How to Use High-Efficiency Tide in Regular Washing Machines

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Shopping in the laundry detergent aisle requires more decision-making than it used to. In addition to choosing between liquid and powdered detergent, you may also be faced with choices such as different fragrances and deciding which brand and size represents the best value per load of laundry. Additionally, you must choose between detergents designed for high-efficiency washers, which are labeled HE, and detergents designed for regular washing machines. If you accidentally purchase an HE detergent when you don't have an HE washer, you can safely use the HE detergent, such as high-efficiency Tide, in a regular washer.


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HE Detergent vs. Regular Detergent

HE detergent is made specifically for the features of high-efficiency washers. HE washing machines use less water than a traditional washer, sometimes as much as two-thirds less water. These machines are also able to sense the level of suds in the washer and decide when to add more water. If there are a lot of suds in the HE machine, it will add more water, which will reduce its efficiency and water-saving benefit.


HE detergents are formulated to create a low level of suds that will remove the soil in the laundry load and suspend them in a low volume of water so they rinse out easily. Regular detergents are designed to produce a lot of suds and work in traditional washers, which use more water. Regular detergents produce too many suds for an HE machine.

Using High-Efficiency Detergent in a Regular Machine

If you have HE detergent, you can use it in a regular washer. However, because the product produces fewer suds than a traditional detergent, you must use more per load. As a general rule, you may need to use twice as much HE detergent in a regular washer as in an HE model. For example, if the HE detergent says to use 2 tablespoons for a regular-size load in an HE washer, you should use 1/4 cup for a normal-size load in a regular washer. If you don't feel you're getting enough suds in this scenario, add more of the HE detergent.


Can You Use Regular Detergent in an HE Washer?

You shouldn't use regular detergent in an HE washer as it will produce more suds than the washer is designed to handle. Depending on your machine and how much non-HE detergent you add, you could cause the suds to overflow, affect the machine's cleaning performance, cause the machine to overheat or build up residue, or lengthen the time the machine takes to complete the load.



Don’t try using a reduced amount of regular detergent in an HE washer. All you’ll do is reduce its cleaning power, possibly ending up with a load of laundry that’s not satisfactorily clean.

How to Identify High-Efficiency Detergent

Any detergent designed for a high-efficiency machine will have "HE" on the label. Some detergents are labeled for both kinds of washers and may have a label that says "for all machines" that includes the HE logo.


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