Can Laundry Detergent Freeze?

With winter and cooler temperatures upon us, there are plenty of rituals we as humans take part in to prevent freezing. From changing over our wardrobes to add layers, putting winter tires on our vehicles, and winterizing our properties, we prepare. Sometimes, the cold of winter gets the best of us however and we forget our new laundry detergent in the car overnight.

Liquid Laundry detergent can freeze at temperatures below 12 degrees Fahrenheit (-11°C). Once frozen, it may solidify and become unstable rendering it less effective. The ideal storage temperature for liquid laundry detergent is 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit (10-25°C). Laundry detergent pods contain a lower percentage of water and are less likely to freeze.

Whether you use powdered, liquid, or pod-format laundry detergent, their formulas can be compromised if they are exposed to cold temperatures making them less effective at cleaning your laundry.

Can You Leave Laundry Detergent in the Cold Car?

While liquid laundry detergent is made up of about 50% laundry detergent components, it also contains about 50% water making it vulnerable to destabilization in cold temperatures. It is unlikely that it will completely freeze solid unless it is left in your car overnight in freezing conditions.

You may notice that the texture will be more like sludge than a solid block of ice. Just like water expands when frozen, the water in your liquid laundry detergent can also expand in its container. If it is full, there is a chance it could expand, explode, or leak detergent in your car. To be safe, it is best not to leave liquid laundry detergent in a cold car.

Does Laundry Detergent Go Bad if it Freezes? (Can it Be Used Afterwards?)

Technically, you can still use your laundry detergent even after it freezes, but it will likely be less effective due to compound changes after freezing. You might notice that your liquid laundry detergent that was once a thick gel has become a runny liquid after thawing.

Some elements of your liquid detergent will remain the same as it is primarily the water within the detergent solution that freezes and not the other compounds (like soap, surfactants, dyes, and fragrances). If you notice some separation within the bottle, you can shake it to blend the components back together though there may still be an overall textural change.

You might also notice less bubble formation from your laundry detergent after it has been frozen. Efficacy of the detergent can vary based on the format of the detergent as well after freezing.

Do Laundry Detergent Pods Go Bad if They Freeze?

Typically, the laundry detergent found in pods is more concentrated meaning it has lower water content. Because of this lower water content, they are less likely to freeze in cold conditions though it is still possible in extreme circumstances and should be avoided.

Most laundry detergent pods are designed to dissolve and effectively clean your laundry in cold water and as such, they can withstand cold temperatures reasonably well. If exposed to freezing temperatures for extended periods, their effectiveness may be compromised.

If your laundry detergent pods contain any powdered detergent, the powder can also clump together after being frozen and may not dissolve completely as it should.

Does Powder Laundry Detergent Go Bad if it Freezes?

Tide Powder Laundry Detergent, Mountain Spring, 68 loads, 95 oz

Powder laundry detergent will not necessarily go bad if it freezes however, its effectiveness might be compromised. Because it does not contain water like its liquid counterparts, you will not notice any obvious texture changes.

Powder laundry detergent may however try to absorb any moisture and condensation around it which can result in hard clumps forming if it is frozen then thawed.

Can You Store Laundry Detergent in the Unheated Garage During Winter?

While you can store laundry detergent in an unheated garage, it is best to bring the detergent inside if you know there will be many days below freezing temperatures. This is because exposure to freezing temperatures consistently can cause water expansion within liquid laundry detergent containers that could explode or leak.

Exposure to freezing temperatures or even inconsistent changes from freezing and thawing repeatedly can cause the compounds within your detergent to become unstable and therefore less effective at cleaning your laundry.

If you have left your laundry detergent in an unheated garage, allow it to return to room temperature by bringing it inside your house and allowing it to sit. Do not attempt to heat the container in any way as this can cause some of the detergent compounds to vaporize and irritate your airways or the container could explode.

What’s The Best Laundry Detergent Storage Temperature?

Laundry detergent should ideally be stored between 50 to 77 degrees Fahrenheit. This ensures that the formula remains stable and that it remains effective at cleaning your laundry.

How to Thaw Frozen Laundry Detergent?

To thaw frozen laundry detergent, you should let it sit at room temperature and give it time to completely thaw. Once thawed, if you notice the formula looks separated or inconsistent, give it a light shake to blend the components back together and it should be ready to use.

Can You Add Hot Water to Liquid Laundry Detergents?

It is not recommended to add hot water to frozen liquid laundry detergents as this can dilute the detergent formula and further compromise the effectiveness of your detergent.

Liquid laundry detergent is made with a specific concentration of about 50% water and 50% detergent components. Adding water will dilute this concentration compromising its ability to clean your clothes. It may also dilute the scent.

The drastic temperature exposure from frozen to hot can also compromise the effectiveness of your laundry detergent to do its job. It is best to allow frozen laundry detergent to thaw by letting it sit at room temperature.

Freezing Laundry Detergent FAQs

Do Tide Pods freeze?

Tide PODS Laundry Detergent Soap PODS, High Efficiency (HE), Spring Meadow Scent, 96 Count

Because Tide Pods contain concentrated detergent with very little water composition, they are unlikely to freeze. Their individual wrappers within the larger container offer some protection against cold temperatures.

Most pod-format laundry detergents are designed to dissolve well and clean effectively in cold water making them hardier to cold weather exposure when compared to liquid laundry detergents.

It should be noted that prolonged exposure to extreme freezing temperatures can compromise the effectiveness of Tide Pods and possibly freeze them.

Does Tide Liquid Detergent freeze?

Tide Liquid Detergent may freeze partially or completely depending on the length of exposure to freezing temperatures. Typically, liquid laundry detergent consists of about 50% laundry detergent components and 50% water.

The water within liquid laundry detergent can be affected by cold weather and freezing temperatures causing expansion within the container or a partial solidification of the formula. You may notice that it freezes into a sludge texture as opposed to freezing solid. This is because the detergent components are not prone to freezing.

If your Tide Liquid Detergent has been exposed to freezing temperatures, allow it to thaw at room temperature. If you notice that the solution has separated, give it a shake to mix it back together again. You might notice changes to the texture of the detergent and its overall effectiveness at cleaning your laundry if it has been frozen.

Does Fabric Softener Freeze?

Fabric softeners can freeze if exposed to cold temperatures. Once frozen, fabric softener typically becomes thick and lumpy. You may add a little water to the fabric softener to thin it out again however, this dilution can impact the effectiveness of the fabric softener.

Do Gain Flings freeze?

Gain Flings are unlikely to freeze when exposed to cold temperatures as the detergent inside of them has very low concentrations of water. The outer layer on the pacs serves as slight protection within the container against cool temperatures.

Most pod or pac-format detergents are designed to be used in cold water, protecting them against cold weather. Prolonged exposure to freezing temperatures can compromise the effectiveness of the detergent.

Because Gain Flings contain Oxi powder, the powder may clump together and fail to dissolve completely if they have been frozen.

Final Thoughts

Although most laundry detergents are unlikely to completely freeze, exposure to cold temperatures can compromise the effectiveness of your detergents from dissolving fully and cleaning your laundry as it should.