Less to Carry to the Laundromat

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2013 • all rights reserved

I hate having to carry heavy detergent bottles to the Laundromat.  Tide pods are much easier but require a little care in handling.

I recently found a way to really cut down on all the “other stuff” I had to carry to the do-it-yourself laundromat.   In addition to the laundry itself, I’d always have to make an extra trip to get the detergent and bottle of pre-treater.  I couldn’t manage to carry it all at once.

And it always seemed that the laundromat was a couple of blocks from the boat.  No wonder I loved it when we found a place where they did the laundry for you at a reasonable price!

But this summer I found one new product — Tide Pods — and was reminded of an older product — stain sticks — that mean I don’t have to make an extra trip.

Detergent podsTide Pods

You use one Tide pod per load of laundry (two for “heavily soiled” clothing such as the t-shirt you wore when working on the engine), making it easy to just take the number you need.  Actually, I take an extra one or two because I’m never sure exactly how many loads I’ll end up having.  So I stick a few in a Ziploc and tuck it down inside my laundry bag.

Each pod contains detergent, a stain fighter and a brightener.  They work in any temperature of water. Just toss one in the washer, then pile your clothes on top.  It’s that simple!

There’s no measuring or risk of bottles of detergent leaking (yes, I’ve had that happen — not fun to try to clean up as there are suds EVERYWHERE).

I have been very happy with the results — our clothes get clean with a minimum of fuss.

But a couple of notes:

The pods are designed so that the covering will dissolve in water.  That means that if water gets into their container, they will disintegrate into a puddle of detergent.  Therefore, I take them out of the original container and store them into a Lock & Lock-type container, both to keep water out and so that if one should break (I’ve never had it happen, but . . . ), the mess is contained.  I emphatically don’t want a whole mess of laundry detergent in the bottom of a locker or the bilge!  Also be sure that your hands are dry when you reach into the container.

tide-podsMy second note is important for anyone with kids aboard:  Tide has taken some flak for their packaging — originally the pods came in a clear container that looked sort of like a candy jar.  Apparently there were cases of children thinking that the pretty pods were candy, eating them and becoming deathly ill.  Tide has revised their packaging a couple of times (the latest being to put the pods into a resealable bag) but if you use these, keep them out of reach of kids who are too young to understand that they are not candy.

Finally, the detergent is not a biodegradable soap, so please don’t use them in onboard washing machines that discharge overboard.  (They’re also not intended for hand washing.)

Stain Stick

The fact that the Tide pods have a built-in stain fighter helps.  But both Dave and I have the ability to get dirty when standing still.  We both tend to spill food on clothing and you often tell what project we’ve been working on just by looking at our clothes.  In Mexico, the local laundry ladies would use copious quantities of bleach to get our clothes clean, but that’s really hard on them.

Stain sticks to the rescue.  You can treat any spots or stains right when you take your clothes off, before you throw them in the laundry.  It’s fine if they sit a week or more.  This means you don’t have to take another thing down to the laundromat — or have one more step in the process on laundry day.

I usually use the “Resolve” brand stain sticks, but frankly buy whatever brand is available . . . which is usually Resolve.  They’ve kept our clothes cleaner than I have any right to expect.

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Comments

  1. I like the pods too. So far no complaints. I wondered about moisture too. Have kept them in original pouch. I think I’ll put it into a zipper bag.

  2. Be careful with those aboard with children. Many have been poisoned by eating pods thinking they were candy.

  3. Ah, I see you mentioned that!

  4. I love these! Instead of dragging a bottle, I just pop 1 or 2 in a small container with the dryer sheets and stuff it in the laundry bag. They also can be dissolved in a jar for light hand washing on board.

  5. Leslie LaBute says:

    I found these a couple of years back, see link. They are very convenient as well. Originally purchased at a Kroger or Meijer, they are hard to find, but I recently found them on Amazon. The sheets come in their own plastic container.Throw a sheet in the washer, then it goes in the dryer with the clothes. I used to use Tide all of the time, then my husband started to get rashes from it. Just thought I would share.

    http://www.amazon.com/Purex-Complete-Laundry-Sheets-Spring/dp/B0053XE87A/?tag=theboagal0a-20

  6. Well I am apparently one of the few remaining dinosaurs who still uses powdered detergent. It works pretty well to put in single serving zip lock bags or Tupperware for laundromat trips. But since that is becoming impossible to buy because people prefer lugging heavy bottles of messy liquid around (?), I will keep my eye out for these.

  7. As a frugal cruiser I stick to washing powder as it costs a lot less per wash than either liquids or the washing pods but I know for those who need them that in the UK for example you can buy non-biological pods. I get my skipper to lug the laundry so he doesn’t worry too much about the extra weight of a plastic box of powder and the fabric softner bottle!

  8. Also look like chew toys and are lethal to pets.

  9. The pods are pretty expensive for what you get, and not always easy to find in local stores. I have a simpler approach: I bought a TSA-approved 100 ml (34 ounce) plastic bottle at Walmart, and I fill it with liquid detergent. It holds enough to do at least two loads, and I never do more than two. (I travel solo, and my laundry bag just isn’t that big!) When I come back from doing the laundry, I refill the little bottle, so it’s always ready to go. No big jugs, no pods… no sweat! 🙂

  10. Molly Stokes says:

    As a seasonal RVer, I prefer another method. I take a used plastic bottle, and put several (3-4) clothes loads of liquid detergent in it. I mark the single load amts with a permanent pen. That way I don’t have to carry the big jug.

  11. Congress was trying to outlaw them, because someone thought they looked like candy.

  12. I love them

  13. Love them: but only use them on whites due to cost. P.s. not living on my boat yet either. Someday. 🙂

  14. Love my Pods! 🙂

  15. Won’t use anything else. They are so handy on the boat and the truck.

  16. There is also bleach in pods.
    Be careful: I put the pods in my pocket and when I leaned up against the washer I ended up with a pocket full of loose detergent!

  17. The pods do have a nasty scent that stays in your clothes which can cause headaches, sinus problems, skin rashes, etc. I always have 2 small bottles of a liquid “free & clear” detergent on board. I just bring about 1/4 bottle to shore so I always have enough for laundry but it is not heavy to carry. When they are both less than half full I buy another fragrance free bottle and refill/transfer as needed. I never run out of the allergy free detergent.

    • I have a feeling that if you’re sensitive to regular Tide, probably the pods are going to cause the same reaction and you’ll have to seek an allergy-free solution as Diane did. But for those of us without the sensitivity, I still say they’re great!

  18. Maybe when in in marina they are ok, but still would much prefer Ecover.

  19. Yesterday i learned the hard way that at laundromat not to put pods in the dispensing slot. Did not dissolve fully. Sign on the wall said to put them inside the machine instead. Of course I didn’t read the sign…Otherwise love them. Licensed and they are easy. I use a fragrance free brand.

  20. Love these things!!!

  21. I use the pods. Love them. When I pack my dry bags to head to laundry I just drop one pod in and it’s already in t

  22. I like the new machines that have that stuff already. And where we are, it is just as economical to pay someone else to do it.

  23. A number of years ago, there were laundry sheets that had detergent and fabric softener in it and then they went right into the dryer where they were a dryer sheet. I still have a few of those from the boat that I just took home. This year I did get the pods because I was finally able to find All Free and Clear pods which is the only detergent we can use with our sensitive skin. Alas, I never did laundry on this last cruise! LOL

  24. I also decant my detergent into a small bottle; sometimes I like to spot treat things and I don’t know how well the pods lend themselves to that.

  25. They are perfect. We have them too!

  26. I had major problems with the pods in commercial machines where you had to put the detergent in the top lid. They didn’t dissolve properly and the clothes weren’t cleaned. I switched back to liquid.

    • I used them when travelling in Britain, and when you were meant to put the detergent in the top lid, we just put the pods in with the clothes, no problems. Bigger problem was woollen socks in the drier !

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