The direction that your laundry machine doors open seems trivial – right up until it isn’t. Nothing is more frustrating than a dryer door that opens the wrong direction, against the washer, or into the path. There are many reasons why you might have a preference for which way your dryer opens. Normally, this is defined by the arrangement of your laundry room and ideally, your dryer will open toward the washer so it’s easy to load in the correct order. Dryer doors that open in the wrong direction are frustrating, but you have options.
Most people don’t know this, but your dryer door (among other appliance doors) can be reversed. If you look closely, there is very likely an opposite slot and matching screw-holes for all the door elements. These slots are often covered with plain same-color plastic caps to hide the gaps when the door is arranged to the left or to the right.
If you’re fed up with your dryer door opening the wrong way, you can fix it. All you need is a couple of screwdrivers, a pair of pliers, and about fifteen minutes.
These instructions apply to most dryer designs but it can vary by model and brand.
Gather Your Tools
It helps to have all your tools ahead of time. Fortunately, this process is very simple and shouldn’t require more than the basic screwdrivers. It is possible that you may also need a hex or fallen wrench, depending on the fastener choices of your dryer manufacturer. Work gloves can keep your hands safe if sharp edges present themselves along the way.
- Phillip’s head
- Needle-Nose Pliers
- Hex or Allen Wrenches
- depending on the model
- Work Gloves
Open and Examine Your Dryer Door
Screwdrivers at the ready, open your dryer door. Take a close look at how the hinges are connected and how the door latch connects. You will very likely see a matching covered-over slot mirroring the door latch receptive mechanism. You may see other mirroring features like matching screw holes. If you don’t see complete mirroring along the outside edge of the door, we’ll explain the reason (and where the screw holes are hidden) in a few paragraphs.
Look at the door socket and examine how the door latch and hinge hardware could be reversed to fasten on the other side. You will likely see mirroring covered-over holes for the hinge attachments and a covered slot for door hardware.
Remove the Hinges and Door
Confident in the design, take your Phillips head screwdriver and remove the screws attaching the hinges to the dryer. We advise that you prop the door on a stool, on your need, or ask a friend to hold up the dryer door as you remove the hinge screws. This will help the screws to stay aligned as you remove them and prevent the door from falling on you. Remove the last screw and pull the dryer door away.
The hinges should come away from the dryer, leaving you with one complete piece with hinges attached to the dryer door. Set the screws aside carefully nearby, you’ll need them again soon.
Remove the Hinges
Spread your towel out on the floor or your work surface and place the dryer door ontop of it, hinges facing up. Now you have the angle and leverage to remove the hinges completely from the originally hinged side of the dryer door. Remove the screws securing the hinges and set them with the other screws where you can find them again soon.
Flip Your Front Panel Around
Here’s the part you may not have determined: How does the handle flip? If you didn’t see a mirroring covered slot for the handle (there often isn’t one) that’s because the entire panel flips over. Look around the outer edge of your dryer door and find the perimeter screws. Remove these screws and set them aside nearby. The inner and outer panels that comprise the dryer door should come apart. Flip the outer panel, the front panel containing the handle, so that the handle points in the other direction. You may notice that the hinge screw-holes went with it in the flip, and are matched on the inner panel.
Return the perimeter screws and you have officially begun reversing your dryer door.
Attach the Hinges to the Opposite Side
Now reinstall the hinges. Align them with the new screw holes opposite the door handle. Make sure they face the correct direction so they will fasten to the dryer and the door will close when installed. This usually means the hinge bar is facing outward, toward the handled front. Attach the hinge mounting screws and tighten them firmly. No need to over-tighten, as this can warp the lightweight metal.
Switch the Door Latch and Matching Cover
The final step is to switch the door latch hardware. Remove the plastic cover on the opposite side of the current door latch with the slotted screwdriver. Use a pair of pliers to pinch the latch catching mechanism and remove it from the current slot. You may also need to use your flat-head screwdriver to help pry the latch mechanism out of place. Wrap your metal-ended tools in tape to protect the door enamel.
Fit the now-free spring latch in one side at a time into the opposite slot and let it expand into place. Then place the plastic cover on the now-empty slot.
Attach the Door to the Opposite Side
Look to the hinge mounts you’re about to use – opposite of the previous hinge location on the dryer. You will likely find four to eight holes covered in small plastic covers. Remove each cover with your fingernail or the slot screwdriver and put them into the opposite holes.
Have a friend hold your door up (or prop it on a stool or your knee) and finger-tighten the first two or three screws. Then the door will be stable and aligned enough to attach and tighten the rest of the screws. Fasten them securely but avoid over-tightening so as not to warp the light metal.
Test Your Success
Now it’s time to step back and admire your work. Open and close the door. See if it is well aligned and if it sticks closed. Test to see if the dryer starts when the door is closed. Swing the door wide and find out if it swings itself shut. If it does swing itself shut (or open), then test the level and balance the length of the screw-out dryer feet.
If all tests well, give yourself a pat on the back. Not only have you just tackled a great work of appliance repair – you’ve also fixed a critical flow issue in your laundry room. You can enjoy this achievement every day when the dryer opens the right way.
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