Laundry Pods vs. Detergent: Detergent deterrent

Graphic by Joseph Valdez

If I were a 32-year-old suburban housewife with two toddlers and no hobbies, maybe I would join the crusade against laundry detergent pods. Sure, they leave a viscous, mucus-like residue behind in the washing machine. And sure, they’re extremely dangerous when ingested by small children. But you know what? I have neither a washing machine nor a child whose well-being I’m responsible for. And detergent pods are unquestionably the laundry method most suited to my current needs.

The primary advantage of pods, of course, is how gosh-darn convenient they are. No guessing how much to use, no spilling detergent everywhere because you have jittery, nervous hands that once caused you to fail a lab practical, and no lugging an entire gallon-plus jug of the stuff to the laundry room. That last one is important—I already have to cross a street and take a flight of stairs to do my laundry, toting an overstuffed sack of dirty clothes and a backpack full of homework all the way there. With all this baggage, it’s infinitely easier and more pleasant to slip a single pod into my pocket rather than carry another unwieldy and heavy object in my weak, doughy arms.

And as for their relative efficacy, or lack thereof, I’m just going to come out and say it: I don’t care. As long as the clothes come out demonstrably cleaner than they were when I put them in, I’m happy. And frankly, I can’t be bothered about the varying degrees of spotlessness that are supposedly achievable with quote-unquote “real” laundry detergent. In my book, clothes are clean or they aren’t. They’ve been washed, or they haven’t. Me trying to differentiate between subtly stratified levels of cleanliness would be akin to me trying to tell the difference between Baroque and classical music: real, grown-up people I greatly respect have told me they’re not the same thing, but that really doesn’t matter to me at this stage of my life. I’m not trying to impress anyone with the quality of my laundry skills. I’m just trying to show up to class without discernible food stains on my shirt.

That said, if you’re a liquid detergent devotee, more power to you. Have fun with your superior housekeeping skills, and I mean that sincerely. But for the rest of us—those who barely know how washing machines work, who still sometimes forget to use any kind of detergent at all, who are honestly just muddling through this nebulous kind of adulthood called “college” while trying not to fail any classes or get any incurable STDs—pods are, respectfully, the way to go.


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