I'd never even heard of laundry sheets or liquidless detergents until my editor asked me if I wanted to write this article. We normally get a 1.5-gallon container of laundry detergent from Costco and probably only replace it every nine months. I’ve never tried laundry pods so I can’t speak to how those compare, but I thought it might be fun to test out these Arm & Hammer POWER Sheets for $14 (price at time of writing).
Yes, I just used fun and laundry in the same paragraph — bear with me. I’m a busy mom of two kids under age 3 and do about five loads of laundry a week depending on how dirty and/or sick my two toddlers are, while also cleaning our linens and washing towels. My husband does his own laundry.
Consumers who are interested in reducing their environmental footprint might like the idea of laundry sheets that come in such a small box. There are a lot of brands out there that produce laundry sheets, so if a greener product is what you’re looking for, shop for options that are cruelty-free, biodegradable, and predominantly plant-based.
Using sheets in a box eliminates the need for plastic bottles as well as the hassle of pouring liquid detergent from a large laundry container, and dealing with dripping laundry detergent. As someone who tries to “eyeball” how much detergent to put in the bottom of the washer — and who probably errors on “too much” over “too little”— it’s nice that liquidless detergent is premeasured.
How I tested the laundry sheets
The packaging on this Arm & Hammer product says it contains 50 pre-measured sheets and can clean up to 100 loads if you used a half sheet for each load (smaller loads). That comes out to about $0.14/load.
For a price comparison, this Kirkland Signature Ultra Clean Premium Laundry Detergent with 2X Concentrate costs $39 on Amazon and says it can wash 126 loads. That comes to about $0.31/load. So laundry detergent sheets can work out cheaper, depending on the dosage and brand.
The first time I used the laundry sheets I guess I wasn't paying attention and I dropped my laundry first and then added one sheet to the top. That's the wrong way of doing it. Read the directions, Diana.
I didn't realize my mistake until I tried the sheets with a different load and read the directions. Still, that first load of laundry with sheets and towels turned out clean and fine.
I can't really say whether the next load of laundry was that much cleaner by following the directions and putting pre-measured laundry detergent sheets in the washer drum first. But, we're likely directed to do it this way to help it dissolve fully in the wash.
The dosing instructions are to use half a sheet for a small load, one sheet for a medium load, and large or heavily soiled loads require two sheets.
I primarily tested these on laundry which included sheets and towels and my clothing. But, I also added a dirty toddler's winter jacket from last year to one of the loads to see if it would be cleaned, and it did get rid of most of the dirt and mud stains. That’s a win!
The packaging says these laundry sheets work for high-efficiency (HE) and all machines which I found helpful.
How do liquidless detergent sheets work?
They’re made with a quick dissolve technology that makes the soft sheet dissolve once you start the washer and do a “deep clean.”
One side of the sheet feels a little more foam-like and the other side is shiny. It doesn’t seem to matter which side is facing up when you drop them in the washer.
I liked the “fresh linen” scent and it’s nice that the box doesn't take up much space in the laundry closet.
You can use cold or hot water with these laundry sheets and they’ll work either way.
I was happy with the cleanliness of my sheets and towels after using these detergent sheets. I also used them on my clothes — which included sweaty gym gear — and they smelled fresh after. No lingering scents to have to worry about the next time I slipped those clothes on.
I’ve never used laundry liquid pods to wash my belongings so I can’t speak to how they compare, but as a mom of two little ones, I think the appeal of having something like this around if you have concerns about children being attracted to the pods could give you some peace of mind (although they should be kept out of reach of children and pets).
Who are laundry sheets good for?
I think they’d be good for:
- Travel — If you are staying somewhere that has access to a washer and dryer, it would be easy to stash in a suitcase.
- Space-saving — If you don’t want to store large liquid detergent.
- Lightweight — I wish I had these in my bag when hauling bags of clothes to the laundromat in my 15 years of city living in NYC or when I was a college student sharing a laundry room with hundreds of other students.
- Environmentally-conscious shoppers — If you want to try laundry sheets that quickly dissolve and come in a recyclable paper box, you might like those features
- Cost-effective — If you go through a lot of smaller laundry detergent bottles or find that you’re heavy-handed with a detergent pour, you might find that these last longer.
One downside of these laundry sheets is that they aren’t good for pretreating stains.
Then again, I don’t use laundry detergent for that either. I’d use a stain stick or Tide To Go Stain Remover Pen ($2, Amazon) to pretreat a heavily soiled item and probably presoak it.
I don’t claim to be a laundry connoisseur by any means — seriously, I mix whites and colors and have for years. But, I liked using these sheets.
I would recommend liquidless laundry detergent to someone looking for something different or a more convenient way to wash their clothes, particularly if they have to leave their home to do the laundry or will be traveling.
There are a lot of eco-friendly options to explore as well so consider those brands and read their reviews to see if one of those laundry sheets would be a good fit for your family and your desire to reduce your carbon footprint.
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Diana is a trained journalist and experienced editor in the health and wellbeing and lifestyle sectors. Diana has created content for a range of leading brands including Real Simple, Bloomberg, Headspace, and WebMD. For Tom’s Guide Diana currently focuses on sleep, mattresses, and fitness equipment.