Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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Softener tray filling with water

When the wash cycle is complete, the softener tray is full of water.  This just started happening.  I have the Kenmore Elite Quiet Pak 4, front loading washing machine.

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  • jovin5151 Sep 27, 2008

    mine too.

  • robrien21 Sep 29, 2008

    Pulling it out and cleaning it completely did help a great deal with the water.  Thank you.

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  • 32 Answers

Open the dispenser all the way,place your finger towards the back left of dispenser.you should see a tab,depress the tab and pull entire dispenser cup out.the bleach and fab soft part of the disp has a removable tray.clean all pieces out including the long shafts on the insert.you will more than likely find a build up of softener,this breaks the siphon and does not allow the water to drain out.good luck

Posted on Sep 28, 2008

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Hello Warren, thank you for your post!
From what you have described there is water filling up the fabric softener tray in your Electrolux washer, EWFLS70JSS. At times water will fill into your fabric softener due to draining and siphoning action however, this is a normal operation within your washer. Hopefully this information is helpful to you. -Matt

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I suggest there may be hard water mineral deposits in the hose or orifice to the tray. Try soaking it with some Coke (yes I mean the soft drink) overnight and see if the flow improves. Either that or you can try some CLR but Coke should be enough to gently remove any deposits there are in the tray, hose or line.

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In my case it was simply a matter of cleaning the nozzles that spray the water into the MAIN DETERGENT compartment. Turns our that when the washer was filling up, some nozzles were partially clogged and were directing water to the side where the softener compartment was, causing the fluid level to rise and therefore releasing the softener early. The washer was NOT spraying water in the softener side, what happens is that the dispenser tray is configured in a way that when the fluid reaches a certain max level in the softener/bleach trays, it completely drains. A way to test for this problem would be to completely dry the softener tray and start the wash cycle like you normally would (including detergent), only without adding any softener to the tray and see if after filling there is any water in the softener tray, this would prove that the water is coming from the other side.

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If the fabric softener is gone, but there is water in the fabric softener cup, then your problem may be with the water valve assembly. The water valve assembly (as one complete unit) has a separate solenoid for hot and cold water temperatures, bleach and fabric softener. The fabric softener solenoid on the water valve assembly could be defective (allowing water to fill the fabric softener cup).

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The Solution: Top up the softener tray with extra water so that it is up to the 'max level' mark.

The softener tray works by a siphon action. Thus, the reason the tray does not empty is that not enough water is added by the machine during the softening cycle, so that the machine does not completely fill the softening tray; only when the softening tray is filled beyond the 'max' mark does the siphon action works. A partially filled tray will never empty - it's impossible due to the siphon.

The reason that not enough water is added to the tray during the softening action is that the water inlet of the machine is partial blocked (you can try to fix that) but it is simpler to just added more water to the conditioner tray.

Thus, the easiest way to ensure that the softener tray empties every time (after adding the softener to the softener tray of course) is to top up the softener tray with extra water, top it up to the 'max level' line (keep a bottle of water by the machine). That way, even if only a little water is added to the softener tray during the softening cycle by the machine it is enough to trigger the siphon action and the tray will empty!

Works for me every time, and no need to remove any parts - I used to take the tray out, clean it, scrub the outlet holes that fill the tray etc, but they used to gum up again quite quickly!

Hope that helps

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You need to replace the cold water inlet valve. If the machine is older than one year it may be clogged on the side that moderates the cold water to the bleach and softener compartment. Replacing the valve fixed the problem. During the cycle when the softener dispenser fills it should fill quickly and no or little water should be seen in the soap dispenser area. If a lot of water goes into the soap dispense and little into the softener area the valve is clogged.

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Is the dispenser drawer clogged?
A clogged dispenser can block the flow of water through the dispenser and cause water to leak out. Manually remove the dispenser, and clean any leftover detergent or additives that could clog the flow of water through the dispenser. Also, check that the detergent drawer is always completely closed during the cycle. If the drawer is not closed completely, water can leak out onto the floor.
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Here are a few things that can cause the additives (detergent, fabric softener or liquid chlorine bleach) to dispense early:
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  • Use powdered HE detergent when using the DELAY WASH option. Liquid detergent may dispense prior to the start of wash.
Are the additives dispensing too late?
The additives will not dispense until the proper time if the DELAY WASH option is selected.

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The Solution: Top up the softener tray with extra water so that it is up to the 'max level' mark.

The softener tray works by a siphon action. Thus, the reason the tray does not empty is that not enough water is added by the machine during the softening cycle, so that the machine does not completely fill the softening tray; only when the softening tray is filled beyond the 'max' mark does the siphon action works. A partially filled tray will never empty - it's impossible due to the siphon.

The reason that not enough water is added to the tray during the softening action is that the water inlet of the machine is partial blocked (you can try to fix that) but it is simpler to just added more water to the conditioner tray.

Thus, the easiest way to ensure that the softener tray empties every time (after adding the softener to the softener tray of course) is to top up the softener tray with extra water, top it up to the 'max level' line (keep a bottle of water by the machine). That way, even if only a little water is added to the softener tray during the softening cycle by the machine it is enough to trigger the siphon action and the tray will empty!

Works for me every time, and no need to remove any parts - I used to take the tray out, clean it, scrub the outlet holes that fill the tray etc, but they used to gum up again quite quickly!

Hope that helps

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