Most of us couldn't care less that our washing machine has the High Efficiency (he) symbol. More is better and that's what you've been taught all of your life. Your mom and her mom didn't have "he" on any of their stuff and the more soap they used, the cleaner the clothes. However, today's washing machines are nothing like those your mother or grandmother used. They use significantly less water and they clean your clothes with a completely different agitation process.

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
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First, confirm that your washing machine is high efficient. Hight efficiency detergent should be used in "he" washing machines. "He" washing detergent is much more concentrated than your old washing detergent and quite frankly using more than you need causes more problems than solutions. Not to mention, you're losing money.

High-Efficiency Washers

Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
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"He" washers use a lot less water than old-school washing machines. You can load them up with detergent, but there's not enough water to deal with the overdosing. Your clothes won't get cleaner and may come out spotty or stiff. That's because dirt and detergent are now trapped in the fibers.

Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
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According to thespruce.com,

  • The optimum amount of 2X liquid laundry detergent for a high-efficiency washer is two teaspoons.
  • The optimum amount of 4X liquid laundry detergent is one teaspoon.
  • For hard water areas, use about one-fourth more per load.

When using prepackaged detergent, only use what the directions suggest. Remember throwing in two pods when the instructions only call for one is only wasting money and not getting your clothes any cleaner.

For extra soiled clothing, thespruce.com suggests pre-soaking.

NOTE: For extra-large capacity washers, simply double the amount of detergent mentioned above (per load). 

If you use powdered "he" detergent, do not use the automatic dispenser. Thespruce.com recommends adding two tablespoons directly to the drum so the powder dissolves completely.

Habits are hard to change. If you had a standard washer and dryer back in the day, your instincts are going to push you to add more washing detergent to your modern high efficient washer—and this time, your instincts would be incorrect. Resist.

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