How Does the Bleach Dispenser in a Washing Machine Work?
Most modern washing machines have a bleach dispenser to help you add liquid bleach to your laundry cycles. Liquid bleach is a powerful stain remover and fabric refresher that strips away color. It’s used usually on white items or ones that can withstand splotches and color changes.
The bleach dispenser in the washing machine is designed to help you enjoy the cleanest, whitest, and brightest clothes while protecting your clothes from this powerful cleaning product.
The dispenser guides the bleach from the detergent tray of the washing machine to a specific spout between the inner basket (which holds the clothes) and the surrounding tub that holds the water for the laundry cycle.
When the cycle is ready to start, the outer drum starts to fill the inner basket with water, carefully mixing the bleach with the water, so undiluted bleach never touches your clothes directly.
Using the bleach dispenser in a washing machine is the best choice to avoid spots and discoloration on clothes. It’s a bad idea to add bleach directly to the washing machine basket of a front loader or tossed on the top of a pile of clothes in a top-loading machine.
In What Cycle Does the Bleach Dispenser Operate?
The bleach dispenser starts to deploy the bleach in the wash cycle toward the beginning of the process. As water starts to enter the inner basket of the machine, bleach is slowly added to the water to make a diluted bleach solution that is gentle on clothes.
If you forget to add bleach to your laundry, you can still add it before the first rinse cycle begins. If you add bleach too late, your clothes may come out smelling strongly of bleach and may have a slimy film on them.
If this happens, be sure to run these clothes through another rinse cycle to avoid transferring bleach to other clothes and damaging them.
How Do You Use Fabric Softener in a Washing Machine without a Dispenser?
Fabric softener dispensers come in many forms to help you get soft and great smelling laundry. Front loaders have a dispenser drawer that pulls out and can be easily filled with detergent.
Top loaders may have a drawer located on the front of the machine or a tube in the middle of the drum that will gradually dispense detergent.
If your washing machine doesn’t have a fabric softener compartment, you can still add fabric softener to your laundry for great-smelling and soft clothing. However, it is important to understand your washing machine and add the fabric softener at the correct time.
Fabric softener must be manually added during the rinse cycle. If you pour fabric softener on the top of your clothes after you have loaded them into the machine, you risk discoloration and damage from fabric softener coming in direct contact with your clothes.
If you are not able to watch the machine so you can catch the rinse cycle, some companies offer automatically dispensing gadgets you can add to your laundry when you load your clothes. These items, like a Downy Ball, are designed to release during the spinning of a rinse cycle.
Otherwise, you can wait until you hear the rinse cycle begin. An even better way is to use a timer on your smartphone and open the dishwasher and add fabric softener at the right time.
What Happens If You Put Detergent in the Bleach Dispenser?
While it may not necessarily damage your washing machine, the bleach dispenser was specifically designed to dispense liquid chlorine bleach at the right time to clean clothes while protecting them at the same time.
This means the detergent drawer and spout are designed for the thickness and other characteristics of bleach, which are different from detergent. This detergent compartment also dispenses bleach at a specific point of the wash cycle for maximum effectiveness.
Pouring fabric softener or detergent in the bleach dispenser will most likely not harm the machine or your clothes, but it may result in a wash cycle that is not as effective in cleaning, disinfecting, and removing stains from clothes.
Can Fabric Conditioner Go in the Drum?
Yes! If you do not have a dispenser drawer for fabric softener, you can add liquid fabric softener directly to the drum of the washing machine.
However, it is important for you to know your washing machine and add the fabric conditioner at the correct time. To avoid damaging your clothes and to make sure it rinses completely out of your load of laundry, add the softener to the rinse cycle only.
There are also new washing machine helpers that make it possible to add fabric conditioner to the drum without waiting to pounce on the rinse cycle. Gadgets like a Downy Ball make this process easier than ever.
They’ll allow you to fill the ball with fabric softener at the same time you add another detergent, but it’s not dispensed until the rinse cycle. The vigorous spinning of the rinse cycle causes the lid of the Downy Ball to open and dispense fabric softener at the exact right time.