Your clothes dryer probably gets a lot of use. Regardless of age, dryer doors often show the effects of frequent opening and closing. There can be several reasons for this, so it’s important to evaluate the different causes in order to find a proper diagnosis. Rather than propping the door shut, try these troubleshooting solutions.
Start your evaluation by clearing the area of any and all dust, goop, and lint. Pay special attention to the space beneath the bottom of the door. If debris has built up, it can cause enough pressure to force the door back open. Open the door and use a cotton swab to clean out any build-up beneath the door. Open and close the door a few times to see if there is any grit left behind.
The door latch is the small catch at the center of the door. It holds the door closed as it fits into the pointed piece mounted to the dryer at the top of the opening. When closed, these two pieces should come together to hold the door closed when the dryer is running. However, one or both of these pieces can warp or stretch, creating a lack of contact that allows the door to pop open.
To evaluate if your door latch is bad, open and close the door a few times, feeling whether the door clicks into place in the fully closed position. If it's faulty, you can easily find replacement parts. To replace this part, remove the screws around the edge of the door. Separate the front and back panels to gain access to the latch. Next, squeeze and remove the old latch and pop the new one into place. Remember to reattach all of the screws around the perimeter of the door.
Dryer door hinges can get bent out of shape from regular use. Applying extra weight to the open door also causes the dryer hinges to bend out of shape, so listening to your mother’s warning about not climbing on the dryer door is good advice. It’s sometimes hard to tell whether the hinges are the culprit. Try opening the door, focusing on when you feel tension in the door. If it opens easily, repeat the process as you close it. Often you will feel resistance at the point where it nearly closes or completely closes, but the door will not remain closed. If you believe the hinge is causing the problem, try removing one of the screws. With the screw removed, there will be more flexibility to the hinge. If the door now opens and closes freely, it’s likely your hinge is tweaked.
To replace a hinge, always begin by unplugging the appliance. From there, the process is different for each model of dryer. For those that open to the side, it's simply a matter of unscrewing the hinge from the door and replacing it with the new one. For doors that drop down in the front, you will have a hinge on each side. Accessing them typically means removing the top panel of the dryer in order to unplug the door switch wires. Next, remove the front panel of the dryer. Then, take the front door out of the frame. Once removed, pull the faulty hinge(s) out and replace with the new one. Follow the reverse order to put the dryer back together, beginning with remounting the door, then the front panel, and finally plugging the door switch wire back in and securing the top.
Another offender could be the door springs. To check whether these are stretched out or broken, follow the same process outlined above for the door hinges. The springs attach to the hinges and could be causing problems. If they are guilty, remove the old springs and replace with new hardware.
Although many issues can cause a dryer door to hang up, troubleshooting can usually identify the problem. This is a task that most DIYers can tackle with a little patience and some basic tools.