How to Use Dishwasher Pods Correctly

D3 Appliance
June 3, 2024
Dishwasher Repair

Dishwasher pods are an increasingly popular way to clean dishes. They’re convenient, mess-free, and pre-measured—what’s not to love? If you’re thinking of making the switch over to pods, this guide is for you. We look at how to correctly use them to optimize your dishwashing routine and achieve sparkling, streak-free dishes. 

Different Types of Dishwasher Detergents

There are three main types of dishwasher detergent: pods, powder, and liquid gel. Powder is the most common, and is often also the cheapest form of dishwasher detergent. Gel detergent is less commonly used, but some people prefer it because it is easy to measure and dissolves quickly in hot water. 

Pods have become popular in the last two decades, and quickly became a sought-after dishwashing option, thanks to their ease of use and consistent cleaning results. Pods have an added advantage in that they can be formulated to include additional cleaning agents such as rinse aids, so you don’t need to add those separately. 

Pods Pros & Cons

Each type of dishwasher detergent has its advantages and disadvantages. We have a list of these below to help you decide which type is best for your lifestyle. 

Pros of Pods

  • Convenient: Using pods is quick and easy—no need to measure or pour. 
  • Consistent: Each pod is pre-measured, so you know you’re using the right amount for each load. 
  • Comprehensive: Many pods include rinse aids and water softener to ensure you have the best possible cleaning power. 
  • Compact: Pods take up less space than a large box of powder or bottle of gel. 
  • Tidy: Pods eliminate spills and messes that can occur with liquid and powder dish detergents. 

Cons of Pods

  • Expensive: Pods tend to be the most expensive detergent to use on a load-by-load basis. 
  • Set amount: You don’t have the ability to add extra for a super dirty load or less for a light load. 
  • Performance issues: Some dishwashers may not be designed for pods, and you might find issues with the pods not dissolving properly or getting stuck on your dishes. 
  • Environmentally unfriendly: Some brands of pods come in plastic wrapping instead of dissolvable film, which is harmful to the environment. 

Selecting the Right Dishwasher Pods

Before you make the switch to pods, it’s important to understand that not all dishwasher pods are created equal. Some brands work better for some dishwashers, while others may be formulated for specific types of water. Check to see which brand of dishwasher detergent your dishwasher manufacturer recommends—most dishwasher brands will recommend a specific type of dishwasher detergent. For example, Bosch recommends that you only ever use Finish products in their dishwashers. 

If you live in an area with hard water (water with a high mineral content), make sure you choose pods that have water softener built in, as this will ensure you get the best possible wash. While premium dishwasher pods might be more expensive, the cheaper generic ones often don’t clean as well. You might need to try a couple of brands before you find the pods that work best for you.

If you’re concerned about the environmental impact of using pods, make sure you choose ones that come with dissolvable wrapping and are packaged in cardboard. You can also check for certifications such as the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Safer Choice label to see if the ingredients are eco-friendly or not. 

Loading Your Dishwasher Properly

While loading your dishwasher properly is essential when using any type of detergent, it’s even more important when using pods. This is because when the detergent dispenser releases the pod at the beginning of the cycle it has the potential to get stuck on poorly loaded dishes, hindering its ability to dissolve. 

Avoid overcrowding, make sure utensils are placed in the designated holder, and ensure that there is a gap between all your plates and glasses. Pay particular attention to the dishes close to the detergent dispenser, as these are where the pod is most likely to get stuck. 

Placing the Pod Correctly in the Dispenser

Placing the pod into the dispenser correctly may seem obvious, but different dishwashers have different instructions on how to do this. While some dishwashers advise you to put dishwasher pods in the regular detergent dispenser, some have a separate small basket on one of the racks to put a pod in which helps it dissolve. Other brands recommend putting the detergent pod into the cutlery basket instead of the detergent dispenser. This varies widely from brand to brand, so make sure you check your dishwasher manual before you begin. 

Adjusting the Wash Cycle Settings

Many dishwashers have specific settings for using pods. Check your dishwasher’s display, and make sure you select the “pod” or “tablet” option. This is because pods often take slightly longer to dissolve than other types of detergent, so choosing the pod setting allows them to dissolve and clean your dishes efficiently and thoroughly. If your dishwasher doesn’t have a specific pod setting, you can just proceed as normal and choose your favorite wash cycle. 

Troubleshooting Common Pod Issues

While pods are convenient and effective, you might come across some issues when you first start using them. 

Pod Not Dissolving 

If you encounter this, make sure your dishwasher cycle is set to at least 120°F before you start the wash. Make sure nothing is blocking the spray arms, and that your dishwasher is not overloaded. 

Dishes Not Cleaned Properly

If this is an issue you haven’t had until switching to pods, it could mean the brand of pods you’re using is not suitable for your dishwasher. Try a premium brand of pod and make sure you’re following the manufacturer’s instructions for use. 

Pod Stuck in Dispenser

This can often happen if there is a lot of detergent residue stuck in the dispenser. Clean the dispenser thoroughly before putting the pod in. It can also help to ensure the dispenser is dry when you place the pod in, as otherwise, the dissolvable coating may stick to the interior of the dispenser.

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