Should you use HE or regular laundry detergent?

There are several laundry detergent options in the aisles.

Some shoppers say they're confused by the little HE symbol on bottles and boxes.

"I always just smell it. Whatever smells good is what I usually use," said Ashli Green.

"Usually Purex. I buy that," Jasmine Johnson said. 

"I try to stick with Gain or Tide," said Barbara Laski.

Regardless of what brand you prefer, the options are endless. Ultra, double concentrated and the newcomer HE.  It's a specially formulated detergent made specifically for high efficiency washing machines.  

"I thought it was just the same as regular laundry detergent," said Johnson.

HE products won't damage a traditional washer or your clothes.

"I don't really notice the difference," said Green.

But if you use traditional detergent in a high efficiency machine, you may notice a difference.

"I always think it might gum it up or something," said Laski.

Consumer Reports says premature wear and tear is a concern because traditional detergents create too many suds for a machine that uses less energy and less water. You'll pay more in the long run for repairs, and you'll lose money every time you run the washer.

"That means the rinse cycle is going to run longer, so all those savings that you're supposed to be getting are lost because you're using more water to rinse the extra suds from your clothing," said a Consumer Reports expert.

That's why manufacturers recommend HE products for HE or high efficiency machines. Even when you have to buy a specific product, the selection is still endless in the laundry detergent aisle.

There are some dual-use laundry detergents out there. They're specifically formulated to work in either conventional or high efficiency washers. A number of them are available in single-use pods.

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