How to Use Laundry Detergent Pods Correctly

Laundry detergent pods
Mary Marlowe Leverette

Single dose detergent packs have taken the laundry detergent shelves 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?  And, how many pods or packs should you use for each load? As with any 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 as well.

The way you use any single dose product should follow the same guidelines as those outlined for laundry detergent or consult the product's packaging directions.

Special Note

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

How Many Laundry Detergent Pods Should I Use?

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

How to Use Single Dose Laundry Pods

The pods and packs work in both standard and high-efficiency (HE) top-loading and front-loading washers. If using in a washer with automatic detergent and fabric softener dispensers, the pod must be placed directly in the drum - NEVER in the dispenser drawer.

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 your wet clothes. 

Streaking can also happen if the washer is overfilled with clothes and the pod doesn't have enough water to dissolve. During the winter, if your cold water setting is extremely cold, the pod may not dissolve correctly. If you repeatedly experience the problem of the pod not dissolving, try adding the detergent pod to a quart of hot water to dissolve and then add the detergent water directly to your empty washer drum.

If a pod does not dissolve correctly and laundry is streaked or spotted, immediately rewash the clothes with no added detergent and choose the largest load capacity to make sure all of the clothes move freely though 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 outer storage container sealed when not in use - especially if you live in a high humidity area - to prevent damage from moisture.

The pods are 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.​