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HE, or high efficiency, detergent is a specially formulated detergent suitable for use in the newer high efficiency washing machine models on the market today. HE detergent is different from conventional detergent products in that a high efficiency laundry detergent product produces fewer suds and makes rinsing of washed clothing an easier task. Detergent of this type is not available in most major supermarkets.
A front loading high efficiency washing machine is designed to make optimum use of a small amount of water while still cleaning the laundry thoroughly. Because of the lower water level used during the wash and rinse cycles, conventional laundry detergents are will not work as well in these newer machines. In fact, use of older types of laundry detergent can actually through the cycles off sequence, resulting in delays between the cycles and interfering with the ability of the machine to rinse the clothing thoroughly during the rinse cycle.
By using HE detergent, all this issues can be avoided. The lower sudsing action of the high efficiency detergents means there is no residue to cling to the clothing as the washing process progresses from one cycle to the next. This is especially important to the rinse cycle, as the detergent will not leave behind traces after the laundry is thoroughly rinsed.
It is important to note that HE detergent is not a good option for a conventional washing machine. Just as dishwashing products formulated for an automatic dishwasher will not work well when washing dishes by hand, the same is true for high energy detergent. Consumers would do well to make sure any detergent used with a given washing machine meets the standards of the manufacturer of the washer.
In most cases, HE detergent is no more expensive than other types of washing powders and liquids. Each container of the detergent will wash the same number of loads as the traditional formulas. Most supermarkets display HE versions of detergent alongside other detergent products. Manufacturers include a designation of “HE” on the packaging, making it easy for consumers to locate HE detergent products.