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FAQ: Can I Use Regular Detergent in a HE Washer?

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So you have a HE washer and you’re wondering: Can I use regular detergent in a HE washer? We’ve got you covered – we’ll fill you in on what detergents are best to use in high-efficiency washing machines and why.

Can I Use Regular Detergent in a HE Washer?

There are two main types of washing machines, but a crazy number of detergent options. Am I right? Just when you thought it was tough make a decision on what kind of appliance to get, now you’re questioning, Can I use regular detergent in a HE washer? 

It doesn’t have to be that complicated, but there are important aspects you need to understand about laundry detergent and how it interacts with your HE washer. I think we can wash away the confusion for you with a little washer detergent 101.

What’s the Difference Between Regular and HE Washer Detergent?

There is a significant difference between regular detergent and HE washer detergent. Regular detergent is designed for washers that have a high volume of water and therefore can handle more suds. Conversely, the HE machines have a considerably low volume of water, thus requiring a low suds detergent to be used.

Image: The Spruce


When can I use regular detergent in a HE washer? Never. Please don’t. Use of the wrong detergent will confuse your wash cycle, your clothes will not rinse thoroughly, and you could potentially create a big problem (read: mess) with your machine.

You want to be sure to use only HE detergents in you High-Efficiency washer. Furthermore, try to look for “HE detergent” rather than “HE compatible” as the former meets specific criteria to have that label.

There is an excellent educational brochure from the Soap and Detergent Association that explains the relationship between HE washers and detergents.

How Much Detergent Should I Use in a HE Washer?

Now that we’ve answered, Can I use regular detergent in a HE washer?,  it’s time to tackle knowing how much detergent to use in a HE washer. This, too, can be an elusive concept to some.

Believe it or not, most wash loads will come out fresh and clean with two tablespoons of detergent. Yes, you read that correctly! However, just like with a traditional washer, it is always best to follow the manufacturer recommendations for the HE laundry soap you are using.

The detergent amount should account for the size and soil level of the load of clothes you are laundering. The smaller the load, the less detergent you use. If the load is heavily soiled then you may need to use more detergent.

A quality HE detergent will be the safest bet for your HE washer. Use the recommended detergent confidently knowing you are doing what is best for your appliance while producing clean, fresh, efficiently cleaned clothes.

When your trusty appliance is in need of some TLC, contact your local technicians at Service Care Appliance & TV Repair specializing in quality in-home appliance care.


Toxey McDavid

Owner, Service Care

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