Fabric Softener Compartment Full of Water

Pouring Fabric softner

Sometimes the washer finishes its cycle and leaves the fabric softener compartment full of water. The fact that the fabric softener has gone, and been replaced by water, shows that the function has worked. But there shouldn’t be a compartment full of water left behind. If there is, then the water left behind is due to a blockage, or a missing siphon tube.

How fabric softener compartment works

When it’s time to use the softener (conditioner), the washing machine floods the softener compartment with water. This forces the softener out over the sides, and it runs down into the drum. This compartment is now empty of softener, but full of water.

The softener compartment has a small plastic tube at the back, with a cap or cover on top. The action of the water flooding in forces some remaining water up this tube and out into the main drawer. This should start off a siphoning action, which causes the remaining water to siphon up and out of the small tube, thus draining the softener compartment.


What causes water to be left?

The tube at the back of the softener compartment often gets blocked by the fabric softener itself. If you take out the dispenser drawer and take off the cap or device, you can give the whole thing a good clean out. (Can’t get the drawer out?)

Make sure you clean through the hole in any tube leading through to the bottom of the drawer. If any part is missing, the siphoning will not occur.

Check fabric softener compartment is clear and not blocked

After cleaning, you can test the function before fitting the drawer back into the soap dispenser. Hold the soap drawer under a tap, and allow water to fill the fabric compartment to overflowing…


… When you turn off the tap, hold the drawer steady and level. The remaining water should slowly siphon up and out of the hole under the cap and run out from the bottom of the drawer.

If it does, you can re-fit the drawer and everything should now work OK.

If not, then read on.

Cleaned but still leaving water in softener compartment?

It shouldn’t be possible for the compartment to be left full of water if the siphon tube and cap are clean and fitted properly. Especially if it drains OK when tested as described.


Is the syphon tube or cap missing?

If the siphon tube and softener compartment are clear — is the siphon tube or cap missing?

Without the tube and cap (if fitted) the remaining water cannot siphon away.

One possible explanation is that stray water could be getting into the compartment from the rinse water after the fabric conditioner has gone.

This could slowly add water into the compartment, but just not enough to start the siphoning process.

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If you suspect this, check out this article for details about deflected water inside the soap dispenser – fabric softener taken out too soon.

If you have high water pressure, you could also try adjusting it down a little on the washing machine tap to see if it makes any difference.

More fabric softener faults

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