The Dirty Truth: Detergent Pods Continue to Pose Risk to Children

In 2012, the first individually packaged detergent packs or “pods” were widely released in the US market. Their ease of use, small size, and concentrated formula made them not only a staple in US households, but also a favorite for many busy parents. While the pods may seem like the perfect solution to a hectic schedule, their bright colors and appealing packaging cause many children to mistake pods for toys or candy.

According to Safe Kids Worldwide, 30 children each day are poisoned due to ingesting detergent pods. Since 2012, there have been over 32,000 incidents of children under the age of 5 ingesting the detergent pods reported to 911 or poison control.

Detergent pods contain a highly concentrated form of detergent. The detergent is often brightly colored and is packaged with a thin coating that dissolves when wet. When a pod is touched with wet fingers or placed in a child’s mouth, the coating dissolves and allows the highly concentrated detergent to be ingested or absorbed.

Symptoms caused by ingesting highly concentrated detergent are vomiting, irritated eyes, coughing, choking, and becoming lethargic. Children have been hospitalized for severe eye burns and irritations, excessive vomiting, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, and temporary vision loss. Two children have died.

Some companies that sell pods have attempted to make their products safer by changing their packaging. They have redesigned the previously see-through plastic storage containers by making them an opaque color. The containers have latches added to their lids to make them more difficult for children to open. Additional warnings have been placed on the outside of containers to warn parents of the dangers of improper use or storage.

Manufacturers could still take additional steps to protect our children. Instead of using brightly colored liquid detergent, pods could be made with pale or lightly colored powder detergent to make the pods less attractive to children. Pods could be individually packaged in a plastic wrapping to make each pod more difficult to access. The thin coating could also be made thicker and designed to have a bad taste to decrease the risk of harm to a child.

There are a few simple steps you can take to help prevent a child from ingesting detergent pods.

  • Keep the pods in their original container and make sure that the lid is closed properly. Handle the pods with dry hands to make sure they do not dissolve.
  • Lock up the pods and store them out of the reach of children. Make sure to keep the original labeling on the container and put the products back into their storage location after each use.
  • Clean up any spills or stray pods immediately after they occur or are discovered.

If an incident occurs you should take immediate action.

  • If detergent is swallowed, drink a glass of water or milk and call Poison Control or a doctor immediately.
  • If the detergent is in the eyes, rinse immediately with water for 15 minutes and then seek medical advice as needed.
  • If detergent is on skin or clothing, remove the clothing and rinse the skin well with water. If burning occurs contact poison control or 911 immediately.


At Powers Taylor, we are committed to our clients and getting them the justice they deserve. If someone you love has ingested a detergent pod contact the attorneys at Powers Taylor today. All calls are kept confidential.



Anjulie Ponce is a graduate of Southern Methodist University and Baylor Law School. Her practice focuses on personal injury, product liability, medical malpractice, and nursing home abuse litigation.





This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.
This is a staging environment