High Efficiency Laundry detergents: 11 Things Everyone should know

Detergents play a key role in optimizing your washing machine’s performance.

Making use of poor detergents not only makes your washing machine inefficient but also affects it’s lifespan in long run.

Furthermore, Low quality detergents are not effective in cleaning adamant stains and it may make your clothes appear dull.

Combination of Poor-quality detergents and High Efficiency washer is a clear recipe for super bad results.

Here are 11 important things about High Efficiency Laundry detergents you should know.

What is High Efficiency Laundry detergents?

High Efficiency Laundry detergent simply means detergents formulated to work with High-Efficiency washing machines. HE (High-Efficiency) detergents contain Low-Sud formula and tends to leave lesser amount of residue when compared to normal detergents.

These days most washers are specially designed to work with High Efficiency detergents, as this helps to work with lesser water volume.

READ: 20 Important things to know before using fabric softeners

Difference between High Efficiency Detergents and Regular Detergent?

Regular detergents produce excessive suds and tends to leave the residue behind. Therefore, regular Detergents are mostly used in large washers that use high volume of water to run the washing cycle. Washers that use high volume of water to run the washing cycle can handle high amount of suds easily which isn’t the case with HE Washers.

On the other hand, High Efficiency washers are designed to work with low water volume. Therefore, using normal detergents in HE washers will simply make it inefficient as it is not designed to handle excessive suds.

Since HE washers uses low water volume to run the washing cycle, it’s important that the detergent which is being used generates as low amount of suds as possible.

Lower the amount of Suds, the efficient would be your HE washer.

In a nutshell, the major difference between Normal Detergent and High Efficiency detergent is the amount of Suds that they produce. HE (High-Efficiency) Detergents produce less suds and the Regular detergents produces higher amount of Suds.

READ: How to Hookup a Portable Washer?

How to use High Efficiency Laundry detergents?

Using High Efficiency Laundry Detergent is easy. All you need to do is Load your clothes, Fill the washer with water and finally add HE detergent to the main detergent compartment.

Most modern washers have three compartments i.e. Pre-Wash, Softener and Main Detergent Compartment.

So, it’s the main compartment where you add the HE detergent.

Note: If you have an automatic front-loading washer, it will automatically add water based on the selection made by you.

If you have a washer’s that does not have any compartments for detergent, simply follow the below steps:

  • Add Water
  • Pour Detergent and mix well
  • Now Add your clothes, soak it well
  • Run the wash cycle

Above steps are only applicable for top loaders and portable manual/semi-automatic washing machines.

You can find more information on appropriate dosage and other queries related to Washing Detergents here.

READ: How to find the best Portable Washing Machines

How much High Efficiency Laundry Detergents should I use?

Two tablespoon of High Efficiency laundry detergent should suffice for an average size HE washer. Even though there will be low volume of suds, you will still get a good quality cleaning.

Having said that, choosing the right quantity of HE detergent depends on several factors such as washer type, Water quality (Hard water OR Soft Water) and Dirt Level.

To get a good idea on the quantity of HE laundry detergent you should be using you can refer the below table.

Dirt LevelFront-LoadTop-LoadSemi-Automatic
Normal1 Scoop (2.5 Ounce)2 Scoop (5 Ounce)1 Scoop (2.5 Ounce)
Extremely Dirty2 Scoop (5 Ounce)3 Scoop (7.5 Ounce)1 ½ Scoop (3.5 Ounce)
For Hard WaterAdd 0.5 OunceAdd 1 OunceAdd 0.5 Ounce

How do I know if my detergent is high efficiency?

Identifying HE Laundry detergent is simple, just look for HE Symbol on the container. In most detergents, High-Efficiency is written as lowercase “h” and “e”. Furthermore, you need ensure that the detergent that you buy suits your HE Washer, as there may be two different variants of same detergent, one for Front-Load and the other one for Top Load.

The other way to identify HE detergent is to look for Low-Sud formula, most detergents advertised as low-sud formula falls into HE category.

HE detergents leave very less residue behind and your washer can easily run through the wash cycles.

READ: How to troubleshoot Portable washing machine?

Can I use High Efficiency detergents with standard washers?

Yes, you can use High Efficiency Detergents with standard washers. Having said that, standard washers use high water volume, therefore you may need to add higher quantity of HE detergents.

Even though High Quantity of HE detergents may still not produce high amount of suds it won’t affect the cleaning quality. The cleaning quality will still be better than the normal detergents.

What Happens If you don’t use HE Detergents?

If you are using a Non-HE washer, standard detergents won’t have any effect as standard Non-HE washers are designed to work with high water volume. Furthermore, standard washers can easily work with excess suds produced by normal detergents, as it uses more water when compared to HE washers.

On the other hand, if you are using a High-Efficiency Washer along with standard detergent, it won’t work well, as high efficiency washers are designed to work with less water. Since it uses less water, excess suds produced by standard detergent will make the rinse cycle lengthy and difficult.

READ: How to Clean Portable Washer?

Why do you need HE Laundry Detergents?

HE Laundry Detergents produce low sud volume and leaves lesser amount of residue behind. Since it produces fewer suds, it makes the washing cycle efficient and works seamlessly with HE washers.

Using HE detergents are easier on your washer’s drainage system as it leaves fewer amount of residue behind after completing the wash cycle.

Limited amount of residue also means it can be flushed out easily, therefore not allowing the bacteria and molds to thrive.

Furthermore, most modern washers are designed in such a way that it uses limited amount of water and electricity. Therefore, it makes more sense to use HE Detergents for such types of washers.

HE Washers can’t handle excess suds because of the design, it’s designed to work with less amount of water.

In a nutshell, you should only use HE detergents if you are using a HE washing machine especially if you washer is a Front-Loader.

READ: 15 Things you should know about detergents

Is HE Detergents Expensive?

HE Detergents are expensive than the standard detergents. However, using HE detergents along with High Efficiency washing machines, will use lesser amount of detergents per washing cycle as most HE washers have automatic detergent dispenser.

Most HE detergent costs anywhere between $12 to $30.

READ: Can Vinegar damage your washer?

Will regular detergent ruin HE washer?

Regular detergents tend to leave fair amount of residue behind and this simply builds up over a period of time. Therefore, Regular detergents can not only ruin the HE washers by blocking the drainage system but also promote the growth of molds and bacteria.

HE washers are not designed to handle excess suds, therefore using regular detergent in HE washers will not only extend the washing cycle but also affect your washers lifespan in long run.

READ: 14 things you shouldn’t wash in your washer

Can I use powder detergent in HE washer?

Yes, you can use powdered detergent in HE Washer only if the detergent is labelled as “HE” (High-Efficiency). Using regular detergent in HE washer is not recommended as it makes the washer inefficient. Regular detergent produces lots of lather, which does not work well with washer that uses low water volume to function.


HE Detergents will make a lot of sense if you are using a HE Washer especially if you are using front loaders. These detergents not only make your washing machine efficient but also prolongs its lifespan.

Moreover, it also delays the build of bacteria and molds as it leaves very limited amount of residue behind after the wash.

Hemant Sarkar is a seasoned techie with a diploma in computer science and an impressive track record of over 15 years in dealing with speakers, kitchen appliances, and various home appliance-related issues. He is widely recognized for his exceptional expertise in repairing dryers and washing machines from all major brands. In addition to his appliance repair prowess, Hemant maintains engaging blogs on topics related to music and speakers. For any inquiries or assistance regarding appliances or tech-related matters, you can reach out to him at: hemant (at) theportablelaundry.com.