The transition from traditional washers to high-efficiency (HE) meant soap had to change, too. Fortunately, millions of people got the message and used HE detergent instead of conventional detergent in their new washers. Before I explain why HE soap matters, I’ll point out the differences between HE and conventional washers.

Traditional vs HE

Traditional Top Load Washer with SudsMany of us grew up with traditional washers without worry about load size, soap, or water. More seemed better because, well, it was. Standard machines easily washed large loads, and they did a good job for years. However, with the introduction of HE washers, much changed.

The old workhorse washers made way for new, cheaper, and energy efficient washers. Here, less is better, according to the manufacturers. HE washers use modern technology designed to reduce water consumption and lower energy costs.

The goal is a reduction of up to 80% less water and less energy consumption than traditional washers. Further, manufacturers touted more capacity and faster wash times. The reality is while the capacity is greater, the wash results haven’t met their goals. This is partly due to misinformation about amount and quality of soaps.

Overloading HE washers is common and contributes to complaints clothes aren’t getting clean. Too much weight and wrong type and amount of soap leads to a majority of washability complaints I hear often. The solution is smaller loads and correct type and amount of soap.

HE soap is a different soap and must be used correctly. Often, it is isn’t, which leads to over soaping and clothes not getting clean or rinsed well. In my experience, those who follow recommendations experience great wash results and softer clothes.

Less soap usage and lower water levels requires soap to work harder to clean. That said, a quality HE soap becomes important to produce great wash results. HE soap is a non-sudsing soap and helps prevent suds alarms many front-load HE washers show if it detects excessive suds.

The result is longer wash cycles due to increased rinsing. A suds alarm indicates over soaping or a mechanical problem with the washer. The easy solution is use less soap to eliminate it as a cause. Sometimes, the problem is internal to the washer. Neli stands ready to help you whenever situations like this arise and you need a quick answer or do-it-yourself appliance repair solution.

The True Effect of Too Many Suds

Top Load HE Washer

Instead of grinding clothes around an agitator as in conventional washers, the HE process gently moves clothes around and against each other to assist the cleaning process. Much of the wash cycle is soaking and gently rubbing which gets your clothes their cleanest.

HE soap is non-sudsing and prevents the effects of too many suds. If suds appear in the wash water, it’s an indication of too much soap (yes, HE soap will produce some suds if too much is used). Suds cradle the clothes and prevent them from contacting each other, reducing cleaning.

Whenever excessive suds are present, your washer likely extends the rinse, or adds another full rinse cycle to cancel the suds affect. If suds remain due to excessive soap, the spin cycle can’t remove all the soap from the clothes and end up not getting clean and might smell, too.

What Can You Do About Suds?

Front Load Washer with Too Many SudsAlways use less than the recommended amount printed on the label. After trial and error, I found approximately a tablespoon of quality HE soap is sufficient for most normal loads. The exception is an extra half-tablespoon for extremely soiled clothes.

I know it doesn’t seem enough for an average load, but remember you’re using HE soap which is different from traditional detergent. If you use the right amount, suds won’t be a problem and you’ll experience clean and soft clothes.

If you’re using a water softener, you may experience suds in the wash water. Experiment with amounts of soap until the suds subside and your clothes are clean. Always remember to use quality HE soap at all times.  

In Closing…

Today’s HE washers do a fine job washing clothes, and soap and load size determine the results you will see. Quality HE soap in the right amount with an average load size should give the outcome you’re expecting every time. If you’re experiencing difficulty with any of your home appliances, feel free to contact us. We’re here to help you, anytime or anywhere! If you like what you’ve learned here today, please drop us a comment below. We would love to hear from you!


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