To those who love Fabric Softner.......a warning.....

8 Jul 2008
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United Kingdom
A relative recently had no need for their pretty new washing machine. I requiring one, was more than happy to take it and keep it running.

Now, I was aware that my relative had a liking of fabric softener. There was often numerous bottles stacked next to the washing machine. Their towels clothes and towels, while soft, always had a stickiness to them. Compared to mine at least. Their clothing also had the strong fabric softener smell. They like it, who am I to judge.....

However, on receiving the washing machine, I soon realised how much they must have been using.

The machine stank of it. It smelt overpowering and had a rancid quality to it. The garage, where I have place it, stank of it after leaving it in there for just an evening.

So, I felt it needed a decontamination and a service. So an empty 90degree wash with dishwasher tablets (that do not soap) was required.

During the first wash, with no added softener or washing powder, the machine had so much bubbles and suds in it ( you could not see through the door), I thought it might trigger the overflow sensor. After this, the machine still smelled strongly of softener.

So another 90 degree wash with tablets, resulting in a less bubbles and suds but still a softener strong smell.

On inspection, using a torch, it seems like the softener, over the years, having waterproofing properties had collected around the outer tub in a layer of goo/slime that even 90degrees and dishwasher tablets was struggling to shift.

This has started to go rancid over time and I can't imagine the bacteria this would produce. Especially if just cool washes were used as the norm.

So, I am now on my 5th empty wash. This time at 40 degrees and with some dilute bleach (milton). This still soaped up the washing machine during it's washing cycle as if I had put something in it.

So, a word of warning to those who love fabric softener. Don't forget it is a chemical. An oil with water proofing qualities that can go rancid. It can clog up the machine and significantly impair it's rinse cycle.

In fact, my relative complained the machine was useless as the rinse did not wash the clothes properly. Methinks it was about how much softener they were using!

Service your machine once a month with a hot wash and a dishwasher tablet.

Hopefully I will have cleared this in another two empty washes.
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Washing soda crystals are a good degreasant. they clean away soap sludge and clean washing machines (no powder needed) but I have not encountered fabsoft sludge (it's a waxy emulsion)

Quite cheap. Found on the Laundry shelves.

When doing service cleans, you can put cotton towels in. They will stand up to the hot hot hot wash and (if white) no problem with fading.
Soda Crystals are a good thought. Dishwasher tablets are my go-to as I expect they have pretty powerful degreasers and will not damage the machine, but although they must have shifted a lot, there must be a layer of softener still there. It still smells.....

While the softener may dry waxy as you say, as soon as it gets wet, it becomes a god awful slime. I think this has collected in the containing tub around the stainless steel spinner.

Yes, If I could wash towels a part of the hot wash I would, but there is still so much softener in there.....

I may have to mention their softener use (in a delicate way) as their new dryer is a heat pump variety. Apparently the heat exchangers in these can get clogged up quicker if there is a lot of softener in the water.

The vented dryer they also got rid of also smells of softener.......
It leads to a greasy build up inside dyers and can choke a heatpump dryer with their narrow passageways.
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It leads to a greasy build up inside dyers and can choke a heatpump dryer with their narrow passageways.

Yep, they got rid of their rather nice dryer too....I'm about to make a new post about dismantling it and cleaning it....even though their old one was a good quality vented one, I bet there is still a greasy build-up. The new one won't last long I think....

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