HE stands for 'High Efficiency' laundry detergent. Such detergents are formulated for use in high-efficiency washing machines, including front load washers and top load washers using less water. HE detergents are low-sudsing and quick dispersing for optimal use in low water volume machines.
The detergents are developed to hold soil in suspension in lower volumes of water so it is not re-deposited onto clean clothing. The use of traditional laundry detergent in high-efficiency washers often produces excess suds that interfere with the tumbling action such washers use to clean clothes and may damage electronic components of the unit that void the warranty. The use of traditional detergents in high-efficiency washers is also known to contribute to the growth of mold and a lingering odor in the washer; there often isn't enough water used to completely wash away suds and soil clinging to the washer -breeding grounds for mold. HE detergent may, however, be used in traditional washers with no harmful effects; as suds are not visible and garments still remain clean. Most HE washers have detergent dispensers; consumers may refer to their washer's care and use guide for instructions on filling the dispensers. Most washers accept powder and liquid detergents, according to Consumerreports.org.