How to remove mold from a fabric softener dispenser

Updated February 21, 2017

Modern washing machines, especially the front loaders, have several compartments and dispensers where mould can build up, causing offensive odours if they are not cleaned on a regular basis. These areas, such as the liquid fabric softener dispenser, may have several pieces that fit together that hold in moisture, an ideal environment for growing mould. Fortunately, there are some easy tips you can follow to eliminate the mould and odour from your liquid fabric softener compartment and prevent them from coming back.

Remove the fabric softener dispenser from your washing machine. Soak it in a solution of 2 parts hot water to 1 part chlorine bleach for about an hour. Scrub the dispenser with an old toothbrush to remove any remaining mould. Dry the fabric softener dispenser with a soft towel, and set it aside.

Fill the compartment in which the fabric softener dispenser rests with 2 parts hot water to 1 part chlorine bleach. Let it soak in this solution for about an hour. Scrub the dispenser compartment with an old toothbrush to remove any mould. Be sure to scrub under any plastic lips and between any grooves.

Absorb any remaining water in the fabric softener dispenser compartment with paper towels. Dry the interior of the compartment with fresh paper towels. Put the fabric softener dispenser back into its compartment and shut the compartment lid.

Set your washing machine to the "Hot" washing cycle. Place a load of white clothes only into the washing machine. Do not fill the newly clean fabric softener dispenser. Add the appropriate amount of detergent for the clothes load.

Add 1/2 cup of chlorine bleach through the bleach dispenser, and turn on the washing machine. Let the machine go through the complete wash cycle. Remove the white clothes, and place them into the dryer. Turn on the dryer. Leave the lids on the detergent and the fabric softener dispensers open. Leave the washing machine door open for at least an hour until the interior is dry.


Chlorine bleach works better for eliminating mould than colour safe bleaches.


Do not allow small children near the washing machine door while it is open.

Things You'll Need

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Old toothbrush
  • Soft cloth
  • Paper towels
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About the Author

Mary McNally has been writing and editing for over 13 years, including publications at Cornell University Press, Larson Publications and College Athletic Magazines. McNally also wrote and edited career and computer materials for Stanford University and Ithaca College. She holds a master's degree in career development from John F. Kennedy University and a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in counseling.