The fabric softener dispenser in a top-loading or front-loading washing machine may become clogged during use. Fabric softener, soap and dirt that passes through the washing machine can clog and damage the dispenser. A clogged dispenser can eventually lead to premature damage to your washing machine. If the dispenser does not dispense fabric softener well, try cleaning it by hand by wiping it with a rag, toothbrush, or running soapy water through it.
Method 1 of 3: Finding a fabric softener dispenser
Step 1. Open the cover of the washing machine
If you have a top-loading washing machine, lift the lid as if you were going to put your laundry in the wash. The fabric softener dispenser is usually placed directly under the lid, in one corner of the machine. Depending on the design of your washing machine, the fabric softener dispenser can be found next to the detergent and bleach dispensers.
If you are unable to locate the dispenser, refer to the user manual for your washing machine. In it you will find a diagram of the location of all parts of the washing machine
Step 2. Open the front door of the washing machine
If you have a front-loading washing machine, inspect the top of the machine to access the air conditioner dispenser. Most front-loading machines have a drawer or slot to add fabric softener under the lid on the top of the machine (next to the detergent and bleach containers). If it's not there, try looking from the inside of the door.
If you are unable to locate the fabric softener dispenser, consult your washing machine user manual for the exact location of the dispenser
Step 3. Remove the dispenser
In some washing machines, the dispenser may be removable. If yours is one of them, grab the dispenser and gently pull it out of the washing machine. This will make it easier to clean. A clogged dispenser is more likely to be clogged with dirt, soap and fabric softener residues.
If the dispenser cannot be removed from the washing machine, clean it on it
Method 2 of 3: Cleaning the Dispenser Manually
Step 1. Prepare a cleaning solution
In a large bowl or bucket, combine 3.8 liters of warm water, 60 ml of liquid dish soap and 240 ml of bleach. Because bleach is abrasive and potentially hazardous, be sure to wear rubber gloves before mixing and using a cleaning solution. You may also want to wear old clothes so you don't have to worry about bleach spills on you.
If you don't have cleaning supplies in your home, you can easily find everything you need at your local grocery or hardware store
Step 2. Immerse the dispenser in the cleaning solution
Slowly immerse the dispenser in the liquid (wearing rubber gloves) to avoid spilling the bleach on yourself. Leave the dispenser for 5-10 minutes to allow the bleach and detergent solution to remove any dirt from the plastic.
Step 3. Shake the solution
Shake the bucket or bowl of solution lightly to remove dried-on dirt from the sides of the dispenser. When doing this, be careful not to get the bleach solution on your clothes or skin.
Shake the bucket once or twice in the 5-10 minutes while the dispenser is soaking. That should be enough
Step 4. Wipe the dispenser with a clean, soft cloth
Remove the dispenser from the cleaning solution (still wearing rubber gloves) and wipe it with a clean rag or cotton cloth. Remove soap and fabric softener residues and dry the dispenser with a cloth.
If the rag does not reach any areas of the dispenser, use an old toothbrush. A toothbrush will help you clean corners or other hard-to-reach areas of the dispenser
Step 5. Put the dispenser back in place
Place the cleaned dispenser back into the washing machine. If there is also dirt on the sides of the dispenser compartment, wipe it off with a cloth dampened with soapy water.
Method 3 of 3: Cleaning the Fixed Dispenser
Step 1. Fill the bucket with a solution of warm water and liquid dish soap
Pour some regular detergent into a bucket or large bowl, then fill the bowl with warm tap water.
Step 2. Pour the solution into the fabric softener dispenser
Taking care not to spill the water and detergent solution, slowly pour the liquid into the detergent and fabric softener dispenser. Then run the washing machine on a lukewarm rinse cycle to run the detergent through the machine and the fabric softener dispenser.
If your washing machine only has a cold rinse mode, turn it on. But then, before each rinse, you will have to pour hot soapy water into the dispenser. This will allow the water and detergent to remove and clear the blockage in the dispenser
Step 3. Run at least three rinses with warm water and detergent
Repeat the rinsing process at least three times so that the detergent solution can clear the dirt out of the dispenser. Remember to pour a bucket of warm water and detergent into the dispenser every time.
Wipe the inside of the dispenser with a damp cloth to remove any debris or dirt left over from cleaning with the detergent solution
Step 4. Use vinegar
Many sites recommend using a vinegar solution to clean the fabric softener dispenser. If the cleaning solution does not work well, run the vinegar solution through the dispenser to clear the blockage.