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High-Efficiency Washers

Whether you have a front-load or top-load high-efficiency washer, you are using much less water per load than a standard washer. Without all the extra water to distribute the detergent and then rinse it away, you must use less detergent. Even if you religiously purchase and use a product with the “He” symbol, you must still be careful about overdosing.

The optimum amount of 2X liquid laundry detergent for a high-efficiency washer is two teaspoons; 4X liquid laundry detergent: one teaspoon; 10X liquid laundry detergent: 1/4 teaspoon.

If you have soft water in your area, use even less. For hard water that is untreated, use about one-fourth more.

If you are using a premeasured packet, use only one per load. Follow label usage directions to the letter and the packet should dissolve and disperse correctly.

For exceptionally soiled clothes, you will be much better off presoaking the load than adding extra detergent. If you do decide to use more detergent, add only 50 percent more per load.

If you have an extra-large capacity washer (some can hold up to 25 pounds of laundry) and you routinely fill it completely with soiled laundry, double the optimum amount of detergent suggested here. However, if you only do “regular-sized” loads (12 to 15 pounds), use less detergent.

If you are using a high-efficiency powdered commercial detergent, add two tablespoons directly to the drum before loading clothes. Do not use an automatic dispenser, the powdered detergent needs maximum exposure to the water.

If you make your own homemade laundry detergent, there are no ingredients that cause excessive sudsing. Use two tablespoons of liquid or powdered homemade laundry detergent per load.

Standard top-loading washers use around 40 gallons of water in the wash/rinse compared to the 20 to 25 gallons a high-efficiency washer uses; so overdosing with laundry detergent, while still possible, causes fewer problems. The biggest issue from overdosing is wasting money.

To save money and still achieve clean laundry, use only one-half of the amount recommended by the manufacturer. For 2X liquid laundry detergent, this is usually two tablespoons or one-eighth cup. Use a standard measure or mark the correct amount on the detergent bottle cap with a permanent marker to prevent overdosing.

If you have soft water, use less—about one and one-half tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent. For untreated hard water, use the full amount. Use only one premeasured packet per load.

For heavily soiled clothes, presoak or spot treat stains with a bit of liquid detergent rather than add extra detergent to the entire load. Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup commercial powdered laundry detergent.Use 1/4 to 1/3 cup powdered homemade laundry detergent and 1/8 to 1/4 cup liquid homemade laundry detergent.