Developing an Alternative Laundry Pack That Takes a Load Off Parents

When liquid detergent packs first hit store shelves back in 2012, doing laundry suddenly seemed more convenient and effective. Parents were understandably drawn to the product. Unfortunately, so were young children.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, "Liquid laundry packets are attractive to children as play items because they are soft and colorful, and they resemble familiar items like candy, toys, and teething products." As a result, incidences of unintentional exposure and accidental ingestion began to reach new highs.

Serious health effects followed, especially for children under the age of five, with symptoms ranging from vomiting to difficulty breathing to vision loss. In the most severe cases, individuals who ingested liquid detergent from the packs stopped breathing or died, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers.

Since the packs' introduction to the marketplace, the number of serious incidents has risen annually over the last four years. In 2015, over 12,500 incidents were recorded.

In 2016, through July 31, poison centers received reports of 6,843 exposures to highly concentrated packets of liquid laundry detergent by children 5 and younger. As a result of these staggering numbers, groups like Consumer Reports have chosen not to include liquid laundry packs on their list of recommended laundry detergents.

Developing a Non-Liquid, Convenient Laundry Pack

Seventh Generation made a conscious decision to not formulate a liquid laundry packet. It was clear that parents wanted a more convenient laundry option than traditional laundry liquid and powder. Because the root cause of the acutely harmful reactions with liquid laundry packs is not yet fully understood, we made a decision to produce a pack made from powder. After months of research and development here at Seventh Generation, we launched a powder laundry pack.

Our Thought Process

When considering a new product, we strive to understand the broad impacts before deciding to move forward and create something for the marketplace. Asking the following questions are key to our product development:

  • Can we make a product that is effective and meets customers' needs?
  • What is the impact of this product to humans and the environment?
  • Is it the right thing to do?

Customer Preferences vs. Responsibility

Many consumers may prefer liquid laundry packets over powdered laundry packets. However, considering the rise in acute health incidents involving children and liquid laundry packets, we chose a not to travel down that path, and instead decided that a powered laundry pack was a product we could stand behind.

Plain Packs to Help Reduce Accidential Ingestion

Our laundry packs look white and plain, and that's exactly what we wanted. The packs are not brightly colored and do not look like candy. Additionally, powder packs do not have the same level of injuries associated with accidental ingestion, which is why Consumer Reports still includes them in their list of recommended laundry detergents, but has chosen not to include liquid packs. If a child were to get their hands on a powder pack and break through the outer film, the consequences are seemingly less severe than those of a liquid pack. That being said, always keep this cleaning product and all cleaning products out of the reach of children.

EPA Safer Choice Certification

The steps we've taken to make a quality powdered laundry pack is information we think you'll find helpful. We pursued and were granted the EPA Safer Choice certification, which means that every ingredient in our laundry packs has been reviewed by the EPA to ensure it meets their stringent human health and environmental criteria. The certification label can be seen on our packaging so you know you're buying a product that's been rigorously inspected and approved

What This Means for You

Our USDA Certified Biobased Laundry Packs use quadruple-enzyme powder to remove stains and leave clothes looking as good as new. Toss-and-wash single-dose pods make laundry day less of a chore and instead easier and mess-free.

Product Information

  • All-temperature laundry packs work in hot and cold water
  • Quadruple-enzyme formula removes tough stains
  • Effective in high efficiency and standard washers
  • Free and Clear laundry packs are made for sensitive skin
  • No dyes, synthetic fragances, and artificial brighteners
  • Citrus & Cedar laundry detergent packs are gently scented with essential oils and botanical extracts

We've made a laundry detergent pack that meets our highest standards and is a product we believe in. The next time you do laundry, you can relax and know that you've made a good choice for your family.