Detergent Pods Shouldn’t Be This Hard To Figure Out

tidepodsgrabLauren is upset with Procter & Gamble, the makers of Tide. While detergent pods are a boon to been laundromat customers and people who dislike measuring things. Some people have had trouble with the pods, though. Detergent isn’t supposed to stain your laundry. It’s supposed to do the exact opposite of that. Yet customers say that it’s discrepancies in the instructions that cause problems for pod people.

We know that some small children have been injured or killed after putting the pods in their mouths, which is scary and tragic. Parents, manufacturers, and even governments are working to put a stop to pod-eating. The pods are intended as laundry detergents, and are not intended as snacks, so what’s going wrong here?

Reader Lauren reports that the pods stained her clothing. ‘When I contacted tide I got a response back indicating entirely different usage directions then what is on their packaging,” she tells Consumerist. Here’s that response, alongside the instructions on the package of pods that stained her laundry:

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Procter & Gamble, for their part, insist that consumers are just using the pods wrong. Ignore the needlessly complex water temperature directions and just remember that no matter what, the pod always goes in the washer first.

In an e-mail to our freshly laundered colleagues at Consumer Reports a few months ago, a Procter & Gamble representative explained to them that some common mistakes cause the staining, not inconsistent or confusing directions. Nope, nope, nope.

The most common contributors to the development of a blue/purple stain on fabrics is not placing the pac into the washing machine drum BEFORE adding the clothes and/or overstuffing machine with laundry. This is important to ensure machine has enough space to provide the agitation needed for the best clean and to maximize contact with ‘free water’ in the machine.

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  1. Thorzdad2 says:

    The problem is that the instructions for using laundry detergents, including the pods, runs counter to how the overwhelming majority of consumers actually use them. If you look at most detergent bottles, you will see slight variations on the following instructions…
    1. Fill washer with water.
    2. Add detergent.
    3. Add clothes.

    In my experience, no one does their clothes this way. Most consumers do it like this:
    1. Put clothes in washer.
    2. Start water.
    3. Add detergent.

    Pods make the “official” method more problematic because they need the pod container to dissolve before coming into contact with clothes, otherwise there’s a possibility of the purely decorative dyes used in the coating will stain the clothes.

    I suspect that manufacturers have always known their instructions ran counter to common consumer practice, and I also suspect it’s purposeful. Any complaint or legal threat would come down to the question “Did you use the product according to the instructions?” Since most consumers don’t, any problem is going to always be the consumer’s fault.

    • ResNullum says:

      Or maybe the product is designed to be used a certain way and common practice is less effective? It makes more sense to put clothes in already soapy water than to splash soap on a mostly dry load of laundry.