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Explainer Refrigerators

Flip your fridge, washing machine or dryer door for easier access

Many models of refrigerators, washers and dryers are made so that the door can be opened from either side. The process is simple.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

In small spaces, how your fridge, washing machine or dryer door opens can either mean easy access or aggravation.

Luckily, many large appliances are made so that the door can be opened from either side. The switching is simple, and all you need is a screwdriver or a No. 2 square bit driver.

Does your refrigerator, washing machine or dryer have an adjustable door?

With any of these appliances, checking to make sure the door is adjustable is pretty easy. On washers and dryers, simply open the door and take a look at the inside. If they have two latches, one on each side of the appliance opening, then it is adjustable.

Some dryers may have a latch on one side and a hole with a rubber covering over it or just, well, a hole. This is OK. The dryer is still adjustable.

You can also check the appliance specs on the manufacturer's website to confirm whether it is adjustable. The Electrolux EFLW427UIW washer's manufacturer specs clearly state that the door can be switched.

Fridges are just as easy to identify. Open the door to the fridge and look for rubber plugs or a group of screws along the edge of the door opening. There should be a group of two or three screws or plugs at the top of the opening and at the bottom, if the door is adjustable.

How to flip a fridge door

Flipping a fridge door takes just a few minutes for most models. All you need are a screwdriver and a flip. You'll probably also need an extra set of hands to help.

  1. Remove the hole plugs or screws from the side of the door opening where the door isn't currently hinged.
  2. Unscrew the door hinges from the fridge.
  3. Flip the door over so that the hinge is on the other side.
  4. Screw the hinges to the holes on the other side of the door opening.
  5. Do all of these steps for the freezer door.

Note: This may make your refrigerator's logo upside-down. Also, this won't work on side-by-side fridges.

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If you flip your fridge door, you'll need to flip the freezer door too.

Chris Monroe/CNET

How to flip a washing machine door

If you have a front-loading washing machine, follow these steps to flip your door.

  1. Turn off and unplug your washing machine. 
  2. Open the washer door all the way to show the four hinge screws. Remove them with a No. 2 square bit driver.
  3. Remove the terminal cap from the hinge plate.
  4. Separate the wiring harness from the terminal cap.
  5. Remove the door lock screws, pull the lock out through the opening and remove the wiring harness.
  6. Switch the hole cover to the other side of the washer.
  7. Connect the door lock to the yellow wiring harness on the other side of the washer.
  8. Feed the door lock into the washer panel and install it with two of the screws you saved from earlier. 
  9. Remove the nine screws on the inside of the washer door and lift up the inner door section from the rest of the washer door.
  10. Pick up the glass and rotate it 180 degrees, making sure the glass lines up with the tabs in the door. 
  11. Reattach the inner door and reinstall the nine screws to secure the door.
  12. Connect the black terminal cap to the yellow wiring harness on the other side of the washer and connect the terminal cap to the hinge plate. 
  13. Reattach the hinge plate to the washer and test it to make sure it's opening and closing correctly. Run a test wash cycle to make sure the door lock engages and doesn't open mid-cycle.

Check out the gallery below for step-by-step directions with photos.

How to flip a dryer door

Flipping a dryer door is a bit easier than a washing machine door. Here is how most dryers with glass-front doors on the market can be flipped. The process is even easier if you have a solid metal door.

  1. Take the two screws out of the hinge that connects the door to the dryer. 
  2. Remove the door and take it to a flat work area. The floor is always a good choice.
  3. Remove the screws from the outer casing and pull the casing apart. 
  4. Pull the glass casing loose (the black thing in the GIF, below) and rotate it 180 degrees. 
  5. Put the casing back in place. 
  6. Remove the hinge from inside of the door by removing its screws.
  7. Place the hinge on the opposite side of the door and finger tighten screws into the holes. 
  8. Tighten the screws with a screwdriver.
  9. Replace the outer casing, finger tighten the screws and then tighten the screws with a screwdriver.
  10. On the dryer, remove the rubber screw hole plugs by the new latch by prying them out with a flathead screwdriver. 
  11. Move them to the other side and pop them in.
  12. If your dryer only has an empty square hole on the other side and no latch, remove the latch by prying it out of the hole using a flathead screwdriver. It should just pop out and pop into the new hole.

Do a 180 to flip your dryer door.

Alina Bradford/CNET

Note: If your dryer door doesn't have a window you can skip from step one to steps 6, 7, 8, 10, 11 and 12, in that order. 

Finishing up

Once you're done, give your fridge, washer or dryer door a swing. If it seems like it's a bit wobbly, tighten the screws of the hinge a little more. Also, close your washer and dryer door and turn it on for a few seconds. If the appliance doesn't turn on, you may need to pop the latch out and pop it back into the hole again. 

If everything seems in working order, you're done!

Editors' note: This article was originally published Nov. 2, 2015, and has been updated.

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