How does the fabric softener dispenser work in my washing machine?

In my washing machine, the center post has a receptacle in it for fabric softener. I’m not exactly sure how the fabric softener gets from there onto the clothes. If I don’t set the extra rinse cycle, fabric softener is just splattered all over my clothes and not rinsed in. So clearly that extra rinse cycle disperses the fabric softener. But I still don’t understand how the fabric softener gets from that cup onto the clothes.

Anybody know? Curiosity is killing me! I think about this every single time I put fabric softener in there!

I believe it’s literally just flung from the little cup during the spin cycle. At least that’s what I figured out back when I was little and used to sit and watch the washing machine with the top open. We didn’t use fabric softener but I think I filled the cup with water once to see exactly what you’re asking. (I was also the kid that would take everything apart just to see how it worked).

I thought maybe it was flung too, however there’s a lip over the top of the cup. Here’s a pic:

Trust me, I should be thinking about more important things, but this is bugging the crap out of me!

Can the cup be pulled upwards? I had an old washer that worked like that. When you pulled up on the cup it would expose holes near the bottom of it allowing it to drain down. I’m guessing the spinning action would somehow lift it due to the way the notches in the plastic were cut.

I’d go investigate my current washer but it’s one of those newfangled space shuttle models that locks the lid so you don’t try to do anything naughty and it probably doesn’t work the same way as they used to. There is a setting you need to enable for it to properly work, or so the directions say.

The cup can’t be pulled up, but there are these four holes on the side of the post about 6 inches down below that cup:

The only way I can imagine this working is that maybe that little notch at the bottom of the cup lowers creating an opening for the softener to run down and fling out those holes? But I fiddled with that little notch at the bottom of the cup, and it doesn’t seem movable, it seems more like where the mold of the cup attached or something.

No the spinning cup flings the liquid to the side, there are non visible holes near the top of the cup.

We don’t have running water so the pressure is too low to hook the washing machine up to the tap, so we just stick a hose in the center cup and close the lid to fill it for a cycle or rinse. The water comes out the holes and into the machine, the cup will not overflow.

I got the feeling that the dispenser wouldn’t release the diluted fabric softener during the back and forth agitation, but the vigorous spin post rinse is supposed to fling the softener out. Back in the day, I used to watch the machine with the lid up and the sensor blocked. It seems to work – not leaving during the wash cycle, releasing during the spin. But still, it just isn’t as good as adding at the right time.

I stuck my fingers up under the lip of the cup and I do feel an edge as if centrifugal force spins the liquid up and over the edge and then somehow dispenses it below.

Pour some water into the cup, you’ll see it not overflowing and see the water coming out the agitator.

Well I’ll be! The water overflowed over the sides of the cup (under the lip) down into the agitator stem, and out through those holes on the side. Thank God, now I can focus on something else!

I need to test this. My brand new washer (at the time) just caked up with softener when we tried to use it (we have the softener dispenser in the middle too) so we just switched to dryer sheets.

Do you dilute the softener? I swear the instructions with mine direct you to fill softener up to the first line and water up to the second line. That’s what I do anyway, no clogs and my clothes come out nice.