How to Use Laundry Detergent Pods Correctly

Detergent pods
  ssuaphoto / Getty Images 

Single dose detergent packs have taken the laundry detergent market by storm. The pods and packs promise to be effective, convenient, and simple to use. Then why are consumers having problems like streaking or spotting left on loads of laundry after they use the pods? 

And, how many pods or packs should you use for each load? As with any cleaning product, it's important to learn how to use single dose laundry products correctly.

In addition to laundry detergent single dose products, you can now find single dose scent boosters, stain removers, and laundry detergent boosters. Consult the product's packaging for usage directions or follow the same guidelines as those outlined for laundry detergent.

How Many Laundry Detergent Pods Should I Use?

As you know, single dose laundry detergent pods cost more to use per load than liquid or powder detergent; so, it is wise to use the correct number to save money. For a normal size load of laundry (around 12 pounds), one detergent pod is all you need.

If you have an extra large capacity washer like a front loader that can hold up to 20 pounds of laundry and you have it filled completely, use two pods.

The cleaning ingredients in single dose detergent pods are concentrated and perform comparably with the specific brand's liquid counterpart in removing stains and soil. When you select a single dose product, consider the level of cleaning your family's laundry requires.

Adding Laundry Pods to Washing Machines

The pods and packs work well in standard top load washers and high-efficiency (HE) top-loading and front-loading washers. If the washer has an automatic detergent or fabric softener dispenser, skip them. The pod must be placed directly in the drum; NEVER in a dispenser drawer.

The single dose pods will dissolve completely in both cold and hot water. The formulas are low-sudsing detergents; which is a plus for washers that use low levels of water to get a complete removal of soil and detergent in the final rinse. It is not necessary to have loads of suds to get clothes clean. Actually, lots of suds can redeposit soil on clothes.

The number one key to successful use is that the pods must be added to the empty washer drum before adding clothes and water. If the pod is placed on top of a load of clothes, it may not dissolve properly. This can result in streaks and spotting from deposits of detergent left on the wet clothes. 

laundry detergent pods
Illustration: © The Spruce, 2018 

Troubleshooting Laundry Pods​

Streaking can also happen if the washer is overloaded with clothes and the pod isn't exposed to enough water to dissolve. During the winter, if the incoming cold water is extremely cold, the pod may not dissolve correctly. If you repeatedly experience the problem of the pod not dissolving, try dissolving the detergent pod in a quart jar of hot water first. Add the detergent water directly to your empty washer drum before adding the dirty laundry.

If a pod does not dissolve correctly and laundry is streaked or spotted, immediately rewash the clothes with no added detergent. Choose the largest load capacity setting to make sure all of the clothes move freely through the water. Do not place clothes that are stained with detergent into a hot clothes dryer. The heat will make the product more difficult to remove.

When using the pods it is essential that your hands are completely dry when handling them or the outer film will begin to dissolve. You should also keep the storage container sealed when not in use especially if you live in a high humidity area to prevent damage from moisture.

Important Usage Note

Dishwasher pellets/single dose packs are also widely available in the marketplace. They are NOT interchangeable with laundry detergent packs. If you remove packs and pods from their original packaging to place in decorative containers, be certain to label each carefully so they don't get mixed up with laundry pods. Many dishwasher pellets contain ingredients that can permanently bleach fabrics. Beware!

The pods are also cute and colorful and should always be kept away from children, vulnerable adults, and pets. They look a bit like candy, feel like silly putty, and can squirt into eyes or mouths if punctured. Call 911 or poison control immediately if a child swallows any of the product or the pod bursts and squirts into eyes or mouth.​