Make sure the washing machine is not in operation. Pull the fabric softener dispenser drawer out of the washer. Depending on the model, you may need to release a catch on the side of the drawer.
Bring the drawer to a sink. Remove the fabric softener basket from the drawer.
Clean the fabric softener residue from the drawer using a rag dampened with warm water.
Rinse the basket under warm water. Run your fingers along the basket to loosen any clogged or clumped fabric softener buildup. Especially hard clumps of softener may have formed if you haven't cleaned the basket in a long time. Use a toothpick to loosen these harder clumps from the basket. Continue rinsing and rubbing the basket until all buildup is removed.
Replace the cleaned basket in the dispenser drawer. Slide the drawer back into your washing machine. Repeat the process whenever fabric softener begins to accumulate in the basket.