It’s not a new trend, but it’s trending again—teenagers are posting videos of themselves chewing and even eating laundry detergent pods using the hashtag #TidePodChallenge, and daring their friends to do the same. 

I shouldn’t have to tell you, but THIS IS INCREDIBLY STUPID. 

Videos uploaded to social media show teenagers biting into the colorful pods and in most cases, immediately spitting out the liquid or gagging on the detergent. The videos have gone viral, and now doctors, parents, and anyone with an ounce of common sense are sounding the alarm. 

Because even if teens aren’t swallowing the highly-concentrated contents of the pods, doctors say simply putting them in their mouths can not only do severe and lasting damage to the mouth, digestive and respiratory tracts—it can also be deadly. And it’s no wonder—the pods contain, among other things, ethanol, polymers, and hydrogen peroxide, making them extremely toxic and literally poisonous if consumed. 

Shorter: hey kids, you might die. It’s not funny. Don’t do it. 

Since laundry pods were introduced to the US market several years ago, they’ve been blamed for ten deaths. The American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) says about 20 teenagers have sought medical attention after taking the dare so far this year.

Laundry giant Tide took to social media with the help of New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski this weekend with a direct message to teenagers about the growing trend: “NO NO NO NO NO.”

Tide’s parent company Procter & Gamble released the following statement: “Our laundry pacs are a highly concentrated detergent meant to clean clothes and they’re used safely in millions of households every day. They should be only used to clean clothes and kept up, closed and away from children. They should not be played with, whatever the circumstance is, even if it is meant as a joke.”

To which millions of mothers, fathers, and thinking people everywhere said a collective, “DUH.” 

Don’t eat laundry pods, guys, not even as a joke. Don’t chew them. Don’t lick them. Just do the laundry with them. We’ll all be happier and a lot healthier for it.

Carolyn Moore

Carolyn traded a career in local TV news for a gig as a stay-at-home mom, where the days are just as busy and the pay is only slightly worse. She lives in flyover country with her husband and four young kids, and occasionally writes about raising them at Assignment Mom