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Homemade Laundry Soap for an HE Washer

You can easily and inexpensively make your own laundry soap to use in all types of washers, including HE. This is a guide about homemade laundry soap for an HE washer.


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 1 found this helpful
September 17, 2007

Is homemade laundry soap safe for HE washers?

Lisa from Lebanon, IL

Answer Was this helpful? 1
September 18, 20070 found this helpful

Hi Neighbor! ;0)

I do not have an HE washer, but I did find these links. The answers do not seem really "clear" -- but it seems like those who have used it have had no issues. Read your manual for sure, and then decide whether you are willing to take a shot at it.

My repair guy who came once annually to look over my machines, when I lived in Maryland, was always full of useful tips and information for taking care of my appliances. If you have a repair person you trust, they might be the best to ask.

http://www.thef  /laundrysoap.htm

http://www.thef  icles/FAQs.shtml

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September 19, 20071 found this helpful

Yes, it's safe for HE washers. I have been using it for years. Homemade laundry detergent is really soap and doesn't suds at all. It keeps the washer and its lines clean--there is no build-up. If your water is extremely hard, you'll have to use more than the recommended amount.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
January 27, 20080 found this helpful

OK I have to ask. What is an 'HE washer'?

Editor's Note: An HE washer stands for "high efficiency washer". They are typically front loading washers that use much less water than conventional washing machines.

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By 1 found this helpful
January 7, 2015

Can homemade soap stop up your washer?

By Brenda from TN

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By 0 found this helpful
January 23, 2009

Can homemade laundry soap be used in the HE washing machines?

Brenda from Carrollton, Texas

Answer Was this helpful? Yes
January 24, 20090 found this helpful

How do you make your own laundry detergent?

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January 24, 20090 found this helpful

"Post by jenifer4000 (1) | (01/23/2009)


I make and use homemade laundry soap in my HE washer all the time with no problems. It costs me approx. $3.00 a month to do laundr"


If you don't mind my asking, what brand of He washer do you have & how long have you been using the homemade laundry detergent? Thanks very much!

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By guest (Guest Post)
January 24, 20090 found this helpful

Washer manufacturers recommend that only HE detergents be used in their front-load and high-efficiency washers, and most will even recommend a particular brand of HE detergent.

There is a good reason for using detergent that is specially formulated for these newer front-load washers. HE detergents are concentrated laundry detergents that are low-sudsing especially for use with low water high-efficiency washers.

If regular detergents were to be used in front-loading and high-efficiency washers, the presence of too many suds could 'confuse' washing cycles, cause delays and make proper rinsing of clothes difficult.

Similar to why dish detergent does not work well in a dishwasher which requires specially formulated non-sudsing dishwasher detergent, performance can be severely affected by the use of improper detergents in low water washing machines.

HE detergents can readily be found where regular laundry soap is sold - look for the 'HE' symbol the next time you shop. There is no difference in price for this particular type of detergent, nor is there any reduction in loads per container. Buying in bulk can reap savings and ensure you have it on hand for all your washings.

I've used both Tide® HE and Ultra Sunlight® HE and found they both clean very well. The Tide® brand has a nice mild fragrance and is safe for septic systems, and the Ultra Sunlight® brand sports the HE, Sensitive Skin and Fragrance-Free labels, a real plus for allergy sufferers.

Using proper HE detergent for your high-efficiency low water washer will enable your laundry appliance to perform as it should.

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January 24, 20090 found this helpful

Saving_Nickles_n_dimes: I have a Whirlpool Duet (2005 model) and I've been using homemade laundry soap for six or seven months now.

There is one thing that I do and have done for a year or so. I buy this product at Lowe's called "Affresh" and run one tablet every couple of months to clean out the outer drum of the washing machine. It helps to keep the soap (store bought or homemade) from guncking up the interior of the machine. It keeps the musty smell away.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 23, 2011

Please, can anyone give me some advice?
I have a brand new HE top loading washing machine being delivered next week and I'm worried if I can use my homemade laundry powder in it.


My recipe is:
1 cup grated laundry soap
1 cup washing soda
1 cup baking soda (I have hard water)
1 cup oxygen-based brightener (like oxy)
I don't use borax since its not available in my country.

I usually use 1/2 cup of powder since my old twin-tub machine had the capacity for 17lb "dry" weight of clothes. This new one has the same capacity. I don't get good results using less powder. This recipe suds up a little, but not too much.

Will I damage my new machine if I use this powder or should I buy the expensive HE laundry powder available?
Liquid detergent is not an option coz I don't like them.
Thanks for any help.

By cettina from Malta, Europe

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful

It will be fine to use the homemade stuff. I have the same washer and I don't buy the expensive stuff, instead I use other stuff.

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April 25, 20110 found this helpful

You will probably shorten the life of your washer by not using the proper detergent. We were told to rid ourselves of regular detergent and purchase the HE type. You might get by a while with your homemade stuff but ultimately you'll have troubles. It might also possibly ruin your warantee

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April 26, 20110 found this helpful

Oh dear! Two replies and each one exactly opposite in opinion from each other!

Still don't know what to do. My new HE washer is a candy CTD1208. the technician who installed my machine told me to be very careful what I use in my washer but didn't say which detergent to use. Any more opinions please?

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April 26, 20110 found this helpful

Cettina, I have a front loader, a GE Duet. My biggest suggestion to you would be to NOT use liquid detergent but you say you never do. :) I use the cheapest HE powdered detergent I can get. I did develop the "stinky clothes" problem you hear about all the time, but it went away as soon as I switched to powdered detergent and stopped using fabric softener. I use less detergent than I used to, maybe half.

In my opinion, I can't see why using your own version would damage the machine. It might not work as well as it did in your top loader but it seems like it would just wash through. You might want to run a "clean washer" setting occasionally, to guard against clogs.

Hopefully, we will get some more opinions from other people who have used their own detergent soon. :)

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December 12, 20120 found this helpful

Is it OK to use homemade soap in the new HE washers?

By Dell

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December 17, 20120 found this helpful

I wouldn't risk ruining my new washer with homemade crap. These washers use very very little detergent. If you wash one load per day, a bottle will last about one year. Just cover the bottom of the detergent cap with liquid.

Because these washers clean by using the chemicals in the detergent rather than by using water (for the most part), I doubt VERY much that homemade soap would do the job. They aren't strong enough for that. BTW, I use Clean and Clear detergents for sensitive skin.

Good luck

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October 28, 20130 found this helpful

I am getting a HE washer this weekend and I have read about 20 articles that say homemade detergents are safe.

Also Carol, homemade detergents are not crap, they are all natural, no dyes or perfumes and people have been using these ingredients for ages.

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May 7, 20100 found this helpful

When using homemade laundry soap, should I use liquid or power for he washer? Mine is a Cabrio top loader.

By Debra from Grayling, MI

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May 7, 20100 found this helpful

Homemade laundry detergent (soap) is low sudsing, so you can use either, depending on your preference.

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May 8, 20100 found this helpful

I have a Cabrio and use a homemade powder form. What I do is after I grate the soap, I spread it out on a platter and let it dry out for about 2 or 3 days, depending on the air in your home. Then I put it in a food processor. It becomes a fine, fine powder (please wear a mask when handling). I've had no problems with this method; I've been using it for about 4 or 5 years.

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September 4, 20100 found this helpful


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By 0 found this helpful
September 16, 2013

Do you know if I can use your homemade laundry soap recipe instead of HE/high efficiency laundry detergent required for my new machine?

By Diana B.

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May 1, 20140 found this helpful

I got a HE washer a month ago and have had no problem using my homemade soap. I make the liquid soap, but think the powder would work well also.

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By 0 found this helpful
February 25, 2011

Is there a homemade washing soap powder that is safe for HE machines?

By Sharon from Sprakers, NY

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February 28, 20110 found this helpful

I am not sure if this answers your question but many people use homeade powdered detergent in their HE machines. However, my opinion is that powdered detergents tend to gunk up machines. I stick to liquid only. Homeade detergents are low sudsing so it works well for HE machines.

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March 1, 20110 found this helpful

I am not sure if this answers your question but many people use homeade powdered detergent in their HE machines. However, my opinion is that powdered detergents tend to gunk up machines. I stick to liquid only. Homeade detergents are low sudsing so it works well for HE machines.

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October 28, 20110 found this helpful

How do you make high efficiency laundry soap?

By Shar R.

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ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

February 25, 20110 found this helpful

I am looking for a recipe for homemade soap for use in a HE front loader washer.

By Freda from Kingman, AZ


Homemade HE Laundry Soap

Just use 1 TBS Dawn dish soap or Ivory liquid. It is cheap and cleans great! (01/03/2011)

By bkvander

Homemade HE Laundry Soap

I use Fels-Naptha bar soap in the homemade soap recipes, but you can use Ivory, Sunlight, Kirk's Hardwater Castile, or Zote bars. Don't use heavily perfumed soaps. We buy Fels-Naptha by the case from our local grocer or online. Washing soda and borax can normally be found in the laundry or cleaning aisle. Recipe cost: approximately $2.

Homemade Liquid Laundry Soap

Grate bar of soap and add to saucepan with water. Stir continually over medium-low heat until soap dissolves and is melted. Fill a five-gallon bucket half full of hot tap water. Add melted soap, washing soda, and borax. Stir well until all powder is dissolved. Fill bucket to top with more hot water. Stir, cover, and let sit overnight to thicken. Stir and fill a used, clean, laundry soap dispenser half full with soap and then fill rest of way with water. Shake before each use. (It will gel.)

Optional: You can add 10-15 drops of essential oil per two gallons; add once soap has cooled. Ideas: lavender, rosemary, tea tree oil.
Yield: Liquid soap recipe makes 10 gallons.

Top-load machine: 5/8 cup per load (approximately 180 loads)
Front-load machine: 1/4 cup per load (approximately 640 loads)

Powdered Laundry Detergent

Grate soap or break into pieces and process in a food processor until powdered. Mix all ingredients. For light load, use one tablespoon. For heavy or heavily soiled load, use 2 tablespoons. Yields: three cups detergent (approximately 40 loads).

Inexpensive fabric softener recipes:

Recipe No. 1: Add one cup white vinegar to rinse cycle.
Works great. Removes residue and odors. Also helps to keep washing machine and hoses fresh and clean too.

Recipe No. 2: 1 container of name-brand fabric softener and 4 inexpensive sponges, cut in half. Pour a whole container of softener into a five-gallon bucket. Fill empty softener container with water twice (two parts water to one part softener). Add sponges to softener/water mixture.
When ready to use, wring out extra mixture from one sponge and add to the dryer as you would a dryer sheet. (01/06/2011)

By swofferk

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