How to Unclog the Fabric Softener Dispenser? (Step by Step)

Is your washer a victim of recurring clogging?

With prolonged and regular usage of your washer, there is always a likelihood of clogging in several parts such as the vent, drain, dispensers, etc.

In this topic, we will specifically discuss “how to unclog the fabric softener dispensers”.

Alert: There are washers that have a dedicated fabric softener button available on the Control Display Panel. Hence, while selecting the wash cycle, if you missed to touch or push the dispenser button then it may not work, thus do not assume that the dispenser is clogged.

The location of the fabric softener dispenser may vary depending on the washer type and model.

Some washers have a detachable dispenser and a few don’t.

With this topic, you will have a fair idea about cleaning the clogged fabric softener dispenser.

Let’s get started.

Table Of Content

How to unclog or clean a detachable dispenser?

Almost all modern-day front-loaders and some High-Efficiency Top-Load washers have a dedicated compartment for Fabric Softeners, Detergents, and Bleach. These compartments are detachable in most cases.

It is quite easy to separate these dispensers for cleaning and maintenance purposes.

If you don’t know how to detach a fabric softener dispenser, refer to the instruction manual, it should have this point covered if the dispenser is a detachable unit.

Although the detachable dispensers can be washed by running a clean or an empty cycle, you can manually detach and scrub them effectively by following the below steps.

  • Unplug your washer from the power supply and open the lid (door).
  • Locate the dispenser depending on your washer type (the dispensers are usually located at the top of the washtubs). User manuals or the washer guide can help you to locate the positions of the dispensers.
  • Gently press or push the bottom of the dispenser using your fingers to detach it from the washer.
  • With the help of a soft brush apply the readily available cleaning solutions OR homemade cleaning agents like vinegar or baking soda to the dispenser.
  • Leave it for 10 minutes so that the solution settles down.
  • Scrub the dispenser thoroughly with a toothbrush or a soft brush.
  • Place the dispenser drawer in a bucket filled with hot water for around 10 minutes and thereafter scrub it with a soft brush.
  • Rinse thoroughly with clean water and re-attach the dispenser.

Also Read: Top Load VS Front-Load Detergents

How to Clean the non-detachable dispensers?

Most washers are capable of self-cleaning the dispensers with a click of a button.

All you need to do is pour in the washing machine cleaner and run the clean cycle and you are done.

However, at times there may be a situation where you will have to perform a thorough wash, especially when you notice clogging OR performance degradation.

To clean the non-detachable fabric softener dispenser follow the below best practices.

  • By using a Washing Machine Cleanser or homemade remedies you may run a clean or an empty cycle using hot water to clean the washer.
  • Alternatively, to manually clean the non-removable dispenser, you may simply apply the cleansing application to the dispenser. Then, scrub the reachable areas of the dispenser using a soft brush and leave the application to settle for about 10 minutes.
  • And then run a hot water normal cycle.

Also Read: 11 Things you must know about High-Efficiency Detergents

Home remedies or solutions to clean the Fabric Softener Dispensers

In order to clean the Fabric Softener dispenser using a proven home remedy, you will need the following items.

What you will need

  • Distilled Vinegar OR Baking Soda
  • Warm or hot water.
  • A soft brush or a toothbrush.
  • A bucket or a bowl that accommodates the dispenser (if the dispenser is detachable).

Fabric Softener Dispenser cleaning process

There are two ways to clean the dispenser and both are equally effective. You may choose any one approach depending on the availability of the items.

1. Using Distilled Vinegar

  • If you are using 2 to 3 gallons of hot water in a tub or a bowl that accommodates the dispenser then simply add a cup of distilled vinegar.
  • Soak the dispenser completely in the solution and let it settle for around 10 to 15 minutes depending on the intensity of the clogging.
  • The acetic acid properties of the distilled vinegar swiftly remove the stubborn residues and clogging.
  • Scrub the dispenser thoroughly with a soft brush or a toothbrush.
  • Scrub it with mild soap mixed with water or a cleansing solution and further rinse it with clean water.
  • Attach the clean dispenser with a mild push adjusting to its location.

2. Using Baking soda

  • Mix 1 tablespoon of Baking Soda with 2 cups of water.
  • Apply it to the dispenser and leave the solution to settle for about 10 minutes.
  • By using a soft brush scrub the dispenser thoroughly and soak it in hot water.
  • Remove and rinse with clean water.
  • Simply re-attach the dispenser.

Also Read: Can you use Baking Soda as a Laundry Detergent?

Tips to prevent the fabric softener dispenser from clogging

A few useful tips on preventing the fabric softener dispenser from Clogging.

Always clean the dispenser

The very first and foremost idea is to prevent the clogging of the dispenser, and this is only possible when you clean the dispenser areas at regular intervals.

Fabric Softeners quantity

Do not overuse the fabric softeners. Instead, use them only when you actually need them.

Pouring an excess amount of fabric softener does not help your clothes as well as your washer.

Lastly, do not apply the softeners directly to the washtubs or the fabrics. Fabric Softeners are automatically applied by your washer in diluted form.

Final Thoughts

Regular cleaning of the dispensers is always a good practice to prevent damage and performance degradation.

Using a suitable fabric softener for your fabric types gives you the most promising outcomes.

Do not attempt to detach the dispenser if you are skeptical about the procedure and always refer to the user manual for precise instructions.

For more information about your laundry do visit our FAQ section.

Also Read: How to use a portable washing machine effectively?

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some common questions that are asked frequently.

Why is my fabric softener not draining?

A clogged inlet hose screen may be stopping the fabric softener from draining. Check for blockage and unclog the blockage by either using a washing machine cleaner OR by using distilled vinegar or baking soda. In order to check for blockage, remove the hot and cold water hoses from the washer and then look for the deposited debris.

Why is my fabric softener drawer full of water?

There is a high possibility that a tube located at the back of the fabric softener compartment is blocked. These blockages are mostly caused by the fabric softener itself. Such type of clogging can be cleared by taking out the dispenser drawer and then cleaning it by either using Vinegar OR Baking Soda.

Does fabric softener clog pipes?

Yes, excessive use of fabric softeners may cause clogging. Fabric softeners are petroleum-based and some may even contain animal fat. Over time fatty deposits may clog the pipes.

Manish Singh is an expert in electrical engineering with a Diploma in the field. With over 12 years of experience, he specializes in repairing music systems, washing machines, dryers, and other laundry-related appliances. His in-depth knowledge in electrical repairs and decent knowledge about garment care makes him a trusted authority in the field of appliance repair and laundry related topics. If you have any questions or need assistance with your appliances, you can reach out to Manish through email: manish.singh (at)