Detergent suggestions/liquid or powder?

thecloseMarch 21, 2011

Hi All,

My new Miele 4842 and GE dryer were delivered on Friday. Very exciting! I have always been a Tide original scent devotee, liquid. Is this something I can still use with great results? I want what is best for the machine and the laundry. I do have a few bottles left and would like to use them but I am willing to buy whatever. I know Persil is quite revered on this forum. Something I should invest in?

So, bottom line, if you were stocking a new laundry room with detergent, what would you buy?



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Persil Color Gel for darks, colours/brights. Persil Universal Gel for whites.

Also, love Clorox Green Works detergent. It has enzymes, but no optical brighteners.

Method is also great detergent.

Miele told me that Tide is perfectly fine in Miele machines, and it has even been extensively tested. You need to make sure though that your Tide powder of liquid formulas are he (high efficiency)!!!

I use Downy fabric softener or the new Purex Crystals. Downy is more softening, but the crystals are easy!!

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 10:06AM
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HE, or not...?

I've been using non-HE powder in my Miele (and Asko) machines for nearly two decades, with no deleterious effects, and excellent cleaning results.

It all depends on your water chemistry. The one universal thing is that you will need to cut down the quantity compared to what you may have used in a traditional TL machine.

As a FL novice, you have two choices: a) either cut whatever you've been using down by at least half and test for a few weeks to see whether your clothes are getting clean. Ignore a lack of visible suds during the wash- the key is cleaning results. You can try cautiously boosting the dose if the cleaning isn't optimum. The risk with non-HE products is that you may get problems with oversudsing, or build-up. But there's no harm in trying. In general, I've found that if the clothes are getting perfectly clean - and you're not seeing tons of suds, then you're fine with whatever regimen you've chosen.

Or, b) start with a recommended HE-type product (even that should be dosed sparsely at first) and see if you like the results. If your clothes aren't clean then slowly boost the sparse dose up bit by bit. If you then get clean clothes, you're all set, but if you still get not-clean clothes, stiffness, detergent residue or vast quantities of suds, then in your particular water the detergent isn't working, so switch again. (TIP: buy small quantities, even those packs from dispensers at coin-ops laundromats. Or ask friends for small amounts to test.)

It's not rocket science; it just takes patience. Tide may work for you (and sometimes powders work when liquids don't, so there's two variables to test). But sometimes you have to switch products.

In addition to the water, chemical and dosing interactions people have different tastes as far as scent remaining in fabrics. I loathe the smell of detergents but I recognize that for many users clean clothes don't smell clean unless they smell of some preferred product. That's the tough part to handle and why there many, strongly held opinions about the "best" detergent. If you like the smell of your clothes now, that's reason enough for me to suggest at least trying to continue with the same product. Your sense of smell will adjust to the lighter scent of really well-rinsed clothes processed in a Miele. If you like a particular brand's scent, then try the HE-version of what you've been using. That will get you launched, most quickly and most safely. When you're used to the new machines, you can go back and try what's left of your remaining stash.

FWIW, I use plain-Jane, Cheer regular powder. I can only still get it at Target in my area. I had to abandon my pre-FL fave - ERA liquid - since with my water chemistry, I could never get it to clean adequately at any dosing level.

And finally, if you're into experiemnting - or driven to it - it's useful to have a small quantity of grated pure soap flakes on hand to quell an unexpected oversuds situation. I grated up a bar of Ivory soap with my Microplane grater and keep it in a jar with my detergents. If oversuds occur, then a couple of tablespoons in the detergent hatch with a quart of warm water as a chaser will extinguish the suds promptly, with no harm done. While I'm titrating the dosage for a particular product, I've found it useful to keep some kitchen measuring spoons and fractional cup measures with my laundry tackle so I can accurately dispense the product. Once you know what works for you then you can find a convenient scoop or jigger to make it easier to just dump and go.


    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 4:39PM
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I strongly recommend that whichever type of detergent you use (HE or non-HE), you use powder. The internet-and this forum-is full of FL users complaining about a moldy smell in their laundry, particularly towels and wash cloths. I experienced it myself when I first began using a FL washer 10 years ago. Everyone I know who has a FL has had the same problem, particularly if using fabric softener as I do. When I began researching the issue, I read the solution was to switch to powder. When I did that it solved the problem.

    Bookmark   March 21, 2011 at 5:25PM
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armjim writes: "FL users complaining about a moldy smell in their laundry, particularly towels and wash cloths. I experienced it myself when I first began using a FL washer 10 years ago. Everyone I know who has a FL has had the same problem ..."

Pleased to "meet" you; now that you "know" me, allow me to spoil your hitherto perfect record of FL/liquid detergent users who have a moldy smell problem. We (including my mother's generation) have owned front-loading washers exclusively since 1936, and have been using liquid laundry detergent in those FL washers exclusively for at least a quarter century, and we never have had the slightest whiff of a moldy smell, even in towels and wash cloths. However, you go on to say:

" ... particularly if using fabric softener as I do."

Bingo. No washer of ours ever has seen a fabric softener. We use (all lower case) biokleen All Temperature Laundry Liquid detergent, supplemented with a scoop of borax, for almost all loads (with warm wash, cold rinse). Without fabric softener, our laundry comes out soft as a baby's bottom, and never, ever with a moldy smell.

We buy biokleen locally, but if it is unavailable near you, you can get it from Amazon for $0.12/fluid ounce in the big 64 oz. (half gallon) bottles. Because biokleen all temperature liquid is HE 3x concentrated, a big bottle goes a LONG way. Borax is a mild disinfectant, and may be a contributing factor for the no-moldy smell.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 2:37PM
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;) More anti fabric softener propoganda!!! LOL

If you run a clean machine / tub clean cycle or a sanitize cycle once a month with liquid chlorine bleach or Tide washing machine will have no problem using liquid softener. My Mom, Grandma, Me and almost every friend I know uses either Downy of Snuggle softener...and NOT one of us has ever had mold!!!

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 8:24PM
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I just have a nice plain jane compact front loader so maybe it can't make the magic happen but I tried one of the Persil powders and I really didn't find any difference from the "green" powder I usually use.

Nature Clean Laundry Powder:

I use a tablespoon of the same company's Oxy Stain Remover as a booster (not sure it is necessary):

Not sure what causes or prevents mold\smells but I don't use liquid bleach and I wash in cold\cold or warm\cold 99% of the time. To be safe I stick with powder and I don't use softener (that lightning strike could come at any minute and I don't need to be more flammable) but I am going to try those new crystals (my clothes are still pliable and I haven't cut myself on a hard edge yet so more for fragrance than softness). I do the odd load of rags in hot\warm to be on the safe side (I'm not wasting a hot wash on an empty machine). I do leave the door and detergent tray open between washes. I say pick your poison - we all have theories\practices and anecdotal proof (our stink free machines) but who knows where the causal relationship lies.

Enjoy your new washer.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 9:04PM
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I've been using FL machines for over 10 years and I have never had a mold issue. My previous machine didn't even have a heater so no sanitize and still no mold.

I have always left my door open after washing. With my new Miele I even remove the detergent drawer and rinse out the fabric softener compartment. I did notice on my Frigidaire that mold was forming in the detergent drawer as I never thought to leave it open. Don't want to make that mistake with my Miele.

I have used mostly liquid detergent and fabric softener. A large part of those 10 years it was Tide and Downy. A few years ago I "greened" up and use only "more natural" fabric softener (only one is awesome to me - Shaklee Fresh Laundry).

I have an "arsenal" of detergents; most of them greener choices but a few not so. I do own Persil in various flavors but can only really tolerate the Sensitive version (smell wise). I also have Tide HE Free Coldwater for when I really need it. Mostly I use Vaska, Clorox Greenworks and lately Seventh Generation liquid and powder. I have several others I use sometimes. I'm a bit of a product addict - Larsi and I ;)

I highly recommend you use HE detergent. See attached link.

If you have mud stains or ground-in soil or dirt, then powder detergent will work best. If, on the other hand, you're working with more oily dirt, like food stains, you should use a liquid detergent. Even Miele told me this.

I think it's wise to own both a powder and a liquid. I do and it's working for me ;)

Good luck! Let us know how it's working for you.

Here is a link that might be useful: HE washers & detergents

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 9:19PM
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"If you run a clean machine / tub clean cycle or a sanitize cycle once a month with liquid chlorine bleach or Tide washing machine will have no problem using liquid softener."

Be careful using chlorine bleach in your FL - it can cause corrosion and eventual deterioration / failure of the spider and other SS parts in your machine.

    Bookmark   March 22, 2011 at 11:50PM
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Miele recommends you use bleach in the tub clean cycle. I haven't yet. I did one tub clean with Smelly Washer that I have.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:21AM
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Wow! Thanks for all the responses. I have Tide HE liquid, so I will try that out first. I don't use fabric softener, so that isn't an issue for me.

If one were to use a booster like Oxiclean or Biz, where do you put it in the Miele?

I still need to read my manual. Need to be prepared for my first load! I will let you know how it goes.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:46AM
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I use a pure oxygen bleach (sodium percarbonate) and add it right in the detergent "main wash" spot with the detergent (liquid or powder). It all gets washed into the drum together.

I wouldn't be without oxygen bleach for whites. Even some of my kids' lighter clothes. It's great for brightening and odor removal.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 12:54AM
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Where do you buy pure oxygen bleach? Sorry for all the questions!! I am excited to get great results!

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 1:14AM
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I buy a brand here in Canada called BioVert (

Other companies do sell it like Ecover.

Others brands mix it with ingredients like washing soda.

I personally think it's best in it's pure form.

Forgot to mention it does a great job on stains too. I have soaked things with it and had great results.

It's actually amazing at many jobs around the house. I use it for many cleaning jobs. It will lift stains from things like coffee pots (glass or stainless), clean grout, cleans my white cast iron sink really nicely. I like it a lot.

Here is a link that might be useful: Ecover oxygen bleach

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 8:28AM
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Oxy Stain remover description:


Not sure how much of the sodium carbonate it is cut with. I don't own many whites but last time I did a load I did a Quick wash in hot\warm (no on board heater) using just the Oxy Stain Remover followed by a regular load in hot\warm (on heavy soil) using my usual detergent regime. Definitely brightened the whites.

    Bookmark   March 23, 2011 at 3:17PM
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