How to Use Dishwasher Pods

January 3, 2024
Dishwasher Repair

Dishwasher pods have a ton of advantages over other types of dishwasher detergents. They’re easy to use, pre-measured and some people believe they do a better job. But what do you need to know before making the switch, and how can you get the most out of your dishwasher pods? We’ve got the answers!

What Are Dishwasher Pods?

Dishwasher pods are small, pre-measured amounts of dishwasher detergent that can be used in place of traditional powder or liquid detergent. They’re also known as dishwasher tablets and are usually highly concentrated formulas that are designed to break down food residue and grease. 

Dishwasher pods can be made of encapsulated liquid detergent, pressed powder detergent, or a mixture of both. They are sometimes encased within a soluble, cellulose film that dissolves in hot water, and sometimes they are individually encased in disposable plastic wrap that must be opened before use.

Some pods include rinse aids as well as the detergent, designed to prevent water spots and keep your dishes looking sparkling clean!

How Do Dishwasher Pods Work?

Dishwasher pods work in the same manner as any other dish detergent, with a few small differences. Unlike liquid and powder detergents, pods are pre-measured, so you avoid the need to measure out your detergent each time. When released from the detergent dispenser, the dissolvable coating immediately disintegrates in the water, releasing the detergents. 

Pods can contain a range of cleaning agents, which include surfactants to break down grease and oil, enzymes to break down protein and carbohydrates, and bleaching agents to get rid of stains. Some pods may also include a rinse aid component that dissolves at a slower rate than the rest of the pod so that it can reduce water spots on your glassware. 

What’s Better – Pods, Powder, or Liquid?

So, what’s better? While pods, powder, and liquid all have their merits, we think pods are the winner overall. Let’s break down the different pros and cons!



  • Convenient: Pods are pre-measured—you just grab one and pop it in the detergent dispenser! This takes the work out of measuring, and also reduces mess—no more spills from the measuring scoop!
  • Compact: Detergent pods tend to come in small, compact containers that take up less space in your kitchen cabinet. 
  • Many ingredients in one: Unlike powder or liquid detergents, dishwasher pods can include multiple ingredients, including rinse aids. 
  • Less detergent overuse: Using too much dish detergent is common, which can lead to detergent residue and can also be harmful to the environment. 
  • Consistent cleaning experience: You know you’re using the same amount each time, so each load has the same level of cleaning. 


  • Expensive: Dishwasher pods tend to be the most expensive option, with a higher cost than powder or liquid detergent. 
  • Hard to add more for large loads: Usually only one dishwasher pod can fit in the dispenser, so it can be difficult to add more detergent if you have a particularly large or dirty load. 

Powder Detergent


  • Cheap: Powder is the cheapest option, which is an important consideration if you’re budget-conscious. 
  • Adjustable: You can add more powder for larger loads and less for smaller loads.


  • Messy: It’s easy to spill powder detergent, leading to a mess in your kitchen. 
  • Easy to overuse: With powder, it’s common to use more than you need, meaning that you go through the powder faster than you would with pods
  • Difficult to scoop: Older powder detergent can clump together and harden, making it difficult to scoop and less effective. 

Liquid Detergent


  • Effective: Liquid detergent dissolves easily and is effective, especially when it comes to breaking down grease. 
  • No residue: Liquid detergent leaves less residue than powder detergent.


  • Easy to overuse: It’s very easy to accidentally tip too much detergent into the dispenser, which is wasteful. 
  • Messy to measure: measuring out liquid detergent can be messy and imprecise, leading to sticky residue everywhere. 

How to Choose Dishwasher Pods

When you’re choosing dishwasher pods, consider what is important to you in a cleaning product. Here’s our comprehensive list of what to consider:

  • Dishwasher recommendations: Many dishwashers will recommend specific detergent brands, so check your dishwasher manual to see what is recommended. 
  • Eco-friendly: If eco-friendly products are important to you, ensure you choose tablets with dissolvable wrapping and phosphate-free ingredients. Look for dye-free and fragrance-free pods as well if you’re sensitive to these ingredients. 
  • Cost per load: Look at how expensive each package is per load of dishes, and choose which one is the most economical. Often, buying in bulk can work out a lot cheaper than buying smaller packages. 
  • Features and additives: Look at whether the pods you’re choosing contain rinse aids or not—this can make a huge difference to the cleanliness of your dishes. 

How to Use Dishwasher Pods

Using dishwasher pods is pretty similar to using any other detergent, but some machines require certain steps to be taken. 

  • Check your dishwasher to see if it has “tablet” or “pod” settings. These settings usually allow slightly more time for a pod to dissolve compared to standard detergent. 
  • If there are no specific pod settings, look at the user’s manual. In some dishwashers, it is recommended that pods are placed in the cutlery basket instead of the dishwasher dispenser to aid in dissolving. 
  • Check to ensure there are no rules regarding the placement of your dishes. Some dishwashers recommend that you don’t put large items directly in front of the detergent dispenser when using pods, as the pods can stick to the items when released.

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