There are several reasons why a dryer door must stay perfectly shut for the machine to work correctly. Firstly, a closed door will seal all of the hot air within the dryer. Besides that, the dryer will automatically stop if the door pops open mid-cycle for any reason. But why would a dryer door keep popping open?
A dryer door will keep popping open if the door strike or catch is damaged or misaligned. Door hinges that are bent out of shape will also prevent the door from closing securely. Besides that, buildups of lint and dirt at the door strike, catch, or hinge from preventing the dryer door from closing fully, leading to it popping open during the drying cycle.
Let’s take a closer look at the most likely reasons your dryer door keeps popping open and what you can do about them.
An essential part responsible for keeping your dryer door closed is the door strike. This component works in tandem with the door catch, which we’ll explore in the next section. Identifying and locating the door strike is straightforward, as it’s the ‘pointy’ one among these two parts.
Depending on the design of your dryer model, the door strike is located either on the door or the front panel of the machine.
Why it fails:
When you shut the dryer door, the door strike is meant to push into the door catch to keep the door shut throughout the drying cycle. If the door strike is not in good condition for any reason, the dryer door will not remain shut.
For example, the door strike might be damaged, broken, or misaligned. In some cases, the door might appear to close like normal. However, a damaged door strike will not keep the door shut as the clothes tumble against it or as the hot air inside pushes against the door.
How to fix:
Depending on the condition of the door strike, you might be able to fix it so that it works correctly again. For instance, if it’s loose or not aligned correctly to fit into the door catch, you could tighten it or bend it back into shape with a pair of pliers.
However, a more straightforward solution would be to purchase a replacement door strike for your dryer instead.
The door strike (mentioned above) works in tandem with the door catch. The name pretty much tells you how it works: it catches the door strike when you close the dryer door. But, more importantly, it keeps the door shut throughout the dryer cycle and only opens when you pull the door open.
Depending on your dryer model, the door catch is either on the door or attached to the dryer’s front panel. When it’s correctly aligned, it will be in the door strike’s path to catch it when you shut the door.
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Why it fails:
The door catch can get broken or damaged over time as part of its regular wear and tear. That’s especially true if the dryer is used heavily, as it means the door strike will come into contact with the catch more often than usual.
When this happens, the plastic piece of the door catch could break or become misaligned. Besides that, the metal clip that ensures the catch fits firmly around the door strike can also become loose.
When that happens, the dryer door could reopen with even the tiniest bit of pressure, such as when tumbling clothes inside accidentally push against the door.
How to fix:
To fix this, you’ll need to replace the door catch entirely. Depending on its design, you might have to remove any screws keeping the catch in place. Instead of screws, some designs only require you to depress clips holding the door catch in place.
Another crucial part of the dryer door is the hinge. The dryer door hinge allows it to pivot on one edge as you open and close the door.
Dryers with doors that open from one side to the other will typically have only one door hinge. At the same time, those that open from the top towards the bottom will have two hinges instead.
Why it fails:
A common issue with dryer door hinges is that they can sometimes get bent out of shape. That happens especially when the door is pushed open far beyond its normal range of motion.
A bent door hinge will not be able to keep the dryer door closed securely. As a result, the door will likely pop open when the dryer is in operation.
How to fix:
The process for replacing a dryer’s door hinge isn’t complex, but it can be quite a labor-intensive process. To do it correctly, you’ll need to remove the dryer’s front panel altogether and place it safely on the ground.
Once there, you’ll be able to safely remove any bolts or screws that keep the door hinge in place and replace them with brand new parts. Once that’s done, you can then reattach the front panel to the dryer.
As with any kind of dryer repair, you must first disconnect the power supply to the machine before you do anything. Also, it would be wise to have a second person help you move the front panel once you’ve detached it from the dryer.
If at any point you’re unsure of doing this task yourself, it’s always best to refer to a qualified technician instead.
Lint or Debris Buildup
If you’ve owned and operated a dryer for any amount of time, you’ll understand the importance of cleaning the lint trap very frequently.
Related: Common Dryer Air Flow Problems
Typically, people do that to prevent lint and debris build ups from forming inside the vents. However, another reason for this is to protect the dryer’s door.
You see, lint or debris buildups don’t just happen in the dryer vents. They can also happen around the door, particularly at the door strike and catch described earlier.
Even if the door strike and catch are in perfect condition, a significant buildup of lint or debris could prevent them from keeping the dryer door secure throughout the drying cycle.
As a result, the dryer door is likely to pop open and interrupt the drying cycle.
What to do about it:
You’ve probably heard this many times before, but it’s worth repeating here as well. First, you must always clean your dryer’s lint traps before and after each time you use the machine. That will prevent lint from building up anywhere around the door.
Additionally, it’s also crucial that you clean the door strike, catch, and even the hinge from time to time. All you’ll need is a dry cloth or even a small brush to remove any lint or debris from these parts and prevent them from building up.
Dryer Is Incorrectly Leveled
If your dryer door keeps popping open, you might find that the front side is lower to the ground compared to the rear. That will place more pressure on the door than usual because the clothes tumbling inside are more likely to push against the dryer door and pop it open.
Of course, a door strike, catch, and hinge in good condition should still be able to prevent this from happening. However, combine any of those reasons with an incorrectly level dryer, and the problem becomes much more severe.
What to do about it:
Use a spirit level while adjusting the legs of the dryer to ensure that it’s perfectly level.
As a temporary solution, you could make the front slightly higher than the rear to reduce the likelihood of the door popping open, at least until you can replace the door part that’s damaged or worn out.