Reader Sara Molnar is looking for a detergent that's not a liquid and not a power for easy passage through TSA checkpoints.
I think I've found the answer to my question. Purex makes a detergent/softener/anti-static combo called Purex 3-in-1 which comes in sheets. You can find more info at purex.com.
I haven't found it in my local stores yet, but the Purex website indicates many national stores from CVS and Rite Aid to WalMart and Target carry it. Maybe a reader has tried it and will comment?
Reader Linda Strand, of Corpus Christi, has tried the Purex 3-in-1's and says they work fine: "You use one sheet per load, and it washes and softens clothes and eliminates static."
Here are some other ideas:
Doug Dyment, who has studied efficient packing for more than a decade and whose opinion I trust the most on such matters, says:
I bow to tradition here: individual foil packets of Woolite cold water laundry detergent. I carry them in doubled Ziploc bags. (Travel Laundry Soap by Woolite $5)
There are other options (though I'd avoid those that require carrying bottled liquids), but Woolite has been the traveller's standby for years, and for good reason. Should you take along a conventional detergent of some sort, remember that very little is required to do a sinkful of laundry…or plan plenty of rinse cycles!
If you're in Germany or Austria, or live in a city large enough to support a good German deli, try a tube of Procter & Gamble's Rei in der Tube ("cleanliness in a tube"), a handy toothpaste-consistency detergent.
If you prefer to use a favourite powdered detergent, a plastic 35mm film canister (if you can still find one in these days of digital photography) is a good way to keep a reasonable quantity dry.
—via Doug's packing list at OneBag.com,
Reader Joan Burns has the following tip:
I discovered a great way to pack powdered detergent for washing clothes in a sink. Clean out one of those plastic spice containers that have a shaker cap under the lid and fill it with detergent. When you're ready to wash clothes, just shake out a little of the detergent into the sink.
Please chime in if you have other ideas on travel-friendly detergent.