Dial next month plans to launch Purex Complete, a "3-in-1" laundry sheet embedded with detergent, fabric softener and antistatic agents. The stiff cloths rely on the water of the wash cycle to dissolve the detergent. In the dryer, heat releases the sheet's fabric softening and anti-static ingredients, Ellen Bryon reports.
Dial, which is a unit of the German company Henkel, says Purex Complete will be 20% cheaper than buying the premium brands of each product -- though they are about 20% more expensive than buying the Purex versions. But they will have to overcome a long-standing resistance among American consumers to pre-fab, all-in-one laundry solutions. In the U.S., detergent tablet sales totaled just $2.8 million last year compared to $1.3 billion in Europe, according to Euromonitor International.
"Unitized dosing by itself isn't a big enough convenience to change a habit," says Greg Tipsord, Dial's svp of U.S. laundry care. He hopes the sheets will attract premium-brand shoppers who are looking for greater ease of use but also want to save money. He also hopes that offering a simple solution will encourage greater use of laundry additives. Right now, Dial feels that only about 75% of consumers use dryer sheets and only about 50% use fabric softener.