How sustainable are laundry detergent sheets?

A Drop in the Ocean Zero Waste Store: How eco-friendly are laundry detergent sheets?
Listen to the audio of this post here:

This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on November 6, 2023.

So I get asked all. the. time. why we don’t sell laundry detergent sheets.

And I get it.

They’re everywhere these days. If you’re in the eco-space even tangentially, I know you’ve seen the ads for them. 

And those ads make laundry detergent sheets seem like the best and only solution for a sustainable laundry routine. ESPECIALLY after Blueland started their witch hunt against Dropps (and don’t even get me started on how much worse that’s gotten since I wrote the blog post I linked here…).

So now that there’s an excess of fear around PVA, there’s a whole movement away from products like Dropps laundry pods, because of the visible PVA coating.

And then when new EcoWarriors come to A Drop in the Ocean, they’re confused why we don’t sell the seemingly best zero waste laundry product - aka laundry detergent sheets.

☝️ But allow me to set the record straight.

Laundry detergent sheets aren’t the sustainable silver bullet those ads would have you believe.

Here’s why:

(1) Laundry detergent sheets contain PVA.

While I'm not anti-PVA (clearly, from the blog post I linked above), I choose to stay away from it whenever possible. 

We do sell Dropps dishwasher + oxi-boost pods in the shop, but the only reason I chose to stock those was because we found that our PVA-free dishwasher pods don't work for all water systems and wanted to offer an option that has proven to work for everyone. 

Although all of the laundry sheet brands are astonishingly good at hiding the fact that they contain PVA, all of them do. 

It is incredibly problematic for me that they market in a way that they're the "better" option to pods, when in reality the ingredient that holds them together is the ~exact same~ as the pods. 

Plus, these companies absolutely love to not include their ingredients on their product pages, or tuck them away so you have to seek them out, which is a HUGE red flag for me with all products.

"To me, all it does is signal a red flag." Shark Tank gif

(2) Laundry detergent sheets are more expensive.

Grove’s laundry detergent sheets cost $13 for 32 loads of laundry.

Kind Laundry and Earth Breeze’s laundry detergent sheets cost $20 for 60 loads of laundry.

So you’re looking at about 33¢ to 41¢ per load of laundry with detergent sheets.

(Just for funsies, let’s compare that with some basic Tide High Efficiency liquid detergent from Target at about 20¢ per load and Dropps Stain & Odor detergent pods at 31¢ per load.)

But let’s look at the laundry detergent powder that we sell at A Drop in the Ocean, shall we?

Before I had a high-efficiency washing machine, one 16oz jar of our laundry detergent powder would last me about 50 loads of laundry, which works out to about 30¢ per load. And again, that’s without a high efficiency machine.

So if your household does, for example, four loads of laundry a week and you have an HE machine, one 16oz jar could last you upwards of 5-6 months, and would only be about 15-20¢ per load. 

And then, of course, the cost per load goes down with the 32oz and 64oz jars.

So if you’re looking for a cost-efficient laundry detergent…sheets ain’t it.

Laundry detergent brand prices per load comparison

(3) ADITO’s laundry detergent powder is simply better.

Our laundry powder is BY FAR our best-seller. 

It was one of the very first things we brought into A Drop in the Ocean when we launched back in 2019, and it's an absolutely killer detergent. 

It's made locally, made by a small, woman-owned business, it works great in cold water, contains no plastic or PVA, and it's a truly, 100%, actually zero waste product - both on my end and yours

I personally use and stand by this laundry detergent 1000%.

So when we take into account that laundry detergent sheets are not made locally, not made by small businesses, not woman-owned, not zero waste, don't work as well in cold water, and are twice as expensive per load, they're simply an inferior option to the laundry detergent powder we do sell.

A Drop in the Ocean Sustainable Living Zero Waste Shop Refillable Laundry Detergent

So like I said friend, I get it. I get the hype. I get why everyone wants the newest and greatest laundry detergent sheets.

But that’s what this community is all about.

✨ This is why we have this weekly email series.

To smash those misconceptions that are ever-rampant and flying around the sustainability space.

I hope this has been helpful and cleared up any confusion you might have had about our lack of detergent sheets in the shop, and I would LOVE to know what other sustainability misconceptions you’d like me to tackle next?? Comment below and let me know! 💙


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The zero waste community isn't immune to greenwashing.

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