4 Common Reasons Why Dishwasher Door Is Not Closing Properly

When it comes to dishwashers, all it takes is a button or two to get it started. However, the machine won’t start if the door isn’t properly shut. As a homeowner, you may someday discover your dishwasher door not closing, or even worse, that it doesn’t stay closed despite your best efforts.

A dishwasher door will not close properly if the plastic tub misaligned or is not installed correctly, or if the door latch has malfunctioned. You’ll face the same problem if the top or bottom racks inside aren’t set correctly or if the door striker is misaligned.

The dishwasher door will not close properly on not closing at all due to:

Thankfully, the possible reasons behind a dishwasher door that won’t close are pretty straightforward. As a result, fixing the root cause also tends to be just as easy to do. In this article, we’re going to explore those common reasons and their solutions as well.

Dishwasher Installed Not Correctly Or Tub Misaligned

What it is: For a dishwasher to function correctly, the machine must be installed correctly. That means it must be on a level surface without tilting towards the front, back, or sides.

While that’s true for all dishwashers in general, you’ll find that dishwashers with plastic tubs (instead of stainless steel ones) tend to be more sensitive towards a wrongful installation.

Why it fails: When a dishwasher isn’t installed correctly, the chances are high that you’ll experience some problems with it.

Two common problems with a misaligned dishwasher are problems with water flow, and as you might’ve guessed, problems with shutting the door correctly.

Besides that, a correctly installed dishwasher may also face problems after many years of being in use.

Over an extended period, the dishwasher door may shift gradually and fail to close correctly.

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That tends to happen due to how the plastic tub expands and contracts from being exposed to the hot water inside when washing dishes.

How to fix: Suppose the washing machine is new, but you’ve installed it incorrectly. If that’s the case, the first thing you’ll want to do is remove it from its location in your kitchen.

To do this, you’ll need to disconnect it from its power and water supplies first to prevent any risk of injury or electrocution.

Then, you can clear the floor underneath it and ensure that the surface isn’t tilted for whatever reason.

To be absolutely sure, use something like a level to check that the floor is perfectly flat. Then, you can place the dishwasher back in its spot.

However, if the problem is that the door has shifted, then all you’ll need to do is adjust the door back to its original position.

That might require some simple tools like a screwdriver or wrench to ensure that the dishwasher door hinge is tightened and returned to its original position.

Door Latch Malfunctioned

What it is: The door latch on your dishwasher is almost like any other latch in your home. Its job is to keep the door shut once you’ve closed it. The ones on a dishwasher, however, have a bit more functionality than that.

Your dishwasher brand and model might have an electrical door latch. Besides locking the door automatically once the dishwasher has started its washing cycle, it may also detect whether or not the door is indeed shut properly.

Dishwasher door latch malfunctioned

If it detects that the door is open or left ajar, it may prevent the machine from starting its washing cycle. Some dishwashers do that as a protective measure to prevent any damage or injury.

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Why it fails: Being an electrical component, a dishwasher door latch could malfunction over time. If the machine has been in use for a long time, it’s possible that the door latch may have just worn out.

Besides that, it’s also possible that the door latch has become damaged from the door being closed too hard, too often.

Whatever the case might be, a malfunctioned dishwasher door latch can prevent the door from closing properly, and as a result, it’ll also prevent the machine from starting a wash cycle.

How to fix: Replacing a dishwasher door latch can be either straightforward or complicated, depending on the design of your particular model.

Regardless of what brand or model you have, however, you’ll find the latch behind the inner door panel where the door comes into contact with the rest of the machine.

Before you begin, please disconnect the power and water supply from the dishwasher. This will prevent any risk of injury or electrocution, and allow you to work safely without any problems.

Here’s where it can get challenging: depending on the brand and model, accessing that door latch to replace it can be very difficult.

Some models will require you to remove the entire control panel because the door latch is inside the same housing. Others might require you to open an access panel before you can get to the door latch.

Please refer to the user manual or technical sheets to know what’s the best way for you to access the door latch on your dishwasher model.

Once you’ve done that, all you need to do is unscrew the latch and remove its electrical connector.

Then, put in the new latch and screw it into place before reconnecting the electrical connector the same way as before.

With the new door latch in place, work backwards and replace any access panels or the control panel which you may have removed previously.

Dishwasher Top Or Bottom Racks Doesn’t Set Properly

What it is: One of the most important things to understand is that your dishwasher is, in its own way, a well-engineered precision machine. 

For example, the inside of the machine is designed to fit as many plates and utensils as possible in a very small space. Still, it does so while ensuring that every piece can receive a thorough wash each time.

Part of what makes a dishwasher so effective is how the top and bottom racks fit inside the appliance. If anything was to make those racks fit incorrectly, that could cause problems with using the machine.

Why it fails: With that much precision, it’s quite possible that the dishwasher door will not close properly if one or both of those racks aren’t set properly.

Even if either of those racks was to stick out by just an inch, that would be enough to prevent the machine’s door from closing fully.

As the machine senses that the door isn’t closed, it’ll prevent any washing operations from starting to prevent any risk of damage or injury.

How to fix: To be safe, always disconnect the machine from its power and water supply before you start working on it. That will reduce any risk of injury or electrocution and allow you to work safely.

Let’s suppose your dishwasher racks don’t set properly. If that’s the case, then the best thing you can do is start over from scratch.

Keep your user manual and any technical sheets readily available so that you can refer to them as needed.

What you’ll want to do is remove the top and bottom racks before following the instructions on how to reinstall them correctly.

While the racks are removed, be sure to inspect the support rails inside to ensure that there are no foreign objects that might prevent the racks from setting correctly.

While referring to the instruction manual, place the racks back inside the dishwasher. Some models may allow you to adjust the height of each rack to suit your needs.

Door Striker Misaligned

What it is: The dishwasher door striker is what gives the door latch a place to sink into. When both of them are correctly aligned and work properly, they’ll help the door form a tight fit that won’t move unless you deliberately opened the dishwasher door.

Why it fails: For the door striker to work correctly, it must be perfectly aligned with the door latch. Only when these two parts are able to work in tandem can the dishwasher door stay closed.

More importantly, the door striker helps to keep the door shut the entire time, allowing for the washing cycle to finish entirely.

How to fix: Always begin your repairs by disconnecting the power supply to the dishwasher. That will reduce the risk of injury or electrocution.

The door striker is typically found in the centre, right where the door meets the appliance’s body.

With the door open, you’ll be able to inspect the door striker up close to check for any misalignments or other problems.

To remove it, you’ll need to remove the screws or bolts that hold it in place on the mounting pins.

Once the door striker is freed, removing it becomes much more straightforward through the slot that holds it in place.

Then, take the new door striker and slide it back in the same way as the old one. You’ll then screw or bolt it down to the mounting pins.

Check that it’s aligned correctly with the door by closing and opening it a few times, ensuring that the door forms a tight seal all around.

Reader Comments (6)

  1. Before you do anything drastic….

    My KitchenAid dishwasher door was not closing properly; I assumed it needed a new latch. I was on hands and knees looking for the model number on the inside of the machine when I looked up and saw a screw hanging loose–clearly preventing the door from closing. One minute and five turns of a screwdriver later, the problem was solved!

  2. The GE dishwasher support site had a simple suggestion that also worked for our Bosch dishwasher. Because this approach solved the problem, it appears that the door had become only slightly out of alignment. The solution was to open the door partway – I opened it about 30 degrees – then I pulled up on the door and pushed the entire door back towards the unit. I did not perceive that the door moved at all, nor did I hear any click or other audible result. However, this fixed the problem – the door now closes correctly and tightly as it has for the past 10 years.

  3. I removed the top portion of the door and examined the latch assembly. it does make contact but the latch itself stays in the open position and will not spring back as it should. I am able to manually open it and the machine will work. Obviously this is not a viable fix! Is there a way to lubricate or align the latch to work properly? Thank you.

  4. My Frigidaire dishwasher door is latched so I can’t close the door tight. Washer will not turn off because I can’t close the door completely.


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