Can You Use Regular Detergent in an HE Washer?

Share This Tip

If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, you may have wondered if it’s ok to use regular detergent in an HE washer. While you may be able to get away with it in small amounts once in a while, doing so regularly will harm your machine and its performance.

Regular Detergent in an HE Washer – Is it Bad?

Using regular detergent in an HE Washer is like putting regular gas in a car that requires premium. Read on to find out the difference between regular detergent and high efficiency, what happens to your HE washer with regular detergent, and what to do if you used the wrong detergent.

What is HE Washer Detergent?

Traditional washing machines use a constant motion and higher water level to clean clothing, with a sudsy detergent aiding in this process. By contrast, energy-saving washers use a tumbling motion to wash clothes, which requires less water. Less water and this tumbling motion call for a different type of detergent with a specialized formula.

HE washer detergent produces fewer suds than regular detergent but is formulated to still get your clothes clean. For more details, check out our blog on HE washer water levels.

What Happens if You Use Regular Detergent in an HE Washer?

Using regular detergent in your HE washer could create an overabundance of suds that fill your washer tub, possibly causing a leak from your detergent drawer. Ignoring this problem and letting the wash continue only increases the amount of suds in the washer and could potentially confuse it. This may result in improper rinsing of your clothing or repeated rinse cycles, wasting gallons of water, energy and time.

Repeatedly using regular detergent in an HE washer could cause chronic leaking from the front or back of your machine, necessitating a washer repair. In that case, Tiger Mechanical is here to help and advise you every step of the way.

What to do If You Used the Wrong Detergent

If you’ve accidentally used regular detergent in an HE washer, don’t panic. Follow these four steps to minimize any effects:

  1. Cancel the current wash cycle
  2. Restart your HE washer and select the Spin cycle
  3. Follow with a Rinse/Spin cycle to remove all regular detergent suds, using cold water
  4. Start a new wash cycle with HE detergent and cold water

How to Maintain Your HE Washer

As with any appliance, regular maintenance will go a long way in improving the performance and longevity of your HE washer. Even if you never use regular detergent in your HE washer, keeping the washer clean should be a consistent part of your high-efficiency washing machine maintenance. Learn more about HE washer maintenance here.

Where's the model number?
Learn how to find the model or serial number on your appliances. This is helpful to have before calling for service.
tiger tip
Subscribe & Save
$20 Off Appliance Repair
Think Your lint trap is clean?
Think again! Tiger Tom shows you how to remove waxy build up from dryer sheets and fabric softener.
tiger tip
Recent Posts
need emergency cold storage?
Rent a Tiger Cool Box when you need extra cold storage for your business, event, or emergency.
tiger tip