Are you wondering what is HE laundry detergent? If you’ve shopped for a washer in the last ten years, you’ve probably heard or read somewhere the terms “HE” and “High Efficiency” …Yes?…but not sure what it is or what it entails?…and wondering if you should use it?
Just know that just like a “tank” that performs better with the right fuel, your high-efficiency washer will also perform better with the right detergent .
What does the term “High Efficiency” (HE) mean?
HE or high efficiency… all these terms refer to the same thing.
For a washing machine, it designates a device with high energy efficiency that consumes on average between 20% and 66% less water than an ordinary washing machine for the same wash. Do not hesitate to read our article on washers to know their difference and find out which one would suit you best.
For a detergent, the mention HE means that it is designed to work in a reduced volume of water. HE detergent also foams less and dissolves faster. Finally, be aware that an HE detergent holds dirt on the surface of the water to prevent it from re-depositing on your clothes.
How do I know if my laundry or washing machine is “HE”?
Knowing whether a detergent is “HE” or not is very simple. If the bottle has one of the two following logos then it is:
If your washer has one of these two logos then it is also high efficiency .
All front washers are high efficiency. For top load washers, you will usually find this logo on the top or by opening the lid of the machine.
Can HE detergent be used on a regular washing machine?
Yes. It will probably produce less foam than regular detergent but will wash just as well. Since a regular washing machine uses more water, note that you may need to add more detergent than the amount listed on your bottle.
Can regular detergent be used on an HE washer?
If you have a high-efficiency washer, you should use HE laundry detergent . Using regular detergent will not give you optimal performance and may damage your washing machine.
As we have seen, a high-efficiency washer is designed to clean your clothes in a reduced volume of water . If you use regular soap in an HE washer, it will produce too much foam. Too much foam can affect the quality of your wash, overflow your washer or even extend its wash time.
Over the long term, prolonged use of non-HE detergent can create corrosion on the tub and/or bearing system of your HE machine , resulting in an expensive repair. Be aware that the same could also happen if you use too much or poor quality HE detergent.
How do you tell a good HE laundry detergent from a not so good one?
Visually this can be seen by the amount of foam it produces. The more foam a detergent has, the less good it is. Contrary to popular belief that “the more a soap foams, the more it cleans”, the reality is in fact quite different. It is the quantity of cleaning agents (or active agents ) present or not in a soap that makes it “good” or not.
Another good way to gauge its quality is the concentration of your laundry detergent . The more concentrated a soap is, the better it will be. A concentrated detergent can be recognized by the fact that it takes very little per load (often 25 mL or less), or about a tablespoon. A concentrated detergent is therefore likely to be composed of a high number of cleaning agents.
How do I calculate the concentration of my HE detergent?
It can be indicated on your bottle in the following form: 1x; 2x; 4x; 6x etc Obviously it is always the most concentrated detergents that will mention it… which is also the minority.
If your bottle does not bear any indication, you can calculate it by doing the following ratio: number of loads divided by the weight of the bottle in milliliters then multiplied by 100.
Number of loads: 25
Weight: 1.9 L or 1900 mL
Calculation: (25/1900) x 100 = 1
Number of loads: 68
Weight: 1.7 L or 1700 mL
Calculation: (68/1700) x 100 = 4
Number of loads: 200
Weight: 3 L or 3000 mL
Calculation: (200/3000) x 100 = 6
A high efficiency laundry detergent will be considered “good” from a concentration of 4.
Liquid, powder, capsule: What should I choose for my HE washing machine?
Since there are so many choices of high-efficiency detergent, the choice can seem overwhelming . By far the most popular format today is the liquid format, but there is also powder or capsule detergent. Here is a brief summary of each format:
*Allows adjustment based on load and soil level *Allows localized task removal *Works best with front-end detergent dispensing system
*Allows adjustment based on load and soil level *Allows localized task processing
*Ready to use (no dosage required)
*Not concentrated enough depending on the brand of detergent purchased *May leave odors in the tub depending on the brand of detergent purchased
*Risk of loss and spoilage *Not optimal with frontal detergent dispensing system
*No adjustment possible depending on the size of the load or the degree of soiling *Not concentrated enough, too much per load *Does not take advantage of the detergent dispensing system of the frontals
In summary, if you have a front-loading washer, you’re better off opting for a concentrated liquid solution . This way you will get the most out of your washing machine. If your washer is top-loading, all three will work.
Finding HE detergent for your high efficiency washer today is easy. Finding a good detergent is a bit harder but is not mission impossible thanks to the tips above.
For people who use fabric softener, consider using one that is also HE. Preferably, choose one that is the most liquid to avoid leaving deposits in your washer.
Are you one of those people who uses too much soap? Did you know that there are products to clean and refresh the tub of your washing machine?