Tide Pod Challenge: Dangerous Trend Takes The Internet By Storm

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayed
Eating Tide Pods

We’ve witnessed a fair share of dangerous trends and “challenges” online. While partakers use different tools to complete a challenge concept is the same – they engage in risky activities to complete their “mission”, record the whole thing and upload a video to their YouTube channel and social media profiles.

It’s not uncommon to see teenagers, or even adults, get injured while completing these challenges. The latest trend to take the internet by storm is called Tide Pod Challenge. Social media platforms together with P&G are trying to stop it.

What Is A Tide Pod Challenge?

Tide Pod Challenge is simple; people eat Tide Pods and post the video online. Some people live to stream the whole thing on social media profiles. What’s the purpose of this challenge anyway? Nobody knows actually, it’s one of those people start doing when they see everyone else uploading the same thing.

People find it hilarious to watch someone’s comical facial expressions while they’re trying to eat the Tide Pod and spewing noxious liquids all around. Although it doesn’t seem like something people would actually do, the reality is much different. The challenge has become a viral hit.

Where Did It Come From?

The weirdest thing about the Tide Pod Challenge is that it stems from a joke. An American satirical website, the Onion, published an article about how blue and red detergent pods look like sweets. The post was published[1] in 2015 and just like all other articles on that websites it had nothing to do with the truth i.e. it was a joke.

Two years later, in March 2017, the US College Humor uploaded a YouTube video called “Don’t Eat the Laundry Pods”. The video[2] has more than 3 million views and hundreds of comments. Fast forward to December 2017, a Twitter user “@mineifiwildout” tweeted about eating Tide Pods and said it was a new trend to follow in 2018.

Just a few days later, a user “@littlestwayne” tweeted a photo of Oprah with a caption “Me eating Tide laundry detergent pods”. Many other memes appeared after that.

Although posts and tweets were jokes, they led to the onset of this dangerous challenge.

Where Did It Come From

Dangers Of Tide Pod Challenge

Although a box of Tide Pods, like any other detergent, clearly states one should contact a doctor if the pods are ingested or come into contact with eyes, most people ignore the warnings. Health agencies and many other organizations also confirmed Tide Pod Challenge is dangerous.

Consumption of Tide pods aggressively strips away fats and water from the digestive system. The human body needs both of them to survive. Other side effects[3] associated with intake of Tide pods include abdominal pain, vomiting, flatulence, and diarrhea.

In some cases, vomiting or formation of significant amounts of foam carries the aspiration risk i.e. the danger of being unable to breathe properly.

How Is P&G Trying To Stop Tide Pod Challenge?

Reports show that at least 39 cases of poisoning due to Tide Pod Challenge have been reported, but the number could be even higher.

At the beginning, Procter & Gamble stayed silent on the topic out of fears that saying anything would draw more attention to the trend. Now that the challenge has become popular worldwide, they decided to act. Here are four measures[4] the company is taking to battle viral challenge:

  • Twitter – The official Twitter account of Tide (@tide) lists some helpful replies that advise users what to do after they’ve already ingested the detergent. They urge people not to do it or to see doctor if they already have
  • Terrible Taste – In order to ward off children and toddlers who are curious enough to put Tide pods in their mouth, P&G started coating their pods with a bitter-tasting substance. In fact, they’ve been doing this since 2015
  • Collaboration With Social Media Platforms – P&G collaborates with YouTube and Facebook to remove all videos of people eating Tide pods that were uploaded to these websites. They also ban posting these videos
  • Endorsements – Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, who is also Tide’s spokesperson, recorded a video for the brand’s official channels to let people know ingesting these pods is a bad idea.

Read more: Social Media A Contributor To Severe Teen Anxiety


Tide Pod Challenge is taking the internet by storm. Dangers of this trend are numerous and even social media websites have started banning videos with this content.

Procter & Gamble urges teenagers not to eat Tide pods and to see their doctors if they already have. Tide pods are not toys, you should not play with them. Avoid following dangerous trends and stay away from eating the detergent.

Image Credits
Feature image: Shutterstock.com
In -Post Image: 700childrens.nationwidechildrens.org

Contributor : Dr. Ahmed Zayed ()

This Article Has Been Published on January 23, 2018 and Last Modified on December 10, 2018

Dr. Ahmed Zayed Helmy holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. He has completed his degree in 2011 at the University of Alexandria, Egypt. Dr. Ahmed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. Other than his passion for writing, currently he is working as a Plastic surgeon and is doing his masters at Ain Shams University. You can connect with him on Linkedin.

View All

Take Action: Support Consumer Health Digest by linking to this article from your website

Permalink to this article:

Embed article link: (Click to copy HTML code below):

Reprinting this article:
Non-commercial use OK, cite ConsumerHealthDigest.com with clickable link.