So, picture this: you decide you want to use fabric softener in your clothes, and you want to use it for the first time, but when you go to open the machine, you notice that there is no fabric softener dispenser.
Now, I know that it is natural to turn to the next best alternative, the bleach dispenser, but this could have disastrous consequences. So, that begs the question; can I put fabric softener in the bleach dispenser?
You should never put your fabric softener in the bleach dispenser, as this can create dangerous chlorine gas.
Mixing cleaning products can be a hazardous business, even if it’s only a residual amount, which is why you need to ask these important questions.
This article is going to explain how the bleach dispenser works and why, under no circumstances, should you use the bleach dispenser for fabric softener.
Gomestic Fact: Do you want your towels to feel soft and fluffy without damaging them? Try using white vinegar instead of fabric softener.
The bleach dispenser is gravity forced, so, essentially, you pour the bleach (no more than 250ml at a time) into the dispenser, channeled along the outer tub, and into the bottom of the washer.
Here it mixes with the water and gets well diluted before it makes contact with the clothes. This prevents any staining from straight bleach from making contact with your clothes.
The bleach dispenser is often located away from the detergent and fabric softener dispensers to prevent accidental mixing.
You should never put your fabric softener in the bleach dispenser as it can cause a health hazard.
The reason behind this is not necessarily the function of the dispenser but rather the potential for bleach residue to mix with the fabric softener.
Bleach is made from diluted sodium hypochlorite, while fabric softener is made from a mixture of chemicals. One of the chemicals is very reactive with sodium hypochlorite, so a chemical reaction creates fatal chlorine gas when they come into contact.
The bleach dispenser of your washing machine will have bleach residue left behind from previous uses, so pouring fabric softener in on top of that can have instantaneous deadly circumstances.
The effects of being exposed to chlorine gas include blurred vision, burns, eye, nose, and throat irritation, coughing, chest tightness, shortness of breath, nausea, and vomiting.
This is especially dangerous when the chemicals mix in a laundry room because they are often rooms with poor ventilation.
If this happens by accident, open all the doors and windows and get outside into the fresh air. Leave the house to ventilate well before returning inside. See a doctor as soon as possible if you start exhibiting any symptoms.
Now it is possible to use bleach and fabric softener in the same wash, but only when they are laced in their correct dispenser so they are released at precisely the right time to avoid a reaction.
Gomestic Tip: Bleach is also very dangerous when mixed with vinegar; find out why and how to use these two products safely here.
Firstly, I would suggest giving your washing machine manual a quick read to make sure that there is no fabric softener dispenser.
Every washing machine brand is slightly different, so you might likely have just missed it. In top loaders, many people miss that the fabric softener goes in the central column, so be sure to check this if you have a machine of this design.
Unfortunately, some washing machines don’t come with fabric softener dispensers, but this doesn’t mean you can use them; there are easy to get around it.
All you need to do is add the fabric softener manually to the water during the rinse cycle, ensuring that it doesn’t make direct contact with the clothes, as this can cause staining.
Frequently Asked Questions:
I don’t recommend mixing your fabric softener in via the detergent dispenser because the products will not be able to work effectively.
They are separated so they can be diluted and dispensed at the perfect time and in the correct quantities to have the best effects on your clothing. The separate dispensers are designed so that all these products can be used in conjunction with one another safely and at the highest possible efficiency.
Laundry sanitizers like the Lysol Laundry sanitizer should be placed in the bleach dispenser rather than the fabric softener dispenser.
This product doesn’t contain any chemicals that will react with the bleach, so it is perfectly safe. You can also add the laundry sanitizer manually during the rinse cycle.
Oxiclean should never be placed in the bleach dispenser for a similar reason to fabric softener.
The combination of Oxiclean and the leftover bleach in the dispenser will create a dangerous gas that will harm you and damage your clothes.
Check out our deep dive here to find out all about the reaction between Oxiclean and bleach.
Even though they may be similar, it’s important that you use each part of the washing machine for the right job to prevent things from going wrong.
In summation, fabric softeners should never go in the bleach dispenser as this can create dangerous gasses. It is safer to add the fabric softener manually during the rinse rather than sing the incorrect dispenser.
I hope this has helped you avoid a risky problem and given you an alternative to adding fabric softener to your laundry.