CPG Playbook   //   December 1, 2022

The Laundress issues product recall two weeks after posting safety notice

High-end cleaning brand The Laundress on Thursday initiated a voluntary recall of eight million units of its products, pledging to give customers refunds due to the risk of exposure to bacteria.

A full list of affected products, available on TheLaundressRecall.com, spans more than 150 laundry detergents, cleaners and other household products, plus more than 100 gift sets. “To date, testing has identified bacteria in certain recalled products, including those produced between January 2021 and September 2022,” the recall notice states. Customers can submit information on the product they purchased in order to receive a refund within six to eight weeks.

The official notice of the recall filed with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says that products may contain certain kinds of bacteria, including Burkholderia cepacia complex, Klebsiella aerogenes and multiple different species of Pseudomonas.

The notice says these are “environmental organisms found widely in soil and water, and some may also be found in humans.” But the bacteria can present a risk of infection to people with weakened immune systems, external medical devices, and underlying lung conditions.

The recall was issued in conjunction with Canadian regulators. 

The recall comes two weeks after The Laundress first notified customers of the potential for bacteria in products. A safety notice directed customers to stop using all products.

A week later, a consumer filed a proposed class action lawsuit against The Laundress’ parent company Unilever in federal court. The suit alleges customers were misled by the product being marketed as safe.

A request for comment from The Laundress wasn’t immediately returned. An FAQ on the recall website indicates that the company provides instructions for customers with concerns on how to rewash their clothing, as well as guidance on how to dispose of the product.

“We deeply apologize to all our loyal customers for this situation,” The Laundress wrote on Instagram. “We are undertaking decisive steps with our suppliers to ensure production processes meet our safety and quality standards.”