HE Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between regular detergent and high-efficiency detergent?

HE washers use 20 to 66% less water than traditional machines, according to the American Cleaning Institute. They are also much smarter than traditional washers – they sense and adjust the wash cycle as needed to remove soils and rinse out detergent. If an HE washer senses a high level of suds, it may use additional water (and time!) to rinse that detergent away. Traditional detergents were formulated to give great cleaning power in traditional washers, but in the low water of HE washers, they can create too many suds.

Additionally, 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.


What To Look For What It Means
No HE label on product These detergents are formulated to work well in high-water, traditional washers. However, in lower-water HE washers, non-HE detergents can produce an excessive amount of suds. This means that your laundry will either require extra rinse cycles to remove the extra suds or cause suds errors in your washer.
 For Both Some detergents labelled “for-all-machines” may still cause a high level of suds in HE washers. With these detergents, watch for signs of oversudsing – your washer may add rinses or leave suds behind.
 All Washers Look for the HE Turbo symbol. Tide HE Turbo Clean features quick-collapsing Smart Suds and is the #1 recommended detergent by machine manufacturers.

Can I just use a smaller amount of regular detergent in my high-efficiency washer?

Regular laundry detergents can create too many suds, even at low doses. This can interfere with the washer’s tumbling action by “cushioning” the laundry and reducing the friction necessary for effective stain removal.

You might think that using less detergent than the amount recommended for the load size would solve this by creating fewer suds, but it really just reduces the cleaning power of the detergent. Tide HE Turbo Clean uses quick-collapsing suds to unlock your high-efficiency washer’s full cleaning potential, while eliminating the issues that come with over-sudsing.

How much detergent should I use in my high-efficiency washer?

Just as with a regular washer, you should use the amount of Tide HE Turbo Clean recommended on the pack based on the size of your load. Because Tide HE Turbo Clean is specially formulated for HE washers, you don’t have to worry about over-sudsing in your machine. Read more about how to select the correct dose of detergent to achieve the best results in our article here.

Can I use non-high efficiency fabric softeners in my high-efficiency washer?

Yes, you can add liquid fabric softener like Downy to the fabric softener dispenser. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for proper use of the dispenser.

What’s the problem with suds?

Your high-efficiency washer continuously senses water and suds levels within the wash and may have the ability to adjust the duration of the rinse cycles. If you use a detergent that creates a lot of suds, these suds may trigger more rinse cycles that could add up to 25 minutes to your cycle, while wasting up to 10 gallons of water.

According to the American Cleaning Institute, too many suds in a high-efficiency washer can also reduce cleaning power. Excess suds may prevent some particles and other contaminates from completely rinsing out of a high-efficiency machine properly, leaving them to redeposit onto the clothes.

If HE washers use a small amount of water, are the clothes cleaned well enough, and are they gentle on my fabrics?

HE top and front-load washers use different agitation patterns and tub styles than traditional washers. In high-efficiency washers, the tumbling actions move the water and the detergent through the clothes and clean efficiently while being gentle on fabrics at the same time. This action helps to move the water and detergent through each garment to help remove soils (American Cleaning Institute). Because high-efficiency washers use a tumbling action in place of an agitator, as in traditional washers, this tumbling action is actually gentler on the fabric.

How can I keep my machine running well?

You can maintain your washer’s optimal performance, as well as help remove odors, by using a high-efficiency detergent like Tide HE Turbo Clean and by running a regular cleaning cycle. The maintenance cycle is a full wash cycle without any laundry in the machine. Check the manufacturer’s instructions and recommendations for specific details. You can also keep your high-efficiency washer clean by running monthly washes with Tide Washing Machine Cleaner.