What Happens If I Use HE Detergent in a Regular Washer?

Using HE detergent in a regular washer can cause problems such as excess suds, residue buildup, poor cleaning performance, and potential damage to your machine. HE detergent is designed for high-efficiency washers that use less water and energy than regular washers. HE detergent has a low-sudsing formula that prevents oversudsing and rinses cleanly. Regular detergent, on the other hand, produces more suds and may not dissolve or rinse well in low-water conditions. Therefore, using HE detergent in a regular washer is not recommended.

Why HE Detergent Is Different from Regular Detergent

HE detergent is specially formulated to work with high-efficiency washers, which are also known as front-loaders or top-loaders without an agitator. These washers use about 20 to 66 percent less water and 50 percent less energy than regular washers, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. They also have different washing cycles and settings that optimize the cleaning performance and efficiency.

HE detergent is different from regular detergent in several ways:

  • HE detergent has a low-sudsing formula that reduces the amount of bubbles and foam in the wash. This prevents oversudsing, which can interfere with the washing action, trap dirt and bacteria, and leave behind a filmy residue on your clothes and washer. HE detergent also contains anti-foaming agents that prevent the suds from overflowing or leaking out of the washer.
  • HE detergent is more concentrated than regular detergent, which means you need to use less of it per load. This saves you money and reduces the environmental impact of detergent packaging and transportation. HE detergent also has a higher cleaning efficiency, which means it can remove more stains and soils with less water and detergent.
  • HE detergent is designed to dissolve and rinse well in low-water conditions. Regular detergent may not dissolve completely or rinse thoroughly in high-efficiency washers, which can leave behind a sticky or gritty residue on your clothes and washer. This residue can attract more dirt and bacteria, cause odors and mold growth, and damage the washer components over time.
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What Happens If I Use HE Detergent in a Regular Washer?

Using HE detergent in a regular washer can cause several problems, such as:

  • Excess suds: HE detergent may produce too many suds in a regular washer, which can overflow or leak out of the washer, make the washer work harder and longer, and reduce the cleaning performance. Excess suds can also trap air bubbles in the fabric, which can prevent the detergent from reaching and removing the dirt and stains.
  • Residue buildup: HE detergent may not rinse well in a regular washer, which can leave behind a residue on your clothes and washer. This residue can make your clothes feel stiff, rough, or sticky, and cause them to look dull, faded, or discolored. It can also clog the washer hoses, filters, and pumps, and cause malfunctions or breakdowns.
  • Poor cleaning performance: HE detergent may not clean well in a regular washer, which can result in your clothes being dirty, smelly, or stained. HE detergent may not be compatible with the washing cycles and settings of a regular washer, which can affect the water temperature, agitation, and rinsing. HE detergent may also be diluted by the excess water in a regular washer, which can reduce its cleaning power and efficiency.
  • Potential damage to your machine: Using HE detergent in a regular washer can void the warranty of your machine, as it is not designed for this type of detergent. Using HE detergent in a regular washer can also shorten the lifespan of your machine, as it can cause wear and tear, corrosion, and damage to the washer parts and components.
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How to Avoid Using HE Detergent in a Regular Washer

To avoid using HE detergent in a regular washer, you should:

  • Check the labels of your detergent and washer before buying or using them. Look for the HE logo on the detergent bottle, which indicates that it is suitable for high-efficiency washers. Look for the manufacturer’s recommendations on the washer manual, which specify the type and amount of detergent to use for your machine.
  • Use the correct amount of detergent for your load size, soil level, and water hardness. Follow the instructions on the detergent bottle or the washer manual, and measure the detergent carefully. Do not use more detergent than needed, as this can cause oversudsing, residue buildup, and poor cleaning performance. You can also use a detergent dispenser or a dosing device to ensure the right amount of detergent.
  • Use the appropriate washing cycles and settings for your load type, fabric, and color. Choose the cycles and settings that match the care labels of your clothes, and adjust the water temperature, spin speed, and soil level accordingly. Do not use the delicate, hand wash, or wool cycles with HE detergent, as these use less water and agitation, and may not rinse the detergent well.
  • Clean your washer regularly to remove any residue or buildup from the detergent, dirt, or bacteria. Run a hot water cycle with vinegar, baking soda, or a washer cleaner once a month, and wipe the inside of the washer drum, door, and gasket with a damp cloth. You can also use a soft brush or a toothpick to clean the dispenser, filter, and hoses.
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Conclusion

Using HE detergent in a regular washer is not a good idea, as it can cause problems such as excess suds, residue buildup, poor cleaning performance, and potential damage to your machine. HE detergent is designed for high-efficiency washers that use less water and energy than regular washers, and has a low-sudsing, concentrated, and rinsable formula. To avoid using HE detergent in a regular washer, you should check the labels of your detergent and washer, use the correct amount and type of detergent, use the appropriate washing cycles and settings, and clean your washer regularly.