What Happens When You Swallow A Laundry Pod

You might remember the Tide pod challenge from back in 2018 that dared kids to bite into the colorful laundry detergent pods. While a search on TikTok now leads the user to crisis line information, at the time, teens were busy uploading videos of themselves gagging on the pods and even foaming at the mouth after attempting to chew them. Of course, medical experts were quick to respond, telling the public that, no, Tide pods are not safe to ingest. But, what really happens when you swallow a laundry pod?

According to America's Poison Centers, the pods are designed to dissolve when they come into contact with moisture. So, when you put one in your mouth it will melt and release its contents. The highly concentrated detergent that's found inside is toxic to humans and can produce symptoms such as vomiting, wheezing, gasping, and sleepiness. Some will have breathing difficulties so severe that they will need to be placed on a ventilator. And it's not just curious children and teens who are at risk. There have also been reports of adults with dementia who have died from consuming laundry pods (per Consumer Reports).

What to do if someone swallows a laundry pod

If someone has just bitten into a laundry pod, remove it from their mouth immediately. Wash their face and hands and wipe out their mouth. Rinse their eyes as well if some of the liquid has squirted into them. Then call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222 for advice if you live in the U.S. The Ohio Department of Health further notes that you should not attempt to make them vomit unless you are told to do so by a medical professional or Poison Control. If they develop worsening symptoms or are having problems breathing, Dr. Michael Lynch, M.D., medical director of the Pittsburgh Poison Center, told Cosmopolitan that you should get them to an emergency room right away.

The best thing you can do, of course, is to prevent someone from eating a laundry pod in the first place. Detergent containers should be kept closed and out of reach of young children. Additionally, adolescents should be educated about the risks. AARP further advises not keeping laundry pods in your home at all if you have a cognitively impaired adult living with you.