By now, you’ve most likely heard of HE detergent. What’s all the hype about? Should you really be using it? The short answer is: yes.

What is HE detergent?

High-efficiency (HE) laundry detergent is specifically formulated for high-efficiency washing machines that use less water. Low sudsing and quick dispersing, HE detergent delivers an optimal clean in low water levels. If you own a high-efficiency washer, you should always use HE detergent.

How does laundry detergent work?

Although HE detergent and regular detergent are formulated differently, both clean effectively when used properly.

Here is how laundry detergent works to get your clothes clean:


Detergent creates suds to break apart stains.

Creates suds to help break apart stains and release soils.

Detergent ensures stains aren't redeposited on clothes.

Suspends stains, soils and dyes in water so they’re not redeposited on clothes.

Detergent freshens clothes.

Freshens clothes to keep them looking their best.

The HE symbol on a bottle of laundry detergent.

How do I know if my detergent is high efficiency?

When shopping for laundry detergent, look for the HE symbol on the container or packaging to ensure the detergent is made for your HE washer. The HE symbol is comprised of a lowercase “h” and “e” inside a circle.

Can you use regular detergent in an HE washer?

No. Regular detergent shouldn’t be used in HE washers because it produces too many suds in low water levels. This can potentially lengthen the wash cycle, affect the cleaning performance or overflow the machine. High-efficiency washers work at peak performance with HE detergent.

Can you use HE detergent in a regular washer?

Yes! If your washer doesn’t require HE detergent, you can still use it for a good clean. Since regular washers use more water, you’ll need to use more HE detergent per load than you would need to use in a high-efficiency washer.

How much HE detergent should you use?

When using HE detergent in a regular washer, you’ll need about 1/4 cup for a normal-sized load. There might be fewer suds, but you’ll still get a good clean.

For a normal-sized load in a high-efficiency washing machine, the recommended HE detergent amount is usually 2 tablespoons.

However, the recommended dosage is also dependent on the detergent concentration level. Please consult your owner’s manual or detergent manufacturer’s recommendations to better understand the proper detergent amount for your washer model. For example, Swash® Laundry Detergent from Whirlpool Corporation1 is 8x concentrated, so you need less than regular detergent. Swash® Laundry Detergent is safe for all washing machines, including HE.

Tips for using HE detergent

When using HE detergent in your high-efficiency washer, there are a few more guidelines to follow for optimal results.

Don't mix powder and liquid detergents in HE washers.

Don’t mix powder and liquid detergents in the same dispenser at the same time as this may clog the dispenser.

Check care guide for softening agent use in HE washers.

Use softener dispensing agents in your HE washer only if your use and care guide recommends them.

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Care Tip

Think about washing your hands

If you use too much water, you’ll dilute the soap before it can clean your hands.

A concentrated mix of water and detergent delivers an optimal clean.

Care better with HE

If you’re looking for a new high-efficiency washing machine, Whirlpool brand can help. Shop our washing machines to find the right HE model for your family, or learn more about the innovative washer features that can help you juggle laundry day with just a little more ease.

More laundry tips and tricks

What determines the amount of water used by your washer?

How much water does a washing machine use?

Washing machine water usage depends on the age of your washing machine, as well as the model you have.

Is a front load or top load washer right for you?

Washers: top load vs. front load

Loading from the top or the front? Agitator or impeller wash action? Trim or sleek style? We’ll help you make the tough decisions.

Find the top load washing machine style that’s right for you.

Agitator washers vs. impeller washers: What’s the difference?

Agitators and impellers are both found in top-loading washing machines, but they move, and clean clothes, in two distinct ways.

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  1. Swash and the recommending brands are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.