The fabric softener does exactly what the name says. This product mainly softens clothes and makes them pleasant to the skin.

With it, the clothes might be smooth and easy to iron. But can you put fabric softener straight into the washing machine? Is it safe to do that?

Sometimes, applying fabric softener straight to the clothes might cause stains and oily spots. If the situation requires using a softener directly, you should be careful and know how to add it right.

The cases where you have to add fabric softener to the washing machine are rare, and I will mention them further in the article.

Can You Put Fabric Softener Straight Into the Washing Machine

Can You Put Fabric Softener Straight Into the Washing Machine?

In 99% of the cases, it is not recommended to put fabric softener straight into the washing machine or clothes. Only 1% of the cases require putting softener directly in the machine. That is often the case with older washing machines that signalize when to put softener and run the rinse cycle.

Most washing machines have a detergent drawer with a softener dispenser where you should pour detergent and softener. The machine takes the detergents one by one and dissolves them with water. This process prevents detergent from directly reaching the clothes and staining them.

However, if you have an older washing machine model, you may have to add the fabric softener directly into the machine drum. In these situations, you add the softener at a different time than the detergent.

Read more: Can You Put Uggs In The Washing Machine?

Dos and Don’ts

When to add the fabric softener to the washing machine

The fabric softener should be added in the last cycle when the machine rinses the laundry. If your washer is an older model, it might lack a softener dispenser, so you have to remember the time when you should add the softener.

Older washing machines will let you open the lid and add softener in the water where the clothes soak, but you must consider the time you run the cycle. It should be the rinse cycle because the washing cycle will only clean away the softener.

If you are bad with memory, I warmly recommend purchasing a fabric softener ball. This ball can be put inside the laundry before you run the cycle. The spinning will pop the ball’s lid and release the softener at the right time.

When not to add the fabric softener to the washing machine

If you have a modern washing machine, you should put the fabric softener in the softener dispenser, which is right next to the detergent and bleach sections in the machine’s drawer.

Washing machines with dispensers automatically control the cycles and dispense the detergent, bleach, and softener at the right time. In this case, you do not have to add the softener separately, but in the beginning, when you load the laundry.

Depending on the machine type you have, you put the softener in the top loader or front loader.

When to avoid fabric softener

You do not have to use fabric softener on all laundry. Some fabrics and pieces of clothing do not need softener because of their purpose and fabric delicacy.

Avoid adding fabric softener to laundry that is intended to absorb. Here, I think about bathroom towels, kitchen towels, and microfiber cloths. For specific pieces of clothing, check the label. Some manufacturers will mention these precautions on the label.

Generally, you should not use fabric softener on baby clothes, pajamas, flameproof clothes, water-resistant clothes, some sportswear clothes, and synthetic fabrics (polyester, nylon).

Also read: Can You Wash Converse In The Washing Machine?


So, can you put fabric softener straight into the washing machine? Yes, you can, but only if you’ve got a machine that works like that.

Most of you have modern washing machines with separate fabric softener dispensers and automatic washing programs that take the detergents at the correct time.

Suppose you are one of those people having an old-timer washing machine in good condition. In that case, you should follow the machine’s washing process and determine when to add fabric softener directly into the machine’s drum.

I hope this guide has helped you find the answers that brought you here!