Tide Pods Laundry Detergent Product Review

Tide Pods Bag
Courtesy of P&G

After eight years of research and development and testing, testing, testing with consumers, Procter & Gamble introduced Tide Pods, a single dose laundry detergent. The process involved 75 technical resources dedicated to the project, more than 450 packaging and product sketches and 6,000 consumers involved in the research. Their hope is that Tide Pods will enable consumers to have success in cleaning every laundry load, simplify the laundry process and surprise and delight the user.

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Tide Pods

Tide Pods are a single dose laundry detergent introduced to the United States Market in February 2012. The convenient, pre-dosed liquid pods contain super concentrated Tide detergent, stain remover and brightener in a three chamber polyvinyl film packet. The outer film dissolves completely in any temperature water to release the cleaning products.

The Tide Pods are added to the washer before adding clothes. One pod is recommended per average load. Two pods can be added if the load is large or heavily soiled. The pods work in both standard and high efficency top-loading and front-loading washers. If using with a front loader, the pod must be placed directly in the drum - not in the dispenser drawer.

Listed ingredients on the outer packaging are:

  • nonionic and anionic surfactants
  • ethoxylated polyethylene polyamine
  • enzymes

Complete ingredients are:

  • water
  • alcoholethoxy sulfate
  • linear alkylbenzene sulfonate
  • alcohol ethoxylate
  • citric acid
  • ethanolamine
  • sodium fatty acids
  • diethylene glycol
  • propylene glycol
  • sodium hydroxide
  • borax
  • polyethyleneimine ethoxylate
  • ethanol
  • protease
  • sodium cumene sulfonate
  • diquaternium ethoxysulfate
  • Laureth-9
  • fragrance
  • amylase
  • DTPA
  • disodium diaminostilbene disulfonate
  • sodium formate
  • pectinase
  • calcium formate
  • mannanase
  • Liquitint
  • dimethicone

Tide Pods contain no phosphates and are safe for septic systems. Since the pods dissolve completely, there is no recycling except the outer package. Check with your local recycling center to see if they accept the plastic used in the outer container. I can see an entire crafting category built around the fishbowl shape of the outer container which has hand-holds shaped into the pack to making it easy for one hand use - a perfect storage container for other laundry supplies. Product instructions are listed in English, Spanish and French.

NOTE: Due to the problem of children mistaking single dose laundry detergents for candy, Tide now offers Tide Pods in a solid orange fishbowl and a child-lock pouch so that children cannot see the product. They are also working on a new design for the lid to make it harder for small children to open.

Tide Pods come in five scents: Ocean Mist, Spring Meadow, Original, Original plus Febreze and Free and Gentle (no scent or dye).

Tide And The P&G Story

Tide, manufactured by Procter and Gamble, has been a part of American culture for more than seven decades. During those years, the formula, packaging and advertising have changed to meet the demands of the marketplace.

To meet consumers' diverse laundry needs, Tide offers a variety of products including Tide Total Care, Tide Sport with Febreze Freshness, Tide Coldwater, Tide with a Touch of Downy, Tide with Bleach Alternative, Tide Stain Release (now called Tide Boost), Tide high efficiency, as well as, Tide To Go.

P&G serves six billion customers in 180 countries around the world with a huge portfolio of brands including Pampers, Ariel, Pantene, Bounce, Bounty, Dawn, Charmin, Downy, Iams, Crest, Oral-B, Duracell, Olay, Head & Shoulders, Gillette, Braun, Fusion and Febreze.

Product Review and Recommendation

All of the Tide formulas are effective at cleaning everyday soil and leaving clothing fresh. Tide Pods are no exception. My laundry came out clean and smelling fresh with the Ocean Mist formula that I tested. However, the Pods formula did not remove every type of stain. Red mud and a set-in oily stain did not come out completely in the wash cycle.

One of concerns that I voiced to the Tide researchers is that the packs cannot be used for pre-treating stains. I frequently use liquid detergent to pre-treat heavily soiled areas or food stains. With the Pods, you will need to have a separate stain remover for pre-treatment or add a Tide Stain Release (Tide Boost) to the wash load.

Tide Pods are very easy to use. They dissolve completely in both cold and hot water. The formula is low-sudsing which is a plus for complete rinsing in the final rinse.

The only "trick" to using the pods is that your hands must be completely dry when handling them or the outer film will begin to dissolve. You should also keep the outer container sealed when not in use - especially if you live in a high humidity area.

The pods should always be kept away from children and pets. They look a bit like candy and can squirt into eyes or mouths if punctured.

Even with the higher cost per use, I can easily see how Tide Pods will be embraced by anyone who has to use a community laundry room or laundromat. They are also an excellent idea for anyone with limited mobility or dexterity to handle jugs and heavy boxes of laundry detergent powder.

I would recommend Tide Pods for use on average soil loads of laundry. Only you can weigh the cost vs. convenience and determine which is more important to your laundry routine.

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Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.