Avoid Fabric Softener in Your Washer

Never use liquid fabric softener in your clothes washer! By doing so, you will cause yourself more service calls (repair costs!), and ultimately lessen the life expectancy of your washer.

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Fabric softener coats and clogs the hoses (and other parts, depending on the type of washer you have). I am not a repairman, but spent many years working for a major retailer supervising a customer service group specializing in major appliance "issues". I worked closely with senior technical assist repair personnel with 20 plus years field experience that passed on several "words of wisdom" to me.

I remember the day I asked this one extremely experienced tech "Well, if liquid fabric softener shouldn't be used in clothes washers, then why are special compartments made ON some washers specifically FOR fabric softener?" (Thinking I had him!). He responded with a grin on his face "Because that is what consumers want on their washers for "convenience". In turn, manufacturers give consumers want, they want, not necessarily what they need (or in this case DON'T need)." Oh, I get it now, we, as consumers, are to blame for our own desire for conveniences.

By Liz from Austin,TX

November 27, 20070 found this helpful

I got an email a few years ago about fabric softeners coating the lint filter in the dryer. It challenged people to take the lint filter out and hold it under the faucet to see if it would hold water. I did and it did! It said a person should take the filter out every so often and scrub with a small brush and soap. The reason being that softener clogs up the mesh screen and hampers air circulation, thereby causing your dryer to work overtime to get the clothes dry.

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

I've got a question to ask. If you shouldn't use fabric softener in your washer, what can you use in order to soften your clothes so you can hang them out on your clothes line in warmer weather?

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

I use liquid fabric softener and love it. I used to use the dryer sheets but to me they are a pain. Either you forget to put in or take out. Sometimes too many would collect and then stick to insides of my husband's shirts and he'd go off to work like that LOL! Not funny to him tho! I like to hang dry a lot of our better clothes and find that the clothes come out so much smoother right from the washer if I used liquid softener. I don't use a lot and I add some water to it to dilute it. I also use vinegar as a softener from time to time. I have had no trouble with my washer. I do not intend to stop using the liquid softener as I get the best results with it.

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

I use liquid fabric softener and dryer sheets. I have heard both of these stories and have asked one of the Amana servicemen about the dryer sheets and fabric softeners and he said there was no merit in any of those stories. Each serviceman will tell you something different. I also tried running water through the lint filter and it was just fine (after 8 years use). I do find that fabric softener gunks up the agitator below where the softener is released, but I use a paint stirer every so often and dig it out and rinse with vinegar and hot water. It's good to go for another 6 months. I have been doing laundry for 35 years and have had used fabric softener and dryer sheets for at least that long. Nothing beats soft, dryer dried clothes!

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November 27, 20071 found this helpful

I just found a great recipe for home made fabric softener. I love it. It is 6 cups water, 3 cups white vinegar, and 2 cups cheap hair conditioner. The vinegar cuts all soap residue and the conditioner makes a nice smell. You can also just use plain ole white vinegar. Once the clothes are dry you don't smell it. I have also heard that there are things that are not good for you in softener. Merry Christmas!

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

Listen, I got my first automatic washing machine in 1965. I used a Downey ball, as the machine did not come with dispensers in those days and have used fabric softener ever since. I have never had a machine failure due to fabric softener. You must keep your machine clean no matter what you use or don't use.

All our repairs, of which over the years, were NOT that many, were due to other things.

You have to look at the odds and weigh the chances.

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

Over the years, I never had a washing machine that needed repair and I used liquid softener in all of them. Each of them lasted at least 10 years and I only replaced them when I moved and sold or donated the old ones. I made sure I cleaned the lint filter after every wash and kept the machines clean. The only problem I never had to deal with was hard water. I suspect your repairman was quoting an old urban myth.

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November 27, 20070 found this helpful

Use your fabric softner...dilute your fabric softner 50% with water before pouring into dispenser, this will prevent clogging.

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November 29, 20070 found this helpful

Having just purchased a Maytag Front Loader and reading the instructions that came with it, I can pass along that; the manual does say to dilute (50%) fabric softener with water.

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October 23, 20080 found this helpful

You can use your fabric softener in your washer, but! You can also, clean your washer once or twice a month depending on how often you wash clothes. All you do is take 1/2 gallon of vinegar. Yes, 1/2 gallon, and you fill your washer with hot water and you let it wash through the cycle. It cleans the washer drum inside, hoses and the pipes, this loosens any and most of the build up of softener that sticks when it gets cold.

Over time this will eliminate clogged pipes that have gunk build up in the washing machine and the pipes. I mean it works for me i found this in a magazine awhile back. **Tip buy your vinegar at the dollar store its cheaper.

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April 12, 20090 found this helpful

I'm going to try the recipe above for making your own softener. When using softener sheets, cut them in have or even quarters if you have the large ones - they work just as good. Many times, I will reuse them over and over and they still keep working.

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July 2, 20110 found this helpful

To those of you who have not had any problems with liquid fabric softeners, you are fortunate. I, too, always used liquid fabric softeners and enjoyed the benefits. Then I had a repairman tell me to use the filters on the hose for draining the washers water and then see just what comes out of the hose. Sure enough, there was so much thick and gummy gunt and after a few wash loads, the filter was so packed that water was not able to flush out. Right then and there, I said, "No more liquid fabric softener is going in my washing machine. As much as I loved the benefits I switched to sheets. The softness is there and so is the fresh scent but no more gunt.

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