How to Clean Fabric Softener Dispenser: 4 Ways & Step by Step

A fabric softener is typically a conditioner applied to laundry during the rinse cycle in a washing machine to reduce the harshness in clothes dried in the air after machine washing.

Fabric softeners, soaps, or grimes that move through the washing machine can clog the fabric softener dispenser resulting in it blocking the fabric softener dispenser. 

The more you use the fabric softener dispenser, the greater it has the chance that it will clog more. A blocked fabric softener dispenser can eventually cause failure in your washing machine. If your fabric softener dispenser is not dispensing properly, you can clean it manually.

how to clean fabric softener dispenser step by step

Cleaning your fabric softener dispenser is crucial to working the dispenser accurately. It is an easy task to clean it. Primarily you can clean it by using a toothbrush or by running detergent water through the dispenser.

Also, there’re various ways how to clean fabric softener dispensers other than the primary one. The methods are given below:

How to Clean Fabric Softener Dispenser: 4 Ways & Step by Step Guide

ways to cleaning fabric softener dispenser

Method 1: Cleaning Fabric Softener Dispenser with Detergent & Toothbrush

Materials Needed:

  • Water
  • Detergent
  • Toothbrush

Locating The Fabric Softener Dispenser and Clean it

Step Number 1: Opening the lid

Begin the procedure by opening the washing machine lid. If your washing machine is a top-loading washing machine, lift the lid in the way that you’re going to put in a new load of laundry.

The location of the fabric softener dispenser is one of the corners right under the lid. Depending on your washing machine’s structure, it could be located next to the detergent dispenser or the bleach dispenser.

In case you can’t find the dispenser’s location, go through the washing machine’s manual. It should contain the layout and location of all the parts of the washing machine.

Step Number 2: Opening The Front Door

Continue the procedure by opening the front door of the washing machine. If your washing machine is a front-loading washing machine, access the softener dispenser look on the top of the machine.

There’re slots for laundry detergents & bleach under a lid on top of the machine next to the drawers. Just in case you can’t find the fabric softener dispenser there, it may be located inside the main door. You can go through the manual as well.

Step Number 3: Removal of The Dispenser 

Some washing machine has the function of removing the fabric softener dispenser. If your washing machine is a removal one, reach it.

Pull the dispenser out of your washing machine smoothly. This process will help you to clean the dispenser easily.

Most likely, the fabric softener dispenser will be gunky and clogged with soap and fabric softener. Now clean it using a mixture of water and detergent and a toothbrush.

If your washing machine has a non-removal fabric softener dispenser, you can still clean it while lodged within the laundry machine.

Check Also: 3 Ways to Clean Sunbrella Fabric

Method 2: Clean Your Fabric Softener Dispenser with Bleach & Dish Detergent

Materials Needed:

  • 1-gallon warm water
  • ¼ cup of liquid dish detergent
  • 1 cup of bleach

Clean The Fabric Softener Dispenser Manually

Step 1: Make a Cleaning Solution

In a large bucket, make a solution using 1 gallon of warm water, ¼ cup of liquid dish detergent, and 1 cup of bleach. While making and using the cleaning solution, wear rubber gloves as bleach is corrosive and harmful.

Please wear old clothes while making and using the cleaning solution if bleach splashes on them. Don’t worry; you can easily find those cleaning supplies at your local grocery store.

Step 2: Plunged The Cleaning Solution’s Dispenser

Wearing rubber gloves, place the fabric softener dispenser into the cleaning solution gently and carefully. Watch out for any of the cleanings don’t solution splash on you. Soak the dispenser for 5-10 minutes to clean the residue from the plastic.

Step 3: Agitation of The Solution

Lightly shake the bucket of the solution. The solution will flow over the fabric softener dispenser and dislodge the grimes stuck on the dispenser. Again be careful that the bleach solution doesn’t splash on you. Depending on the gunk and grime, agitate the bucket once or twice.

Step 4: Wipe The Dispenser

Wearing rubber gloves, after 10 minutes pulled the dispenser out of the mixture. Using a cotton cloth, wipe the fabric softener dispenser clean and remove all the soap residue. Now dry the dispenser.

There’re some areas of your dispenser that you can’t clean with a cloth. In that case, use a toothbrush.

Step 5: Re-installation of The Fabric Softener Dispenser

After removing and cleaning the fabric softener dispenser, now it’s time to set it back in place in your washing machine.

Next Read: How to Remove Hot Glue From Fabric & Clothes

Method 3: Use Laundry Detergent to Clean Fabric Softener Dispenser

Materials Needed:

  • Warm water
  • Laundry Detergent
  • Cotton Cloth

Clean a Non- removal dispenser:

Step 1: Making The Solution

Put a small cup of regular laundry detergent into a large bucket and fill the bucket with warm water.

Step 2: Pour The Solution Into The Fabric Softener Dispenser

Gently pour the solution into the laundry softener dispenser. Be careful not to split any of the solutions. Next, set the warm rinse mode and run the washing machine to run the solution through the fabric softener dispenser.

If your washing machine doesn’t have the setting of a warm rinse, use a cool rinse instead. In that case, you’ll have to pour hot water into the fabric softener dispenser between each rinse.

Step 3: Run The Warm Rinses

To clean out all the grime from the fabric softener dispenser with detergent solution, repeat the rinsing process at least three times.

Not to forget, each time, you have to pour another bucket of warm water and laundry detergent into the fabric softener dispenser.

For better results, use a toothbrush to reach inside your washing machine and wipe out all grime that hasn’t been cleaned with the detergent and water solution.

Read Also: How to get fabric dye off skin

Method 4: Using Baking Soda & Vinegar

Materials Needed:

  • Water (1 gallon)
  • Distilled white vinegar (2 cups)
  • Baking soda (optional)

Suppose your fabric softener dispenser is not thoroughly cleaned by using the liquid detergent water mentioned in the previous three steps. In that case, you can do those processes by using vinegar and baking soda mixture.

It will give you a better result for sure. Mix 1 gallon of water and 2 cups of distilled white vinegar. Could you not add any other detergents to it?

Now use the mixture in the previous methods. This solution will help to clean the fabric softener dispenser more frequently and remove all the musty odors.

But try to avoid using vinegar in your fabric softener dispenser too frequently. Vinegar can harm rubber parts inside of the fabric softener dispenser and eventually result in leaks.

Read Next: How to clean fabric coach purse step by step

Simple Tips to Prevent Build-up:

  • Always dilute your fabric softener dispenser with clean water.
  • Filling the fabric softener dispenser with hot water & liquid detergent and allowing it to stand for 2-hours is essential. Then run through a regular cycle. Do this process once a month.
  • Some washing machine has the function to use liquid or powdered fabric softener. However, the powder softener is likely to cause a clog in the dispenser. For this reason, most manufacturers recommend using liquid softeners.

Care for Your Fabric Softener Dispenser:

  • Always dry the fabric softener dispenser before adding powder detergent. It will help to prevent caking the detergent. Also, make sure the liquid detergent dispenser is removed.
  • Be careful that the dispenser doesn’t overload with detergent.
  • After using the washing machine, clean out the remaining detergent.
  • During a wash cycle, make sure that the detergent dispenser drawer is fully closed.
  • If the liquid is closed to the maximum level at the cycle’s end, clean the dryer to eliminate the blockages.


So by now, you already know the right way to clean fabric softener dispensers using household materials without any difficulties.

It’s entirely your decision which method will serve you the best to clean your fabric softener dispenser.

But it’s urged strictly to deeply wash your fabric softener dispenser every 2 or 3 months. Always be careful about your safety while cleaning the fabric softener dispenser.  

Leave a Comment