Washing Does not Smell of Fabric Conditioner

Washing Doesn’t Smell of Fabric Conditioner – Causes and Solutions

Are you using fabric softener, but find that your washing comes out of the machine without that lovely fabric softener scent?

There are a number of reasons why the fabric softener smell may not be making it all the way through your washing cycle!

This list should help narrow it down for you and also provide the solutions to ensure you have that pleasant scent on your clothes again.


Cause 1: Machine Taking Softener Out Too Soon

It is possible that the problem is stemming from your washing machine and not from the actual fabric conditioner.

If your machine has started to siphon the fabric conditioner out too early, then it will dilute too soon and be washed right out of your clothes before the end of the cycle.

Your washing machine is not supposed to take the fabric conditioner from its designated compartment until the second to last or final rinse.

If the fabric conditioner has started draining too soon, this could be caused by a build-up of mould or dirt in the top of the soap dispenser, or even a fully jammed soap dispenser.

If water starts to splash over into the fabric conditioner compartment during the wash, then the siphoning-off process will begin, even if it’s way too early in the cycle.

washing machine detergent drawer


The solution to this problem would be to clean out the soap dispenser as thoroughly as possible and make sure there is no longer anything that could be blocking the entrance or causing any splashing into the fabric softener compartment.

If the problem persists you may need to consider calling in a professional.


Cause 2: Overloading the Washing Machine

overloading washing machine

Putting too many clothes in your washing machine could also be a reason for there not being a lingering smell on your garments at the end of your cycle.

If there are more clothes in the machine than recommended but still the same amount of fabric conditioner, then the machine will not be able to disperse the conditioner to all of the clothes evenly.

In addition, the fabric conditioner will dilute too much and will not be able to have as much of a concentrated scent.


There is a simple solution to this: don’t overload your machine! Overloading can cause a number of other issues with your washing machine and should be avoided at all times.


Cause 3: Not Enough/Too Much Fabric Conditioner

washing machine drawer

It is possible use either too much fabric conditioner or not enough.

If there is too much fabric conditioner in the drawer, it could overflow. If it spills over the top of the compartment during the washing cycle this could trigger the siphoning process.

If the siphoning happens too early in the cycle, then the conditioner will be washed out of the clothes before the end of the cycle and none of the pleasant scent will remain.

If there’s not enough fabric conditioner in the machine, then it won’t be able to disperse properly to all your clothes and the smell will be diluted too much to linger for long after the wash cycle has ended.


To remedy these issues the best thing to do would be to follow the guidelines on the label on the bottle of your fabric conditioner.

This will give you instructions for the perfect amount of conditioner to add to your machine to ensure the clothes come out both soft and smelling lovely.


Cause 4: Tumble Drying Removes the Scent

tumble drying remove scent

It is also possible that if you use a tumble dryer to dry your clothes then the smell could be losing its potency during the tumble dryer cycle.

The hot air moves quickly around the machine and is then extracted through the vents, which could leave your clothes with less of a lingering fragrance.


The best solution would be to try a shorter cycle on the tumble dryer and see if the clothes come out with a stronger smell.

If this doesn’t work, try air drying your clothes instead. If the fabric softener scent is retained when air drying but not tumble drying, you can be certain that it is the dryer that is taking the smell away.


Cause 5: The Fabric Conditioner Itself Doesn’t Smell Very Strong

woman holding fabric conditioner

The problem could also be coming from the brand of fabric softener that you are using.

Potentially the company has changed their formula and you may need to consider trying a different brand to see if that makes a difference to the scent of your clothes.

Alternatively, you may have unintentionally bought a product by the same brand as your usual conditioner that may have a different level of concentration.

Sometimes the products can look almost identical, but one will say ‘concentrated’ and the other will not.

Using the concentrated product is always more likely to produce a stronger smell and leave your clothes smelling fresher for longer.


If your clothes aren’t smelling of fabric softener because the product itself simply isn’t strong enough, try switching to a different product.

Check out our guide to the best smelling fabric softeners if you’re not sure which product to try!



woman smelling newly-washed clothes

There are various potential causes for a lack of scent on your clothes at the end of your washing cycle. Luckily each of these causes also has a solution and your clothes should be emerging with their lovely fragrance again in no time!