What’s Actually Inside a Tide Pod?


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Armed solely with social media and a great knowledge plan, youngsters right this moment could make absolutely anything go viral. Or, within the case of Tide Pods, go viral once more. Jokes about consuming the squishy, day-glo detergent packs have been racing across the web since Procter & Gamble launched the pods in 2012. I imply, come on. They do look scrumptious. However within the final week the meme has upped its stakes; now teenagers are daring one another to document themselves consuming this stuff. Which is why social feeds everywhere in the nation are actually stuffed with movies of children gagging, coughing, and spitting out mouthfuls of pressure-packed cleaning soap. (Spoiler, cooking them first doesn’t make them any extra palatable). Why this, why now? We don’t have any solutions for that. However we will let you know precisely what all these Tide Pod Challengers are placing of their mouths.

Polyvinyl alcohol

These items kinds the movie that holds the opposite substances in a jolly, candylike kind. It is a water-soluble polymer associated to Elmer’s Glue: Pop it within the wash and it dissolves, releasing detergenty goodness with none messy spills. Tide has mentioned its three-chambered design “maximizes the patron expertise,” which in all probability means maintaining the substances separated in order that they do not neutralize one another whereas sitting on the shelf.

Denatonium benzoate

In 2015, Tide added a bittering agent to its outer movie to discourage youngsters from consuming and swallowing it. Their additive of alternative: an inert, white powder known as denatorium benzoate. It’s believed to be the bitterest recognized substance, detectable at just some components per million. It’s used everywhere in the home and storage to be sure to spit out all types of issues, from rubbing alcohol to antifreeze. (Tide has additionally strengthened the outer layer so a baby can’t simply squeeze it open, however they gained’t give us extra particulars.)

Fatty acid salts

You might realize it as cleaning soap. It really works by attaching its hydrocarbon chain to the grease or oil in a clothes stain, permitting each to be washed away by water.

Alcoholethoxy sulfate

This might be any of a number of linear anionic floor appearing brokers. As with cleaning soap, one finish of the molecule binds to grease and filth that is caught to your garments; the opposite binds to water molecules within the washer. Agitation helps raise the stain off the material to be banished down the drain.

Disodium distyrylbiphenyl disulfonate

DDD absorbs ultraviolet mild and emits it within the seen vary, offering a faint blue glow that counteracts the pure yellowing of outdated garments to make them look whiter and brighter.


An enzyme that may break aside guar gum, a thickener utilized in ice cream and salad dressing—and in fluids for hydraulic fracking—that may depart behind hard-to-remove stains.


Amylase enzymes that assault starch-based stains like these from gravy and child meals. You’ll be able to design your detergent to make use of completely different sorts, to maximise effectiveness in scorching, heat, and chilly water.


Face it—some clothes stains come instantly out of your filthy human physique. This protein enzyme breaks down stains brought on by left-behind keratin (discovered principally within the lifeless outer layer of pores and skin cells), which contributes to the grime a earlier era knew as ring across the collar.

Diethylenetriamine pentaacetate, sodium salt

This can be a chelant—a molecule that latches onto metals. In case your wash water is difficult, it softens it, enabling the enzymes and surfactants to work extra successfully. It additionally lifts stains that include metallic ions—like blueberries—and retains them from readhering to your duds.

Calcium formate

Enzymes will devour one another over time or turn out to be denatured when uncovered to warmth. To assist insure they’re nonetheless round once you want them, this substance is added to maintain the enzymes “folded” till the pack is used. When it hits the wash, the calcium formate separates from the enzymes, leaving them free to assault your bespattered clothes.

This text appeared within the September 2012 subject. Subscribe now.

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