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How to Deal with Thickened Fabric Softener

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By sandiadair

My Laundry Question

I have a huge container (187 fl oz) of Kirkland Ultra fabric softener that is about a year old and have a little over half left.

All of a sudden it has congealed into a thick mass like a really thick milkshake and is unusable in my softener dispenser. It doesn't even come out of the spigot.

Is there a way to fix this or do I have to throw it out?

Share a Little Background Info

I average 2-4 loads of laundry every other week so my fabric softener lasts me for quite a long time.

My laundry room has one wall shared with the garage and I thought maybe the softener had gotten a little too cold during a cold spell. I live in the Sacramento Valley, so it didn't get THAT cold!

My washer is a 2 year old GE,top loader - energy star rating, water saving, precise fill model. I have reread the manual and have taken out and taken apart the water softener dispenser and have thoroughly cleaned it. That pretty much covers the whole picture.

Sorry, but I don't really have any more to add. I don't really have any more to add. I don't really have any more to add. I don't really have any more to add. I don't really have any more to add.

Lessons Learned

  • I tried I microwaving a small amount of the softener before adding it to the dispenser and it temporarly liquifies it, but upon cleaning my dispenser, I find gooey softner residue left, so am thinking when it gets cool during the cold water spin or rinse, it tends to again congeal.

Fabric Content of Item (if appropriate)

All types of fabric

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

A change in temperature can change the viscosity of fabric softeners. It doesn't make them "go bad", it just makes them difficult to work with. Since you have such a huge bottle, I suggest transferring a small amount (one or two cups) to a smaller bottle. Add water - start with one-half cup - and shake until the consistency is correct. You may need to add more water as you shake.

Use as usual in your washer. However, if this thinner mixture still clogs the dispenser, my suggestion is to dispose of the fabric softener. I would also suggest buying fabric softener in smaller quantities since you don't do a huge amount of laundry.

You can also make your own fabric softener at home as you need it!

Good luck!

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