Laundry Detergent Pods Facts | Illinois Poison Center 

Laundry Detergent Pods Facts

Dec 04, 2020
Print This Page



Laundry pods, a new formulation of highly concentrated laundry detergent are now being sold widely across the U.S. In the past few months, poison centers around the county have noticed an increase in calls from children ingesting part or all of a laundry pod. Some of these children have become very ill.


The Illinois Poison Center (IPC) is providing the following information to help educate the public about the potential health hazards of this substance:

  • Laundry detergent pods are small, single-dose pods containing a highly concentrated formulation of laundry detergent.
  • Children are exposed to the detergent when they bite into the laundry pod. Bright colors and small packaging might appear to be candy to a child. Other children have gotten the product in their eyes, resulting in significant eye irritation.
  • The most common symptoms of laundry pod ingestions are: vomiting, mouth/throat irritation and coughing. Poison centers in other states have seen cases of children developing serious symptoms such as drowsiness/coma and respiratory difficulty.
  • Calls to the IPC regarding unintentional ingestion of traditional formulations of laundry detergent (powder and liquid) is common, however symptoms of laundry pod ingestions are much more severe.
  • Dishwasher detergent packs have not been shown to cause these serious health effects. Parents and caregivers are highly encouraged to keep laundry detergent up and away from children; consider taping or tying the containers closed when stored.


  • The Illinois Poison Center has received 137 calls on laundry detergent pods; the first call to the IPC was on March 9, 2012.
  • Through August 31, 2012, there have been 2,950 reported ingestions to the national poison center network. 
  • Almost 50% develop vomiting and smaller numbers have respiratory problems and drowsiness/lethargy. 
  • About 1 child per 130 cases is placed on a ventilator due to symptoms from the ingestion.

Additional Resources:



Laundry Pods - A Home Safety Threat to Children - IPC white paper (June 2015)


Pediatric Exposure to Laundry Detergent Pods - American Academy of Pediatrics Journal


Laundry Pod Poisoning in Children - blog


"Loads of Temptation" poster created by the Consumer Products Safety Commission.

Keywords: laundry, laundry detergent, pods
Bookmark and Share