Cheer Powder Laundry Detergent now HE Compatible!

Cheer Powder Laundry Detergent for HE Machines

Cheer powder laundry detergent has always been known as a highly effective powder detergent for colors – it lacks the OBAs that are present in most detergents sold in the US which can make saturated colors fade. And now it’s finally HE compatible!!

This has been a very exciting laundry week – yesterday I received a package with Caldrea laundry detergent in the Basil Blue Sage scent (if you’ve read my previous post

you know that I was choosing between several great Caldrea scents, and in the end I chose to go with the BBS), and today I was finally able to locate the new and improved, HE-compatible powdered Cheer!

I had heard rumors of Cheer switching to the “dark side” and releasing an updated, HE friendly version about a month ago, but didn’t want to write about it till I could confirm. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Cheer, and its main distinguishing feature is that it does not contain OBAs! Just like the expensive German Persil and Miele Color powders I normally use for my colored loads, but at a fraction of the cost. I had been visiting all of the local stores that sell Cheer several times a week, and finally today I was rewarded for my patience: they had just put out a bunch of new boxes, and all of them were the new HE version.

Cheer powder laundry detergent HE compatible

Finally! The HE sign on a box of Cheer powder laundry detergent.

Optical brighteners in laundry detergent

So why is the lack of OBAs important? OBAs (optical brightening agents) are added to the vast majority of American laundry detergents to make whites seem even whiter, but the downside is that they can also cause colors to fade, especially with dark clothing. You know how your new black shirt can get this worn, dusty grayish cast that’s especially visible in daylight after only a couple of washes? That’s most likely OBAs doing their job, and exactly the reason why I don’t use detergents that contain them on colors. You can read a little more about the chemistry behind OBAs here and here.
Oh, and they also make Army uniforms a lot more visible (not quite glow in the dark, but close), which is why detergents with OBAs are not recommended for washing ACUs.

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I have not had a chance to try the new HE Cheer out yet (I’m kicking myself for washing all of my colors yesterday, when I was trying out the Caldrea, which smells lovely by the way), but here are my first impressions.

The Cheer Powder Laundry Detergent Box

Cheer powder HE detergent box

First of all, I have a love-hate relationship with P&G boxes. On the one hand I love that they are made out of 100% recycled paper, and that they can be further recycled after use. I’ve been really trying to move away from plastic as much as possible, so the paper is a very welcome type of packaging. But at the same time, it is just so messy! This all came out as I was opening the box. Once I shook out the powder stuck between the layers of cardboard I had a small pile of detergent on my table! So yes, make sure you open the box somewhere that you can easily clean up.

Inside the Box

Cheer powder HE detergent scoop

The powder is all white, and the smallest particles are fairly fine and dusty – you can see all that detergent dust on the scoop. The scent is very pleasant and not as strong as Tide.

Dosage Instructions

Cheer HE Powder laundry detergent instructions

The instructions are pretty detailed. I’m not sure why they have 5 levels on the scoop if you only use 1, 3 and 5, but I’m sure there’s some reason!

The Scoop

Cheer powder HE detergent dosage

Speaking of the scoop, I actually got the old version, with just 3 lines. They were not clearly visible in the picture, so I added the green lines to make it easier to see. Line 1 is about 5 Tbsp of detergent, although in that case the math doesn’t quite work out: the box is 112 oz, and they promise 80 loads at line 1, which means line 1 should be… 1.4 oz (no, I did not do that in my head). 1.4 oz is roughly 3 Tbsp (1 Tbsp = 1/2 oz), so if you use line 1 you’ll get about 45 loads out of the 112 oz box, and not 80. I think I’m going to start with 4 Tbsp and go from there to see which will be closer to the actual amount needed for cleaning.

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So to wrap things up, if you’ve been looking for an inexpensive laundry powder that doesn’t have OBAs but does contain enzymes (however, just one enzyme: you can view the full ingredients list here), and is HE compatible, you can now buy Cheer powder laundry detergent! I paid around $11 for the 80 load box.



13 thoughts on “Cheer Powder Laundry Detergent now HE Compatible!

  1. frank says:

    i had a pair of pants that were greasy and a shirt with embarrassing grease spots on the clothesline i washed in a liquid, i rewashed them in powdered cheer, and magically not a bit of dirt remained. And remember, cheer works better in cold water than cold water detergents do, it cleans in any temperature. I still insist original oxydol powder is the only way to get whites cocaine white, but people still b uy that tide with bleach. I once ran out of oxydol and did whites in cheer and you know it worked vvey well? but as a creature of habit i get powder oxydol at the dollar store and cheer powder for the colours, really until it was he i don’t think one liquid was better than another no matter what you paid. so glad it;s he now, today proved it. i was verry mad to see twice washed slothes even pretreated full of grease stains, i said if this doesn;t work nothing will. My god they arre like new again

    • Olga says:

      Thanks for the comment, I’m happy you’re loving Cheer! It’s one of those detergents that P&G doesn’t really market, and I feel it should be much more popular than it is. There are so few OBA-free detergents on the US market, and this one is affordable, effective and safe for colors.

  2. Dshoop says:

    Not sure but perhaps 112 oz. is weight not volume. Weigh the 5 tbsp of detergent(line 1)and see if that goes about 80 times into 112. Just a thought

  3. Dshoop says:

    Also can anyone let me know the volume amount in tablespoons of each line of the measuring scoop? I don’t have the scoop anymore but wanted to start using it again. My guess is 6 or 7 tbsp for line 3 and 10 tbsp for line 5? Thanks for any help:)

    • Olga says:

      That’s a great question, I’ll have to see if I still have the scoop! If we divide the weight of the detergent by the number of loads we get 1.4 oz or 40 grams. A Tbsp holds about 15 ml, so I’d say to round things up line 1 could be around 3 Tbsp which is enough for a “medium load”. I’d start with that and go from there!

  4. Woody says:

    Maybe it’s because I’m a guy, but I can’t figure out the instructions for how much to use. Remember, as a guy we don’t read instructions. So, it’s a very unfamiliar experience. I have a HE Samsung washer. So, do I use the first line for small loads and line 5 for the very largest loads? I’m really wanting to avoid the mad scientist/bartender approach to this concoction. And thanks in advance for any help you can offer.

    • Olga says:

      Hi Woody, is your washer front or top load? What kind of water do you have – hard or soft? If you have a full size front loader and water that’s somewhere in the middle of the scale I’d start with 4 Tbsp (about 1/4 cup) of detergent and adjust from there. You want the wash water to be slightly “slippery” feeling, and clothes to come out clean. In a front loader you really should never have to go up to line 5 – that is just way too much detergent for a machine that uses so little water.

    • Olga says:

      Hmm, in that case you’d likely want to start at a higher dosage. Maybe try line 3 on the scoop, and open up the washer mid-cycle to feel the water. If it’s slippery and if clothes come out clean try dialing back. If it doesn’t feel slippery, add 1Tbsp more at a time to find your dosage. It takes a little bit of trial and error, but once you have it figured out it will be smooth sailing!

  5. jaaberghi says:

    Hi Olga! I don’t think my box came with a scoop, or if it did, it’s buried deep. I have a front loading HE washer and water of medium hardness. What volume of detergent would you say lines 2 and 4 would be?

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