Kenmore Washer Disabling/Bypassing a Safety Switch

Need help kind of fast.

My Kenmore Washer (circe 1994) has got a load full of clothes clothes and water in it.

As far as I can tell, everything is working fine, except for the cycles that only work when the lid is closed. The switch has dislodged. If I manually fiddle with the switch, the washer starts to work again.

I have the panel off the washer and would like to bypass that switch, mainly to finish this load, until I have time to take the washer apart to fix properly.

I have open the panel, and I think it is the gray wire according to schematic. Can I just pull it out to see if If I just pull it out of the you

In my condo I have a stacked Kenmore washer/dryer in which the safety switch broke off from the top of the washer. Probably in the same way yours has become dislodged. I just used some zip ties to hold the switch closed permanently, and let it dangle inside the washer cabinet.

This worked fine for several years, but when I moved and rented out the condo I decided it would be best to make the safety switch operational. I ordered a replacement switch for about $25, and installed the new one. No soldering or anything, and it took about 10 minutes to replace. Searching online for the model number of your washer will probably bring up links to multiple websites which sell parts. My Kenmore was manufactured by Whirlpool, and they probably used the same switch for 15 years on all of their top loaders.

Youtube has a bunch of videos on appliance repair, so you can probably find videos on how to get the cabinet off your washer. On top loaders, you often have to remove screws on the back, which let you tilt the cabinet forward. You might have to bail out the water in order to move the washer. I had to do that. Fortunately for me the washer was in the bathroom, so I could put the wet, soapy clothes in the bathtub while I fixed the washer.

There has to be at least two wires connecting to the switch. If there are only two, then you can just jumper them together with a wire. Either it will work or it won’t. If it doesn’t, and this is less likely, you just remove one of the wires.

Those wires could be at full mains voltage so obviously have the junk unplugged when you monkey with them. Also make sure there is no way for the jumper wire to contact the washer body.

I got it, I think.

I got the washer shell disconnected and could access the switch. I am pretty sure the switch works but the housing for the screws has busted, both of them . I forced the switch to the on position with garbage bag ties.

I will order a new switch and install later on. I guess I should clean the washer innards before I put it back together. {sigh}

Yes, that is exactly what happened to mine. Save the screws, the replacement part doesn’t come with them. Or like me, you’ll have to make a special trip to the hardware store for $.38 of screws.

The OP is going to fix the switch so not an issue, but for the benefit of anyone else reading this thread, make sure you don’t leave the safety switch disabled. I remember a news story from a few years ago where a kid opened up a washer with the safety switch disabled and stuck his hand in while it was on the spin cycle. It tore his arm off at the elbow.

Indeed. I seem to recall a Mythbusters episode where they destroy Buster pretty well by standing him up in a washer on the spin cycle. That is why there was no way I was going to take the liability of renting out my condo without the safety switch in place. It’s a cheap and easy fix.


For that matter, NEVER stick your hand/arm in the washer or dryer while they are still spinning even if the safety switch is working. Wait until it totally stops. Even with the motor off just the mass of stuff still moving has enough force to do damage. I recall hearing of a lady who stuck her arm in a still spinning dryer. Ripped her arm off too, at the shoulder IIRC.