Background of Liquid Laundry Detergent Capsules
Laundry detergent pods (or packs) are products containing an ultra-concentrated amount of laundry detergent, softener and other soap types enclosed in dissolvable plastic discs. Notable brands of these packs include Arm & Hammer, Purex, Persiland Tide. They first became popular in February 2012 when they were introduced by Procter & Gamble as Tide Pods.
This is a type of Tide Pod, a typical laundry detergent pod.
The chemistry of laundry detergent packs is the same as in liquid detergents (including alkylbenzenesulfonates). The water-soluble pouch is typically made of polyvinylalcohol (PVA) or a derivative of PVA. Although the formulas are similar, a detergent pack's liquids may contain only 10% water compared to 50% in liquid detergents.
MonoSol is one of the companies that develops the water-soluble film used for laundry and dishwasher detergent packs, used by brands including Tide, with roughly $250 million in annual sales and controlling around 90-percent of the market. The film is designed to be soluble within cold water.
Their largest and most established markets are the UK and Ireland, while France, Italy and Spain are also key markets. The market presence of liquid laundry detergent capsules have a growing importance across most countries in Western Europe, as well as several countries in Central Europe. In addition, laundry additives are also available in this product form.
The formulation of liquid laundry detergent capsules is highly concentrated: the level of surfactants (incl. soap) can be over 40%. The vast majority of liquid laundry detergent capsules are PH neutral. The formula is water free (i.e. organic solvents are used instead). The water soluble pouch, typically made of poly vinyl alcohol (PVA), is strong and flexible
When dry but dissolves in the washing machine when water is added, and degrades in the environment.