Washing Machine Not Rinsing Soap Out? (try doing this)

If your laundry comes out of the machine feeling slimy or covered in white spots, then the machine is not rinsing the soap out completely. This can be a pain because the simple one step task of washing clothes becomes far more involved. There is often an easy solution for this annoying problem.

Read on as in this article we share the most common causes of washing machines not rinsing soap out properly. Some solutions are simple and require no specialist knowledge, whilst others will require an expert’s help.

Adding Too Much Detergent

It can seem like a good idea to add extra detergent to particularly dirty laundry, but it’s never a good idea to exceed recommended quantities of detergent. The detergent manufacturers calculate exactly how much detergent is necessary for each fabric, and water hardness level. To exceed this dose will definitely cause the machine to leave soap behind after the final rinse.

If clothes are soiled to such a high level, try pre soaking them in a bucket of soapy water or applying detergent just on the soiled spots. Using an incorrect type of detergent can also cause the machine to not rinse correctly too. Most washing machines require HE (high efficiency) detergents and in the correct quantity.

Detergent Put In The Wrong Tray

In the detergent dispenser tray there are 3 separate compartments, the one labelled “I” is for the prewash, “II” is for the main wash, and the one in the middle is for fabric softener. The only time you should put detergent in the first compartment is if you are running a pre wash program on your machine. Otherwise just use the “II” or larger compartment.


Overloaded Machine

If you crammed as much laundry as possible into the machine drum, it could be overloaded. This will prevent the clothing from moving around the drum freely which could cause the detergent to get trapped in certain items of clothing. Then the rinse cycle begins and that detergent remains trapped in those clothes.

If this sounds like the way you use your machine, just decrease the amount of laundry you put into the machine.

Blocked Drain Hose

The hose that runs from your washing machine and the drain standpipe shouldn’t have any kinks, bends or obstructions. If it does this could prevent the machine from draining waste water correctly which could cause your laundry to retain detergent. Check the drain hose for obstructions, you can use a plumber’s snake to clear any blockage.

Blocked Pump Filter

If the filter on the drain pump is blocked, the waste water will not drain from the machine completely. Locate the pump filter (consult your manual), remove it from the machine and check for anything that looks out of place. While the filter is removed, check that the pump’s impeller turns freely and is not damaged at all.

Insufficient Water Pressure

If there is not enough water pressure, the detergent will not clear the dispenser tray. Every subsequent water blast (for rinsing etc) will carry more residue detergent into the wash load. To check the water pressure, turn the feed tap to the closed or off position.

Remove the feed pipe from the machine and place the end in a bucket. Turn the feed tap to open and time how long the bucket takes to fill with water. The recommended flow rate is 10 litres per minute so a 5 litre bucket should take no longer than 30 seconds to fill. If your flow rate is lower than this you need to close the feed tap and contact a plumber.

Blocked Water Jets

If your water flow is sufficient, it could be that the jets that force water through the dispenser are clogged. Remove the detergent dispenser and look just above where the tray sits, you will see a series of holes. Prod a cocktail stick gently into these holes to remove any limescale or gunky deposits.

Faulty Water Supply Valves

If it’s not the jets blocked your machine could have a fault with the supply valves. These should be fully open every time you use your machine. If there is a fault, there will not be sufficient water entering the machine to rinse the detergent through your machine. If you suspect this is the issue, contact an engineer.

Faulty Control Board

Washing machines rely on a control board to switch between functions, if the control board malfunctions, it could cause the machine to not rinse at all. If you suspect this is the problem contact an engineer.

Frequently Asked Questions

What do I do if my laundry is still soapy?

If your machine has finished and the laundry is still soapy, put the washing back in the machine and  run a rinse cycle. It might help to split the load in half as it could be you overloaded the machine.

Why is there so much soap in my washing machine?

If there is an excess of soap in your machine, it could have been caused by using too much detergent, the wrong type of detergent, a faulty water inlet valve, blocked drain hose, pump or a faulty control board.

Why are there soap suds in my washing machine?

If there are soap suds left in your machine when the program has finished, it could be because you have used excessive amounts of detergent. It could also be caused by insufficient water pressure, a faulty drain pump, blocked drain pump filter or any number of other issues.

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