High Efficiency Laundry Detergent Tips and Buying Guide

A leaking washing machine

With the increasing popularity of front-loading washing machines, high efficiency laundry soap is gaining in importance. Learn what high efficiency laundry detergent is and how to use it. Get tips for buying high efficiency detergent.

What Is High Efficiency Laundry Detergent?

High efficiency laundry detergent is formulated to produce fewer suds than conventional laundry detergent. This is important when you have a front-loading, high efficiency washing machine because these machines do not use enough water to efficiently rinse the suds created by conventional detergent. The average top loader uses 40 to 50 gallons of water per load, and front loaders use only 25 gallons. This is an important difference both in terms of economy and in terms of protecting the environment.

Difference Between High Efficiency and Regular Laundry Detergent

Manufacturers of front-loading washers recommend that you use only high efficiency detergent in their machines for both optimum cleaning and to avoid creating too many suds. High efficiency laundry soap can be used in some top-loading washers; however, this is generally not recommended. The cost per load is likely to be higher because more high efficiency detergent will be needed per load in a top loading washer. For example, Whirlpool notes that you'll need to use ¼ cup of HE detergent in a top loading machine as opposed to only 2 tablespoons in a normal HE load.

Detergents for Hybrid Washers

Hybrid washers have a top loading design but are high efficiency by using sensors. Knowing whether you should use high efficiency laundry detergent and how much will depend on the manufacturer. Therefore, it's important to look at your user manual to make sure you are using the right detergent in the right amounts.

Using HE Laundry Detergent

When it comes to HE laundry detergent, it's important you use the right amount for your load. Additionally, you use about a third less per load if you have soft water. The concentration of the HE detergent is also important, according to Whirlpool, so you'll want to double-check with your bottle. However, in general, this is a good rule of thumb to follow.




Small Load

1 teaspoon

1 tablespoon

1 pac

Medium Load

2 teaspoons

2 tablespoons

1 pac

Large/Soiled Load

3 teaspoons

3 tablespoons

2 pacs

Extra Large Load

4 teaspoons

4 tablespoons

3 pacs

These can vary based on the brand of detergent, concentration, and water hardness. Always follow the manufacturer's recommendations.

Best HE Laundry Detergent

Most major laundry detergent manufacturers now offer high efficiency detergent, as well as conventional detergent. Check out some of the top contenders when it comes to high efficiency laundry detergents.

Tide 3-in-1 HE Turbo Pacs

Offered in a convenient pod or detergent pac format, Tid 3-in-1 Turbo pacs top the Best Reviews list. The unique pod format makes getting the amount perfect. Additionally, these powerful pods are great for rejuvenating whites. One of the biggest problems with a pac is not dissolving completely. Make sure use the right amount for your load.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear

Featured in the 2nd spot in the article Top 10 Best High Efficiency Detergents in 2020 Reviews, Seventh Generation HE laundry detergent is hypoallergenic and uses plant-based ingredients. The 40-ounce bottle packs a huge punch with 160 loads. While some people love the smell, it does turn others off.

Arm & Hammer HE Detergent

Listed in several top lists for 2020 laundry detergents, Arm & Hammer is a versatile detergent that can be used in both machines and offers an appealing smell. With a high load volume and a larger bottle, it offers a lower cost option that is great for larger families. In addition to having a stronger smell, some Amazon reviewers pointed out a potential packaging malfunction with leaks.

Gain HE Original Liquid Laundry Detergent

Offering a pleasant scent and being among the top listed by Good Housekeeping's article on the best detergents in 2019, Gain is compatible with all types of washers and lifts away dirt. While Gain does have a fresh scent, the power of the detergent weakens on gentle cycles.

Choosing the Right HE Detergent

When choosing a high efficiency laundry detergent, it's important to do so carefully. Check reviews at online sites, read your manufacturer's recommendations and talk to other consumers before selecting a detergent. Remember water hardness, load size, and the type of clothing you wash are the major factors to consider when choosing your detergent. You have the knowledge now so get washing that laundry.

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High Efficiency Laundry Detergent Tips and Buying Guide