Liquid Detergent versus Laundry Packets
Laundry Packets (or Pods, a term that Tide has trademarked) have actually been around longer than you think; they were originally introduced in a compacted granular form in the 1960’s when Procter & Gamble introduced Salvo tablets. They disappeared from the market in the 1970’s, but in February 2012, Procter & Gamble introduced Tide Pods and other brands jumped on board. Today, laundry packets or pods represent roughly 14-15% of the U.S. laundry detergent market, having already exceeded powder detergents.
What is a laundry packet or pod?
They are pre-measured, small packages of soap, detergent, and softener wrapped up in a dissolvable, see-through cover that you simply throw into your washing machine drum when you are ready to do a load of laundry.
The pros of laundry packets:
- Clean: The detergent is contained inside of a sealed, plastic wrapper, so you no longer need to worry about cleaning up detergent spills or having to clean out your soap dispenser.
- Convenient: There’s no measuring involved; simply throw a pod inside your washing machine drum, put the clothes on top, place the washing machine on the appropriate settings, and hit start. Plus, if you are traveling and planning on doing laundry, it’s so easy to throw a couple pods in a plastic bag instead of having to pack a large jug of detergent.
- Performance: I read several reviews on Tide’s pods and all said they were pleasantly surprised about the amount of dirt and stains that came out of clothing as well as how fresh things smelled.
The cons of laundry packets:
- Cost and efficiency: One packet is supposed to be used for a regular-size load, but what if you have a super-size load or an exceptionally soiled load? Several sites say that you should then use 2 packets, and that can get expensive given that the cost of one packet is around twice the price of liquid detergent. In addition, too much laundry detergent can leave a residue on your clothing and a buildup in your washing machine. Then there’s the question of what if you have a small load? Finally, many times a liquid detergent can also be used as a pre-treater; if you strictly use pods, then you’ll need to also purchase a general-purpose pre-treater.
- Safety: There have been numerous reports of children mistaking these packets for candy, resulting in thousands of accidental poisonings. As with any cleaning product or chemical, keep laundry packets locked up and out of reach of both children and pets.
- Dissolving Issues: We have a HE washer, and a handful of times I’ve had trouble with the pod not completely dissolving, which I find to be funny because I once handled a pod with wet fingers and had it literally dissolve right in my hands.
Other than cost, this decision likely comes down to personal preference; no product is perfect, so you just need to determine which product is perfect for your family.