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

Less to Carry to the Laundromat

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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  • Annette Cleckner Baker
    Posted at 13 November 2013 Reply

    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.

  • Monique Bordeaux Wilson Labarre
    Posted at 13 November 2013 Reply

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

  • Monique Bordeaux Wilson Labarre
    Posted at 13 November 2013 Reply

    Ah, I see you mentioned that!

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 13 November 2013 Reply

      🙂 Yes, it’s a potential problem but there are many other things on a boat that are nasty for kids, so it’s another one to be dealt with not necessarily totally avoided.

  • Susan Schreyer Leaf
    Posted at 13 November 2013 Reply

    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.

  • Leslie LaBute
    Posted at 13 November 2013 Reply

    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.


  • Alex Miller
    Posted at 14 November 2013 Reply

    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.

  • Susie H
    Posted at 14 November 2013 Reply

    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!

  • Chris
    Posted at 15 November 2013 Reply

    Also look like chew toys and are lethal to pets.

  • Andy Baird
    Posted at 16 November 2013 Reply

    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! 🙂

  • Molly Stokes
    Posted at 19 November 2013 Reply

    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.

  • C David Wrestler
    Posted at 10 October 2014 Reply

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

  • Rae Ann Nolan
    Posted at 10 October 2014 Reply

    I love them

  • Terri Zorn
    Posted at 10 October 2014 Reply

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

  • Andrea Dollins
    Posted at 10 October 2014 Reply

    Love my Pods! 🙂

  • Crystal Smith
    Posted at 10 October 2014 Reply

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

  • Rox Adams
    Posted at 10 October 2014 Reply

    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!

  • Diane Ericsson
    Posted at 11 October 2014 Reply

    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.

    • Carolyn Shearlock
      Posted at 11 October 2014 Reply

      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!

  • Tatiana Burton
    Posted at 11 October 2014 Reply

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

  • Rockmebaby Mainship
    Posted at 12 October 2014 Reply

    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.

  • Sandy Mike Collins
    Posted at 13 October 2014 Reply

    Love these things!!!

  • Tamera Buckley
    Posted at 30 August 2015 Reply

    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

  • Lynn Kaak
    Posted at 30 August 2015 Reply

    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.

    • The Boat Galley
      Posted at 30 August 2015 Reply

      That was the case in Mexico and Central America for us. My one luxury!

    • Lynn Kaak
      Posted at 30 August 2015 Reply

      Many of the Eastern Caribbean islands, too. And sometimes the only way to wash with hot water.

  • Ann Snider
    Posted at 30 August 2015 Reply

    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

  • Jan Alexander
    Posted at 30 August 2015 Reply

    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.

  • Pete Smalley
    Posted at 31 August 2015 Reply

    They are perfect. We have them too!

  • Glenda Neild
    Posted at 01 September 2015 Reply

    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.

    • Pauline
      Posted at 03 September 2015 Reply

      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 !

  • Phyllis Hermann
    Posted at 01 June 2017 Reply

    Instead of stain sticks I use Goop Hand Cleaner. I keep one in the engine room so that we can dip in a finger and swipe it over any greasy mark right away. Roll up the shirt when you take it off and then let it sit until laundry day. I keep a second container in the galley. Whenever I get cooking splatter on my clothes I, once again, dip a finger in the creamy Goop and swipe it on. I send fewer shirts to the rag bag since doing this.

  • Sue Peterson
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    Beware! These colored pods can (did for me) leave un-removable colored streaks on clothing. To be fair, my bag of pods was at least two years old. I have switched my boat laundry supply to a no-color pod with no further problems.

  • Jan Alexander
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    I decant from the big jug to a small bottle (glass or plastic), which allows me to carry a little extra for spot treatment, or to give to the person next to me who forgot theirs.

  • Meredith Wright
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    As a Tour Director I take groups on vacation for work (tough gig, I know…) and I usually have a couple pods in my suitcase, in a ziplock, for on the road laundry. Gain Flings smell the best and even after being stuffed into a suitcase for weeks, my laundry still smells great! Love ’em!!

  • Jennifer Swart
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    Dawn dishwash excellent for laundry

  • Lana Lohe
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    I love using these pods now that we are living inboard. They work great.

  • Ellie Ibel Smith
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    Honestly I just measure some liquid out in a baggie (same one everytime)and toss that in with the laundry basket. Sometimes I get really fancy and throw some Borax in to freshen up the colors.

  • Gena Beckett Olson
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    I have just dumped detergent in one load I was carrying to the laundry – no bottle to take.

  • Kristy Dunning
    Posted at 13 November 2017 Reply

    Love Pods, great for the laundromat!

  • Pamela Douglas Webster
    Posted at 14 November 2017 Reply

    I see lots of cruisers using these pods. It is nice to lessen the weight.

    I also decant into a small bottle with just enough soap for a load or two. For stain remover, I swear by Fels Naptha. A bar costs less than $2 and lasts forever. It is also an ingredient in DIY laundry soap if you really want to be frugal.

  • Judith Nelson Cruzan
    Posted at 14 November 2017 Reply

    During my daughter’s sailing years she used Purex (I think was the brand) laundry detergent and fabric softener combo sheets.

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