Fabric Softener not being taken out

If the fabric softener is still in the fabric compartment at the end of the cycle and is not being taken out there are a few possible causes. The fault is unlikely to be serious. This article looks at the possible reasons why the fabric softener might have been left in the soap dispenser drawer.


Failed to complete the cycle?

It could be because the washing machine has aborted the program before reaching the section where the softener gets taken.

If this has happened you should get some indication that a fault has occurred. Flashing lights, a program selector knob clicking round, or an actual error code number being displayed.

If the wash cycle has failed to complete properly, the fault is unlikely to be related to the fabric softener.

Once this other fault has been fixed and the washing machine completes a full cycle once more the fabric softener should flush in OK. If you are sure that the wash cycle did not properly complete then go to this article – Washing machine stops mid cycle. But if the washing machine completed the cycle properly, and did all its rinses and the final fast spin, then read on.


Wash cycle has completed OK

Fabric Softner

If the washing machine is going through the wash program properly and doing the final spin at the end but the fabric softener just isn’t being taken out then these are the possible causes –

1: The main PCB has not sent power to the solenoid (water valve) that flushes the softener away. This is a possibility though quite unlikely.

2: Power has been sent to the water valve but a connection fault or break in a wire prevents the electricity getting to or from the valve (again this is likely to be rare).

3: The solenoid inside the water valve is open circuit (more likely).

4: If there is a mechanical arm to divert water into the fabric softener compartment (instead of a solenoid) it could be jammed (* see below).


Water valve fault?

Water valves

The most likely cause is an open circuit water valve that flushes softener into the drum. However, not all washing machines have a separate softener valve. Some divert water that’s normally used for rinsing into the compartment by a mechanical arm.

If there is a separate solenoid valve for the fabric softener it should be easy enough to see. There will be a separate solenoid with 2 wires and a hose connecting to the soap dispenser to where the softener dispenser is. To test a water valve solenoid you need to use a continuity test meter. Don’t just assume it is faulty. Disconnect the washer from the electricity supply! Take off the wires to the valve and see if you get a reading.


Wash cycle aborted

Testing a water valve

The windings on a solenoid valve are very thin, and very long. So there is a high resistance. If testing on the wrong setting you could get open circuit with some test meters, even if it is not.

If unsure, the best method is to take off the wires to all of the solenoid valves (take a photo first) and test them all.

They should all have the same reading. If they are all open circuit but the wash and rinse cycle is still working then clearly the meter you are using is not on the right setting or capable of reading such high resistance readings.


Some washing machines don’t have a separate softener valve

Some older washing machines didn’t use a separate fabric softener water valve and could instead have a movable nozzle that directs water from a single cold valve into the fabric compartment.

As the program selector moves round there is a lever system that goes from the control selector to the top of the soap dispenser that moves as the program selector is turned. It’s possible for this nozzle to jam, or the spring to come off meaning water cannot be directed into the fabric conditioner compartment.

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General fault finding

Other causes of softener not being taken away

Sometimes the soap dispenser is bunged up with mould and a black jelly-like substance which can block the nozzles at the top.

However, this condition is more likely to cause the softener to be taken out too soon due to diverted water from rinsing straying into the softener compartment, but it’s worth checking. Take out the soap drawer and inspect the roof of the dispenser. If it’s full of black gunge maybe it’s deflecting water away from the small fabric compartment – Black jelly-like substance in soap dispenser and on soap drawer

Other than that, the softener valve might be faulty (open circuit) or not getting an electrical supply or neutral return.


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7 thoughts on “Fabric Softener not being taken out”

  1. Hi, I had this problem for a long time and decided to finally get around to working out what was up. I took out the drawer and there doesn’t appear to be any siphon attached.

    My washing machine is an Edesa LEA-6110. I can’t seem to find any spare siphon parts online. Is there a one size fits all part I could purchase?

    Thanks! : )

  2. Thanks for the tip. In the case that they don’t have a spare siphon part for my particular model of washing machine, is there a one size fits all part I could purchase?

    Thanks again

  3. Hello Leo. If there isn’t a spare siphon part a complete new dispenser drawer ought to have it already fitted although there is no guarantee unless you can see a picture of it. There is no universal fit part available. Even the manufacturer is unlikely to think there’s any money in stocking these parts and there’s definitely not a demand for them, so no independent manufacturer would ever dream of making them.

    It might be possible for one from a different machine to fit and work but unless you can get one from an old machine somewhere they aren’t parts that are readily available simply because they virtually never need replacing.

  4. FIXED IT!
    I have tried all the suggestions I have found on the net; vinegar, scrubbing brushes, spray bleach etc but to no avail, so my 14 year old son and I decided to get stuck in and sort this out.
    We took the top off of our machine and found there was a moulded plastic box into which the detergent draw fits. The box has 2 pipes coming out of the back, which we soon worked out that; one was for the main wash detergent, the other was a combined one for the pre-wash detergent and softener(don’t know how that works). We ran the machine and could see water coming out of the pre-wash detergent side of the box, which confirmed we had a working water feed, so then assumed the softener side must have a blockage, which by the time we had finished was confirmed.

    1. The quickest easiest thing to try, not needing you dismantle the machine, is to push something into the softener water outlet holes above the draw, I suggest you push it in the hole nearest the front of the draw and push it all the way to through to the back of the box (if poss).
    Finding something to use was the hardest thing, we went for a 25cm long Tie Wrap which we cut down its full length with scissors until it was thin enough to go into the water whole and down the moulded pipe. It was very tricky to get it started.

    2. In conjunction with the above, but requiring you to gain access to the inside of your machine, remove the water feed from the pre-wash / softener pipe on the back of the box, put some bleach into the hole(spray bleach is easiest) followed by hot water, we actually managed to get the feed from out steam cleaner into the whole, which I think helped a lot.

    3. Possible addition idea my son got a drinking straw, put it up to one of the softener water holes in the draw compartment and blew, this caused a large amount of gunk to come out of some of the other holes. I think this only worked as we had already soften’d the gunk using the bleach and steam cleaner.
    Do not under estimate how hard the gunk in the pipes can become and how hard it can be to remove, it took us 3.5 hours faffing around.
    We have a Zanussi washing machine.

  5. Hi can you tell me if all washing machines have the same length pipe that sits in the conditioner drawer ours is 4cms and there is always water just below the pipe end.

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