Washing Machine Detergent Drawer Isn’t Emptying

Washing Machine Detergent Drawer Isn’t Emptying – Causes & Solutions

Clothes that still smell after you’ve washed them? Water or detergent left in the dispensing compartment after a wash cycle?

There are many reasons why your detergent drawer isn’t emptying fully and also several ways to resolve the issue.

If you’re not sure how to go about it and you don’t want to run the risk of causing more damage, read on to learn how to fix it.


Why Is There Still Washing Powder in the Drawer?

1. Too much detergent

Too Much Detergent

Using too much washing powder can lead to a build-up in the pipe between the drawer and the drum.

Over time, this can cause a blockage, so the contents of your detergent drawer have nowhere to go.

As a result, you’ll find powder and pooling water left in the drawer. At worst, water may even leak out of the front.

The best thing to do here is turn off your machine and unscrew the lid. You should then be able to locate the pipe and squeeze any blockages out by hand.

Once fixed, try swapping to a liquid detergent in future and always stick to the recommended dose on the bottle.


2. Washer not level

Another reason your detergent drawer may not be emptying is that your washer isn’t level. This can also mean that your fabric conditioner isn’t taken either, as water from the jets can’t siphon through properly.

Luckily, as most washers have adjustable legs, there’s an easy fix. All you need to do is put a spirit level on the top of the machine and turn the legs until it sits completely flat. Alternatively, look for a more level area for your washer to sit.


3. Wrong detergent

Wrong detergent in the washing machine detergent drawer

Just like with using too much detergent, using the wrong detergent can also cause problems. If you have an HE washer that uses less water than a traditional machine, you’ll need to use a compatible detergent.

Using washing powder can lead to clogs as the water pressure is too low to push it out of the drawer and into the drum.

Grime can also build up due to excess soap suds. You’ll likely find the same issue with regular liquid detergents as they’re too thick. To avoid these problems, be sure to use a specially designed HE detergent like Tide Ultra Stain Release every time.


4. Blocked jets

One of the most common causes of a detergent drawer not emptying is blocked jets. These are the tiny holes at the top of the compartment where water is sprayed into the drawer to flush the contents through.

However, a build-up of detergent residue and limescale can block the jets, preventing the water getting through properly. To avoid this, you should clean both the drawer itself and the inner compartment out regularly. Keeping reading to learn how.


How to Unclog a Washing Machine Soap Dispenser

Cleaning the Out Washing Machine Detergent Drawer

Cleaning the out drawer

  1. First, you need to remove the drawer. To do this, pull it out as far as it will go and check for a latch near the back. If there is one, press it down to release the drawer. Otherwise, the drawer should simply slide out of the compartment.
  2. Next, remove as many of the drawer dividers and components are you can, then soak the drawer in warm water for a few minutes.
  3. Once you’ve done that, take a brush and scrub off any soap residue that has built up on the drawer.
  4. Rinse off the drawer with warm water to flush out any remaining debris.
  5. Dry everything off with some paper towels to prevent mould from developing.
  6. Lastly, replace the various components, making sure they are inserted correctly. If not, that can cause problems in itself!


Unblocking the jets

  1. While the drawer is removed, check the roof of the compartment for blockages. If the holes look clogged, you’ll need to unblock them.
  2. To do this, use a limescale remover spray to breakdown the hardened layer of scum and then scrub the holes with an old brush to remove it.
  3. Next, take a damp cloth and wipe down the surface to rinse off any remaining debris and limescale solution. You can then reinsert the drawer.
  4. Finally, run a rinse cycle to check water is now flowing through the jets. You can do this by opening the drawer slightly to see the stream of water entering the drawer. If water still isn’t coming through, you may need to replace the top dispenser section.


Extra Tips to Try

Don’t let the powder get damp beforehand

If you do decide to continue using washing powder, an easy way to stop it clogging up your drawer is to put it in just before you switch on the cycle.

If you’ve done previous loads and the compartment is already wet, putting the powder in early means it may get damp. This can make it clumpy and much harder to flush through to the drum.

Use white vinegar once a month

Using Vinegar to Clean the Washing Machine Detergent Drawer

As well as cleaning your detergent drawer out monthly and checking the jets, you could also try a vinegar rinse.

Distilled white vinegar is known for its numerous cleaning benefits and it can help to break down detergent that’s left behind in your machine’s system after washing your clothes. Simply pour a cup into the drawer and run a regular cycle to clear any clogs.


Get help if you need it

If you’ve tried all of the above and nothing seems to be working, don’t be afraid to ask for help. Some reasons your detergent drawer isn’t emptying aren’t a simple fix.

For instance, if your water inlet valve is faulty or a pipe is damaged. And if you don’t feel confident enough to start taking your washer apart and resolve things yourself, it’s probably best to call in the experts.

After all, it’s better to pay an engineer than risk damaging your machine! Plus, if it’s a relatively new machine, it may still be under warranty, so be sure to check that first.