How to Make Your Own Laundry Pods

Laundry pods are a popular alternative to powder and liquid detergent, but you can easily make your own version. Stockpot Videos/Shutterstock

Ah, laundry pods. Introduced in 2012 by Proctor & Gamble in the form of Tide Pods, these concentrated and candy-colored packets of detergent have swept the marketplace, not to mention the news.

While laundry pods may have their advantages if you're unable to pour liquid or measure out powders, it's hard not to see them as a marketing ploy, a way to boost sales of a product that, at this point, doesn't have much in the way of innovation left. Indeed, laundry pods aren't even all that new. Proctor & Gamble developed Salvo laundry tablets in the 1960s, but the product never caught on with consumers and was discontinued in the 1970s.

Sure, they may have just been pucks of detergent without the "cool" colors, but the principle is basically the same: drop in pre-measured blocks of detergent and call it a day. Yet the non-colored versions don't seem to have the same dangerous appeal that has led small children to eat them and some teens to poison themselves on YouTube. Since 2015, Consumer Reports has discouraged people from buying laundry pods until they're much safer for small kids.

DIY laundry pods

If you want the convenience of laundry pods without shelling out the cash, you can make your own. Homemade laundry pods won't look as nifty but they'll still get your laundry clean. Making them can be a little messy, however, since you have to pack the detergent into molds, typically ice trays.

1. HGTV's lemon laundry detergent pods use Castile soap, washing soda, baking soda and Epsom salt for their cleaning power. Some drops of essential lemon oils provide the scent.

2. PopSugar's all-in-one laundry bombs recipe recommends washing soda, Fels-Naptha washing soap, hydrogen peroxide and, of course, Epsom salt. Essential oils are still encouraged, but PopSugar suggests finding a scent that works best for you and your clothes.

Both recipes also employ vinegar, a stain-buster that isn't harsh on clothes. Vinegar is also useful in the case of DIY laundry pods because it makes the soap mixture a little clumpy as well. You need that clumpiness to form the detergent into pods. PopSugar's recipe suggests measuring them out with a round tablespoon and then allowing the pods to dry for eight hours on a baking sheet. HGTV's instructions are a little less precise as they tell you to just pack the mixture into ice cube trays and set aside for drying for 24 hours.

The results of these homemade laundry pods, ironically enough, are basically pucks of detergent, not unlike Proctor & Gamble's failed Salvo product.