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Softener not draining in a washing machine

Fabric softener is commonly used in washing machines to make laundry softer when washed. If your softener is not draining properly, it will remain in its compartment at the end of a wash, preventing use of softener in your next wash. The common reasons for this problem can be fixed with relative ease.

Machine not level

If your machine is not level, you'll need to adjust its feet until it is. Unplug your machine before you do this and have somebody assist with tilting it while you make the required adjustments. You may need a spanner to do the job, depending on the make of your machine. Check your washer's user guide if you're unsure. You may also need to disconnect your machine's water inlet hoses. If you do, make sure you shut of your hoses' taps before doing so.

Blocked dispenser

The compartment that holds and dispenses conditioner may be blocked. To unclog the dispenser, remove it from the machine and clean it out with warm soapy water. Next, fill the dispenser with clean water and see if it drains thoroughly. If it does, re-insert it into your machine and try a wash. If the fabric softener all drains away, the dispenser has been properly unclogged. If you use concentrated conditioners, try diluting them slightly with water before a wash to prevent the dispenser clogging up again.

Low water pressure

To address low water pressure to your machine, try running the machine with fewer appliances operating at the same time. If low pressure continues, check for blockages on the inlet hose screens. Turn off the water at the mains and remove the hot and cold water hoses from the rear of your machine. Remove and clean the filters, and then re-insert them before re-attaching your hoses.

Conditioner capsules

Soft water can cause a build up of detergent and fabric conditioner residue in your machine's dispenser drawer. If your problem persists despite taking steps to resolve it and you live in a soft water area, try switching to combined detergent and fabric conditioner tablets or capsules. These can be placed directly in the drum of your machine with your laundry before you start a wash cycle, completely bypassing your washer's drawer.

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About the Author

Paul Bayliss has been writing since 2003 with work appearing in publications such as "Verbatim," "Your Cat" and "Justice of the Peace." He has worked for central and local governments in the U.K. and his areas of writing expertise are travel, sport and social work. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in politics from Leeds University.