What is HE Detergent and Do You Need It?
2022 May 31st
What is HE detergent and how it helps your HE washer clean more efficiently
Have you ever looked at your laundry detergent and noticed a symbol with an "h" and "e" separated by a dot, sometimes within an oval swirl? That “HE” stands for High Efficiency. But what does that mean and what is HE detergent?
And now you might also be asking, “Do I need HE detergent for my machine?” The answer is: Yes, most likely.
If you have a newer front load washer or top load washer, there’s a good chance it’s a HE machine. These smart washers use a lot less (20 to 60 percent!) water than standard or older washers, and smaller amounts of water require specialized detergent.
Less is More
So what is HE detergent? It’s laundry detergent designed to provide maximum cleaning power with less water.
First, it’s designed to have lower suds. That might sound contradictory to what you’d expect from a cleaning product. But less suds is ideal for a high efficiency machine.
Excess suds in your washer can cause it to leak, overheat or damage the electrical system — which could also void your warranty. Extra soap can also result in a longer wash cycle and impact your washer’s ability to properly clean and thoroughly rinse your clothes. And all that residue can accumulate inside your machine, leading to bacteria, mould, and odours.
HE detergent prevents these unwanted situations. It’s not only low-sudsing, it’s designed to distribute in water quickly. The efficient detergent molecules require less water to hold onto dirt and stains, preventing them from being redeposited onto cleaned clothes.
So, do you need HE detergent? Yes! It keeps your HE washer performing at its best. Plus it saves you money and energy, and using less water is better for the environment.
HE Detergent Dos and Don’ts
Now you know how HE detergent works, let’s look at how to use it in your washer.
Use the right amount of detergent
For a normal load use about two tablespoons. For smaller loads use less. (Check your washer’s care guide for guidelines specific to your HE washer).
Use a high quality HE detergent
Using a premium HE detergent will provide the best possible clean with lower suds.
TIP: Swash™ is a premium HE detergent from Whirlpool. It comes with a precision cap that prevents overpouring.
Run a maintenance cycle every month
To keep your machine running at its best, run a monthly maintenance cycle with HE detergent. This helps to clean your machine of bacteria and mould, and residue build-up. Consult your washer’s care guide for maintenance cycle instructions or manual cleaning options.
Don’t use regular detergent
Even a lesser amount of regular detergent can create too many suds, which impacts your washer’s cleaning and rinsing performance.
Don’t use more HE detergent than directed
If your clothes aren’t cleaning properly, don’t use more detergent. Overdosing can make fabrics stiff and scratchy, and lead to redeposited soils and odours. Avoid using combinations of powders and liquids — this can clog the dispenser.
Limit use of spot treatment products
Pretreat and presoak products can produce extra sudsing. Refer to your washer’s care guide for recommendations on the use of pretreatment products, bleach, and softening agents.
TIP: You can use HE detergent as a pretreater or presoaker.
Your HE washer is already designed to use less energy and water, saving you money. HE detergent works specifically to keep your washer running at its best — and that means your laundry is clean, fresh, and free from redeposited stains and odours.
For more tips on washing machine cleaning and caring for your washing machine check out our laundry tips and tricks.