Common Mistakes You're Making With Your Dishwasher Pods

Dishwasher pods are a quick and easy way to add detergent before running your machine. They are small gel- or powder-filled pouches in a water-soluble plastic liner. Since they're filled with the same detergent you usually load in your dishwasher, they work the same way. The main difference is that first, water needs to dissolve the coating that keeps the pod intact. Then the detergent is free to clean your dishes.

How Stuff Works explains that they are a great alternative to other detergents because they come pre-measured: Just place one in your machine's detergent dispenser and load your dishes as usual. You don't even have to worry about the mess of spilling soap everywhere or accidentally adding way too much. Although, when using pods, you won't be able to run a half-full load without wasting detergent. And this is a shame because they're usually considerably more expensive than gels or powders.

Not using them correctly

Haphazardly throwing a pod into the dishwasher is something you should never do. It's a common mistake that completely changes how effectively your dishes are cleaned. Multiple cycles happen after you start your dishwasher, so your pod shouldn't dissolve too early, or the detergent will release before it's supposed to. Oh So Spotless explains that you must put the pod into the detergent drawer. Doing this allows water to reach the soap at the correct time rather than during the pre-wash cycle.

You also don't want to ever handle a dishwasher pod with wet hands. If you do this, water will likely breach the barrier that keeps the detergent in the pod. Not only will this affect your dishes, but it can also ruin an entire box of pods. Once one of them gets wet, it can start leaking as the coating melts, causing it to stick to the others around it. Once they all get stuck together, pulling out an individual pod becomes a Herculean task.

Not storing them correctly

Another common mistake is not storing your pods correctly. Although they will eventually lose their cleaning power and expire, they can last past their expiration date if you are careful about storing them. KitchenCuddle explains that dishwasher pods usually last from 6 to 15 months. However, if you keep them dry, they can last up to 2 years.

The best way to keep your dishwasher pods away from moisture is by storing them in an air-tight container. Most are already sold in bags or boxes like this, so you won't have to worry; just make sure to always completely close the packaging after use. You may think they're dry because your hands are not wet when you reach in to grab one, but humidity is the real problem. Leaving the container open means moisture from a humid kitchen can reach the pods. Just like when water is dripped onto them, a humid kitchen can turn your entire package into one large, messy clump.