When Do You Add Fabric Softener To The Wash? (Helpful Tips)

Getting clothes soft is a matter of timing. If you don't have it or are forgetful then you may miss out on the optimum time you need to add the fabric softener to your laundry load. Getting the right timing or remembering when to add fabric softener does take a little work.

When do you add fabric softener to the wash? If you have an older washing machine, then the correct time to add your fabric softener is when that appliance reaches its final rinse cycle. But if you have a more modern machine, it will do it for you if you remember to fill the softener dispenser before starting the cycle.

To learn more about adding the fabric softener at the right time, just continue to read our article. This is a simple task but people do get busy and forget. Take a few minutes to brush up on the correct time to add the fabric softener.

When do You Put Fabric Softener in the Washer?


The timing of this act depends more on the type of machine you have and your memory. Most modern machines have a fabric softener dispenser alongside the laundry detergent and bleach dispensers.

These dispensers are automatically controlled by the machine and will dispense the fabric softener at the right time. You only have to remember to fill the dispenser. For those people who do not have that luxury, they have to train themselves to listen to the washing machine and be close by when it clicks on the final rinse cycle.

When that happens you have to add the correct amount of fabric softener before it is too late. Sometimes people forget and are too far away from their machine to make it in time. That is why there are things called dryer sheets and dryer fabric balls.

You can correct your mistake by adding one to your dryer cycle.

When to Add Fabric Softener Without Dispenser

Because you do not want a chemical reaction with the laundry soap or the bleach, you have to add the fabric softener at a different time than those two cleansers. That means that the fabric softener is the last laundry item to add to your wash.

Of course, you have to be careful how many spin cycles you use because if you use bleach and soap there may not be enough cycles left on the program to allow you to add the fabric softener.

The final spin is the one to use but if that is taken up by the bleach you may have to use dryer sheets or fabric balls instead. While it may seem like a simple task to do, timing is the key when you do not have a dispenser to help you.

Plus, if you are forgetful, you may miss out from time to time and have to resort to other options to get your fabrics soft.

What Cycle do You Put Fabric Softener In?


Washing machines with automatic dispensers will do this for you. All you have to do is remember to fill the dispenser up with the right chemical additive and you are good to go. You load and forget about it.

But when you are not so lucky as to have such a modern washing machine then you have to rely on your memory and be close enough to get to your machine before it is too late.

It is the final rinse cycle that you need to add the fabric softener in order to get your clothes soft. Any other cycle won't do as you run the risk of negating the chemicals found in fabric softeners when they are combined with bleach or laundry soap.

If you miss that rinse and you have no backup plan then you either let it go and endure that lack of softness or run your clothing through another cycle with only fabric softener inside.

When to Put Fabric Softener in The Front Loader

According to the GE website, you only have to pull the fabric softener drawer out and fill it with fabric softener when you want to add that chemical to your wash. It also says to dilute the softener with water until you reach the maximum fill line.

Do not go over that line if you want good results. Also, do not overfill the drawer with more fabric softener than the recommended amount. If you overfill, you may see it dispensed too soon and stains may occur on your clothing.

Then it is normal to see water in this dispenser so do not panic when you do come across this situation. It is just the result of the siphoning action of the machine.

When to Add Fabric Softener To Top Loader


This will depend on the type of machine you own. For Frigidaire and GE, the top of the agitator on many of their older machines will hold the fabric softener for you. A softener label should be present on the machine telling how much you should add at any given time.

Once that is done, the machine will do the rest of the work for you. For those with other brand name washing machines, you should use the dispenser provided or just wait till the last rinse cycle has started. You do not want to put fabric softener directly onto your clothes.

Make sure it hits the water first and is diluted. Stains can occur if you put the softener directly onto clothing material.

When to Add Fabric Softener at a Laundromat

Just because the washing machine is found in the laundromat and not your home does it mean that the rules of adding fabric softener have changed. You should look at the machine first and see if it has a dispenser for that chemical. If it doesn’t, it may be a brand that uses the laundry detergent dispenser to do double duty.

If it has a fabric dispenser then you should use that option. Or if it doesn’t, then you wait for the final rinse cycle to add that chemical. It is the way it is with fabric softeners as you do not want to add it too early as the wash cycle will just wash it away before it can do anything for your clothes.

The bleach cycle will give you some kind of chemical reaction at worse and at best, just negate the chemicals found in the fabric softener.

When Does a Washing Machine Add Fabric Softener?


When you have the luxury of owning an automatic washing machine then the work is already done for you. The machine is programmed to release the fabric softener usually in the last rinse cycle.

Not every machine is the same so that is why we use the word usually. If the machine fails to release the fabric softener, then there is a problem with the dispenser and the machine. It could just be stuck or a part may be broken.

Determining which is not usually found until after you call the repairman.

Can You Put Fabric Softener Straight Into the Washing Machine?

Yes, you can. Whether you have an automatic or a traditional washing machine, fabric softener can be placed directly into the machine. This won’t stop the automatic machine from opening the dispenser at the right time.

You should hear that click if the machine is working correctly. However, if your machine is not opening the dispenser at the right time, it is best to add the fabric softener manually and directly into the machine.

Just make sure there is water in the tub before you do that. Fabric softener does stain clothing even though it is supposed to be a laundry aid. The chemical needs to be diluted before it touches your clothing.

Adding Fabric Softener to Washing Machine Tips

  • 1. if you do not like the chemicals found in fabric softener, use baking soda instead.
  • 2. or add a cup of vinegar to the rinse dispenser instead of adding chemically ladened fabric softener.
  • 3. instead of using a liquid, use a fabric softener ball. You can add these early if you want.
  • 4. Pour some liquid fabric softener on a cloth and toss it in the dryer if you forgot to add it to your washing machine.
  • 5. Set a timer for about 2 minutes prior to the final cycle to remind you that it is time to add the softener.

Some Final Words

This may be an easy task to do, yet it can be a frustrating one. Not everyone has a perfect memory or they get distracted by other events happening in the home. Remembering to add the fabric softener can become difficult at this time.

The automatic washing machines will do this for you making it less frustrating, but you still have to remember to add the fabric softener to the dispenser for the machine to add it.

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