Can You Use Regular Detergent in HE Washer?

Using regular detergent in a high-efficiency (HE) washer is not recommended. Regular detergents produce excess suds, leading to poor cleaning, residue buildup, and potential washer damage. HE detergents, designed for low water use and tumbling action, prevent these issues by creating fewer suds and efficiently cleaning clothes. They are also more concentrated, eco-friendly, and cost-effective. For optimal results and washer longevity, always use the recommended amount of HE detergent based on load size and water hardness.

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Written by: Mohammad Waseem

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Have you ever stood by your washing machine wondering if you can just toss in regular laundry detergent in your fancy high-efficiency washer? Well, you’re not alone!

Let’s dive into the bubbly world of laundry detergent, high-efficiency appliances, and whether you really need to use HE detergent every time you do your regular laundry. 

Can You Use Regular Detergent in HE Washer?

Can You Use Regular Detergent in HE Washer?

You should never use regular detergent in a high-efficiency (HE) washer. HE detergents are made for the low water use and tumbling action of these machines and are low-sudsing to avoid issues.

Using regular detergent can cause too many suds, which won’t rinse out properly.

This can mess up the washer, stop clothes from getting cleaned right, and could even make the washer overflow or have other problems if you use normal detergent.

If you do use regular detergent by mistake, stop the cycle, run a rinse/spin cycle to clear the suds, and then run a cold wash cycle to flush out any leftover detergent.

HE detergents are easy to find and cost about the same as regular ones. Always use HE products in your HE washer to keep it running smoothly and lasting longer. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for best results.

What Happens When You Use Regular Detergent in an HE Washer?

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  1. Too many suds: Regular detergents make way more suds than HE washers need. These machines use less water, so all those suds make the rinse cycles longer. More time, more energy wasted by traditional washers.
  2. Residue problems: All those extra suds leave gunk on your clothes, in the drum, and inside the washer. This can cause a musty smell and even mold.
  3. Poor cleaning: HE washers are built to clean with less water and detergent. Regular detergent doesn’t dissolve or spread out right, so your clothes don’t get as clean.
  4. Washer damage: Too many suds and leftover residue can mess up your washer’s insides, like the pump and valves. This means pricey repairs.

To dodge these problems, use HE detergent. It’s made for these machines, with fewer suds and works well with less water.

How Does HE Detergent Differ from Regular Detergent?

  • Concentration & Use:
    • HE detergents are more concentrated, so you need less per laundry load.
    • This also means less packaging waste.
  • Cleaning Tech:
    • HE detergents use advanced cleaning tech to break down stains better.
    • Regular ones might not clean as well.
  • Sudsing:
    • HE detergents make fewer suds, good for HE washers that use less water.
    • Standard detergents can make too many suds, messing up the cleaning.
  • Environment Impact:
    • HE detergents are better for the environment, using less water and fewer chemicals.
    • Regular ones can pollute water with phosphates and other stuff.
  • Compatibility:
    • HE detergents are made for HE washers which use less water than traditional washers.
    • Regular ones can work in both, but HE detergents work best in HE machines.
  • Cost:
    • HE detergents might cost more, but they last longer because they’re more concentrated.
  • Stain Removal:
    • HE detergents are better at removing stains, especially from proteins and oils.
  • Fabric Care:
    • HE detergents keep colors vibrant and fabrics soft, while regular can leave residues.
  • Water Hardness:
  • Biodegradability:
    • HE detergents are more biodegradable, making them more eco-friendly.

So, you’re thinking about the benefits of using high efficiency detergent in a high-efficiency washing machine.

First off, the difference between regular and high-efficiency washing is pretty noticeable. If you use the wrong detergent, like non-he, in your HE washer, you’ll end up with too much sudsing. This can mess up the wash cycle and even hurt your machine in the long run.

High efficiency detergent, on the other hand, is specially formulated to work with the lower water levels of HE washers.

Using the proper detergent in an HE machine means you’re using less water and less energy, which is great for the environment and your utility bills.

Plus, HE detergents are super concentrated, so you only need about a tablespoon per load.

If you toss that same amount of detergent in a regular washer, you’d probably think you’re crazy, right? But that’s just the way detergent is formulated for high-efficiency washing.

Now, compare that to using the regular price excluding taxes detergent in a high-efficiency washer.

You’ll need a lot more of it to get the same effect, and more liquid laundry detergent means more money and waste.

Not cool. The kind of detergent you need does make a difference. This makes the choice super important when you’re at the store, whether you normally use liquid detergent or another type of detergent.

Using a high-efficiency laundry detergent in your HE washing machine has big benefits:

  1. Compatibility and Efficiency: HE detergents are made to work with low water and the special cleaning methods of HE washers. They make less suds so they don’t mess up the machine.
  2. Cost-Effectiveness: HE detergents are super concentrated, so you use less each load than traditional detergent. This saves you money over time by using high-efficiency laundry detergent.
  3. Environmental Friendliness: The low-sudsing formula of HE detergents means less detergent residue on clothes and in the machine. This helps reduce water pollution.
  4. Cleaning Performance: HE detergents have advanced formulas that deeply clean dirt and stains, giving your clothes a thorough wash.
  5. Longevity of HE Washer: Using the right HE detergent stops residue buildup, which can mess with the machine’s performance and shorten its life.

What Is the Correct Amount of HE Detergent to Use?

Using HE Detergent in High-Efficiency Washers

  1. For regular loads, use 1 oz of HE detergent.
  2. Adjust detergent based on load size:
    • Small load: Fill drum by 1/3, weigh less than 6 lbs.
    • Medium load: Fill drum by 1/2, weigh about 6 lbs, to prevent using too much detergent.
    • Large load in a traditional washer: Fill drum by 3/4, weigh about 11 lbs.
  3. Soft water? Use less detergent.
  4. Hard water? Use about 1/4 more detergent.
  5. Always follow the detergent maker’s guidelines and measure each time to avoid problems like too much suds or detergent buildup.


Can you use regular detergent in an HE washer?

It’s not recommended to use non-he detergent in high efficiency washing machines. HE washers are designed to handle low water levels and a tumbling washing action, so regular laundry soap can create too many suds, leading to potential issues.

What is the difference between regular laundry detergent and HE detergent?

The main difference between regular laundry detergent and HE detergent is that HE detergent is low-sudsing and specifically made for your he washer. Regular detergent creates more suds, which can interfere with the washer’s cleaning process and leave residue on your clothes.

What happens if I accidentally used regular detergent in my HE washer?

If you accidentally used regular detergent in your HE washer, you might notice excess suds and maybe even an error message on your machine. It’s best to run an extra rinse cycle to clear out any remaining detergent and suds.

How much HE detergent should you use in a high efficiency washer?

You typically need less HE detergent than you would normally use with regular laundry detergent. Always refer to the detergent packaging for exact measurement instructions.

Can using the wrong detergent in an HE washer damage the machine?

Using the wrong detergent, such as non-he laundry detergent, can cause an excess of suds that might overflow and potentially damage your machine due to its low water levels and tumbling washing action.

Are HE detergents comparable in price to regular detergents?

Yes, HE detergents are usually comparable in price to regular detergents. Despite being formulated for high-efficiency washers, they’re designed to provide the same level of cleaning power.

What kind of laundry detergent should you use in a regular washer?

In a regular washer, you can use standard laundry detergent. However, HE detergent can also be used, as it is designed to work in both high-efficiency and regular washers.

Do you have any tips for using HE detergent in high-efficiency washers?

Yes! Ensure you’re using the correct amount as instructed on the detergent packaging, don’t overload your washer, and regularly clean the detergent dispenser to prevent buildup.

Is it best to use HE detergent over regular detergent even in a regular washing machine?

Yes, it’s best to use HE detergent because it works efficiently in both HE and regular washing machines without creating excessive suds.

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