Can You Use Regular Detergent in HE Washers?

High efficiency (HE) washers are designed to clean clothes using less energy, water and detergent. You can use regular detergent in an HE washer; but there are specially formulated, low-suds detergents made for these front-loading machines. HE detergent typically costs more than regular laundry detergent, but you're able to use a lot less of it to clean a load of clothes. Use regular detergent only when there isn't any HE detergent available.

Step 1

Use 1/2 to 1/3 as much regular laundry detergent as you would use of HE detergent in a HE washer. Regular laundry detergent is designed to produce more suds for cleaning, which is not necessary in a HE washer.

Step 2

Use a hot water cycle to help clean the clothes. Regular detergent does not produce the same cleaning results as more concentrated HE detergent. Hot water helps the regular detergent dissolve and rinse away.

Step 3

Select a heavy-duty or regular wash cycle to spin out the excess soap, but remember that using regular detergent in a HE washer should be reserved for heavier clothes. Don't wash delicate items in this manner.

Step 4

Read your owner's manual and use caution if deviating away from the HE washer instructions. While you can use regular detergent in much smaller quantities occasionally, it is not advisable to do this on a regular basis.


James Clark

James Clark began his career in 1985. He has written about electronics, appliance repair and outdoor topics for a variety of publications and websites. He has more than four years of experience in appliance and electrical repairs. Clark holds a bachelor's degree in political science.