Some Laundry Soap Information on HE and Non-HE soaps or detergents...


HE detergents can readily be found where regular laundry soap is sold. Look for the HE symbol. There is no difference in price (or shouldn't be) for this particular type of detergent, nor is there any reduction in loads per container. Buying in bulk can reap savings and ensure you have it on hand for all your washing loads.

Why use HE laundry detergent?

Less suds: High-efficiency laundry detergent can be used with both high-efficiency washing machines and standard washing machines. The key reason for this is that HE detergents are low-sudsing. Sticky soap residue makes standard machines tougher to clean and isn't great for the environment downstream either. And high-efficiency machines aren't designed to handle soap residue very well.

What Is HE Laundry Detergent?

Any laundry detergent or laundry product like stain removers, boosters, and fabric softeners with the HE symbol are formulated to be used in high-efficiency washing machines like front load washers as well as newer top load washers.

What Is High-Efficiency Laundry Detergent?

High-efficiency washers use much less water than an older standard washer. The HE detergents are developed as low-sudsing and quick-dispersing cleaners for use in low water volume machines. The HE detergents are formulated to hold soil in suspension in that lower volume of water, so it is not re-deposited onto clean clothes.

Most people ( Canada and USA ) grew up using a standard washer that pulled nearly 40 gallons of water through a load of laundry during the wash and rinse cycles. The detergents that were used produced lots of bubbles because manufacturers thought that lots of suds meant the clothes were getting clean. Fortunately, the washer used enough water to rinse away all those suds. Even the newer standard top load washers use around 27 gallons of water to handle detergent/soil residue. However, high-efficiency washers use only 11 to 14 gallons of water (some now may even be less).

Using a traditional laundry detergent in a high-efficiency washer will produce too many suds that will not be fully rinsed away. Excess suds will interfere with the tumbling action used to clean clothes in both types of high-efficiency washers. The use of traditional detergent with lots of suds can also cause the washers to leak, damage the electronic system of the washer, and may void the manufacturer's warranty.


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The use of traditional detergents in HE washers also contributes to the growth of mold and the odour that can linger in the washer. There isn't enough water used in each load to wash away all the suds and the soil they contain. The sticky combination may cling to the washer interior and become breeding grounds for mold that causes odours.

Can I Use HE laundry detergent in a Standard Washer?

If you still have a standard washer and picked up a bottle labelled with the high-efficiency symbol, you can use the high efficiency in a traditional top load washer with no problems. You won't see lots of suds, but your clothes will still be clean.

Even if you don't have a new washer with the HE logo on it, in most cases, you can make use of high-efficiency detergents right now. Here's what four major manufacturers had to say about their products cross-compatibility:

  1. All: All mighty pacs are safe to use in all washing machines: HE, non HE, top loaders and front loaders.
  2. Gain: If your machine isn't a high-efficiency model, you can still use HE. It won't hurt your machine but you will notice fewer suds.
  3. OxiClean: The detergent is dual compatible and works in either HE or non-HE machines. Follow directions for usage in your machine type.
  4. Wisk: Wisk Deep Clean is safe for both standard and HE machines.


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Some low-sudsing HE formulas might just not be strong enough to really get things clean with the high-water volume used in old-fashioned washers. If you want to use a HE detergent, the amount you use may differ, you might need to experiment a little, and you should expect to see a lot less sudsing action.

You really should not use conventional laundry detergent in HE washing machines. Not even a smaller amount, because it will create a lot of suds.


That excess suds can cause problems in HE washers by cushioning, or even preventing, the tumbling action that is cleaning your washload.

The suds can also cause the machine's pump to overheat, lead to residue build up.

Some brands say they have reformulated their detergents to work in all machines. However, the American Cleaning Institute ACI warns that some detergent manufacturers label their detergents *HE Compatible*, but many of these detergents are actually regular sudsing detergents that should not be used in your HE washer.

Not all HE detergents are created equally! Today, even some *safe for both* detergents cause enough suds to require extra rinsing from HE washers. Using less detergent may not reduce the suds and can lead to poor cleaning. So it's important to know what to look for.

Some detergents labelled *for-all-machines* may still cause a high level of suds in HE washers. With these detergents, watch for signs of over sudsing - your washer may add rinses or leave suds behind.

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