Laundry pods pose hidden danger to kids

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Laundry pods pose hidden danger to kids
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Got kids in your house younger than 6 years old? Then you’ll want to be careful what kind of laundry detergent you buy…

Read more: This trick will get you brighter, cleaner laundry at a fraction of the cost

Industry makes strides to protect children

A new study from the journal Pediatrics found that the accidental ingestion of laundry and dishwasher detergent pods resulted in 117 children being intubated during 2013 and 2014.

More than 37,000 calls came in to poison control centers during that same time period. Meanwhile, there were 17 cases of coma, six cases of respiratory arrest, four cases of pulmonary edema and two deaths resulting from cardiac arrest when children under 6 ate the colorful pods.

The industry has attempted to self-regulate by switching to opaque packaging, child-resistant closures and adding a bitter taste to the pods themselves. Those efforts have helped some.

We’ve only seen 2,840 calls to poison control centers in the first three months of 2016. If it continues at that pace, we’d see about 1,300 fewer cases this year than last.  

Industry leader Procter & Gamble Co. recently announced it’s going to sell the pods in a tricky resealable plastic bag designed to keep kids out. In addition, the company has paid for an ad campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of these kinds of pods to children. 

For now, the best advice is this: If you have kids younger than school age in your home, don’t buy the pods. If you must buy them, be sure to store them well out of the reach of children.

Consider making your own laundry detergent

Looking for a safer alternative to traditional laundry detergents? Try this recipe. At 6 cents a load, it’s easy on the wallet and gets your clothes clean! 

Ingredients (full prices are listed):

  • 1 bar soap = $3.49
  • 1 box washing soda (55oz) $3.19 – Cost per cup = 46 cents
  • 1 box Borax (76oz) $4.49 – Cost per cup = 47 cents
  • Optional essential oil: Tea Tree Oil (1 oz.) $8.99 – Cost for 40 drops = 72 cents
  • Total cost for five gallons or 80+ loads of laundry detergent = $5.17
  • Total cost per load: Approximately 6 cents

Directions:

1. Using a cheese grater, shred your bar of soap.

2. Bring a medium-sized pot of water to a boil on the stove and reduce the heat.

3. Slowly pour in the grated soap and stir until melted.

4. Slowly add in 1 cup of washing soda, but be careful. This is the part where a chemical reaction takes place and it could boil over. Place a wooden spoon across the top of your pot to prevent it from boiling over.

5. Add in 1 cup of borax, and stir until everything is dissolved.

6. Pour contents into a five gallon bucket and fill the remainder of the bucket water.

7. Add in your optional essential oil (i.e. tea tree oil or lavender) and stir.

8. Cover with a lid, and let sit overnight.

By the next day, you’ll have a goopy mixture that gets your clothes clean and smelling wonderful. Plus you saved money, too! See more pictures and answers to common questions.

Read more: Why you’re probably washing your clothes all wrong

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Theo Thimou About the author:
Theo is director of content for clark.com. He has co-written 2 books with Clark Howard, including the #1 New York Times bestseller Clark Howard's Living Large in Lean Times.
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