Fabric softener works by coating clothes in a layer of lubricant that reduces friction and makes them feel softer, typically added during the rinse cycle of your washing machine.
A fabric conditioner dispenser typically looks like a cup with a lid, located near the corner of your washer. You can manually add fabric conditioner or press a button on your machine.
Table of Contents
1. Check the Water Inlet Hoses
Fabric softener dispensers are an indispensable feature in washing machines, as they quickly and evenly disburse fabric softener throughout a load of laundry. Unfortunately, however, certain issues may cause this dispenser to cease working correctly and cause it to stop dispensing fabric softener as intended.
Fabric softener dispensers frequently become clogged up with residue from washed loads of fabric softener. This often happens because some of the liquid dries and cakes in place in the dispenser after its cycle has run its course; should this occur, cleaning will need to be conducted on it in order to make it usable again.
Unclog your fabric softener dispenser by running several rinse cycles with warm water – using warmer temperature water may help loosen any build-up in your dispenser, or try mixing hot water and laundry detergent to flush out your dispenser completely.
If the dispenser still isn’t draining as expected, it could be that your washer’s water supply has become blocked with debris or blockages. A buildup of sediment in the water supply can reduce washing machine water pressure and make fabric softener less efficient at passing through its valves. In such instances, detach both hot and cold water hoses at the back of your machine to expose each of its valve screens; remove each one, run under a faucet, then clean under them to clear away any accumulated sediment or buildup that may have formed on them over time.
Add fabric softener manually into your washing machine as an alternative method. If you own a container to house fabric softener, fill it up to just below its max line before placing it in its designated compartment on your washer. Or add fabric softener during final rinse cycle if your model allows this feature – check your washer owner manual for specific instructions on this matter.
There are accessories designed for older washers that attach directly to the top of the agitator to hold fabric softener – these can be an inexpensive solution if you don’t wish to clean out your dispenser every time!
2. Clean the Dispenser Drawer
If the water hoses are clear and the washer is receiving enough water but fabric softener still doesn’t dispensing properly, this could be caused by an issue with its dispenser. This is a very common problem among older washers but easy to resolve.
Your fabric softener dispenser drawer and inserts can be removed by pressing a release lever, squeezing side tabs or simply lifting it out (this method varies by make and model). Once taken off the shelf, rinse under hot tap water to eliminate gunky build-up; use a small brush if necessary to scrub hard-to-reach areas; alternatively you could soak your dispenser in warm water for 10 minutes in a bucket to loosen built-up residue.
Once your dispenser has been rinsed thoroughly, use a clean cloth to wipe down its interior to remove any leftover soap scum or residue. If there are any areas not fully wiped down with cloth alone, try using an old toothbrush instead to reach harder-to-reach spots. When complete, insert it back into your washer for use!
Some models of washing machines require you to add fabric softener directly to the drum before beginning a wash cycle, while others have dedicated fabric softener dispensers that you must carefully add fabric softener at specific points during each cycle. With top-load washers without dedicated fabric softener dispensers, however, care must be taken not to add it either too soon or too late in order to avoid damaging fabric fibers and ensure optimal wash cycle results.
If you’re uncertain which type of washer you have, consult its user manual or look online for guidance on adding fabric softener correctly. If neither exist, simply look them up online!
Those with front-load washers will appreciate knowing about a product called the Downey ball that allows you to add fabric softener during the rinse cycle of their load of laundry. Available at many major retailers and easy to use – its instructions provide step by step guidance for when and how much fabric softener to add for each load of laundry.
3. Check the Water Level
Fabric softener should be added at just the right time and in just the right quantity to your washing machine for maximum effect. Too early could result in staining on clothes while too late can leave them less soft than they could be – however there are easy solutions available to you to remedy this situation without having to rewash everything!
Step one is to check your water level. If fabric softener isn’t dispensing as you expect, there may be a blockage in its delivery – this can be caused by anything from clogged dispenser draw to deflected water flow; therefore you will likely need to clean out your dispenser to address this issue.
To do this, first open and remove your dispenser from your washer by releasing its lock button on either side or back of it. Next, flush it with warm water by scrubbing with a sponge or toothbrush – this should help clear any fabric softener residue that has clogged its drain holes – before replacing it into your machine again.
If your fabric softener is not draining properly, there could be an issue with your washing machine’s drainage system. This could be caused by overloading or having an unclog dispenser; to rectify this situation, please follow the instructions in your washer manual or product packaging to drain your fabric softener and solve this problem.
Fabric softeners may seem appealing, but their use does not actually benefit your clothes or your washing machine. In fact, fabric softeners may actually damage fabrics by decreasing their ability to absorb water – not only is their use harmful for the environment; so if you want your clothes smelling and feeling great consider finding alternative solutions such as the Downy ball which releases softener during your rinse cycle of laundry.
4. Clean the Drain Holes
Some washing machines come equipped with fabric softener dispensers and settings that enable users to dispense product during the rinse cycle – often known as deep rinse or power rinse settings. Once you complete a wash cycle and drain out any leftover water from it, your machine can then fill its tub with fabric softener before dispensing and spreading it throughout your clothes as part of its rinse cycle. Even without such features onboard, however, manual addition of liquid or powder fabric softeners during this stage is still a valid method of achieving similar results!
When using scented fabric softener, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s recommendations as too much can actually make your clothes lose their scent and become less absorbent and likely to hold onto stains. Moreover, too much fabric softener may even prevent absorbency – potentially leaving behind spots.
Fabric softeners that don’t absorb properly may leave residue on your clothes, leading to rough and clingy garments. Furthermore, an excess build-up in your washer could clog its drain holes and leave your fabrics feeling rougher than ever.
To avoid this situation, it is crucial that fabric softener dispensers are regularly maintained. You can do this by running your washer through multiple rinse cycles with warm rinse settings each time and pouring hot, sudsy water into the dispenser after each cycle rinse – this will help break down and dissolve any buildup of gunk that has collected in it.
Remove the dispenser from its washer by detaching it using various techniques; these may include pressing a release lever, squeezing side tabs or simply lifting out. After doing this, look above where it would normally sit to find small lines of holes that have become blocked with hardened fabric softener residue – these holes should be unblocked using cocktail sticks pushed gently through each of these holes to free them up.
Once your dispenser is clean and in working condition, refill it with the correct amount of fabric softener liquid and install it back in your washing machine. If your clothes do not smell as fresh or feel as soft after laundering, check your dryer; if dispensing issues remain unsolved it could have an improper drive belt that prevents its ability to rotate freely and evenly distribute detergent, bleach, and fabric softener evenly around its drum.