Why is My Front-Load Washer Leaking from the Door?

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Front load washing machines are the latest in decorative and convenient appliances. Many people were very happy to finally have a washer and dryer that open the same way, in the same or cooperative directions. The front-loading washer is also more decorative, providing a window of soapy spinning clothes for laundry room entertainment.

However, there is nothing entertaining about a floor of soapy water outside of sitcoms fiascos. Washers leak from time to time, this is a fact of life for any appliance that runs water. Leaks can come from the water lines, the pump, and the drain. However, leaks from the door are unique and that’s what we’re here to talk about today. If the water is running down the front of your washer instead of leaking from the back or near the floor, this is likely a door leak and most likely has to do with the door seal, also called a boot.    

Obstruction in the Door Seal

The first thing to check for if there is anything obstructing the door seal. This is particularly common when small items like socks or underwear get stuck inside the inner folds of the boot gasket. There are many different ways to obstruct the front-loading washer door. One of the most common is that the flappy flange part of the seal is folded and caught when the door is closed. Look for small items that may have wedged in the door to keep it from sealing even though it is latched.

The door seal can be obstructed by clothing, the trash that fell out of pockets, by grime, and even by the folded door seal itself. If you find an obstruction and clear it, there’s a good chance that your washer door will stop leaking. 

Damaged or Flawed Door Seal

The next problem could be that your door seal boot is damaged. The large folded rubber aperture that is the gasket needs to be in top condition for it to form a seal. If the boot is damaged, then it can’t form a seal and it might be creating an increasingly voluminous leaking problem. Inspect your door seal very carefully. Look for rippling or tears where the boot might not form a soft seal like it’s supposed to. Look for signs that the boot is shriveled or dried up, as this can happen to rubber items over time and also hinders the seal. If your door seal is damaged, you’ll need to pull it out and replace it. The good news is that replacing a gasket is not a difficult repair. With a slot screwdriver, you can release the clips on the inside of the gasket’s connection to the inner door. From there, you can pull out the gasket and install the new one using the same clips. 

Punctured Door Seal

Replacing your door gasket is the best way to fix a damaged seal. However, some damage can be at least temporarily repaired with an alternate method. If you find that a loose earring or carpentry screw has punctured a small hole or rip in the gasket, a very small compromise of the material that does not run all the way around or over a large area of the material, it can be patched.

Get yourself a tire or raft rubber repair kit. A large rubber patch laid over a small hole or rip in the gasket and sealed with the correct glue can serve as at least a temporary fix to an otherwise long-term problem. The patch can stop your gasket from leaking for the time being. This is the best possible way to get your washing machine functioning temporarily while you wait for your replacement gasket to arrive from being ordered. This way, you can do a few leak-free loads of laundry until the full repair can be completed. 

Grime on the Door Seal

Another type of obstruction of your door seal is nearly invisible: grime. From laundry soap to excessive mud, certain types of grime can build up on the surface of your door seal. As you know, the texture of the rubber is essential to form the seal. If there are small particles or a slippery or sticky contaminant on the surface of your gasket, then the rubber won’t be able to seal to the inner door pocket. Run your hand along the connecting surface of your seal. If it doesn’t feel like clean rubber, wash that seal thoroughly. Clean it with mild dish detergent, warm water, and/or a surface cleaner. Scrub until you can feel grit-free clean rubber with a touch. Don’t worry about damaging the rubber, a scrubbing sponge surface should not be able to make any difference other than to get your gasket clean. 

Leaking Soap Dispenser

The last thing to check is to confirm that your door is the problem at all. If, after a thorough investigation, you find that there is nothing wrong with your gasket and the seal is reasonably clean, then look to your soap dispenser. Sometimes, the front of your washer gets coated in water residue or soap scum, it could be coming from the soap dispenser instead. Sometimes, if there’s a backup or overflow of the soap system, water will spill from underneath the control panel where the soap dispenser is located and spill over the top of the door.

This can make it look as though your door is leaking when really it’s a soap dispenser issue.  To fix this, you may need to remove the soap dispenser, clean out any clogged old soap and apply a line of silicone sealant around any gaps in the soap dispenser or housing.

—If your front-load washer is leaking from the door, or appears to be leaking from the door, we can help. We’ll happily talk about how to change out the gasket or change out that gasket for you if appliance repair isn’t your cup of tea. Contact us today to consult on your washer repair needs. We’ll be glad to get your washer back in working order.

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