How to put Fabric Softener in a Washing Machine?

Maybe you have some clothes that are a little bit stiff and you want to soften them up before you wear them.

Or maybe your washing machine doesn’t seem to be eliminating the odor out of your clothes and you’re looking for a fabric softener that can help.

Whatever the reason, adding a fabric softener to your washing machine is a simple process.

In this post you will learn:

  • How to put fabric softeners?
  • Alternatives to fabric softeners
  • And More…

Adding a fabric softener to your wash can make a big difference in the feel and smell of your clothes.

But before you add one, it’s important to understand what they are and how they work.

How do Fabric Softeners work?

Fabric softeners are usually made from a combination of chemicals, including cationic surfactants.

These molecules attach themselves to the fabric fibers and make them feel softer.

Fabric softeners also help to reduce static cling.

If you’ve ever noticed your clothes sticking together after you take them out of the dryer, it’s because of static cling.

Static cling is caused by the build-up of static electricity on your clothes.

When you add a fabric softener to your wash, it helps to eliminate static cling.

In addition to making your clothes feel softer, fabric softeners can also make them smell fresher.

Most fabric softeners contain fragrances that are released when the clothes are being washed.

The fragrances help to mask any odors that might be on your clothes and leave them smelling clean and fresh.

Where to put fabric Softeners?

Almost all modern-day washing machines have a dedicated fabric softener compartment these days.

Simply locate the compartment and look for the relevant symbol (Usually fabric softeners have a flower symbol on them).

Here’s a diagram of the Type I & Type II Tray for your understanding.

Type I Tray

Type II Tray

As you can see the diagram above clearly shows where the fabric softeners should go.

Having said that, the fabric softener tray for the top load loader may be completely different.

Fabric Softener trays for a top load washer are usually located inside. If you can’t find it, refer to your washing machine’s manual.

Note: Not all washing machines have the same type of tray, but the overall methodology remains the same.

How to put fabric softeners in a washing machine?

Now that you know what fabric softeners are and how they work, let’s take a look at how to add them to your washing machine.

Adding a fabric softener to your wash is a simple process.

Here’s what you need to do…

Pour the fabric softener

If you are using a fully automatic washing machine, you simply need to pour the fabric softener into the dispenser drawer.

The fabric softener will be automatically dispensed into the washing machine during the wash cycle.

If you are using a Semi-Automatic or Standard washer, you will need to place the fabric softener after the main wash cycle completes.

This requires a manual effort to track the completion of the main wash cycle.

Once the main wash cycle is completed, before the final rinse cycle you can add the fabric softener to your washing machine.

If your washing machine doesn’t have a fabric softener dispenser, you can pour the fabric softener directly into the washing machine.

Close the lid and start the final cycle

Again, if your washer is fully automatic, you need not track the wash cycle.

A fully automatic washing machine will take care of all the steps right from Pre-wash to applying fabric softeners.

For a standard washer, you will need to pour the softener in and then close the lid to perform the rinse cycle.

Remove the Clothes and Dry

After the final rinse cycle is completed, all you need to do is take out your clothes and dry them.

You can either air-dry them or put them in the dryer.

And that’s it!

You’ve successfully added a fabric softener to your washing machine and your clothes will be softer and smell fresher.

Alternatives to Fabric Softeners

If you’re looking for an alternative to fabric softeners, there are a few options available.


Vinegar is a natural fabric softener and can be added to your wash in place of a commercial fabric softener.

To use vinegar as a fabric softener, simply add 1/2 cup of vinegar to your wash along with your regular detergent.

Baking Soda

Another option is to use baking soda.

Baking soda can also be used as a natural fabric softener.

Simply add a cup of baking soda to your wash cycle and it will help to soften your clothes.

Also Read: How to Unclog a Fabric Softener dispenser?

Why Vinegar makes a good fabric softener?

Vinegar is an acidic substance and when added to water it can help to lower the pH levels.

This in turn will help to soften the fabric and make it feel smoother.

Vinegar is also a great natural disinfectant and will help to kill any bacteria that might be present on your clothes.

Furthermore, a regular fabric softener can leave behind a residue on your clothes and may also clog the washer in long run.

Vinegar, on the other hand, will not leave any residue and will rinse clean.

Also, vinegar does not leave any smell behind, so your clothes will not smell like vinegar.

Lastly, it will also protect the color of your clothes and will prevent them from fading.

Also Read: 11 Answers you must know about Laundry Bags

Final Thoughts

Pouring a fabric softener in the washer is fairly simple, especially if you are using a fully automatic washing machine.

If you are using a semi-automatic OR standard top-load washer, you may need to track the wash cycle so you can pour the softener after the main wash cycle completes.

Fabric softeners keep your clothes soft and smelling fresh.

With that said, it can have negative effects on clothes when used excessively.

As an alternative, you can use vinegar or baking soda, both of which have fabric softening properties.

Both of these options are natural and will not leave any residue on your clothes.

They will also not clog your washer in the long run.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at)