Which is the washing machine detergent drawer?

image of Washing machine detergent drawer compartments

Are your clothes not coming out clean? Do you think there might be something wrong with your washing machine? Maybe you’re not putting the washing detergent in the right compartment?

Well, the good news is this is a straightforward problem to fix.

Most washing machines come with 3 compartments.



Fabric Softener

So each of these detergent drawer compartments has a different job and releases the products at a different time during the wash cycle. So you can’t expect your clothes to be clean if you put the washing powder in the fabric softener slot.

Eash washing machine compartments may be slightly different but they usually have the 3 symbols explained below so you can work out where to put the detergent and fabric softener.

Washing Machine Symbols – Detergent Drawer Compartments Explained

image of washing machine detergent drawer symbols

Above, you can see the three compartments on most washing machines. The layout will vary for different types of washing machines, but this layout is from my washing machine, the Whirlpool Cabrio. All types of washing machines have a washing machine drawer, from a front-loading washing machine to top-load washing machines.



Pre-wash Drawer

image of washing machine compartments

Have the kids been playing football? Have you been to a festival? Then the pre-wash is for you. The pre-wash is only really used if your clothes are really dirty and muddy. This cycle is used first before the main wash if you need that extra cycle to get your clothes clean. So it’s great for removing tough stains and caked-on dirt.

If you select pre-wash remember you also need to fill this drawer with washing detergent as well as the regular detergent drawer. If you are using pre-wash your clothes are basically getting two wash cycles.

Washing Machine Detergent Drawer – which section does detergent go in?

image of detergent drawer in washing machine

This is the compartment you will use for every wash to put in your washing powder or liquid.
As a guide, if your clothes are filthy, you must use more detergent. Please read the label on the detergent to see how much you need to use.

Once you have been washing for a while, you will get a feel for how much you need to use, depending on how dirty your clothes are.

If you use washing pods, just put this in the machine with your clothes, and you don’t need to use the compartments.


Fabric Softener Drawer

image of where to put the fabric softener drawer

This is what makes your clothes feel soft and smell fresh and clean. If you have sensitive skin you can also try using vinegar to soften your clothes instead of fabric softener. 

This is always the last compartment to be used in the wash cycle, so if you accidentally put the detergent in this drawer, it’s a problem.

This is also the compartment that usually needs cleaning. It’s easy for this compartment to get filled with gunky liquid. It’s usually really easy to remove the whole compartment and then wash it with a brush under the sink.

Cleaning Washing Machine Drawers

It is always a good idea to clean the washing machine compartments. It is usually really easy and only takes 5 mins. There is typically a button or level you press to release the whole compartment. Then you can clean this compartment with an old   toothbrush or scrubbing sponge, hot soapy water and remove the soap scum and it will come out sparkling.

Cleaning Tips: remember to check inside the machine where you have removed the detergent drawers from. This is a common place for black mould to build up. You can wipe this out with hot water and a cloth and it’s also a good idea to use some vinegar on the cloth to stop the mold from coming back.


Which one is the detergent drawer?

The washing machine detergent drawer is usually the biggest compartment marked with the following symbol.

Which is the washing machine soap dispenser? 

The washing machine soap dispenser is usually the biggest compartment drawer in your machine. It can also have the symbol II marked on the drawer.

Where does the washing powder go?

The washing powdered detergent will go in the drawer compartment marked with the II symbol, and it will be the biggest compartment.

Where does the fabric softener go?

The fabric softener goes in the compartment marked with a flower symbol and is usually the smallest of the compartments.

How to clean washing machine draw

The best way to clean the washing machine detergent draw is to remove the detergent drawer from the washer, disassemble it, and scrub it with warm, soapy water to clean it. Before putting it back together and putting it back in the machine, give it a full rinse and dry it with a clean cloth. To get rid of any leftover residue, run a cleaning cycle.

Final Thoughts

Now you know what those washing machine symbols mean and where to put the liquid detergent. It makes life so much easier and now you can wash with confidence knowing that the washing detergent is in the right compartment.. Washing machine detergent drawer sections are essential for ensuring that clothing is washed thoroughly. You can make sure that your clothing comes out clean and smelling fresh by utilizing the appropriate container for each type of detergent, fabric softener, or bleach.


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