fabric softener and top loading washing machine

How to Use Fabric Softener in a Washing Machine Without a Dispenser

As we’ve discussed before on In The Wash, not all washing machines have an automatic dispenser.

A dispenser dispenses fabric softener at the perfect time during the washing cycle and ensures that the fabric softener will do its job correctly.

If your washing machine doesn’t have an automatic dispenser for fabric softeners, you may be wondering what you can do about having softer clothes.

You could just use pods that have fabric softener in them. If you don’t want to rely on the pods alone, though, there are a few ways of adding fabric softener into your washing cycle without an automatic dispenser.


Option 1: Add the Fabric Softener Manually

adding fabric softener inside washing machine drum

If your washing machine doesn’t have an automatic dispenser, it most likely still has a drawer that will allow you to add fabric softener during the wash.

Adding the fabric softener into the drawer when the drum is full of water (just before the rinse cycle begins) will ensure the fabric softener coats all of your clothes yet still has time to be rinsed away fully.

This does mean a bit of babysitting is required. You need to add the fabric softener at just the right time.

If you leave it too late, you may need to repeat the rinse cycle. However, get this method right, and your clothes will be softer than ever.


Option 2: Use a Fabric Softener Dispenser Ball

Fabric Softener Dispenser Ball

If you don’t fancy babysitting your washing machine to add the fabric softener at the perfect time, this method is ideal for you.

These fabric softener balls like the Downy Ball go directly into the drum of your washing machine.

Simply fill one up with a capful of fabric softener, tighten the lid and add it in with your clothes.

Run your usual washing cycle, and the ball will open at the perfect time. These balls are really easy to use and nice and convenient.

Both of these methods for adding fabric softener to your washing machine work very well.

However, they can cause fabric softener stains on your clothes if the washing machine doesn’t contain enough water to distribute the softener evenly.

to pour fabric softener in washing machine drum

So, please be careful with these methods. If you aren’t sure when is the best time to add fabric softener into the wash, perhaps consider using the balls instead. These offer a much simpler solution than trying to add the softener yourself.

For more helpful washing and drying tips just like this one, explore In The Wash further. Not sure what fabric softener to use in your washes? Don’t worry; here’s a list of the best fabric softeners available in the UK right now to get you started.