How to Unlock a Washing Machine Door

Washing machine safety locks are essential for protecting against risks, from leaking and flooding to curious children and a host of other hazards.

So, it’s important to know how to use the safety lock, and how to unlatch it during an emergency.

In this guide, RDO’s home appliance experts explain how to open a washing machine lock mid-cycle, and how safety locks work.

Washing Machine Door Won’t Open? Here’s Why:

There can be several reasons why a washing machine door won't open. Possible causes include:

  • Safety Lock: Many modern washing machines have a safety lock feature that prevents the door from opening while the machine is in operation.
  • Power Failure: A power outage or interruption during the washing cycle may cause the washing machine to stop functioning as intended.
  • Mechanical Issue: There could be a mechanical problem with the door latch or lock mechanism, such as becoming jammed, misaligned or broken, and preventing the door from opening.
  • Water Hazard: If water remains inside the washing machine, some models keep the door locked with a safety feature to prevent flooding.
  • Control Panel Malfunction: In some cases, a malfunctioning control panel or electronic component can cause the door to remain locked.

How To Unlock Your Washing Machine Door

Here are several methods to unlock your washing machine door in an emergency:

  • Safety Lock: Make sure the washing cycle has been completed, then wait a few minutes to allow any internal safety mechanisms to disengage. Check for any error codes on the display panel and follow the manufacturer's instructions for clearing them. Once the machine is no longer active, try opening the door.
  • Power Failure: If there is a power outage or interruption, try restoring power to the washing machine. Plug it back into a working power outlet and switch it on. The machine may automatically unlock the door once power is restored. If not, follow the steps for disengaging the safety lock, above.
  • Mechanical Issue: If you suspect a mechanical problem with the door latch or lock mechanism, it's best to contact the manufacturer or a professional technician for guidance. They can provide specific instructions for the make and model of your machine and may need to repair or replace faulty parts.
  • Water Remaining Inside: If you suspect that water is preventing the door from unlocking, check for any visible water inside the machine or drainage issues. If there is water present, follow the manufacturer's instructions for draining the drum (either using a built-in drain cycle setting, or a drain hose or drain pump filter). Once the water is removed, the door should unlock.
  • Control Panel Malfunction: To reset the control panel, unplug the washing machine from the power source. Leave it unplugged for a few minutes to allow any residual power to dissipate. Then, plug it back in and try opening the door. If the control panel continues to malfunction or the door remains locked, consult the manufacturer's manual or contact a professional technician for further assistance.

Opening a Washing Machine Mid-Cycle

While opening a washing machine mid-cycle isn’t encouraged, sometimes you may need to get inside if you suspect there’s a potential hazard. To safely stop the cycle and open the machine, follow these steps:

  • Pause or cancel the cycle: Look for a "Pause" or "Cancel" button on the control panel. Press this button to stop the cycle and pause the machine's operation. Some machines may have a separate "Door" or "Unlock" button specifically for unlocking the door.
  • Wait for the water to drain (if full): If the washing machine is filled with water, it's important to allow the water to drain before attempting to open the door. Some machines have a drain cycle that can be activated. Wait for the water to drain completely, which may take a few minutes.
  • Turn off the machine: If pausing or cancelling the cycle doesn't unlock the door, try turning off the washing machine by unplugging it from the power source. Leave it unplugged for a few minutes to allow any residual power to dissipate.
  • Use the emergency door release (if available): Some washing machine models have an emergency door release feature. This is usually a cord or lever located near the door or inside the detergent compartment. Check your machine's user manual to find out how to access it. Pulling the emergency release should manually unlock the door.
  • Contact customer support: If none of the above steps solve the issue, or if you're unsure about attempting them, it's best to contact the manufacturer's customer support or consult the user manual for specific instructions. They can provide unique guidance for your make and model.

What Is a Washing Machine Safety Lock?

If your washing machine won’t open, it may be down to the safety lock feature. So, how does this feature work and how can you unlock the machine?

A washing machine safety lock is a feature designed to prevent users from accidentally starting or tampering with a washing machine's operation.

It typically involves a locking mechanism that restricts access to the machine's controls and prevents any changes to the wash settings once a cycle has started.

This feature provides peace of mind to parents or guardians, making sure children cannot accidentally activate the machine or interrupt the washing process. It also protects the elderly or frail against risks associated with leaking water and potential slipping hazards.

To activate or deactivate the safety lock, a specific action or code – such as pressing a combination of buttons or holding a designated key – is typically required.


Washing Machine Safety Locks – Keeping Children Safe

One of the most common risks associated with washing machines is the dangers they present to children. Here, we explain the importance of safety locks in preventing these potential risks:

  • Playing Inside the Drum: As extreme as it may sound, there is a real risk of children climbing inside the washing machine drum and even getting stuck if left unattended near an unlocked machine.
  • Chemical Exposure: Laundry detergents and other cleaning agents used in washing machines can be toxic if ingested by children. If a child is able to open the detergent compartment, they could be exposed to harmful or toxic chemicals.
  • Tipping Hazards: Climbing on or hanging from an unbalanced or open washing machine door can cause the machine to tip over and potentially cause serious injury.
  • Pinch Points: Moving parts, such as the door or control panel, can pose pinch hazards to fingers or hands if left unlocked.

Types of Washing Machine Safety Locks

There are various different washing machine safety locks, with the most common types including:

  • Button/Control Lock: This type of safety lock disables the buttons or control panel on the washing machine, preventing any changes to the settings. It typically involves a combination code of buttons or a dedicated lock button to activate and deactivate.
  • Key Lock: Some washing machines come with a physical key that is used to lock and unlock the controls. The key needs to be inserted and turned to activate or deactivate the lock.
  • Digital Lock: Modern washing machines may have a digital lock feature that requires a specific code or sequence of buttons to activate or deactivate the lock. This type is often found on machines with electronic control panels.
  • Magnetic Lock: Magnetic safety locks use a key or card that is placed on a specific area of the washing machine to activate or deactivate the lock. The magnetic field disables the controls until the key or card is removed.
  • Remote Control Lock: Some washing machines can be locked or unlocked using a remote-control device. This allows parents or guardians to secure the machine remotely for convenience.

Advantages Of a Washing Machine Safety Lock

Washing machine safety locks come with many advantages. These include:

  1. Safety: The primary advantage of a washing machine lock is enhanced safety. It prevents users from accidentally interrupting the washing cycle, or children from opening the drum or accessing the detergent compartment, reducing the risk of water damage or injury.
  2. Prevention of Accidental Changes: Locking the machine mid-cycle prevents any accidental changes to the washing settings that may potentially damage clothing.
  3. Peace of Mind: The safety lock provides peace of mind to parents or guardians that children cannot access or interfere with the washing machine's controls.
  4. Automated Safety: Safety locks are typically designed to work automatically once a cycle has started. This helps groups such as the elderly or frail – keeping them safe from leaking water or other hazards without requiring them to set the lock manually.



Need more help finding the right washing machine for you? Check out our helpful guide or chat with our appliance experts today!


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)


Q: How Do I Turn Off the Safety Lock on My Bosch Washing Machine?

A: To turn off the safety lock on your Bosch washing machine, press and hold the "Start/Pause" button for about 5 seconds until the safety lock indicator light turns off. This will disable the safety lock feature and allow you to operate the machine safely.


Q: How Does a Washing Machine Safety Lock Work?

A: Washing machine safety locks are designed to disable the control panel buttons and prevent the door from opening mid-cycle. They are typically activated once a wash cycle starts, or by pressing a specific button or combination of keys – and deactivated the same way. To find out exactly how to activate and deactivate the safety lock on your specific model, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines.


Q: Why Is My Washing Machine Showing a Lock Symbol?

A: If your washing machine is showing a lock symbol, it likely means that the safety lock feature is activated. The lock symbol indicates that the control panel buttons and settings are locked to prevent unintended operation. Refer to the user manual for specific instructions on disabling the safety lock.