Whirlpool Washer Door Locked? Easy Fixing Tips 2021

If your Whirlpool washer door locked suddenly and won’t unlock, you can try to open it manually. First, however, you should find the reason behind this and troubleshoot the defective components that led to it. It would unlock most of the time by resetting, and you can start using your washer straight away. But if the Whirlpool washer won’t open with that, you should follow these procedures to determine the causes. Make sure to turn off your appliance and disconnect from power before inspecting the components and troubleshooting. If you are inexperienced and uncomfortable with repairing, you should get a professional to handle it. Here is how you can unlock it and solve the issue when the washer won’t unlock.

Be Patient and Follow these Steps

Before you try to troubleshoot the fault, give some time for the door to disengage. The door would stay closed for about three minutes after the motor speed reaches zero and transmits the signal to stop. If the wash cycle has very hot water, it will take more time to drain after cooling. This will happen if the temperature of the water is above 122 ˚F. So, if your door takes time to open after stopping the cycle, do not panic as the machine is operating according to its pre-programmed commands.

  1. Wait for a few minutes to let the washer drain the water.
  2. If the door doesn’t open even after the cycle has ended, press and hold the “Control Lock” button for 3 seconds. You would hear an unlatching sound, and then you would be able to open the door.
  3. If you still couldn’t open the door, the next step is to press and hold the “End of Cycle” button for a few seconds. This manually resets your washer, and you might be able to open the door.
  4. If this also didn’t work, you need to unplug the washer for 45 minutes or more. Then you can plug it back, and the washer’s programing would be completely reset. Check whether the washer door has unlocked.
  5. If you still couldn’t open the washer, the last option is to unlock the door manually. Use a flathead screwdriver and remove the toe panel, a metal strip located at the bottom of the washer. Then reach up inside the front panel and find the door latch. Pull the teardrop-shaped tab at the bottom of the door latch until you hear a click, and you will be able to open the door.

Potential Causes of Locked Doors with Flashing Lights 

If your washer door opened after a reset, you can continue to use the appliance as usual. However, if you had to open the door manually, you need to check the following components to determine the cause why your Whirlpool washer door locked in the first place.

Lid or Door Switch

A faulty lid switch is one of the most common reasons the Whirlpool washer door gets locked and wouldn’t open. The locking and unlocking of the door rely on the stage of the wash cycle, and if this notification is defective, the door lock will not unlock when needed. You can check this by following the procedure indicated here.

  • Unplug the washer from the power supply or turn off the breaker.
  • Locate the lid switch by referring to your user manual if necessary.
  • Check whether the lid is aligned correctly and not loose; if not, realign it and test if the problem is solved.
  • If there are no visible alignment issues, remove the switch from the washer and test it for continuity with a multimeter.
  • If the test indicates that the switch has continuity, it is not defective, and you can fix it back to the washer. However, if the switch doesn’t have continuity, it needs to be replaced.
  • After installing the new switch, test and check whether the door lock works correctly; if the door still has the same issue, then check the next component.

Faulty Door Latch

Inspect the door latch and clean any debris blocking the connection between the latch and the striker. Ensure that it’s properly closed and make sure the latching mechanism is aligned correctly. As the latch and receiver can move with the shimmies and spins over time, you should tighten the hinges to bring the door back into proper alignment.

Use a multimeter to check for electrical continuity after unplugging the power or turning off the breaker. Access the door latch’s electrical conductor by removing the washer’s front panel and test whether the required voltage is available.

Actuator Motor

If the actuator motor is defective or the wires are loose, the washer might stop working mid-cycle, and the washer would stay locked. Here is how you can check the actuator and troubleshoot any errors.

  1. Turn on a washer cycle and listen to whether a loud, grinding noise comes from the actuator motor. If so, the motor is defective and needs a replacement.
  2. If no detectable noises are coming from the motor, unplug the washer and locate the actuator motor using your user manual if necessary.
  3. Check that the wires on the motor are attached securely.
  4. Then test the motor with a multimeter. If it has continuity, it is not defective, and you can move on to check the drain pump. 
  5. If it doesn’t have continuity, the motor should be replaced and check whether it is solved.

Sensor Actuator

The sensor actuator is responsible for the machine’s spinning. So, first, Refer to the manual and get your washer into the manual diagnostic mode. Then, check any diagnostic codes indicated on the display. Some of these errors are listed as speed sensor errors and others as shifter errors. For example, if the optical speed sensor does not read the motor speeds correctly, the washer has no idea when the machine stops. Therefore, it would not know when to unlock the door and hence remain locked.

Water in the Machine

If the water in the tub has not drained due to a defective draining system, the washer door will remain locked as a safety precaution against flooding. So if you see standing water in the machine, turn on the spin and drain cycle. If this drains all the remaining water in the tub, check whether the door opens. 

Drain Pump

Your Whirlpool washer won’t unlock if the drain pump is defective. However, if it is clogged or completely damaged, it will cause the door to stay locked. You can check the drain pump by following this procedure.

  1. Make sure the power is switched and locate the drain pump with the help of your user manual. 
  2. Confirm that the impellers can freely move around like a fan. If not, it indicates that the motor is damaged.
  3. Test the motor with a multimeter, and if it indicates continuity, it is functioning well.
  4. If not, you should replace the drain pump unit and check whether the problem is solved.

Hose Damage

Look for cracks and damages in the hose that might cause water flow issues and interfere with water level sensors. Turn off the water supply and remove the hose with pliers. Drain any remaining water to a bucket and examine the hose. Look over the hose and check for blockages and if there are any visible damages, replace the hose and recheck the issue.

Faulty Control Board

A defective control board is a less common reason for the Whirlpool washer door locked. This would cause faulty signal transmissions, and the washer would not detect if the door is open or closed. This would occur as a result of internal malfunctions caused due to overvoltage or under voltage. It can also result from spikes in power or communication transmitted from the control board to other mechanical sensors and components. However, the control board would be faulty very rarely. So check other possible causes before you replace the mainboard since it is very expensive. Sometimes, it would not be worth replacing the control board, depending on the age and value of the washer.

Water Supply

If your washing machine was installed, reinstalled, or relocated recently, you might have forgotten to reconnect the water line after taking the washer offline. As running without water can burn out the washer, Whirlpool washing machines are designed not to run without water. So if you’ve forgotten to reconnect the water source, make sure to reset the machine before running a cycle. You can reset the washer as described in the following procedure.

  • Press the Wash Temp – Spin – Soil buttons in the order, three times in a row. 
  • If that combination doesn’t work, press Spin – Soil – Presoak in the order three times in a row.

If that works, the control panel activates, and an error code will be displayed. Wait ten minutes, and you would hear a humming sound as the machine recalibrates. When it’s complete, press the power button, which would return the appliance to standby mode after clearing everything. 

How To Manually Unlock The Door On A Front Loader

  1. Start by unplugging the washer or turning off the breaker and wait for about 2 minutes.
  2. This would reset the control panel and allow the door to unlock. The lights would also stop flashing by this time.
  3. But, if this doesn’t work, you can always manually open the door by unplugging the washer and pulling it forward to have more room for work.
  4. Take off the top panel by removing the screws on the back of it.
  5. After removing it, locate the door lock assembly behind the front panel on the right side of the door.
  6. Pull down the small circular plastic tab at the bottom of the door lock. This would manually unlock the door.

How To Manually Unlock The Door On A Top Loader

  1. Unplug the washer from the power outlet and turn off the water supply.
  2. Access the cover to the drain pump located near the bottom right of your washer on the front. 
  3. Remove the screw holding the compartment to the appliance using a screwdriver.
  4. Pull the plastic cord inside the compartment to unlock your washer door.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my Whirlpool washer door lock flashing?

This might be due to an issue with the motor that occurred by losing the connection of wires. So, check the wiring system of the machine, and if it is damaged, it should have caused the door lock light to flash.

How do you unlock a washing machine door mid-cycle?

Press the Start button on the front and wait a few minutes for the washer to drain away water in the drum. Then it would unlock the door, and you can open it to remove clothes or make changes to the cycle.

How do you bypass the lid lock on a Whirlpool washer?

Access the lid lock switch in the top panel and place a magnet or wire between the lock switch and solenoid to disengage the mechanism. This would interrupt the current flow into the lid lock switch. 

How long can a washer stay paused?

It can stay paused for more than 24 hours if left in a paused state with the lid closed and water present in the washer tub.

How do you force a washing machine to unlock?

Turn off the washing machine and unplug it from power. Suppose you’re in the middle of a cycle; press End Cycle or turn the dial to end or pause the cycle, respectively. Wait for about 5 seconds and see whether the door unlocks.

Conclusion

It is frustrating when household appliances break, and especially when your washer breaks. However, now you can troubleshoot it if your Whirlpool washer door locked itself and won’t unlock. Use the appliance’s user manual as a guide to locate and access the various components indicated herein troubleshooting procedures. But if you encounter any difficulties in troubleshooting why your Whirlpool washer door locked, you can contact your appliance repair technician. You can also refer to Whirlpool Washer Troubleshooting for more details on the diagnosis of defective components.

If the defect is related to the main control board of your washer and needs a replacement, you can opt to purchase a new washing machine. If so, make sure to avoid these Worst Washing Machine Brands when buying.

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