As everyone probably knows (at least in the US), Consumer Reports tests pretty much everything, all the time, and keeps good track of the results to let you know what is the best product, store, car, or whatever. They are usually very thorough in their testing processes and do provide consumers with a lot of information. Of course, the bad thing is that they want you to pay for all of the really good details. However, they do share the broad strokes of their research with the public (to lure you in). Recently, Consumer Reports released the results of their tests on laundry detergent pods and the Kirkland Signature pacs came out on top!
For those of you that aren’t familiar with the laundry pods, they are capsules that dissolve in water and contain just the right amount of liquid detergent for an average single load of wash. They are convenient to use because you know you’re always getting the right measure of detergent without the mess of pouring it into a cup, plus they are easy to store and certainly lighter than a big bottle of detergent. I like them and they’re all I’ve been using for a while now because they’re the best option for me. The pods that I use (Persil or Fairy non-bio here in the UK) always fully dissolve in cold water and do manage to keep my clothes just as clean as regular detergents, only now I don’t have a sticky spot in my laundry area from detergent spills.
According to Consumer Reports since they have been testing detergent pods, Tide pods have been the only ones that have cleaned well enough to be at the top of their rankings. Move over Tide because there’s a new pod in town! This year the Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs came out tops beating Tide by a scant two points, but still winning. Both Tide and KS were very good at tackling grass and ring-around-the-collar in the Consumer Reports tests, though only the KS was good at removing blood. And of course, being that closely ranked, the big decider for a lot of consumers will certainly be the price, and I’m sure you can all see where I’m going with this one. According to Consumer Reports, Costco’s pacs are just $0.14 per load, whereas the Tide pods are $0.22 per load. That isn’t a even a dime of difference, but if you do a lot of laundry that will really start adding up. The worst pods of the bunch they tested were the Seventh Generation Natural Laundry Packs Advanced Triple Enzyme which cost a whopping $0.30 per load and apparently barely clean anything at all since they only scored a 35 out of 100. Unfortunately for all of us, I’m too cheap to pay for a Consumer Reports subscription to get the actual score for the KS pacs, but no matter what it is I guess, it is still the one on top of the pod list.
As they point out in the article, the pods are very attractive to small people with exploring hands and mouths and should be kept out of the reach of children. Some kids have mistakenly eaten them thinking they were candy apparently, and I’m sure you can see how that would be very bad indeed. But really, these are no different than any cleaning supply and all of that stuff should be where kids can’t reach it, at least not until they are old enough to do their own laundry (so age of 20 probably)! Consumer Reports chastises Costco for not having a safety latch on the plastic tub that houses their laundry pods, which I think is perhaps more fairly something that should be aimed at parents. If the kids can reach wherever you’ve got the detergent pods then chances are good that there’s fabric softener or even bleach that they could get into their mouth as well.
Hearing how great (and cheap) the Kirkland Signature laundry pacs are makes me incredibly sad since it is one of the Kirkland Signature items that they don’t seem to stock here in the UK (I’m hoping they have them when I go this weekend though). Since they have so many other brands of the laundry pods, I’m wondering why not the KS brand. But I did see them in both Costco Japan and Costco Korea. I think I saw them in Australia, but I’m not 100% sure on that one because I think I would have tried them and I didn’t, so maybe I’m getting it confused with somewhere else. In any case, if you have the KS laundry pacs in your local Costco, you might want to give them a try because apparently they can clean up your laundry and keep it free from grass, dirt, or even blood stains.
For more information the full ratings of laundry detergents is available in the August 2013 issue of Consumer Reports or online at www.ConsumerReports.org, but you’ll have to pay to read it.