I’m popping on my Waste Watcher hat today, as I have tested a laundry product that seems to be flooding all the advertising nooks and crannies on my algorithm, with big claims of being zero or low waste and great for the environment – laundry detergent sheets.
Laundries and bathrooms often accumulate an array of empty plastic bottles (I have written about reducing bathroom waste here) and I have been reusing old bottles for years, buying bulk washing liquid and decanting into these for easier use. But I was tempted by the apparent convenience of the sheets – and to be honest, anything that spices up the drudgery of washing is welcome!
Laundry detergent sheets are (mostly – brands differ) plant based, dissolvable sheets pre-loaded with the cleaning material. They feel slightly spongy to the touch, like a lightweight styrofoam. Detergent sheets weigh next to nothing, so transporting them has a significantly lower carbon footprint than the equivalent liquid or powder form, and they are generally packaged in recycled cardboard containers.
Sheets range in price, between $0.23-0.50 each and you typically use one sheet per wash. You can tear the sheets to adjust the dose too. As a comparison, Cold Power liquid detergent is around $0.30 per wash.
I have found they work really well – just as good as the traditional products, even on a week’s worth of heavy-duty mechanic’s uniforms. One caveat – there’s not a white item of clothing in our household, so I can’t vouch for their whiter-than-white effectiveness.
As for their convenience – yep it has ticked that box! Open them up, chuck a sheet in and you are done. No measuring, no pouring, no congealed detergent on the lid, etc. Their light weight is also perfect for anyone who might struggle lifting and pouring the larger bottles, and a fail-safe way to get the kids to do the washing without worry of an overpour of detergent turning the place into a 90’s foam party.
The only con I have found so far is that they are made in China – but, with the exception of the Earth Choice brand of laundry liquid that states on the bottle it is made in Australia, the country of origin for most other brands is a mystery. A lot claim their bottles are made in Australia from recycled plastic, but no mention of their contents. I would say it is a fair bet these are also travelling from China – which makes the difference in carbon footprint between a 150g box of sheets versus 2kg of liquid quite notable.