How To Bypass A Lid Lock On A Whirlpool Washer

Ossiana Tepfenhart
by Ossiana Tepfenhart

Whirlpool washing machines are fully decked out with tons of safety amenities, and that includes small details like lid locks. A lid lock is a mechanism that prevents you from opening up the door on the washer’s top when the machine is running. This prevents people from getting injured, but there will be moments where you will want to bypass that lid lock for one reason or another. But how?

To bypass a lid lock on a whirlpool washer, begin by unplugging your washer and let it cool down for 10 minutes. Next, open the top panel, and place a strong magnet between the lock switch and solenoid located under the panel. Replace the lid of the appliance and the lock should be bypassed.

This all sounds like a crazy endeavor, and you might even be wondering why you need to know how to do this. However, if you have a serious problem with your washing machine, then you probably should know how to take a look at your top-loading machine in action.

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What Does A Lid Lock Do?

A lid lock is a mechanism that, at the very least, prevents your machine from running in certain cycles while the lid is up. It’s a safety feature that is meant to prevent children from reaching in the washing machine since certain cycles can be fairly dangerous to little hands and arms. They are most commonly used in top-loading washers.

Unfortunately, if you need to see what’s going on in your washer during a certain cycle, the lid lock can be more of an obstacle than a blessing.

Do All New Washing Machines Have Locking Lids?

Ever since 2015, legislation mandated that all washing machines need to have locking lids as a way to prevent injury in children and adults. If your washing machine was made after 2015, then yours has a lid lock. If your machine was made before 2015, then your machine might not have one.

Does A Lid Lock Prevent Opening Up The Lid During All Cycles?

This depends from machine to machine. Some machines will have lid locks that are meant to keep the lid down during all phases of the cleaning cycles. Others don’t. The most common cycles where the lid lock will be in action include:

  • The Load Sensing Cycle. This won’t cause you much harm, but if you leave your hand in there, it may throw off the sensor’s ability to figure out the right load. As a result, most lid locks will act here.
  • The Spin Cycles. This includes rinse spinning as well as serious washing cycles. If you reach your hand in during a spin cycle, you can easily end up in some serious pain.
  • Hot Water Cycles. This is often presented as a way to prevent scalding.

What Does A Washing Machine’s Lid Lock Look Like?

In order to be able to place your magnet correctly, you need to know what the lid lock looks like. The appearance of a lid lock will vary in size and color based on the machine brand and model. However, most have a boxy look that has a couple of slats that look like a part of a door lock.

If you don’t know what your lid lock looks like, search up your machine’s model on Google plus “lid lock replacement.” This will lead you to dozens of photos of what your specific model’s lid lock will have.

When Does It Make Sense To Bypass A Lid Lock?

Personally, I enjoy the idea of looking into a top-loading washing machine while it’s at work. It’s neat. However, most people are not like me. If you believe that there’s something going on with your spin cycle and you want to check it out, it makes sense to bypass your lid lock. However, there’s a more common reason why people want to bypass the lock: forgetfulness.

Think about it. How many times have you loaded up a washing machine, dumped in some fancy detergent, and set it to spin…only to realize you left that one comforter cover out in the open. If you’ve ever wanted to stop a machine so you can load it up with another item mid-wash, you understand why you might want to make the lid lock defunct.

Is It Safe To Bypass Your Lid Lock?

“Safety” is subjective again. If you have kids who would reach their hands into the machine while it’s running, it’s not safe. Parents with children who are too curious for their own goods need to keep the lid lock intact. On the other hand, if you have a home filled with responsible adults, it should be safe.

Bypassing the lid lock is not going to cause your lid to go flying off the washing machine, if that’s what you’re worried about. It just means that lifting up the lid will be more doable during most of the phases of a wash.

Can A Washing Machine Work Without A Lid Lock?

While it might be tempting to remove the lid lock outright, you shouldn’t do this. Most machines have backup measures that make a lid lock mandatory and will shut down your machine if it detects no lock in the area. This is different than detecting a bypassed lock, by design. In other words, you could “brick” your machine by removing the lid lock. Don’t do it.

How Do You Know If You Successfully Bypassed The Lid Lock?

This is actually fairly easy to do. All you have to do is plug the machine back in and turn the machine on for a cycle. If you can successfully lift your lid off the washer, then you’ve bypassed the lid lock successfully. If not, you will need to open up the top of your washing machine again and readjust the placement of the magnet.

Do Some Washing Machines Have Specialty Override Instructions?

If you feel leery of having to open up the top of your machine to override the lid lock, you’re not alone. It can be daunting, especially if you are not used to doing machine repairs on your own. Thankfully, washing machine designers have started to listen to the complaints that people have about the lid lock issue.

It’s possible that your machine has a unique override mechanism that doesn’t involve pulling apart your machine. To find out if your machine has an override function that can be done with the push of a button, take a look at your owner’s manual. The manual will have instructions that are both easy to follow and reliable.

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Related Questions

Why is the lid lock light flashing?

With most machine models, a flashing lid lock light means that your lid lock has not moved into the “lock” position for one reason or another. This can be due to you bypassing the lid lock manually, or just having a lid lock motor that can’t be powered on. So if you want to lift up the lid while the machine is running, now would be the time.

How long does your lid lock have to stay locked after your spin cycle is done?

According to national regulations, a lid lock has to stay locked for 10 seconds after the spin cycle is done. This gives your clothes just enough time to drain. Regulators also believe that having a lid lock that stays locked for a short period of time afterward gives them leeway to ensure that the machine has actually stopped spinning.

Is bypassing the lid lock dangerous for the machine?

It depends. The “magnet technique” should be safe to use for most machines. However, anecdotal evidence suggests that using the magnets could potentially lead to electrical problems later on. To keep things on the safe side, the best thing you can do is to read your owner’s manual to see if there are any specialized override instructions you can use instead. The official override (if there is one) will be the best choice for the sake of your washer.

Ossiana Tepfenhart
Ossiana Tepfenhart

Ossiana Tepfenhart is an expert writer, focusing on interior design and general home tips. Writing is her life, and it's what she does best. Her interests include art and real estate investments.

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