High-Efficiency top loader: powder or liquid detergent?

topieOctober 16, 2010

Hi everyone, just wondering what people would recommend as far as detergents for a High-Efficiency top loading machine. Which is safer for the machine, liquid or powder?

With our old "knob-style" Kenmore, we always just used regular liquid detergent that was free of dyes and perfumes, such as All 2x Ultra Free & Clear.

For our new High-Efficiency machine (a Maytag Bravo MVWX500X) I got some Tide Free & Gentle HE liquid detergent for High-Efficiency machines. But I'm wondering if maybe a powdered HE detergent may be better than an HE liquid detergent, and cause less detergent build-up in the machine?

I don't know much about powdered Persil but noticed it's recommended frequently on this forum. Does Persil make a "free & clear" formula? Or is it already free and clear anyway? Also thought about Sears Ultra Plus Free of Dyes & Perfumes powdered detergent.

Also, what do people do about pre-treating with an HE machine? Do you rinse out all detergent from the pre-treated stains before washing? With our old machine, I didn't rinse out detergent from the pre-treated stains, and just tossed them in the wash. But am concerned about excess detergent build-up if I don't pre-rinse with this HE machine.

Thanks in advance.

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Powder often has the edge over liquids. Oxy bleach, which really whitens whites and removed bleachable stains, is usually a powder so liquids don't have it. They rely on optical brighteners to make clothes appear brighter. Among Tide detergents, I could not find one liquid that contains oxy bleach (besides the liquid Stain Release).

I haven't found a connection between liquid detergent and residue if you use it correctly. Residue is more of a problem if you overdose and/or run too many cold washes.

Persil's Free and Clear version is called Sensitive. It's lightly scented, though. Sears detergent gets very good reviews from what I have seen - also on other laundry-related forums.

I would not worry about pre-treaters as one only uses small amounts per load. A good powder might even do away with the need for pre-treating.

HTH, Alex

    Bookmark   October 16, 2010 at 1:15PM
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Thanks Alex. I think I will go with a powder then for our whites, just for stain-fighting ability at least.

We do run at least 2 hot water loads a week (occasionally with liquid chlorine bleach) so hopefully between that and monthly cleaning with a washer tablet the washer will not develop detergent buildup or any mold/mildew.

I think I'll just try the powder with Oxy bleach for our whites (linens and towels), and hold off on pre-treating for now and see how the whites come out.

Also, I realized as I was reading your post that most of our clothing loads are about 90% darks and blacks, so I'm thinking a powder with Oxy bleach may not be good for those due to fading...

Is there a powdered or liquid HE detergent without optical brighteners that would be good for dark & black clothing wash loads?

    Bookmark   October 17, 2010 at 11:28AM
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I don't know - sorry. I recall that some people recommended Cheer detergent for darks but the Cheer web site doesn't list ingredients, so I can't tell whether it has brighteners or not. Persil Megaperls and liquid with the addition "Color" is free of brighteners but it's also very expensive for you over there.


    Bookmark   October 18, 2010 at 4:54AM
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In my old TL, I used Kirkland Free & Clear AND OxiClean with all darks and blacks, and it did not cause any fading that I've noticed over the last couple years.

I believe Kirkland Free & Clear contains no optical brighteners. I've checked our clothes with a UV light (because of my husband's paranoia about optical brighteners making his hunting camo glow in the eyes of the deer. LOL.)

Kirkland is also the best-rated free & clear detergent in CR recent tests. And a super value around 9 cents per load.

Kirkland also has a symbol that says "Your colors protected by Color Secure."

Alas, I can no longer mix OxiClean and Kirkland Free & Clear in my new FL. So for oxygen bleach cleaning, I'm using Gain. It also has OBs, and the sheets come out just sparkling.

But I currently have no formula for a Free & Clear AND oxygen bleach clean! Looks like Seventh Generation Powder fits the bill...it ranks slightly higher than Kirkland on CR (2 points, probably not noticeable to humans)...but is 4 times the price.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 3:41PM
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According to Consumer Reports Tide HE powder is the best soap they tested. It was superior to Tide liquid too. I haven't used it because it costs more. Supposedly Gain HE powder is a close second for a lot less money (1/3). I made the mistake of going to get some and the only version I found was the liquid. I got some but it is full of blue-green dye and perfume----and it is nowhere near as good as the powder. I am a cheapskate when it comes to laundry products and we have no allergy problems. I have used Kirkland (Costco) Free and Clear too. It works the same as Gain but is nearly colorless and no smell.

    Bookmark   October 19, 2010 at 4:58PM
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I have a Maytag Bravos washer. I use both powder and liquid detergents, depending on the type laundry I wash and wash temp.

I always use liquid detergents when washing laundry in cold water, as powders don't seem to dissolve as well in cold water. When I wash white/light delicates in cold water, I use Woolite HE liquid detergent (I've been using a BIG bottle I got at BJ's warehouse store on sale and w/a coupon, and I still have more than half the bottle). When I wash sturdier whites/light clothes which must be washed in cold water, I use Tide HE w/bleach liquid. I wash comforters and blankets in cold or warm water w/liquid detergent.

When washing laundry in warm water, it depends on what I'm washing. I prefer liquid detergents for dark clothes. I really like Woolite for Darks, but it is hard to find in an HE formula, and I cannot find Cheer HE for Darks anymore, so I usually use Tide HE Total Care. It works well.

I generally use powdered detergent when I wash in hot water, as I think it performs best in hot water. I always wash towels and white cottons like guys' socks, undies, and T-shirts in hot water (sometimes sheets). I do like to use ERA HE liquid on dirty/greasy jeans and other such laundry.

It sounds like I have a veritable store of detergents, LOL. I've "collected" them over the last couple of years, buying most of them at BJ's in great big sizes that last for months and months. When one runs out, I look for one of these on sale and almost always use coupons too.

    Bookmark   October 20, 2010 at 10:56PM
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"I believe Kirkland Free & Clear contains no optical brighteners."

I checked a few sites that indicate it does contain OBAs.

I think Free & Clear usually means no dye or perfume. It doesn't say anything about enzymes or optical brighteners.

Here is a link that might be useful: Detergent Chart

    Bookmark   October 29, 2010 at 3:06PM
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