We all desire to dwell in a clean environment. And it all starts with us using the right products, even while doing other types of cleaning like laundry. Well, it’s been in the public domain that detergents are major sources of pollution to the environment.
There are three types of detergents; liquid, powder, and laundry pods. Each of them has a different impact on the environment depending on its chemical composition, packaging, and other attributes.
For today, let’s have a little talk about laundry pods and whether they’re safe for the environment.
What Are Laundry Pods?
Laundry pods, also known as laundry packs or liquitabs, are water-soluble pouches with high concentrations of laundry detergent and other laundry products. Their water content is around 10% compared to 50% (or more) in their liquid counterparts.
Laundry pods are the most recent forms of laundry detergent which have the advantage of eliminating the need to gamble with the right measurement of detergent to use for a cycle of laundry. They’re always pre-measured so that you only need to throw the right number of pods into the washing machine according to the instructions.
Are Laundry Pods Safe For The Environment?
No, laundry pods are not safe for the environment. In fact, they’re also harmful to you and your family in the long run.
What Makes Laundry Pods Unsafe for The Environment?
The Chemical Combination:
Laundry pods contain a chemical cocktail that’s very harmful to the environment. While manufacturers usually commit to disclosing the ingredients, it’s surprising that some of them are blatantly harmful.
To make it worse, most companies use other harmful ingredients that they do not disclose. Meanwhile, here are some of the harmful chemicals inside laundry pods.
Bleach is allegedly used to make white clothes brighter. However, it comes with a price. Firstly, the chemical has burning abilities, which mostly affect the skin and internal organs (when eaten). Children are at greater risk.
Secondly, it’s not a good idea to have bleach around people with breathing problems because it irritates the lungs. The chemical also irritates the nose, mouth, and eyes.
Dioxane is an organic compound classified as an ether. It’s among the worst additives in pods. The effects range from posing serious risks to marine life, for example, by impairing their eyes, skin, and the CNS, among others. Being a carcinogen, it also poses the risk of combustion.
The use of phosphates in detergents is meant to soften water as well as keep dirt inside the water. Upon release into larger water bodies with aquatic life, they cause a surge in the growth of algae, which is quite threatening to marine life.
Algae bloom often leads to an insufficient supply of oxygen and quick death to marine life. Unfortunately, not too much phosphate is needed to create oxygen insufficiency in water.
Formaldehyde acts as an antibacterial agent and preservative in laundry pods. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified formaldehyde among B1 carcinogens, which means that it’s highly associated with causing cancer.
It also causes skin irritation and has links with causing reproductive problems among marine creatures.
Ammonium quaternary sanitizers and ammonium sulfate are two other very dangerous compounds inside detergent pods. They’re known to cause serious skin, lung, and eye irritation (and burns) even with minimal exposure.
Additional harm is the pods’ design and sweet smell. They look and smell like sweets, and children find it very hard to resist the urge to chow them down!
Their Outer Cover:
While they’re marketed as biodegradable, detergent pods’ outer covers aren’t really biodegradable. To add salt to the injury, some pods even come in plastic wraps. Well, let’s leave alone the plastic ones because they have clear environmental effects and go for their ‘biodegradable’ counterparts.
Tide pods, for example, are made of a water-soluble pouch whose main ingredient is polyvinyl alcohol. While it’s mostly safe, this polymer often breaks down into a toxic product dubbed vinyl acetate.
The product is a long-term threat to aquatic animals. What’s worse, it doesn’t readily dissolve until the right microbes are present.
Other Disadvantages of Laundry Pods
Their Only Advantage Is Convenience:
At a glance, you may be tempted to conclude that pods are better than liquid or powder detergent. Well, you’ll be wrong! Pods are generally the same product made to look more appealing and convenient. In fact, they have less power to fight stains.
They’re More Expensive:
Laundry pods are generally more expensive than powder and liquid detergent. You get to pay approximately 40% more on them for convenience. While we can’t deny their convenience factor, the inflation is more than worthwhile.
Well, this is expected, as the pods are individually packaged (which comes with more production cost).
Tempting To Children:
Laundry Pods are a household danger when it comes to children. The pods are such appealing in looks and smell that children quickly mistake them with candies.
Most of them look and smell exactly like sweets, and children find it hard not to believe that they’re poisonous. There are many poisoning cases from pods in children worldwide led by the U.S.
Laundry Pods vs. Liquid Detergent: Which Is Better?
It shouldn’t be surprising that liquid detergent is better than laundry pods. And, we have myriads of reasons to claim so. Take a look…
While they seem more convenient, laundry pods aren’t still fully convenient as marketed. Look at it from this angle; it’s not designed to help you wash a very small load of clothes.
But for the liquid detergent, you’re free to use the amount of your choice. Again, liquid detergent is 40% more cost-effective than pods, which saves you a great deal.
The pods also contain chemicals that are more harmful (as explained above) than those found inside liquid detergents. Therefore, liquid detergents are safer than laundry pods but not safe themselves.
Be on the Safer Side
The fact that most of the liquid, powder, and pod detergents that you meet are harmful to the environment and your family doesn’t mean that there’s no way around the problem. You can opt for detergent sheets, soapberries, Grab Green Stoneworks Laundry Pods, and DIY detergent and stay on the safer side. Meanwhile, we hope you’re going to make a more environmentally-friendly decision before you ensure that your clothes are clean. Good luck!