Is it bad to use regular detergent in a high efficiency washer?

The short answer is yes, it is bad to use regular detergent in a high efficiency washer. Regular detergent produces more suds than high efficiency detergent, which can damage your washer and reduce its efficiency. In this article, we will explain why you should use high efficiency detergent in your high efficiency washer, and what to do if you accidentally use regular detergent instead.

What is high efficiency detergent?

High efficiency detergent is a type of laundry detergent that is specially formulated for high efficiency washers. High efficiency washers are those that use less water and energy than traditional washers, and have a different washing mechanism. High efficiency detergent is designed to work well in low-water conditions, and to create less suds than regular detergent. Suds are the bubbles that form when detergent is mixed with water, and they are not necessary for cleaning your clothes. In fact, too much suds can interfere with the cleaning process and cause problems for your washer.

Why is regular detergent bad for high efficiency washers?

Regular detergent is bad for high efficiency washers because it creates too much suds for the low-water environment. Excess suds can clog the washer’s pump and drain, and prevent the washer from spinning properly. This can lead to poor cleaning performance, longer wash cycles, and increased wear and tear on your washer. Excess suds can also leave residue on your clothes, which can make them feel stiff and smell bad. Additionally, using regular detergent in a high efficiency washer can void your warranty, as it is considered improper use of the appliance.

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How to tell if you have high efficiency detergent or regular detergent?

High efficiency detergent is usually labeled with the letters “HE” on the packaging, and may also have a symbol of a washer with a swirl inside. Regular detergent does not have these labels or symbols, and may have words like “sudsing” or “foaming” on the packaging. You can also check the ingredients list of the detergent, and look for surfactants, which are the chemicals that create suds. High efficiency detergent has fewer surfactants than regular detergent, and may also have other ingredients that help reduce suds, such as anti-foaming agents or soil dispersants.

What to do if you use regular detergent in a high efficiency washer?

If you accidentally use regular detergent in a high efficiency washer, do not panic. There are some steps you can take to minimize the damage and clean your washer. Here are some tips:

  • Stop the wash cycle as soon as you notice the mistake, and drain the washer. You can use the “cancel” or “drain and spin” option on your washer, or manually turn off the water supply and unplug the washer.
  • Remove the clothes from the washer, and rinse them thoroughly in cold water. You may need to repeat this step several times to remove all the detergent residue from your clothes.
  • Run an empty wash cycle with hot water and vinegar, or use a washer cleaner product. This will help dissolve and flush out any remaining suds and detergent from your washer. You may need to run more than one cycle to completely clean your washer.
  • Wipe down the inside of your washer with a damp cloth, and pay attention to the door, the gasket, and the dispenser. These are the areas where suds and detergent can accumulate and cause mold and odor.
  • From now on, only use high efficiency detergent in your high efficiency washer, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how much detergent to use. You can also use less detergent than recommended, as high efficiency washers are very effective at cleaning with less detergent.
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Using regular detergent in a high efficiency washer is a common mistake that can have negative consequences for your washer and your clothes. To avoid this problem, always use high efficiency detergent in your high efficiency washer, and check the labels and ingredients of your detergent before using it. If you do use regular detergent by mistake, follow the steps above to clean your washer and your clothes, and prevent further damage. By using the right detergent for your washer, you can enjoy cleaner clothes, lower utility bills, and a longer-lasting appliance.