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Tide puts a new spin on detergent pods: Use up to 3 to get things clean

With sales tumbling, the company is now encouraging users to double and triple down on the cleaning cases.
/ Source: TODAY

If you're a user of Tide Pods, here's a new spin on things.

According to Procter & Gamble, which owns Tide, one-and-done probably isn't enough to get a full load of laundry clean. In fact, the company is now suggesting that it may take up to three pods to get the job done.

"It's clearly a way to boost sales," John Replogle, chief executive of rival Seventh Generation Inc., told The Wall Street Journal about the recommendation. (Seventh Generation is launching its own laundry packets later this year and will recommend one for most loads and machines.)

"We find that people need more clarity in judging their load size," P&G spokesperson Tracey Long countered in the WSJ. "They think it's a large load, but it's actually an extra-large load."

The suggestion comes at a curious time: Notes the WSJ, growth has all but stagnated at P&G, which hasn't had a hit product launch since the pods first came out.

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The notion that more packets are needed to get a load clean resonates with other popular cleaning items from around the home. Shampoo, for example, often contains the advisory that one should "rinse and repeat," but as TODAY recently reported, there's rarely a need for anyone to repeat after shampooing once.

Additionally, appliance manufacturers told the WSJ that there's no evidence that three packets should be the norm. Instead, noted Jennifer Schoenegge, a product manager for GE's appliance unit, the problem may be that a different chemical composition of detergent may be needed for high-efficiency washers.

"We get complaints about high-efficiency machines not cleaning in the way customers expect," she said in the article.

But this isn't the first time pods have generated controversy. For one thing, children have been known to mistake them for candy, prompting warnings about keeping them out of little hands. And they're more expensive than non-pod detergents; three in a load is nearly 75 cents worth of detergent, compared to 19 cents a load for liquid Tide alone.

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So if doubling or tripling up on your pod usage sounds good to you, be sure to know what you're getting into before you take that tumble.

Follow Randee Dawn on Twitter.