Pouring fabric softener

When Does Fabric Softener Get Released in the Wash Cycle?

Most washing machines follow a similar pattern when it comes to releasing washing products at the correct time. Unsurprisingly, laundry detergent is released during the main wash cycle, but what about fabric softener?

In this article, we’ll answer the question, when does fabric softener get released in the wash cycle.


When Does Fabric Softener Get Released in the Wash Cycle?

Fabric softener gets released into the washing machine during the rinse cycle before the spin cycle. It should be released when the clothes are free of laundry detergent to ensure it can probably coat the fibres.

This is the best stage for the fabric softener to be released because, unlike the detergent, you don’t really want it to be washed off.

Fabric softener should remain on the clothes as much as possible so it can do its job properly.

It’s not super important to know this if your washing machine has a detergent drawer. This allows you to just put the products in the relevant compartment and let it do its thing.

However, you can use this information to know when to add fabric softener if you’re doing a rinse and spin cycle or you need to remove clothes before adding fabric softener.

Top-load washing machines might not have a detergent drawer, meaning you need to add the products manually.

In this case, you’ll need to pay attention to the display and add the fabric softener when the main wash cycle has finished.

When does fabric softener get released in the wash cycle?


Where to Add Fabric Softener

Where to Put Fabric Softener in the Washing Machine

If your machine has the detergent drawer, the fabric softener goes in there. Different machines have different layouts, but there are almost always three compartments.

Fabric softener goes in the smallest, which usually has a flower symbol above it. The other drawers are instead numbered.


How Does a Washing Machine Dispense Fabric Softener?

fabric softener compartment

Washing machines dispense fabric softener using a syphon. Basically, this means the product leaves the drawer using gravity action, in the same way that you can syphon water using a hose.

You can end up with some residual fabric softener in the drawer because of two main reasons. The first is that your washing machine isn’t properly levelled, meaning the syphon action can’t work properly.

The second is that you’ve overfilled the compartment, which can similarly affect the syphoning action. You can avoid this by using less fabric softener – as little as two tablespoons is often enough for a standard sized load of washing.


Final Thoughts

pouring fabric softener in the washing machine drawer

Pretty much all washing machines will dispense fabric softener at the correct time without you getting involved.

The main exception to this is top-load washing machines that don’t have a detergent drawer. If you have one of these, chuck it directly into the drum when the wash cycle has finished but before the rinse cycle begins.

If you don’t think your washing machine is dispensing fabric softener at the correct time, or there’s a lot left in the drawer after it’s finished, it’s likely a sign of a bigger problem. Try the solutions above, but if this doesn’t work, make sure you call a plumber to take a look.