Using Homemade Laundry Detergent in an HE Washing Machine

by Jenn @ Frugal Upstate on March 10, 2010

The most frequent question I get about my homemade laundry soap recipe-both here on the blog and over on my YouTube video for making laundry soap is “Can I use homemade laundry soap/ laundry detergent  in an HE washing machine?”

HE Washing Machine

Photo by r4n

The next most common question is “Really? Only one TBS for a load?”. . . but I digress.

HE stands for “High Efficiency” -HE washers are typically front loading washers specifically created to use less water than a standard washing machine.  Because less water is used, laundry detergent must be low sudsing and disperse quickly.  About.com has a great article explaining HE Clothes Washers that you can read for more information.

Unfortunately I do not have an HE washer, and I can not offer solid advice or personal experience on this question.  What I can say is this.  Homemade laundry soap has almost no suds-that is actually one of the complaints you hear from first time users.  “There were no suds and the water looked gray? Is that right?”*

If I were the person with an HE washer, I would personally feel comfortable trying the homemade laundry detergent in the machine.  However I am not an expert-each of you faced with this decision will have to make your own choice based on the facts you have available.

I did look around to see what some of my favorite sources had to say about using homemade laundry detergent/soap in an HE machine.  The fabulous Tipnut addresses this about 2 pages down in her “Homemade Laundry Detergent FAQ“, and Thrifty Fun had this exact question about HE washers & soap asked-you can go read all the answers from their readers.

Do any of you use homemade detergent in an HE machine? What are your feelings on the matter?

*note: Yes, it is normal for there to be little or no suds.  Yes, it is normal for the water to look gray-that’s the dirt coming out of the clothes.  You just don’t notice it with your store bought detergent because the suds keep you from seeing the water.


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