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Woman Sitting on Bed with Laundry Basket Holding Earth Beeze Detergent

Laundry Detergent Strips: Ditch the Plastic Packaging in Your Laundry Routine

If you’re anything like me, shopping for laundry detergent was a headache. Like, an actual headache.

Whenever I had to head down the aisle to pick up some new detergent, the smells would go right to my head and the dull pain would start. I couldn’t get out fast enough. Not to mention, all my options were wrapped in plastic!

When I first started looking into plastic-free products, I realized there were a lot of different products out there to help me reduce or entirely remove plastic packaging from my laundry routine.

There are some great plastic-free laundry detergent powders and more natural pod alternatives, but what really amazed me were laundry strips. Not only could I avoid more plastic packaging, I didn’t have to awkwardly rinse detergent jugs or waste a ton of space in the recycling bin anymore. Plus, they’re so light, they didn’t require as much fuel for shipping. There was a better way to do laundry! 

 

Standard detergents vs. laundry strips: Comparing your options

Going plastic-free in your laundry routine is a great way to start reducing the amount of plastic that comes into and goes out of your home, and potentially into landfills and oceans. Some estimates say there will be more plastics in the ocean than fish by 2050! 

On most retail shelves, you’ll find three types of laundry detergent: liquid, pods and powder. Powder detergents may be packaged in cardboard, but the more common liquid and pods come in plastic jugs or pouches. But, do laundry detergent sheets actually work?

Real customer Carol S. says, "Love this product. So easy to use. Does a great job."

Pods offer pre-measured convenience, and don’t include nearly the amount of water that liquid detergents do. Liquid detergents can be up to 90 percent water, and you can feel that extra weight every time you pick up the container to start a load of laundry. Measuring liquid detergents can be imprecise and a mess if detergent drips or spills during the process.

Real customer Sam H. says, "This stuff is great! I use it all the time!"

 

Laundry strips remove all the water weight and concentrate their cleaning power into a dissolvable sheet that’s about the size of a traditional dryer sheet. Like pods, they are pre-measured so you don’t run the risk of wasting or just using too much. Their packaging is usually plastic-free and biodegradable, and takes up much less space too, giving you back more cupboard or shelf space. But, are laundry strips better than liquid detergent?

Real customer Patricia C. said, "I use these all the time doing my laundry so much more convenient than juggling plastic bottles and no large containers taking up space."

It’s important to note that polyvinyl alcohol is an ingredient in many laundry products, including more eco-friendly ones like laundry strips. This is a type of plastic, and there’s been recent research published that it might not be as biodegradable as first thought.

Sustainable Jungle has a good breakdown about PVA and its role in zero waste.

The Washington Post also discusses the PVA biodegradability question.

This is a European scientific article that says it is NOT a micro plastic and it is SAFE for aquatic environments. "In conclusion, PVOH used in liquid detergent capsule films does not meet any of the definitions of microplastic:(1) it is not micro- or nano-sized; (2) it is highly water-soluble; and (3) it is biodegradable in the environmental conditions where it is discharged."

The Environmental Working Group has rated PVA as a low-hazard ingredient in personal care products. If you decide to avoid it, you may want to consider Meliora powdered detergent or soap berries.

Learn how to use laundry detergent strips.

Learn more about what laundry strips are made of.

Ready to get started?
Here are links to some of our most popular detergent sheets:

Don't forget that  readers of this blog can use LEARN25 for 25% off laundry detergent strips. One time use per customer.

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Comments

Kristen - December 1, 2022

I get this feedback A LOT about how the Earth Breeze laundry detergent strips (and other brands I sell) are made in China.

YES, THIS IS NOT IDEAL.

However, there are no US manufacturing plants that make laundry sheets. I do also sell Tru Earth laundry sheets which are made in Canada.

I still think that the space savings they offer and the fewer chemicals in them must count for something compared to shipping all the big jugs of traditional detergent.

Additionally, many people who have limited mobility or live in small spaces prefer them. Not everyone who buys them is living a zero-waste lifestyle.

I agree that people should not be greenwashed and that’s why I wrote this blog post…so people could get information.

Thanks for contributing your thoughts.

Kristen - December 1, 2022

I think more studies need to be done to determine if laundry detergent strips (and pods for that matter) containing PVA are “worse” than other types of detergents that come in plastic jugs. I highly doubt they are. But, I get where you are coming from!

PVA is in a lot of products that are ranked highly by the Environmental Working Group (https://bit.ly/3inHBip). They are even in some food products.

PVA is also on the EPA’s Safer Choice and Safer Chemical Ingredients lists.

The PVA in laundry stips and laundry detergent pods are also not on the list of bad substances on the Environment Canada Domestic Substance List.

I think it needs to be studied more. But, I also think that you can’t trust a study commissioned by a competitor either. This article from the Washington post discusses Blueland’s petition. (They sell a competitive dry-form tablet.)

https://www.washingtonpost.com/climate-solutions/2022/11/15/laundry-detergent-pod-plastic-pva/

Michelle - November 27, 2022

But PVA is still plastic- it just dissolves into our water system which is harder to remove than plastic bottles. I think PVA is worse.

Betina Luker - November 27, 2022

How can you call your products earth friendly and Eco when they are made in China and shipped around the world to the USA? The cargo ships are NOT Ecologically friendly nor Green. This smacks of “greenwashing” your product to fool consumers.
Sign me NOT a fan.

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