How to Fix a Dishwasher Door Latch

Fleet Appliance
June 13, 2023
Dishwasher Repair

A malfunctioning dishwasher door latch can lead to leaks, inefficient dishwashing and sometimes can even stop your dishwasher from working altogether. Fortunately, with some basic tools and a little patience, it’s quite an easy problem to fix! In this guide we’ll walk you through the steps to diagnose the issue, source replacement parts if necessary and repair your door latch. 

Make sure nothing is obstructing the door latch

Sometimes food and other debris can get stuck in the latch, making it hard to close. Yes, sometimes the fix really can be that easy! To find out if this is the issue, carefully inspect and clean the latch, using an old toothbrush to clean away hard to reach grime. 

If your door latch looks to be corroded or rusty, you can also try using some lubricant to see if this solves the issue. You can test if it is now closing properly by closing the door and running a test cycle. If it is fixed, you will no longer see any leaks, and your cycle will run normally. 

Make sure the door is on straight

If the door on your dishwasher is misaligned, it won’t be able to close properly. This can happen from physical damage, like a knock or blow to your dishwasher, or by someone putting weight on the dishwasher door when it’s open (little kids can be notorious for this one!). To fix a misaligned door:

  • Disconnect the power
  • Open the dishwasher door
  • Inspect the door and hinges for any visible damage or loose screws. If any screws are loose, tighten them – this might be enough to resolve the issue. If it’s still not straight, move on to the next step. 
  • Slightly loosen all the screws so you can adjust the door alignment
  • Once the door is properly aligned, tighten the screws on the hinges to make sure the door is firmly in the right place. 
  • Now close the dishwasher and test if the door is flush. It should now close tightly. If it still isn’t closing right, you can try readjusting the screws.

Check the door seals

In some cases the door seals can become loose or get damaged, and this can stop the dishwasher door from shutting properly. To test if this is your issue:

  • Disconnect the power and open the dishwasher door.
  • Check the door seal for any visible damage, wear or debris. If there are any visible food particles that are preventing the seal from closing properly, clean it off. If the seal is damaged or worn, you’ll need to replace it. 
  • If the seals are intact but out of position or folded, gently and carefully realign them so that they sit neatly around the entire door. 
  • If your seal is damaged and needs replacing, firstly you’ll need to order new seals online. Make sure they are compatible with the make and model of your dishwasher. 
  • Remove the old seal and gently press the new seal into place.
  • Test that the door now latches, and run a test cycle to see if the issue with your dishwasher is fixed. 

Tighten the latch assembly

Once you’ve ruled out issues with the door and made sure the latch is clean, the next step is to check for issues with the latch assembly itself. Sometimes due to general wear and tear the latch assembly can loosen, meaning it no longer latches properly. To fix this:

  • Disconnect the power
  • Open the dishwasher door and locate the latch assembly on the top edge of the dishwasher. 
  • Identify the screws holding the latch assembly in place and see if any are loose. Even if they look fine, try turning the screws clockwise to make sure the latch is secured in place, making sure they are nice and snug. 
  • Test that the latch is now engaging. 
  • Reconnect the power to the dishwasher
  • Run a test cycle to make sure it is working as it should and that there are no issues with leaks. 

If the dishwasher still isn’t latching properly after tightening the latch assembly, you might need to replace the entire latch assembly. Read on to find out what to do!

Replace the latch assembly

If you’ve tried everything else and your dishwasher is still not latching, it might be time to replace the entire latch assembly. Luckily this isn’t actually that tricky, and you can order a replacement part online from your dishwasher manufacturer!

  • First, (after disconnecting the power, of course!) disconnect the latch assembly unit by unscrewing the same screws that you tried tightening in the previous step.
  • Disconnect the wires that are attached to the old latch assembly by gently pulling them away from the connectors. You might want to take a picture with your phone before disconnecting them so that you know how to put everything back together again. 
  • Align the new latch assembly in the same place as the old one, ensuring it sits nice and snugly against the dishwasher frame. 
  • Tightly secure the new latch assembly in place by tightening the screws. Remember, they need to be snug but not overtightened. 
  • Test the door by closing it to make sure it latches properly and sits flush with the dishwasher frame. The latch should now be engaging correctly with the new latch assembly. 
  • Run a test cycle to make sure the dishwasher is operating correctly. It should no longer be leaking and the latch should now remain secure throughout the entire cycle. 

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