5 Best High-Efficiency Laundry Detergents

You might not necessarily love doing your laundry. You may even loathe the dreaded ‘laundry day’ of the week where you are forced to spend hours performing all those steps to get bright, fresh-scent and wrinkle-free clothing.

While we aren’t here to change your feelings about laundry, we are here to make your life a little easier and one of the things we can make easier is how your clothes are getting clean. 

We are going to help you determine if you are using the right kind of laundry detergent for you and your washing machine. Specifically, if you should take advantage of high-efficiency laundry detergents.

Trust us, it can make all the difference in how beautiful and clean your clothes come out and how much less maintenance your washer needs over time. 

Who is High-Efficiency Laundry Detergent For?

If you ever find yourself seriously confused by the incredibly complicated laundry detergent aisle in the store, you aren’t alone. Most people stick to the same brand of detergent they have always bought, or reach for the most appealing colors and scents. That’s perfectly alright, but you may be missing out if you have never tried high-efficiency laundry detergents. 

HE laundry detergents are specially created for high-efficiency washers as they use less water to wash clothes. Naturally, if your washer is using less water, you would want your detergent to do two important things.

1) produce less suds because there will be less water to rinse out the soap 

2) Perform powerfully since the washer will be using less water. HE laundry detergents accomplish these tasks beautifully. 

Since regular detergent creates a large amount of suds, this explains why you shouldn’t use regular laundry detergent in a high-efficiency washer.

Simply, the amount of water will not be sufficient to wash out all the soap; this can lead to soap build-up in your clothes and your washer. You’ll end up damaging your clothes, and needing to clean your HE washer more regularly. 

On the flip side, you can use HE laundry detergents in regular washers without issue. Since they are ultra-concentrated, a jug may even last you longer since you can use less detergent per load. 

Considerations when buying High-Efficiency Laundry Detergent

high-efficiency laundry detergents are as easy to purchase as regular laundry detergents if you know what to look for! Of course, the first step is to find high-efficiency laundry detergent, which can be done by locating a special HE sticker on the bottle. From there on out, the main considerations you should be making include:

  • Ingredients: Since HE laundry detergents require very little of their special concentrations per load in a HE washer, you can maintain peace of mind that your clothes are clean and fresh by purchasing high-quality HE laundry detergent. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the product will be very expensive, but it may be more expensive than lower-quality products. The main ingredients you should look for in a detergent that gets out soil and dirt are surfactants, whereas lifting stains requires catalytic enzymes.
  • Environmentally Friendly: HE washers are designed to be more environmentally friendly than regular washes. Thus, purchasing a laundry detergent that is as eco-friendly may be important to you as well. Often, HE laundry detergents will be plant-based and biodegradable. 
  • Water Temperature: Most laundry detergent works best with warm water since it allows for maximum stain lifting power, however, some brands have dedicated themselves to finding ways their detergents can perform efficiently in cold water. Ultimately, using cold water instead of warm or hot water in your washing machine will save on energy use.
  • Hypoallergenic: If you have particularly sensitive skin, look for detergents that are hypoallergenic, fragrance-free, or gentle. You can also look for detergents that are designed for baby clothes, as they tend to be more gentle on clothes and contain less harsh fragrances. 
  • Size and Price: When you are shopping for high-efficiency laundry detergents, keep in mind that they are concentrated and you will need to use less detergent per load than you may be accustomed to; in this way, a bottle of HE laundry detergent will last longer than a bottle of regular laundry detergent. Since this is the case, they may be more expensive than regular laundry detergents but you will receive your full money’s worth from them.

The Best High-Efficiency Laundry Detergents

Biokleen Non-Toxic Plant-Based HE Laundry Detergent

biokleen laundry detergent

  • Volume: 64oz
  • Loads: 128 loads
  • Fragrances: Citrus 
  • Features: Plant-based, 0% Artificial Dyes or Fragrances, Cruelty-Free, Biodegradable 
  • Price: $16.13 (Check price on Amazon)

Biokleen is definitely a high-efficiency laundry detergent you can feel excellent about using on all fronts. They are plant-based and environmentally friendly because their products can be used in both regular and HE washers; while any products that are washed down the drain are completely biodegradable. They are gentle on your skin because they never use ammonia, artificial dyes, artificial fragrances, brighteners, chlorine, or phosphates. They clean your clothes and lift stains exceptionally well while providing a light citrus scent. Further, they are reasonably priced for the number of loads you will receive from the bottle!

Arm & Hammer HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

arm and hammer he laundry detergent

  • Volume: 255oz
  • Loads: 170 loads
  • Fragrances: Clean Scent, Tropical Paradise, Sun Kissed Flowers
  • Price: $24.93 for a 2-pack (Check price on Amazon)

Arm & Hammer is one of the most trusted brands when it comes to laundry detergent. It contains baking soda, allowing for a natural, effective cleaning solution that works in both regular washing machines and HE washing machines. It also works in cold, warm, and hot temperatures since baking soda and its other ingredients are powerful at any temperature. 

Moreover, it is one of the most affordable brands of HE-friendly detergent; you can receive 170 loads from this 255oz bottle for less than other brands’ smaller volume bottles with loads.  

Sapadilla Sweet Lavender + Lime High Efficiency (he) Biodegradable Laundry Detergent

Sapadilla Sweet Lavender and Lime High Efficiency (he) Biodegradable Laundry Detergent Liquid

  • Volume: 32oz
  • Loads: 30
  • Fragrances: Rosemary & Peppermint, Grapefruit & Bergamot, Lavender & Lime 
  • Features: Plant-based, 0% Artificial Fragrances, Cruelty-Free, Biodegradable, Vegan
  • Price: $11.99 (Check price on Amazon)

We know we said we wouldn’t try to change your feelings about laundry dry, but this HE detergent seriously might. Its essential oil fragrances are one-of-a-kind and incredibly pleasing combinations.

You can rest assured you’re doing your part to save the environment with a plant-based product that is completely biodegradable. Their extremely high ratings just further attest to the overall value and customer satisfaction you’ll receive from this detergent. 

Gain Aroma Boost HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

Gain Laundry Detergent Liquid Soap Plus Aroma Boost HE Compatible

  • Volume: 75oz
  • Loads: 96 loads 
  • Fragrances: Original
  • Features: Phosphate Free
  • Price: $16.14 (Check price on Amazon)

We can’t say enough about Gain; they clearly understand how to make a product that fights dirt and grime, lifts heavy-duty stains, provides a scent that can last months, and is HE washing machine compatible.

Additionally, their laundry detergent works in hot and cold water so you’re free to decide based on the level of soiled clothes you currently have in your basket; that’s a relief, especially when you don’t necessarily know how your day is going to go with the weather, accidents or mishaps, kids, or pets. 

Seventh Generation Concentrated Laundry Detergent

Seventh Generation Concentrated HE Laundry Detergent

  • Volume: 40oz 
  • Loads: 53 loads 
  • Fragrances: Free & Clear, Baby- Fresh Scent, Citrus Valley, Geranium Blossom & Vanilla, Lavender, Sparkling Seaside 
  • Features: Cruelty-Free, 96% Plant-Based, 0% Dyes, Artificial Brighteners, and Artificial Fragrances 
  • Price: $13.29 (Check price on Amazon)

Seventh Generation creates HE laundry detergents that you can feel really good about using, for yourself and your family’s health as well as the environment. You will receive 53 loads from one small 40oz bottle which is incredible, to say the least; there are two bottles in this pack so you will receive 106 loads in total.

The ingredients are 96% plant-based, or 97% plant-based in the baby version. In addition, you can be certain you are using a product free of artificial dyes, brightness, and fragrances. In all of their available scented versions, the fragrance is created with natural essential oils or botanical extracts. 


What is a high-efficiency Laundry Detergent?

High-efficiency laundry detergent is created to work effectively in high-efficiency washing machines. They contain ultra-powerful concentrations of detergent that do not sud as much as regular detergent. 

Can I use HE detergent in a non-HE machine? 

You can use HE detergent in a regular washing machine, but you will need to use less detergent than you are accustomed to using in a regular washing machine. 

Can I use regular detergents in a high-efficiency washer? 

You cannot use regular laundry detergent in a high-efficiency washer as they create a large amount of suds. Your HE washer will not be able to rinse away all the soap, since they use less water to clean your clothes than a regular washer. 

What are the differences between high-efficiency detergents and regular detergents?

The difference between HE detergents and regular detergents is that the HE detergent is concentrated, powerful, and non-sudsy as it is designed to work with less water. Many HE detergents will strive to be more environmentally friendly or more energy-efficient.

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