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Old 12/05/10, 08:08 AM
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Regular detergent in HE washer???

So, our washer and dryer were on their last leg. Due to a killer Black Friday sale, we purchased new, top-loading HE machines. I had done quite a bit of research, even on detergent. I was led to believe that you CAN use regular detergent, as long as you use much, much less so that you don't have sudsing. Me being a frugual as I am (okay, so maybe I've advanced to just "cheap"), I refused to buy new HE detergent. I'm currently washing my 3rd load, using 4 tablespoons of powder detergent. It has a glass top, so you can watch it washing your clothes (our whole family watched the first load wash for 20 straight minutes!!!), there is ZERO suds and our clothes have never been cleaner, softer, and smelled so great.

I had chalked the whole HE detergent up to money-maker for the detergent companies. They are slightly more expensive, and from what I can tell, probably just contain a lot more water than regular detergent. However, I'm now finding things online about how if something happens to your washer, that your warrantee won't cover it if you did not use HE detergent (I'm unaware of my policy, haven't read that much into it yet). How would they know? What does it do?

Basically, am I screwing myself by being cheap with my detergent? Am I going to "ruin" my machine? Do those who have HE washers use HE detergent? I do occassionally make my own borax/washing soda/fels naptha detergent (but only when money is really tight b/c I prefer the commercial stuff), anyone use that in an HE?

Thanks in advance!
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Old 12/05/10, 08:41 AM
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Indiana
Posts: 996
I use regular in my HE washer all of the time. I get whatever is on sale/with a coupon. I've never had a problem.
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Old 12/05/10, 08:44 AM
Loriann1971's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1,402
We just bought an HE this summer. I do use only HE liquid detergent, but I cut it in half with water. I have a front load washer and I have to put the detergent in a drawer at the have to fill it to a certain line so it knows that there is detergent in there and it just seemed like a lot of detergent to get to that line...that is why I started halving it with water and my clothes come out great.

Walmart sells a great value HE detergent that I buy pretty cheap, but usually I just stock up on TIDE when it is on sale or if I have coupons. At Walmart and my grocery store, it tends to be the same price as the regular TIDE.
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Old 12/05/10, 09:41 AM
Join Date: May 2005
Posts: 444
I just got a new HE washer 2 weeks ago, I wouldnt risk not using the HE degergent. I only takes about a Tablespoon of the liquid detergent per load. I think my washer will stop and rinse over and over again if it detects too much soap suds. The little cup to measure HE Tide is very hard to read, so I was using too much on my first loads! When you mentioned your family watching the machine, I had to laugh. I was going to pull up a chair myself. I have never been impressed by laundry, but I really think mine is cleaner now. I cant wait to see my water bill next month, I hope that impresses me too!
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Old 12/05/10, 10:02 AM
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 457
I have had a front loading HE washer for year and a half and have never used HE detergent in it, I started using the cheap regular detergent and cutting it 50% with I am making my own with 20 mule team borax, super washing soda, etc.
I think I got the recipe on here and it is cheap to make, clothes clean as can be.
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Old 12/05/10, 10:14 AM
Registered User
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Ohio
Posts: 2
My husband works at Proctor and Gamble ( makers of Tide detergent) and told me years ago that I should use a fraction of the recommended detergent. When the HE machines came out he also said use regular detergent, just a tiny bit of it. If you're worried about the warranty, read the fine print. And like you said - how would they know?
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Old 12/05/10, 11:03 AM
This is my life
Join Date: May 2007
Location: SC
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I use the homemade stuff in mine. Been working fine for a couple years now. I just put in 1/4 cup of the liquid form.
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Old 12/05/10, 12:13 PM
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: north Alabama
Posts: 10,572
Normally, I'm one of the first to question whether "new and improved" is just a moneymaker. I also agree that just using a minimal amount of detergent works fine. BTW, that trick works with any decent dishwasher as well, but I think that the HE detergents may actually be better.

I say this because when I used some of it to clean our carpets, it got dirt and stains out that the regular carpet cleaning solutions couldn't begin to budge. I was amazed, and I'm not easily amazed. So maybe buy a small bottle for use every few washes, and use regular detergent most of the time?
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Old 12/05/10, 12:50 PM
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Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Indiana
Posts: 1,402
My kids were amazed by the front loader at first. I couldn't get them out of the basement. I took these pictures of them when we washed our very first load in the new machine.

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Old 12/05/10, 01:04 PM
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Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: Western Washington
Posts: 2,400
The residue left by the detergent might indicate to the repairmen that non-HE detergent was used. I don't know if they can tell but they see if you use to much. We have soft water and I use about a teaspoon of the powdered detergent per load. The box of HE detergent we got at Costco has lasted years at that rate of use.
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Old 12/05/10, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Loriann1971 View Post
My kids were amazed by the front loader at first. I couldn't get them out of the basement. I took these pictures of them when we washed our very first load in the new machine.

That is too cute!
I yam what I yam and that's all what I yam.

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Old 12/05/10, 05:56 PM
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Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Ontario, Canada
Posts: 393
I worked at Home Depot for years, I ran the Kitchen / Bath / Appliance section.
It's true, if you use regular detergent, it can void your warranty. It leaves a residue, can gum things up. But it's rare that the companies ever refused a warranty repair due to this problem.

Anyone we sold appliances to that had issues with warranties would always come back and complain to us managers at the store. I had to fight many a time with an appliance company to get things fixed.

If it ever breaks down, as long as you are pushy enough and don't give in, you'll get things fixed.

Unless you bought an extended warranty, or bought it on a gold credit card, (which gets you an extra year on warranties) your warranty is probably only for 1 year anyways.

Just learn how to clean your filter, that's usually where things will build up. (If you open the side or back panel on your washer, the repair man's manual will be taped inside. Or you can usually find one online)
Sudsing is not as much of an issue in an HE top loader as it is in a front loader, but your'e right to use less detergent. You would probably be better off with the homemade stuff though.

Oh, and don't forget to run a cleaning cycle once in a while. (no clothes, just vinegar in the cylcle.)

Have fun with the new addition!!!!!
The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. -Spock / James T. Kirk
Live simply, so others may simply live. - Ghandi
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Old 12/05/10, 06:33 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: far north Idaho
Posts: 11,134
Even when you use HE detergent, you're better off using much less than recommended. I had a smell problem with my front loader and after being advised to cut my detergent usage way back, the clothes are completely clean and the smell has gone away.
Thanks to Willow Girl's hubby for that piece of info!
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Old 12/05/10, 08:29 PM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Twining, Mi.
Posts: 19,930
I use regular laundry soap in my HE washer. We've had it at least 4 years but I actually think going on 5 & it's running fine & never had a problem with it.
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Old 12/05/10, 10:14 PM
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Michigan
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homemade laundry soap in a top load he
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Old 12/05/10, 10:37 PM
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Location: N. TX/ S. OK
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Originally Posted by Cindymac View Post
My husband works at Proctor and Gamble ( makers of Tide detergent)
At several forums I sometimes read, there is a trend towards using Dawn dishwashing liquid instead of laundry detergent because it works so well. I'm one of those, it makes great laundry soap!

Some people instead use Dawn as a stain pre-treater and then use regular laundry detergent.

I'm curious if P&G is aware of this and what they think of it.
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Old 12/06/10, 03:31 AM
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Missouri
Posts: 4,845
I use our local grocery store's generic brand of HE detergent. It is cheap and cleans the clothes wonderfully!
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Old 12/06/10, 07:48 AM
1/2 bubble off plumb
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: NE OH
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Originally Posted by Lyndseyrk View Post
I'm currently washing my 3rd load, using 4 tablespoons of powder detergent.
Why so much?? I use 1T of my homemade soap (even cheaper then the store bought dry) and it does fine. I do add an extra T when we have soiled or stained items.
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