Tide Pods: Overview
Laundry detergent has had some changes throughout the years, from bar soap, to powder, to liquid and now to gel packages. Tide Pods are a pre-measured amount of laundry detergent, stain booster, and brightener wrapped up in a gel pack that is designed to dissolve in the load of laundry. When you are ready to wash a load, you pick up a pod, put it in the drum of the washing machine, place the clothing inside the drum with the pod, and wash normally.
There is no need to measure, wipe up inevitable spills, or pour additional laundry tools into the mix.
To put the Tide Pods to the test, I bought a 77 count of the spring meadow scent at my local grocery store and began to do a mountain of laundry. With camping trips, soccer games, and cupcake parties at school, I was sure that the Tide Pods would get their workout. I was excited to toss the measuring cups and see what these small gel capsules could do.
I was really pleased with their performance. My clothes came out just as clean as they had been with previous laundry detergents, including regular liquid Tide. Some of these were tough loads. And although the instructions state to include 2 pods for very dirty laundry, I only found that I needed to do that with my husband and son's camping clothes. The convenience of grabbing a pod and throwing it in was what really sold me, though. Even my kids were excited to use the Pods.
I was thrilled that I knew there would be no spills to clean up. Although the cost of the Pods may seem higher than your regular laundry detergent, the pre-measured size makes sure that nothing goes to waste, unlike liquids that can be spilled, over-measured, etc.
It doesn't get much more effortless than this.
Grab a pod. Toss it in. Allowing me to ditch the measuring cap gives big bonus points to Tide Pods. The fact that they've combined Tide detergent with a brightener and stain booster adds even more bonus points.
I was skeptical that the load of clothes that I'd found stuffed under the bunk beds in the boys rooms would come clean with a little gel pack. These clothes smelled. But, I tossed in one pod thinking I could run them through a gain if I needed to. To my surprise they came out just as fresh and clean as if I'd used liquid laundry detergent. My daughter's uniform shirt smeared with blue icing came out clean, too. I did use two pods on some super smelly and muddy camping clothes. They came out smelling and looking wonderful, too. There wasn't a load I tried that didn't come out clean.
I can also imagine how perfect this product is for those who use share a washing machine with other people. College students, apartment dwellers, etc will really benefit from being able to throw a few pods in a plastic baggie as they tote their clothes to the laundry.
I paid $19.99 for a 77 pack of Tide Pods at my local grocery store not on sale with no coupons. This works out to about .26 a load. This is a little more expensive than the per load price of many liquid laundry detergents. For a lot of cost conscious customers this may be more than they are willing to pay for convenience. For others, however, the time and waste saved by Tide Pods will make up for the boost in price.
I read a few reviews of Tide Pods that had trouble with the pod not completely dissolving in the load. These mostly seemed to be from HE machine users. I tested all of my loads on a front load HE washing machine. I tested in warm, cold, and hot water. I never had a problem with this. All 77 pods dissolved every time. I checked the rubber seal to make sure that no gel pieces were being lodged there, but I never found a hint of an undissolved pod.
You will need to be careful not to use wet hands when reaching into the container to grab a pod. Similar to dish washing gel packs, the pods begin to dissolve when they get wet. And although a little water may dry up without completely dissolving the pod, sometimes pods exposed to water can stick together and become difficult or impossible to separate. While it may be more difficult to keep wet hands away from a dish washing gel pack box, it wasn't as big of a deal when sorting and washing laundry.
The appearance of the Tide Pods is actually really beautiful, it is however a concern for those with small children. These things almost look like candy. Even my husband wanted to play around with the pod and talked about how cool it was. Like with any laundry detergent, it should be kept away from kids. It might even be a good idea to show these to your kids and explain that if they are ruptured they could squirt into an eye, have contact with skin, etc. As the mother of a child who once ate a glass Christmas ornament that looked like candy, I realize that these products appeal to kids (and husbands).
Separate Stain Remover
One of the issues consumers may have with Tide Pods is that a separate stain remover may be necessary at times. Although the Tide Pods did a good job with the laundry I could definitely see the need for a separate stain pre-treater for at least some clothes. But this isn't different than what we're all used to with laundry anyway. I've never pre-treated clothes and then left out the laundry detergent. You can still have a separate stain remover for clothes that might need more of a boost than a regular dose of laundry detergent.
Cost and Availability
Tide Pods are available wherever laundry detergent is sold. I've seen them cropping up at all the grocery stores, pharmacies, and discount stores I've been to. Tide Pods are available in small (14-18 loads) and medium (31-40 loads) bags. They are also available in large (up to 66 loads), extra large (up to 77 loads) and extra extra large (up to 90 loads) plastic tubs. There are three available scents, spring meadow, ocean mist, and mystic forest. The price for Tide Pods ranges from about 5.99 for a small bag to 24.99 for an extra extra large tub.