Liquid Laundry Detergent Packets or Pods

Liquid laundry detergent products are now packaged in “single dose packs” which dissolve in the washing machine.  The packets are colorful and attractive to children. 

Problems for children

Most liquid laundry detergents cause only one episode of vomiting and, sometimes, no problems at all.  But physicians are seeing that these new products are much more dangerous.

  • Poison Centers began to get many calls as soon as these products were sold.  When a child bites on the packet, it bursts easily and detergent fills the mouth.
  • Almost immediately, the child may choke, cough and vomit the detergent.  Effects often occur quickly. Vomiting may continue for hours.
  • Some children get so weak from the coughing and vomiting that they have to be admitted to hospitals and be treated with a breathing machine.
  • Eye exposures are also occurring when a child squeezes the pack and it squirts into the eye. 

What to Do

Call the experts at Iowa Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222. The poison center specialist will evaluate the situation and provide directions. Some children can be closely observed at home by the parents with follow-up calls from poison control. Other children may need to go to the Emergency Room for evaluation.

It is safest if families with young children do not use these detergent packs.