Why My Washing Machine Won't Take Detergent or Softener?

Jul 10, 2023, 18:35pm

The washing machine uses the detergent or fabric softener, stored in the drawer of your machine, to clean the laundry. With the passing water and depending on the quality of the products, it happens that the products stay in the tray and do not flow into the drum.

If your washing machine takes too little or no detergent or fabric softener and there is some left at the end of the wash cycle, you will need to carry out the following checks and tests:

  • Check the water supply
  • Check the solenoid valve filter
  • Test the solenoid valve
  • Check the hoses
  • Check the water distributor
  • Clean the detergent drawer

To avoid problems related to the products in the tray, it is possible to choose a detergent to be put in a ball directly in the drum or in the form of a tablet. The operation will be the same as the detergent in the box, but it will not be able to be clogged because of the residues. On the other hand, you will still need to use the detergent box if your program has a pre-wash cycle.

Discovering that your washing machine won’t take detergent or softener can be a frustrating experience. Properly dispensing detergent and fabric softener is crucial for achieving clean and fresh laundry. When the machine fails to take in these products, there are several potential reasons for this issue, ranging from clogged dispensers to faulty components. In this article, we will explore the common causes why a washing machine may not take detergent or softener, and provide possible solutions to address the problem.

Why My Washing Machine Won't Take Detergent or Softener?1. Clogged Dispenser Drawer or Tray

One of the common causes for a washing machine not taking detergent or softener is a clogged dispenser drawer or tray. Over time, detergent residue, fabric softener, or other debris can accumulate and block the flow of these products into the machine. Remove the dispenser drawer or tray and thoroughly clean it with warm water and a mild detergent. Use an old toothbrush or a small brush to remove any stubborn residue. Ensure that the dispenser is dry before reinstalling it.

2. Incorrect Product Placement

Sometimes, the issue may arise from incorrect product placement in the dispenser drawer or tray. Each compartment is designed for a specific product, such as detergent, fabric softener, or bleach. Make sure you are placing the products in the appropriate compartments as indicated by the markings or labels on the dispenser. Placing the products in the wrong compartments can prevent the machine from dispensing them properly.

3. Faulty Dispenser Mechanism

If you have ruled out clogs and incorrect placement, it is possible that the dispenser mechanism itself is faulty. The dispenser mechanism consists of valves and solenoids that control the flow of detergent and softener into the machine. If any of these components are malfunctioning, they may not open or close properly, resulting in the failure to dispense the products. In such cases, it is advisable to contact a professional technician to inspect and repair the dispenser mechanism.

4. Water Pressure or Flow Issues

Insufficient water pressure or flow can also affect the dispensing of detergent and softener. Check if there is an adequate water supply to the machine. Ensure that the water supply valves are fully open and that there are no kinks or obstructions in the hoses. Low water pressure or flow can hinder the proper functioning of the dispenser mechanism. If you suspect water pressure or flow issues, it may be necessary to consult a plumber to assess and address the problem.

5. Incorrect Detergent or Softener Type

Using the wrong type of detergent or softener can also contribute to the problem. Some washing machines are designed for use with specific types of detergent or softener. Ensure that you are using the appropriate products as recommended by the manufacturer. Using incompatible products can cause dispensing issues and may affect the cleaning and softening performance of your laundry.

Why My Washing Machine Won't Take Detergent or Softener?

Troubleshooting Steps

Here are some troubleshooting steps you can take to address a washing machine that won’t take detergent or softener:

  1. Remove and clean the dispenser drawer or tray to clear any clogs.
  2. Ensure that you are placing the detergent and softener in the correct compartments.
  3. Contact a professional technician to inspect and repair the dispenser mechanism if it is faulty.
  4. Check the water pressure and flow to ensure proper dispensing.
  5. Use the correct type of detergent and softener recommended for your machine.

By following these steps, you can often resolve the issue of a washing machine not taking detergent or softener. Regular cleaning and maintenance, along with proper product usage, will help prevent future occurrences.

In conclusion, a washing machine that fails to take detergent or softener can be caused by various factors, including clogged dispensers, incorrect product placement, faulty dispenser mechanisms, water pressure or flow issues, and incorrect product usage. By understanding these common causes and following the troubleshooting steps mentioned above, you can often identify and address the issue effectively. If the problem persists or if you are unsure about any repairs, it is advisable to consult a professional technician to diagnose and repair the specific problem with your washing machine’s dispenser system.


“If you’re in Toronto or the Greater Toronto Area and need your washing machine repair service near me urgently, contact Shymon Appliance Repair, we know how to fix it!”