How to Clean a Fabric Softener Dispenser

Fabric softener dispensers in washing machines make life so much easier. You no longer have to try and catch your machine on the rinse cycle in order to add liquid fabric softener. You no longer have to rinse your clothes a second time because you missed the rinse cycle the first time. 

You get to use liquid fabric softener. Liquid fabric softener makes your clothes feel better, smell incredible, and maintain their integrity longer. Dryer sheets can remove static but cannot replace liquid fabric softener.

With every convenience that we get, there is an inconvenience. The inconvenience of automatic fabric softener dispensers in washing machines is that you must occasionally clean the dispenser.

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Why Clean your Fabric Softener Dispenser?

The liquid fabric softener is thick, and not all of it is dispensed from the component. Small amounts will be left behind after the washer has completed the load. Over time those small amounts of softener can start to clog the dispenser and prevent it from working as efficiently as it once did.

Cleaning your dispenser ensures that this component of your machine continues to work properly.

How to Clean the Dispenser

Remove the cup container that you pour the fabric softener into. This is on the top of the agitator in the center of your machine.

Mix a Soaking Solution 

Things you will need for the soaking solution:

  • Container like a bucket or pan that is large enough to hold 1+ gallons of water
  • 1 gallon of warm water
  • ¼ cup liquid detergent
  • 1 cup of chlorinated bleach

Mix all of the ingredients in the bucket. (Plastic buckets work best for this procedure)

Place the container you removed from the agitator into the soaking solution. Allow the dispenser cup to sit in the solution for at least fifteen minutes.

When you remove the cap from the soaking solution take a soft cloth and rub the cloth over the inside of the dispenser cup. (If there are tough particles still clinging to the dispenser cup rub with firm pressure using the soft cloth. You can soak the cup longer if there are any particles that you cannot remove with the soft cloth. DO NOT use a stiff-bristled brush on this cup because you can scratch inside the cup. A scratch will make it harder to clean the next time.)

Rinse the dispenser cup using clean water. Dry it off using a soft cloth.

Replace the dispenser cup in the center of the agitator of your machine.

What to do if your dispenser cup is not removable

Not all machines have a fabric softener dispenser situated in the center on top of the agitator. Some machines have a place for you to pour the liquid into, but will not allow you to remove the dispenser cup.

You can clean these types of dispensers by mixing a solution of hot water and a liquid detergent.

Pour the water and detergent mixture into the section you are supposed to put fabric softener in.

Turn the machine on and allow it to run through a cycle. You want to set the water temperature to warm while you do this.

When the machine is finished you want to pour just clear water into the dispenser and allow the machine to run through a cycle again. Between the rinse cycles, you can pour additional clear water through the dispenser to make certain you have removed all of the soapy residues.

How to maintain your Dispenser between Cleanings

There are a few things you can do to help keep your fabric softener dispenser clean and functioning properly.

  • Liquid fabric softener manufacturers suggest that you thin the liquid with water prior to adding it to your machine. This will help to stop the liquid from becoming hardened and clogging your dispenser.
  • Once a month you should let your washing machine go through a normal cycle with no clothes. Fill the fabric softener dispenser with plain hot water, add liquid detergent to the tub of the machine and let the machine fill with water. When the machine is filled allow it to agitate just long enough to stir the detergent into the water. Stop the machine and let is stand with the soapy water in it for at least two hours. Then let the machine work through a normal cycle.

Final Thoughts

Taking the time to properly clean your fabric softener dispenser will help your machine work more efficiently, and longer. This procedure does not take very long and is recommended for all brands of washing machines.

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