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The idea is to lift up on the part of the latch that is fixed to the body of the washer. The door part of the latch slides under this peice. If the handle mechanism is broken, it will not depres the door part of the latch to allow it to open. therefore, we have to pickup the latch part fixed to the body.
To get the door open, take a clothes hanger and cut off a 12" peice with a pair of pliers. Bend the last 1.25" at 90 degress angle. Make another bend about 4 " from that to make another 90 degree angle. This will give you leverage. Insert the first bent end between the top of the door and the counter. Rotate it so that the end is facing down. Feel for a metal plate. When you hit the plate with the probe, turn your hanger so that it lifts up the plate and simultaneously pull on the door handle. The door should come open.
Now you have to get the handle repaired, but at least you know how to open the door.
This model has a problem where the handle must be depressed fully upwards to allow the latch to clear completely without straining the mechanism. The lip on which you pull open the door gives the operator a better handhold to force it open even when the mechanism is not fully depressed. Do this enough times, and the plastic tabs on the handle begin to fatigue and eventually break. The handle becomes lodged but can be forced down to eventually open the washer. By this time, a specific portion of the latch that depresses a micro-switch will most likely be broken, and the washer won't turn off if the door becomes ajar. Remove the torque screws along the inside perimeter of the door and you can spread the face panel open to access the latch unit for replacement.
You will have to remove the mounting screws holding the dishwasher in place. Then pull the dishwasher out of the space a couple inches. You can then activate the door catch from the top to open the dishwasher. Once you have it open, You will have to open the control panel by removing the 6 screws across the top inside of the door. You can then examine the door latch assembly to find out what part is at fault.
To open this latch, the handle works as a lever to push inward when you push up on the handle. If your handle if broken, it has probably ceased to work as a lever (the pivot pins have likely broken). You want to push in on the handle to open the latch, ideally toward the bottom of the handle opening. Once you get the latch open, you'll likely want to order a replacement (here is one source : http://www.repairclinic.com/PartDetail/Door-Latch/W10130694/1266678 ). Remember to turn off the power to the dishwasher, and you'll need a star head driver to remove the screws from the inside of the door to access and replace the latch.
The plastic latch release inside the door handle is broken. Most likely one of the pins holding it in place has broken.
First go to your local dishwasher supplier and look at a similar brand (GE Profile in my case) and see how the mechanism works. Next, get a thin pair of siccors, pull the dishwasher handle down and slid the siccors into the opening above the handel and push the tab holding the door closed up so it will release.
Once the door is open, remove the inside of the door to get to the latch. Remove the plastic latch release and order a new one.
Call Marcone Supplies, Tampa Florida. (they are Danbys Supplier for parts.) DO NOT WASTE YOUR TYIME CALLING DANBY. They are not helpful. Danby 18" Dishwasher. Model # DDW 180 2W Parts 800-482-6022. Marcone:Very helpful. My door is open; thank goodness; it just will not stay closed. Latch broken on door. I have to order the "whole handle assembly" (all one piece which includes the door handle latch too.) $4.16 shipping from PA. I am in Calif. Total $12.53. 2 screws. Easy. I can do it, I know I can. (Signed, a woman in LA!)