A Call for Convenience

College students constantly meet new people, new places, and new challenges. They are forced to mature and take on more responsibilities, from huge tasks like paying their own tuition to smaller, average jobs like doing their own laundry.

Yes, laundry. Many lucky college freshmen never had to worry about laundry before leaving the nest. I will admit I was one of those clueless freshmen, unsure of where to put laundry detergent or how much to use in the first place. I was plagued by cartoonish fears of returning to a washing machine overflowing with pink suds.

Now in my second semester, I can tell you that some of the people in my dorm are as clueless now about laundry as they were on day one. However, the use of single-dose laundry detergent packs has saved the laundry room from any kind of nightmarish accident. These packs are just easy -- toss them in with your laundry, turn the washing machine on, and you're done. They're perfect for college students in a hurry, and many colleges, including my own, even encourage students to use them. One of the first things I received from my school when I moved in was a sample of unit-dose laundry detergent packs. The convenience is just unbeatable.

My school is based in New York City, and my friends off campus in small Manhattan apartments love them as well. Urban environments leave little space for bulky and heavy laundry detergent bottles, making these easy-to-store packs ideal for urbanites. Large detergent boxes simply take up precious space in studio apartments where storage is minimal.

Of course, like any new innovation, some controversy has surrounded these little detergent packs. There are concerns that they could be hazardous to children if they were mistaken for candy and ingested. But there aren't any children in my dorm; that's not a concern for us. Beyond that, many people living in urban areas -- not just college students -- don't have children. So why limit our access to detergent packs?

Some products simply work better for some segments of the population than others. Not everyone is a parent, and for working adults or college students, as well as the disabled and elderly, single-use laundry detergent packs are ideal.

Companies should be casting a wide net, developing products that fit all different types of environments and lifestyles. And consumers should be able to determine for themselves whether or not single-use laundry detergent packs work best. If there is concern about a child potentially consuming the pack, a parent can simply choose an alternative product. Parents have the ultimate responsibility for their children, and should select products that best fit their needs.

Everyone can work together to minimize the potential problem. Parents who purchase these packs should use extra caution in how they store them and keep an eye on their kids in the laundry room. Product manufacturers should cooperate and improve the safety of single-use laundry detergent packs by making the packaging more difficult to open, adding additional instructions, or providing free storage cabinet safety latches. That way parents, especially urban parents, who enjoy the convenience of single-use laundry detergent packs can still use them with some peace of mind.

This product has proven to be a life-saver for college students like me, and many other groups as well. It's even gone beyond just convenience -- these packs have made the transition to being a responsible college student so much easier, allowing me to worry more about my schoolwork than doing my laundry. So if we focus on common-sense solutions, my peers and I will not have to worry about losing the convenience single-dose laundry packs provide.