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The Best High Efficiency Laundry Detergent

Last updated on September 11, 2020

We looked at the top 9 High Efficiency Laundry Detergents and dug through the reviews from 19 of the most popular review sites including Product Review, BestReviews, Mom Curls, Home Reviewster, Best Reviews Ninja, The Spruce and more. The result is a ranking of the best High Efficiency Laundry Detergents.

Best High Efficiency Laundry Detergent

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Our Picks For The Top High Efficiency Laundry Detergents

Show Contents
Our Take
Experts Included
Pros
Cons
  The Best Overall

Tide Free & Gentle Hypoallergenic HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Tide

Free & Gentle Liquid Laundry Detergent

Overall Take

Gentle High Efficiency DetergentGive this gentle laundry detergent a try in your high efficiency washing machine.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus BestReviews, The New York Times, The Spruce. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Target, Walmart and Home Depot.
Pros
" This detergent is made for machine washing but works as a delicate wash. It's unscented and dye free."
  The Best Value

Arm & Hammer HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Arm & Hammer

HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Overall Take

Naturally Fresh Laundry DetergentTry this high efficiency laundry detergent with baking soda for an all-natural clean.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus BestReviews (Products), USA Today. Along with user reviews from Amazon, Walmart and Target.
Pros
" Leaves clothes powerfully clean and naturally fresh. Lower sudsing formula rinses cleaner."
Cons
"Smell maybe unpleasant."

Gain Aroma Burst HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

Gain

HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

Overall Take

Two High Efficiency DetergentsTry this two pack of great-smelling, high efficiency laundry detergent.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus Product Review. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Enjoy 6 weeks of freshness from wash until wear. Works in all washing machines even in cold water"

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Concentrated HE Laundry Detergent

Seventh Generation

Free & Clear Laundry Detergent

Overall Take

Two Unscented Laundry DetergentsLook no further for a plant-based, high efficiency laundry detergent.

Experts Included
DWYM Cleaning & Organization Experts plus BestReviews, The Spruce, Good Housekeeping. Along with user reviews from Amazon.
Pros
" Does not require much detergent to work well. Less expensive than diaper cleaning brands."
Cons
"Laundry doesn't smell fresh after one use and need more detergent than traditional brands in order to get same clean."
Don't just take for granted what one reviewer says. Along with our own experts, DWYM analyzes the top expert reviews of the leading products and generates a score you can actually trust.
16

Products Considered

We identified the majority of the high efficiency laundry detergents available to purchase.
9

Products Analyzed

We then selected the leading and most popular products for our team to review.

View All Product Rankings

19

Expert Reviews Included

In addition to our expert reviews, we also incorporate feedback and analysis of some of the most respected sources including: Product Review, BestReviews, Mom Curls, Home Reviewster, Best Reviews Ninja.

109,814

User Opinions Analyzed

We also incorporate user reviews from the leading retailers including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Home Depot and 6 others.

Our experts reviewed the top 9 High Efficiency Laundry Detergents and also dug through the reviews from 19 of the most popular review sites including Product Review, BestReviews, Mom Curls, Home Reviewster, Best Reviews Ninja, The Spruce and more. The result is a ranking of the best of the best High Efficiency Laundry Detergents.

DWYM is your trusted roduct review source. Our team reviews thousands of product reviews from the trusted top experts and combines them into one easy-to-understand score. Learn more.

Look for the DWYM seal for products that are the best in their category.

The Best Overall

Tide Free & Gentle Hypoallergenic HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Our Expert Score
6.0
3 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.1
4,461 user reviews
Our Take

This gentle high efficiency laundry detergent is a perfect choice for those with skin sensitivities or anyone who prefers an all-natural clean. Free of dyes and perfumes, this detergent is gentle on skin and may even help soften hard water due to its included sodium citrate.

What other experts liked
This detergent is made for machine washing but works as a delicate wash. It's unscented and dye free.
- The New York Times
Contains no harsh chemicals perfumes or dyes. The formulas are safe to use in all water temperatures and performs well in removing stains.
- The Spruce
What other experts didn't like
This formula has protease so use caution with pure silk.
- The New York Times

The Best Bang For Your Buck

Arm & Hammer HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Our Expert Score
8.0
2 expert reviews
User Summarized Score
9.5
13,891 user reviews
Our Take

This high efficiency laundry detergent boasts a powerful clean and a natural fresh scent, thanks to its inclusion of baking soda. Its low-sudsing formula rinses cleaner, and it is effective in both regular and high efficiency machines.

What other experts liked
Leaves clothes powerfully clean and naturally fresh. Lower sudsing formula rinses cleaner.
- BestReviews (Products)
Affordable and removes normal stains.
- USA Today
What other experts didn't like
Smell maybe unpleasant.
- USA Today

Overall Product Rankings

Arm & Hammer HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

2. Arm & Hammer HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

Overall Score: 9.6
Reviews Included: 7

Gain Aroma Burst HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

3. Gain Aroma Burst HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

Overall Score: 9.3
Reviews Included: 2

Biokleen Non-Toxic Plant Based HE Laundry Detergent

5. Biokleen Non-Toxic Plant Based HE Laundry Detergent

Overall Score: 9.1
Reviews Included: 6

Purex Mountain Breeze HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

6. Purex Mountain Breeze HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 2

Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender HE Laundry Detergent

7. Mrs. Meyer’s Lavender HE Laundry Detergent

Overall Score: 8.9
Reviews Included: 5

all Mighty Pacs Free & Clear HE Laundry Detergent

8. all Mighty Pacs Free & Clear HE Laundry Detergent

Overall Score: 8.5
Reviews Included: 5

ECOS Hypoallergenic 2X Liquid HE Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

9. ECOS Hypoallergenic 2X Liquid HE Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

Overall Score: 8.4
Reviews Included: 3

Our High Efficiency Laundry Detergent Findings

Tide Free & Gentle Hypoallergenic HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

What We Liked: This gentle high efficiency laundry detergent is a perfect choice for those with skin sensitivities or anyone who prefers an all-natural clean. Free of dyes and perfumes, this detergent is gentle on skin and may even help soften hard water due to its included sodium citrate.

Arm & Hammer HE Liquid Laundry Detergent

What We Liked: This high efficiency laundry detergent boasts a powerful clean and a natural fresh scent, thanks to its inclusion of baking soda. Its low-sudsing formula rinses cleaner, and it is effective in both regular and high efficiency machines.

Gain Aroma Burst HE Liquid Laundry Detergent, 2-Pack

What We Liked: This two-pack of high efficiency laundry detergent works in all washing machines and boasts a clean, fresh scent. Enjoy up to six weeks of freshness, thanks to the included AromaBoost, as well as amazing dirt removal properties.

Seventh Generation Free & Clear Concentrated HE Laundry Detergent

What We Liked: Enjoy an all-natural clean for up to 53 loads with this two-pack of free and clear, high efficiency laundry detergents. It’s USDA-certified as a bio product and contains 96% plant-based ingredients, so you can feel good about using it.

Biokleen Non-Toxic Plant Based HE Laundry Detergent

What We Liked: This high efficiency laundry detergent is plant-based and completely non-toxic for a clean you can feel good about. It removes tough stains and odors, all with no residue or harsh scents, thanks to its grapefruit-seed and orange extracts.

Our High Efficiency Laundry Detergent Buying Guide

High efficiency laundry detergent is specifically formulated for washing machines that are also designated as high efficiency. These machines use less water than traditional units, so high efficiency laundry detergent is designed to be lower sudsing and to disperse quickly. This way, it can offer the best possible clean, despite smaller amounts of water.

In most cases, you can determine whether a laundry detergent is designated as high efficiency by looking for the “HE” logo on the product’s package. Usually, these letters are surrounded by a stylized circle.

While it might be tempting to use whatever detergent you have on hand, you shouldn’t use regular varieties in your high efficiency washing machine. These other detergents produce too many suds for the lower water levels in your machine, which could leave your clothes less clean, result in a longer wash cycle for machines with a rinse sensor. It could even cause the machine to overflow.

That said, it is completely acceptable to use high efficiency laundry detergent in a regular washing machine. You will need to use more detergent than you would in a high efficiency washer, since a traditional washing machine uses more water. Follow the instructions on the package to learn more about proper detergent quantities.

When shopping for a high efficiency laundry detergent, you’ll be able to choose from HE versions of your favorite detergents, as well as many all-natural and fragrance-free varieties. Whether you want a fully biodegradable detergent or one without any added scents, there is a perfect option for you.

Best of all, many high efficiency detergents come in multipacks, offering you the convenience of getting more detergent at a time, and often at a bulk cost savings. Be sure to calculate the unit price per load when ordering your laundry supplies.

You may find that the detergent you’re considering costs more per load than a comparable brand, even though it costs less per package. Similarly, verify that a multipack is less expensive per load than a single unit of the detergent. While it might seem that buying in bulk should save you money, this isn’t always the case.

DWYM Fun Fact

How exactly does high efficiency laundry detergent work?

It all starts with suds. Suds, or bubbles, work hard to break apart dirt and stains on your clothing and linens.

Have you ever wondered why the dirt and stains don’t just fall back onto your clothes, re-soiling them during the laundering process?

You can thank your detergent for this, too.

Detergent actually suspends the soil, dyes and other unwanted substances in the water during your washer’s cleaning cycle. This prevents them from getting back onto your clothes.

When the water drains out of your washing machine and is carried away through your septic or sewer system as what is called gray water, the dirt and stains go with it.

The High Efficiency Laundry Detergent Tips and Advice

  • When you are using high efficiency detergent in a traditional washer, plan to use 1/4 cup for a normal-sized load of laundry.
  • If you are using high efficiency detergent in a newer HE washing machine, you will only need about 2 tablespoons to get an adequate clean.
  • High efficiency detergents come in a variety of concentration amounts, noted on the product’s packaging as “2X,” “4X,” “8X,” etc. Always check manufacturer instructions before adding detergent to your washer to be sure you understand what the product’s concentration means.
  • Avoid mixing liquid and powder detergents in your washer. If you choose to use both types, don’t do so in the same load of laundry. Wipe out the remnants of one sort of detergent before using another.
  • Consider the use of a washing machine cleaner periodically to rid it of molds and mildew. Particularly with a high efficiency washer that is front-loading, smells can build up over time. Leave the washer door open a bit after each load to encourage proper drying and limit smells.
  • Read product labels before purchasing a high efficiency laundry detergent. Not all contain the same ingredients. Consider an all-natural or “free and clear” variety of detergent, especially if you have sensitive skin or have small children at home.
  • If you don’t have a high efficiency washing machine, you can price compare to determine whether a regular or HE detergent is the best choice for you. In some instances, the high efficiency option may still come at a cost savings.