Detergent, Appliance Experts Work to Save Energy and Water
Jul 27, 2005
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U.S. detergent and appliance manufacturers have launched a major educational initiative to encourage energy and water savings through the proper usage of high efficiency (HE) detergents and washing machines.The Soap and Detergent Association (SDA), which represents the nation's cleaning products industry, has published a free, online guide for consumers, "High Efficiency Washers and Detergents: Working in Harmony to Save Energy and Water."

"Using HE laundry detergents in HE washers is a 'must do' for consumers," said Nancy Bock, SDA's vice president of Education. Detergents formulated for HE washers work with energy saving technology to provide the best possible cleaning by using only 20 to 66 percent of the amount of water used in traditional washers.

Because of the low-water wash and rinse cycles in HE washers, HE detergents must work differently from traditional laundry detergents in order to be effective. HE detergents are formulated to be low-sudsing and quick-dispersing to get the best cleaning performance with HE washers. Excess suds can cause problems in HE washers by "cushioning"--or even preventing--the tumbling action. This can impact proper cleaning. That's why consumers should not use regular detergents in their HE machines.

HE detergents are also formulated to hold soils and dyes in suspension in low water volumes, so they don't re-deposit onto cleaned laundry. SDA's publication, available online at, describes how HE detergents and washers work, advises how to use various laundry products in HE machines, and contains tips on how to properly maintain your HE washer.

With rising energy costs and many communities facing water shortages, the technologies behind HE detergents and washers can help families realize long-term cost savings. For instance, consumers may see their HE washers use 20 to 50 percent of the energy used by traditional agitator washers because there is much less water to heat.

In the coming months, SDA and its members will be raising awareness of the new online publication through outreach to consumer educators, government agencies and energy efficiency groups across the U.S.

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