When considering the maintenance requirements of your dryer, the door is often the least of your concerns. Unfortunately the dryer door latch is one of the first parts of machinery to wear down after significant use. You may struggle to close your dryer door, or perhaps the dryer door pops open in the middle of the cycle. Fortunately, repairing a dryer door is relatively simple and inexpensive.
The dryer door is more than just an entry and exit point for clothing. Modern drying machines include a safety mechanism built into the door latch system. If the door is not properly closed, the dryer will either not start or shut off to avoid running with the door open, which presents a safety hazard should anyone come into contact with the moving parts of the machine. A broken door will not permit the dryer to operate, leaving you with an effectively useless drying mechanism. Another concern is a door that opens mid-cycle. If wet clothes sit in the dryer for a length of time, they quickly develop a musty smell and must be rewashed, a process that is both inconvenient and wasteful.
The most common cause for a dryer door not closing is a broken door latch. Door latches are made of either plastic or metal, and plastic door latches are prone to snapping over time; even metal door latches are liable to bend after several uses, rendering the latch useless. If either the latch prong or catching mechanism is broken, the door will not close. Another common possibility is that the hinge mechanism is bent due to excess weight. A bent hinge means that the latch assembly will not line up properly to lock the door.
Both latch assemblies and hinge kits are available through most manufacturers. Both types of kits are relatively inexpensive and range from as low as $3 to as high as $25 in 2010, depending on the make and the material for the kit. Replacing the latch assembly or hinge is a job that a homeowner can undertake, but if you are particularly anxious about attempting to fix the dryer, the cost is likely covered under your warranty. Even if you have an expired warranty, a electrician can perform the fix for a relatively low cost.
If the problem is a bent hinge, the fix may be as simple as lifting the door into place so that the latch will catch. Tightening the latch screws may also repair a drooping door. If your door pops open during drying, or if your problem is due to a broken latch assembly, a more involved solution is necessary. One option is to place adhesive hook and loop fasteners in the top and bottom corners of the door to keep the door in place during drying.