Regular Vs High Efficiency Detergent – How To Know?

Regular Vs High Efficiency Detergent

Do you know what the difference between regular and high efficiency detergents is? this is one of the questions our readers ask a lot. Well, we´ve got you covered.

The best way to tell if your detergent is high efficiency is to look for the signature ‘HE’ label, which marks high efficiency detergents from regular ones. If you have a high efficiency washer, you should only use the right detergent so as to avoid harming your washer, so knowing how to look for the right detergent is important.

In this article, we look at some of the ways you can tell if your detergent is high efficiency?

How do I know if a detergent is high efficiency?

High efficiency detergents are always labeled with a small ‘HE’, which should be used to identify high efficiency detergents from regular ones.

In terms of appearance, there is usually very little difference in how high efficiency detergents look compared with regular detergents, so be sure to check for that small sticker. 

Some detergents claim to be suitable for both regular and high efficiency washers, and this is usually displayed in writing on the bottle.

However, these detergents are unlikely to work in a high efficiency washer and should be avoided. Similarly, avoid detergents with no label as these are unlikely to be intended for use in a high efficiency washer.

What is a high efficiency detergent?

A high efficiency detergent is simply a detergent intended for use in a high efficiency washer rather than a regular one.

These washers are designed to run on much less water, producing less suds, and washing your clothes in a more sustainable, energy-saving way. High efficiency detergents help these washers to do so.

Regular detergents produce too many suds and should not be used in a high efficiency washer. Using a regular detergent with too many suds will lengthen the amount of time a wash takes, reduce the quality of the clean, and can be harmful to the washer itself.

For this reason, it’s important you ensure you get the right detergent for your washer.

Read also: Is Tide High Efficiency Detergent? (How They Work + More)

What is the difference between regular and high efficiency detergents?

The main difference between regular and high efficiency detergents is the production of suds. In order to save money, time, and energy, high efficiency detergents are specially designed to produce a smaller amount of suds and require less water to complete a cycle.

Regular detergents create a lot of suds and use more water.

Another difference is the way they are both designed to work. Regular detergents are designed specifically for use in regular washers and should not be used in high efficiency washers.

On the other hand, high efficiency detergents can be used in both with no harm to your washer and without compromise to your wash quality.

How does high efficiency detergent work?

High efficiency detergents work by producing fewer suds, resulting in lower water usage and a quicker wash. They are intended to be used in a sustainable way and provide a more environmentally-friendly alternative to regular options.

The fewer suds produced by a high efficiency detergent also means clothes receive a better clean. Suds work by trapping dirt, meaning that it can be deposited back into the material and make clothes dirty again. Having fewer suds means this is less likely to happen and your clothes receive a deeper, higher quality wash.

High efficiency detergents can be used in regular washers but doing so makes them less effective. A regular washer uses more water and so you will need to use more detergent to get a quality clean. Although there is nothing wrong with this, it makes high efficiency detergents redundant and reduces the sustainable benefits.

Read also: Who Makes Tide Laundry Detergent (Price, Ingredients, Company, History)

Pros and cons of high efficiency detergent


  • Clean quality. The amount of suds produced by high efficiency detergents means your clothes are likely to receive a better quality of clean than with regular detergents. A high efficiency option will protect your clothes from the dirt that is trapped in suds and be put back into your clothing.
  • Environmentally-friendly. High efficiency detergents provide you with a more eco-friendly, sustainable way to effectively clean your clothes. They offer a quicker wash that require much less energy and water than regular detergents and washers. In fact, your detergent is likely to save you around 66% of water per wash.
  • Quicker washes. Not only is your wash cycled cut by around 25 minutes, but you also get a quicker dry time with high efficiency detergents. As less water and suds are used to clean your clothes, less time is needed to make sure your clothes are thoroughly and properly dried.


  • Things to remember. It’s very important that you use the correct detergent for your washer and so you have to think carefully about which to purchase. The most important thing to remember is that regular detergents cannot be used in high efficiency washers, but high efficiency detergents can be used in both.
  • Stain removal. Although high efficiency detergents are capable of thoroughly cleaning clothes, they are likely to struggle with deeper staining. Stains along the lines of diaper marks or deeply-marked dirt may need more water and suds for removal, meaning a high efficiency detergent may not be suitable.r

Final Thoughts

To tell if your detergent is high efficiency, look out for a small ‘HE’ sticker to differentiate it from regular detergents.

There are very few other physical differences to look out for and it is vital you buy the correct detergent for your needs and your washer, so be sure to look out for the label.

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Lindsey graduated with an MBA in 2009. Since then, Lindsey has worked in the retail and consumer service industry as a manager, advisor, and marketer. Lindsey is also the head writer and Co-founder of Lindsey is based in Morgantown, West Virginia.

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