How to Properly Launder with Your HE Machine

Most HE washing machines perform best when 2/3-3/4 full. This fullness offers the proper agitation. We highly recommend reading your manual and using your machine the way it was designed to be used. For some history behind HE machines, check out our page, “HE (High Efficiency) Washing Machines.”


Heavy Duty
  • This is a great option as it offers extra agitation.
Whitest Whites
  • As the name would suggest, this is a great choice for washing whites. It offers great agitation and typically high temperatures to combat stains and dinginess. You can even add bleach for a boost. Beware of the ultra hot temps when washing item with plastic snaps, elastic, and delicate fabrics. This can cause damage and/or premature wear.
  • Great for everyday laundering at normal soil levels. (Many machines allow users to customize soil level to increase agitation).
  • In most machines this cycle does not actually sanitize laundry. Most, if not all, american residential water heaters max out at 140º. It is safest to have your water heater set to 120º to avoid scalding. It is difficult for even a machine with an internal heater to heat water to the necessary minimum of 160 degrees when starting with water at 120º-140º. Even if the machine is capable, it must then keep that high temperature constant for at least 60 minutes. Even if you had a machine like this (for example: those common in Europe) the temperature would be much too high for some laundry (i.e. delicate fabrics, elastic, plastic snaps). In most cases a good washes with proper detergent is sufficient to remove germs and bacteria. Utilize this cycle to clean your machine monthly.
    • There is no need to sanitize, as we are using proper detergent and agitation to remove the bacteria every time we wash.
  • See the explanation for sanitize.


Extra Cycle Options
  • Increasing spin reduces drying time but can be harsh on extremely delicate fabrics.
  • Utilize this option to customize agitation levels.
More Water/Extra Water/Water Plus
  • Adding extra water can inhibit your machine’s ability to offer proper agitation but in the event you are washing something large such as a blanket or comforter this is an option to utilize to ensure saturation.
Extra Rinse
  • This is a truly unnecessary option. If you are washing an item that is heavily soiled opt for a pre rinse or pre wash. If you are interested in this option due to detergent sensitivities ensure you are loading your machine properly to allow the best agitation as to not interfere with rinsability. If it is a true sensitivity to the detergent residue at normal levels consider switching to a different detergent. This option is wasteful of water, energy, time and lastly can actually be damaging to fabrics. All fabrics are prone to hard water mineral build up. This can lead to dinginess. Extra washing also equals extra wear on fabrics causing them to prematurely age.


  • You MUST use truly HE detergent. This detergent is formulated to suds less while maintaining cleaning power. Detergent that claims to be safe for both machines and tells you to just use 1/2 the amount for an HE machine is not truly HE safe. They have not changed the formula at all, they are simply asking you to cut your cleaning power in half. This is another reason why it is not ok to just use less of a regular detergent either.



A Guide from The Cleaning Institute:


By Holly Rhodes and edited by Katie Trump