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Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources

Using single-load laundry packets safely

STILLWATER, Okla. – Doing laundry probably tops the list of the most frequent, yet necessary household tasks, so anything to make the chore a little easier is certainly welcome.

While single-load liquid laundry packets offer lots of convenience, these highly concentrated doses of detergent can be harmful if swallowed or splashed in the eyes of children.

“Laundry can be a mindless task, but children are curious and quick so it’s important to be mindful of using safe laundry habits, particularly when there are little ones around,” said Gina Peek, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension housing and consumer specialist.

According to American Association of Poison Control Centers literature, in 2014 nearly 12,000 calls were made to poison centers about single-load laundry packets.

Manufacturers of laundry packets have taken steps to improve the product’s safety such as making the packaging opaque so children cannot see inside the packets and adding a bitter taste to the packet’s film.

In addition, packaging has been revamped to withstand the pressure of a child squeezing it and now standard, prominent warnings are stamped on packaging along with contact information for the Poison Control Centers, in case of accidental exposure.

Meanwhile, families also can play a role in preventing possible poisonings by following a few easy, but critical safety measures.

Consider that an American Cleaning Institute national survey revealed 61 percent of parents stored laundry packets in sight or in reach of young children.

However, children should never handle laundry packets.

“Laundry packets should be stored in their original packaging, with the label intact, and placed up high, out of reach and out of sight of toddlers and young children,” Peek said.

It also is important to use laundry packets as directed and be sure to seal and put the package away immediately after use.

Finally, empty product containers should be discarded and not reused as toys or for crafts.

“Using the empty containers as toys or for craft projects could send mixed messages to kids about the potential dangers of being exposed to the product,” Peek said.

In case of a suspected accidental poisoning, call the Poison Help line 24 hours/7 days a week at 1-800-222-1222.

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REPORTER/MEDIA CONTACT:
Leilana McKindra
Communications Specialist
Agricultural Communications Services
158 Agriculture North
Oklahoma State University
Stillwater, OK 74078
Phone: 405-744-6792
Fax: 405-744-5739
Email: leilana.mckindra@okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater, OK 74078
405.744.5000