Are you a fan of the laundry detergent “packs?”

Over the past few months, it seems that more and more manufacturers are offering laundry detergent in single-load “packs,” similar to what you might put in a dishwasher. Tide, All, Arm & Hammer, and Purex are among the brands offering these. And, when the All Mighty Pacs were on sale recently, I decided to give them a try as they were a good price.

One of my friends told me she was having issues with the packs dissolving completely in her washing machine, as was another of my blog readers. Count me in that camp too, unfortunately. I have a Kenmore HE3T high-efficiency washer, and while the clothes are getting clean, the “pack” part is not always dissolving for me. I have done five loads so far with the All Mighty Pacs. Three times out of five loads, I’ve pulled a piece of laundry out of the washer that looks like this:

Yuck. I’ve tried to peel this pack off the clothes, but it’s always left residue on the fabric, and then they need to be re-washed again:

I’m pretty sure I won’t be buying these again… and the bags I have left are destined for the food pantry. I wonder if my machine just doesn’t use enough water to dissolve these. (And yes, I am using them correctly — putting them in the laundry load, not in the detergent dispenser.) I bet they would be better in a traditional top-loader with lots of water.

Are the laundry packs working for you?


  1. supersaver11 says

    I’ve had similar experiences as well. It left a stain on the clothes. After washing with regular detergent my clothes came clean, however it took more than 2 washes to remove the stains.

  2. bluedemon20 says

    These are great for people who are really pressed for time. The 10 seconds it takes to measure out the liquid really throws my schedule in the crapper.

  3. LilBlossom says

    I haven’t tried them, as they contain too much detergent imho. We only use 1/2 of the recommended dose on our laundry and it always comes out clean anyway. Back in Norway they had pressed laundry powder tablets which I could snap in half, which I liked. All machines were HE there, so no figuring out if they are suitable for HE or not.

    I do have the issue of non-dissolving packs with my dishwasher though, and about 1 in 10 do not dissolve properly. Luckily it remains stuck to just about anything but the dishes :o)

  4. christina23 says

    I purchased a box of the liquid pacs while in London a few years ago. They work wonderfully but I tend to only use them when I’m traveling because until very recently they couldn’t be found here in the states. I have a few samples of various brands and they are all liquid but have not tried them yet.

    I will do an experiment this week when I do my laundry. My apartment complex has both the front loading HE washers as well as traditional washers and perhaps we can see if you are on to something Jill.

  5. poetangel says

    Back when we were getting these for free, I noticed the sticky residue a couple times. After that I was careful to put it IN the bottom of the washer and start the water before putting the laundry in. I always felt better using it with towels when I was using warmer water than my regular clothes (on cold). I wouldn’t buy them again though. I did have a sample of the Purex ones recently and can’t say I noticed any issue, but that is just one pack. I have a regular old top loader.

  6. Outlander says

    I only used one pack of Tide and that worked great. But, from using Tide Stain Release I know that you MUST put it in first or sometimes it won’t fully dissolve.

  7. vktyree says

    I have used them without a problem. I have a top load machine and so far haven’t any problems with the pack residue. I have noticed if I place them near where the water pours in, no problems. I like them and can use either these or the regular detergent. I am flexible as long as the coupons are good enough for me to save money.

  8. quiltty66 says

    and still have the problem of them not dissolving properly. Doesn’t matter how much water you add to a cold cycle. They just DO NOT dissolve.

  9. addicted says

    Just recently finshed a package of them without any problem. I have a top load washer.

  10. iteachcomputers says

    I always put the packs in the bottom of the washer, but sometimes I find that if the washer is really full, and the water temperature is set to “COLD” they don’t dissolve as well.

  11. susanericksoncm says

    I haven’t had a problem with them not dissolving, but i did have a problem when i put one in the dispenser instead of right in the machine. I heard water running and when i wen to check, i found the pack had blocked the water stream going from the dispenser into the machine and water was running all over the floor!

    My bigger kids do their own laundry, and for them the Purex Sheets are a saving grace. No spilling of detergent, no measuring and they have a built in dryer sheet. Works very well for them.

  12. artmom6 says

    I bought several of the packs but am afraid to try them.

    The gel packs I’ve been using in my dishwasher have been sticking to the inside and not dissolving all the way. So, now I’m afraid to try the laundry gel packs in my washer. I don’t want to ruin my clothes!

    It’s a good idea, though, for saving time and also for those who are sensitive to chemicals (like myself).

  13. T23 says

    I’ve been using the Purex packs and was concerned about this too. It says to make sure you let the water run for a while with the pack in the machine before you put in the clothes. The first time I did it i reached in to make sure that it had dissolved before putting the clothes in. A took a minute to two but did end up dissolving.

  14. Flag1 says

    Thank you for the heads up. I only have 1 sample of Purex and was debating using it tomorrow in warm water. I think I will just give it a toss and save myself some aggravation.

  15. Frugal Skills says

    I don’t have problems with the packs dissolving. What I do have a problem with is that packs leave my clothes smelling like chemicals! The clothes are clean, but they have this sterile smell that reminds me of a hospital. Yuck! They’re definitely not an improvement over liquid detergent.

  16. kkris812 says

    I’ve been using the Purex for a few washes now and only the first time did it not dissolve completely but it was just a piece of plastic at the bottom of the washer. I throw it in and then start the water and put the clothes in. I usually use cold water but sometimes warm. I live in a high rise with a community laundry room.

  17. maggie says

    What if you would try to dissolve them in a small container with some water – prior to washing? And then you can add the whole contents to your washer as you start.

    Ofcourse, we are no longer talking about saving time, but just to use up what you have… lol.

    I have never bought these, so I don’t know what I’m talking about, but this was just a thought. I think I would hate to just throw them out.

  18. theresa1740 says

    I still have a top loader that uses lots of water and I like adding my laundry soap amount myself. If have I a smaller load use less laundry detergent than a full load. I think the manufacturer’s want me to use more detergent than I would like. Hope they don’t all go to gel pacs–looks like they need work.

  19. ashwore says

    I’ve been using the oxy clean packs and purex and never had a problem. I’m not sure if it makes a difference but I only use cold water and even before the little packs I let my washer drum get a little water in it before I add my clothes. I have an HE machine (don’t know the model) that’s a top load without that bulky thing in the middle. Maybe it’s just the ALL brand? I hope they figure something out but I’ll hold off buying these for a while!

  20. MissyB1 says

    Could it be a soft vs. hard water issue? Weird that they work for some and not for others!

  21. gabbie76 says

    I was able to buy Purex laundry packs at my local grocery store for $1.99 after coupons and a sale. They were great…until I got to the middle of the bag. Most of the packs had burst and were stuck together. I called the 800 number on the package and was told by the customer service rep that I would be receiving a coupon for a free package as well as other “money-saving Purex coupons”. She said I would have them in 7 – 10 business days. I haven’t gotten my coupons yet and it has been quite a while longer then 7 – 10 business days. I have to say I am extremely disappointed in Purex…On another note, the Tide Stain Release packs never, ever dissolved in my washer:(

  22. sailormoongurl says

    My mom bought these for use at the laundromat. She thought it was better than lugging around a large bottle or box of soap. She too had the same problem if it not melting. She is currently working on a solution to re-wash her shirt. I did not dissolve well in the cold water.

  23. Bluejedi79 says

    I tried one of these at the laundry mat when I took our sleeping bags to be cleaned prior to a camping trip. No hard/soft water issues here. I had 3 loads. I used one load of hot, one load of cold and one load I used regular powder in. The two loads I used these “packs” in never did quite dissolve either. Not a fan. Not going to try them again

  24. Crangel4 says

    I am just wondering, are you putting the packs on top of the clothes or throwing it in before the clothes?