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Appliance repair tech issues warning against common laundry mistake that could eventually ruin your clothes: 'I have to have this conversation with customers almost every single day'

"Our clothes are much cleaner, and so is our washer."

"Our clothes are much cleaner, and so is our washer."

Photo Credit: iStock

More than 80% of U.S. households have a washing machine, and many are labeled as high-efficiency, most commonly with a lowercase and cursive "HE" sticker. But while HE washers are both more economical and environmentally friendly, they're facing a popularity issue based on a misunderstanding.

"A large number of Americans hate high-efficiency washing machines because they think they don't clean as well as old washing machines did," says maintenance repair technician Renae (@renduh) in a TikTok video. "Let me tell you why that is." 

@renduh I have to have this conversation with customers almost every single day…as I'm showing them the buildup in their washer and replacing parts that the buildup caused to break. Use less laundry sauce, friends! ✌️ #L#LearnOnTikTokT#TodayILearnedL#LaundryH#HighEfficiencyH#HEWasherH#HEWashingMachineL#LaundryTokL#LaundryHackW#WashingMachineF#FrontLoadWasherF#FrontLoadWashingMachineF#FrontLoaderH#HowStuffWorksL#LifeHackC#CleanTokc#cleanc#cleaningHacksC#CleaningHackW#WomenInTradesT#Tradeswoman #2#2Tbsp2#2TablespoonsL#LaundryDetergentd#detergentD#DetergentBuildupH#HowToDoLaundryL#LaundryHowToL#LaundryOverloadD#DetergentOverloadUseLessLaundrySauce ♬ original sound - Renae

The scoop

Renae explains that the issue isn't the machine — it's the detergent

"You're using too much detergent," she says. "HE detergent is very concentrated … all you need is about two tablespoons." For context, that's about as much as one shot glass.

Instead, when someone uses too much, the excess detergent accumulates inside the washing machine, "building up so badly it starts getting onto your clothes."

"I always used to try and tell people 'more soap doesn't mean more clean,'" one commenter agreed.

"I have to have this conversation with customers almost every single day," Renae writes, concluding: "Use less laundry sauce, friends!"

How it's helping

Commenters were grateful for the clarification. "Been using two Tbsp and I've noticed no more "oil" looking spots on our clothes," one wrote. "They drove me nuts, never knew what it was from!"

One key draw of buying a high-efficiency washer is that it uses substantially less water. With laundry being the second biggest line item on most people's home water bills, this is a big deal — the EPA estimates that switching to HE washers can save homeowners over 50% of their annual water expenses, totaling in the thousands each year.

They "use less water, less electricity, and less detergent. It's better for your health, the environment, and your wallet," Renae concludes.

For those looking for even more savings, many cleaning enthusiasts also recommend switching to natural cleaning products

There are numerous recipes online for homemade laundry detergents and fabric softeners, including ones made from simple castile soap and baking soda, some made from vinegar, or even others that use buckeye chestnuts. Another benefit is that these recipes are free of toxic chemicals often found in popular detergents, keeping laundry safe load after load.

What people are saying

Commenters were amazed by this simple explanation and were eager to implement Renae's tips.

"Switched to using 2tbsp back when I read about it elsewhere last year," one wrote. "Our clothes are MUCH cleaner, and so is our washer. It's a win-win."

"I literally made a 'laundry shots' glass with lines marking how much stuff (detergent, vinegar, softener, scent booster)," another shared.

Another had similar success: "Since I started using less detergent my clothes come out better and I buy way less detergent."

All in all, the message was resounding: "You help us be better homeowners and [we] appreciate you."

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