Laundry can be a daunting task for those who wish their clothing could magically wash, dry, and fold themselves. No one enjoys the mess that can come from liquid detergent getting on your fingers, spilling on the ground, and of course the weight of the bottle. Companies such as Procter & Gamble created laundry detergent pods as an easier and more convenient solution to washing clothing. It is less messy and all the consumer has to do is throw in the pod with their wash. As popularity grew with these detergent pods, so did the increase in children and older adults mistaking them as edible substances.

The vibrant colors, texture, shape, and small size of the pods appear to children and adults with dementia as candy or a snack. Children associate the pods with fruit snacks such as Gushers or other sweet candies. Older adults with dementia mistake or confuse the pods for hard candy and proceed to consume them. The ingestion of these pods is detrimental to health and potentially deadly. There have been safety measures taken for a more durable packet and a bitter coating on the outside to avoid further ingestion after an initial attempt.

Here are some tips on how to help prevent children and adults from possibly ingesting these detergent pods.

  • Out of sight, out of mind. Remove non-edible substances from food areas or from a home all together. Put them in a place where they cannot be reached or found.
  • Take note on the routine and habits of children and adults with impairments. If you notice they enjoy trying something that isn’t edible or express interest, remove the pods from the home. Bring their laundry to your home or do their laundry for them so you know they will not ingest any pods.
  • Make sure all of the original packaging is intact on the containers. If the pods are easily identifiable by their label, it could stop someone from continuing their interest. Also, avoid removing the pods and putting them in a clear or unlabeled container.
  • Put a latch or lock on certain cabinets that contain the pods and other cleaning chemicals. It will prevent them from getting to the clean products. It is also suggested to limit the use of toxic cleaning products, and seek safer, alternative solutions.

The laundry detergent pods are single-load packets designed to dissolve in the wash and release an immensely concentrated liquid detergent. If you were to walk in the cleaner aisle of a grocery store, there is an entire section filled with an array of different brands. The pods have flooded the market for their convenience to washing laundry. Consider the risks if you have children or know of someone with an impairment!