubricate them. This can be found easily at your local hardware store. While spraying, use a rag or your fingers to move the latch back and forth so the lubricant gets into all of the moving parts.

Step 4 - Check the Strike Plate

The strike plate is located on the dishwasher itself and is the part that the dishwasher door latch grabs onto to when it's closed. If the strike plate is out of alignment, the door will not close properly. To test, visually appraise it for any bends or twists; ideally the strike plate should be straight. If it is tilted slightly upward or downward, you can use a hammer to gently tap it back into place. If you are unsure, close the door while watching carefully to see where the latch hits the plate so you can adjust as needed.

When all else fails, simply replace a defective door latch with a completely new one, matching you individual make and model.