Kirkland Signature Laundry Pacs Tops in Consumer Reports Test

July 25th, 2013 · 20 Comments

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!

Costco's Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs

Costco’s Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pacs

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, but you’ll have to pay to read it.


Tags: Clothing · Household Items · In the News Share

20 Responses so far ↓

  1. 1 Darlene // 2016.05.11 at 9:59 am

    I used my first pod in my whites. I put the pod at the bottom of the drum and I had bluish/purple stains on all of my laundry. It even stained the drum of my dryer!! I have tried re-washing everything but I still have stains. I’m returning this to Costco!!

  2. 2 Daniela // 2016.02.15 at 4:01 pm

    Has anybody found dark spots on towels after using kirkland blue pods? I have a european smaller washer than the ones used in USA so I wonder if the dose was too much? They are awfully persistant, could not eliminate them and I find no other explanation.

  3. 3 fedup // 2015.06.13 at 11:08 am

    fed up with Kirkland pods. have bought two containers of them, and both times the packaging on some of the pods has disintegrated in the container causing them to stick together and resulting in a gooey mess of pods in the container. wondering if others have had this experience. not very happy with them.

    • 4 tami // 2017.04.14 at 1:10 pm

      I bought a pod container recently and the pods are sticking together and dissolved at the bottom making a huge mess.

  4. 5 carol // 2014.10.01 at 6:07 am

    i got this for the frist time i wished my new conforner set i only had it for a week when i wished it

    it masset it up bad will like to get it replaced it cost me $60.00 i will not use this <Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Pack in the red container

  5. 6 tom fiorentino // 2014.05.28 at 12:49 pm

    how do i know if the kirland pac dissolved. i have a front loader and all i see is water and no suds in wash cycle.when i take chlothes out of washer there is no pac inside.

  6. 7 Martin // 2014.01.06 at 4:15 pm

    i picked up some of these today in a UK Costco, Milton Keynes for £9.99 plus tax for 90 pods, it was a bright orange tub, not the clear one shown here. No problems with using them in my front loader, they made an excellent first impression.

  7. 8 Paul // 2013.11.09 at 2:27 pm

    Are the Kirkland Pods cruelty free? I know the liquid soap is but it doesn’t mention anything on the pods container.


  8. 9 Nett // 2013.10.09 at 7:40 pm

    I had to come on the Internet to see if anyone else noticed their clothes coming out cleaner, brighter, & especially whiter when using the Kirkland laundry Pods. The first time I noticed this was while folding handkerchiefs (yes…my husband still insists on them rather than tissues). The white handkerchiefs definitely looked whiter. Then I noticed that my printed colored blouse looked brighter. I was just wanting to know if anyone noticed the same thing.

    • 10 Ray // 2014.07.29 at 1:56 am

      Yes I noted the same today doing my first wash

  9. 11 Michael // 2013.08.01 at 6:57 am

    Hello. I appreciate the info about the KS detergent pods. I just want to point out that Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization that relies exclusively on the income it derives from selling its magazine and website subscriptions to fund all of its testing. It accepts no advertisements and acts as an independent agent, so that its opinions are as objective as possible. It is kind of unfair to imply that Consumer Reports is “teasing” the public by not publishing all of its results for free, since it wouldn’t be able to function if it gave away its results in that manner.

    • 12 Kimberly // 2013.08.01 at 7:03 am

      @Michael – I’m aware of how Consumer Reports operates. They were a client of my old company in my previous life. It is a tease though because it is like reading a mystery novel and not being able to find out who did it. So frustrating! But I’m a fan of anyone that does unbiased reviews and hey, no matter what, they can charge or do whatever they want with their research. I do wish that they would allow you to pay a small fee to just see a single full story. I guess I could have paid the $6.95 for a single month subscription though. But I’d rather pay $1 for full access to a single article.

  10. 13 deepak // 2013.07.26 at 1:48 pm

    we are using kirkland pacs from several months now, never had any issue of plastic bag not dissolving even with cold water.
    we generally do laundary using cold water, rarely uses hot/warm water settings on machine. never had any kind of issue with it.

  11. 14 Amber // 2013.07.25 at 5:22 pm

    John: The name brand packs I tried (Tide, I believe) worked just fine, it was just the Kirkland Signature ones I had trouble with. I stick to the KS liquid detergent now.

  12. 15 John // 2013.07.25 at 4:38 pm

    I considered trying the Tide pacs but read lots of reviews online similar to Amber’s that reported the outside material not dissolving and almost permanently adhering to clothes and/or the washing machine drum. I can’t imagine what would happen if you didn’t notice and ran things through the dryer! Even though these seem really convenient (I love the Cascade dishwasher detergent pacs), I can’t rationalize risking ruining my expensive washing machine or damaging my clothes.

    Mary: The pacs are both supposed to work in front loading, HE washing machines. You just put them in the washing machine under all the laundry instead of in the detergent drawer.

    I’m really disappointed that Costco isn’t carrying standard liquid Tide HE detergent anymore. If anyone from Costco is reading this, please bring it back! (I’ve filled out multiple comment cards in my local store asking the same thing.) I’m considering switching to the concentrated Method detergent and — since Costco doesn’t carry that, either — will start buying detergent elsewhere.

  13. 16 Amber // 2013.07.25 at 9:20 am

    I think I’m the only one that hated these! I had such high hopes, but three times (out of 15 loads or so), the plastic “bag” never dissolved completely, and glued itself onto the things I was washing (clothes, towels, blanket). Rewashing the item didn’t get rid of it, I had to soak it in really hot water and slowly pick it off.

    • 17 Bryan // 2013.09.16 at 5:14 pm

      A simple solution would be to cut the bag , pour the contents into your wash water and discard the bag. Sure it’s a little inconvenient, but you still get a pre-measured amount of detergent and you won’t have to lug a big container of detergent. And that’s the whole point of these pods. If you’re at the laundromat, simply use a key or pen to poke a hole in the bag.

      • 18 Ashley // 2015.01.16 at 9:43 am

        OMG! I have this exact same problem, I hate these things and am returning them (they have ruined countless items of clothing because of this problem).

  14. 19 Susan // 2013.07.25 at 8:43 am

    I am hoping that Costco will add a color and fragrance free version soon.

  15. 20 mary // 2013.07.25 at 8:04 am

    does it work in front laod machines

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