How to Use Laundry Pods the Right Way

Trust us, learning how to use detergent pods will take your laundry game up a level.

If you’re dealing with a constant cycle of dirty clothes and a questionable grasp of laundry basics, we understand. You’re not the only one who has no idea what those laundry symbols mean.

While there’s no way to make your laundry clean itself, certain products can make the job easier. Learning how to use Tide Pods or any other brand of laundry packet correctly can help. They’re mess free, require no measuring and are easy to pop in the wash. Plus, they won’t take up space in a crowded laundry room.

Yes, you can master the art of laundry, including how to separate laundry, how to pick the best laundry detergent, how to use fabric softener properly and how to make homemade laundry detergent. And one of the best ways to start is learning how to use Tide Pods correctly, and why they really work.

Benefits of Laundry Pods

You have a lot of detergent options these days. When comparing liquid vs. powder detergent vs. pods, two main considerations are convenience and environmental friendliness.

“Liquid laundry packets are great for consumers who are looking for laundry detergent in an easy-to-use, less messy form in a pre-measured amount,” says Tide senior scientist Jessica Zinna, Ph.D. “They are convenient to transport [for shared laundry facilities] and take the guesswork out of measuring with convenient, pre-portioned doses.”

The format also “allows for the use of more-concentrated detergents,” she says. “This means less water in cleaning product formulas, which results in reduced packaging waste and less weight when transporting these products.” All of that makes them a good choice for the environmentally conscious.

How do Tide Pods Work?

Before you learn how to use Tide Pods correctly, you first have to understand how laundry pods work. These small packets contain a concentrated form of detergent with cleaning properties comparable to liquids and powders.

“They typically contain liquid cleaning ingredients in a dissolvable film that can be added directly into the washer drum,” Zinna says. “When the packet comes into contact with water, the film dissolves, allowing the cleaning ingredients to do their job and remove yucky stains and odors from your laundry.”

How to Use Tide Pods

Both standard and high-efficiency (HE) washing machines work with laundry pods. But there are some rules to make sure a Tide Pod dissolves properly.

“The best way to use liquid laundry packets is to put them into the drum first [before adding clothes],” Zinna says. “Place the [pods] at the back or bottom of the machine drum, not in the dispenser drawer.”

How Many Tide Pods Per Load is Best?

That depends on the size of the load and how soiled your laundry is, just as your washer and dryer settings depend on what’s in the machine. “As washing machines become larger, so do load sizes,” Zinna says. “This means there’s more dirt going into each load, which requires more cleaning power.”

In general, she recommends following this guide:

  • Large loads: Three Tide pods.
  • Average-sized loads: Two Tide pods.
  • Small loads: One Tide pod.

Dosing directions may vary by product, she says, so refer to your specific package instructions.

When to Use Laundry Pods

Whether you want to run a quick load of lightly soiled garments or need to deep clean your kid’s muddy soccer uniform, you can use a laundry pod.

For your dirtier loads, Zinna suggests “high-quality liquid laundry packets like Tide Hygienic Clean Heavy Duty Power Pods because they deliver better performance with more-concentrated cleaning ingredients.” Another option: Arm & Hammer’s Plus OxiClean Five-in-One Power Paks.

Liquid vs. Powder Detergent vs. Pod

In general, liquid or powder laundry detergent will be cheaper per load than laundry pods. But there’s a caveat, Zinna says: “Because liquid laundry packets often provide better cleaning performance, stain removal and freshness, they can be a great option if you’re looking for overall value in your laundry routine.”

If a Tide Pod Doesn’t Dissolve, What Does it Mean?

“Typically, the cause of liquid laundry packets not dissolving in the wash is improper use, like adding the packet after clothes instead of before,” Zinna says. That can create issues because the packet needs as much contact with water as possible for the film to dissolve.

Your washing machine temperature may also be to blame. “If you are still having issues with dissolution, switch to warmer water during winter months or when water is especially cold,” Zinna says.

Safest Way to Store Laundry Pods

Store laundry packets in the container they came in. Putting them in glass jars can make them look like candy.

“Like any other household cleaning product, keep liquid laundry packets out of the reach and sight of children,” Zinna says. “Do not let children handle liquid laundry packets, even with supervision.”

Popular Videos

Reader's Digest
Originally Published on Reader's Digest

Maryn Liles
Maryn is a home and travel expert who’s covered everything from the best robotic vacuums to the most remote destinations around the world. She's also the founder of Connected Content Co.—an SEO and creative content agency that's done work for Reader's Digest, HGTV, Walmart, Better Homes & Gardens and others. When she's not writing, you can find her working on her latest home DIY project, out for a hike or dancing around the house to 80s jams.