Softener Not Draining in a Washing Machine

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Most households use a liquid softener because of its ability to reduce static. It doesn't hurt that the softener usually makes clothes smell fresh and clean. Although fabric softener reaps several benefits, some issues may occur such as it not draining in the washer. Between not using the softener correctly, overloading your washing machine or having a clogged dispenser, there are a few different scenarios as to why your softener refuses to drain.

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Softener Not Draining in a Washing Machine
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Incorrect Use of Fabric Softener

If you have an older top-load washing machine that doesn't have an automatic dispenser, you must time the wash cycle right to know when to add fabric softener and use only an amount appropriate for your wash load size. Otherwise, the softener won't drain from the washtub effectively and might stain the laundry that was just washed. Review the directions on the package of the fabric softener for proper amounts to use. As soon as your washer finishes the spin cycle and transitions to rinse, open the lid and pour the fabric softener into the washtub. Snuggle recommends that you pour the softener in the middle of the washer near the agitator to avoid staining clothes.

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Avoid Overloading Your Washer

If you overload your washer with laundry, the fabric softener could get trapped between clothes and never fully dissolve or drain from the washtub during the rinse cycle. Fill a top-load washer's tub about two-thirds full, ensuring that the tub of the agitator is visible. Because a front-load washer uses less water than a top-loader, it's crucial that clothes have sufficient room to circulate and there's enough space for water, soap and softener to penetrate fabrics. If the washtub is filled to the brim, you're bound to have draining problems. Review the instruction manual that came with your washer to verify maximum wash load size.

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Check for Clogged Dispenser

Fabric softener can get clogged in an automatic dispenser's drain holes, keeping it from draining. Remove the dispenser from your washer. It should slide out after you release a locking button on the side or back of the compartment. Thoroughly clean the dispenser inside and out with warm water, scrubbing it with a sponge or old toothbrush to remove stubborn softener buildup. Before inserting the dispenser back into your washer, fill it completely with water to test its cleanness. Once filled, water should begin to empty out. If the dispenser doesn't drain, the residue is likely still obstructing its drain outlets; continue the cleaning regimen.

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Other Considerations to Know

Fabric softener drainage issues occasionally are the result of low water pressure to your washer, not a problem with the automatic dispenser. When the washer's water valve screens become blocked with sediment and debris in your water, the obstruction could diminish water pressure to your washer, preventing the softener from draining right. Turn off the main water supply valves behind the washing machine. Detach both water hoses -- hot and cold -- to expose each of two filter screens, one on each water valve. Take off the screens and run them under warm water to clean them, then reattach.

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