Dishwasher Pods Vs. Liquid – Which To Choose For Your Kitchen?

In recent years, the ways and materials you use to wash your dishes have made some innovative leaps. Dishwasher pods are on the rise in popularity, and you may be wondering if they are suitable for your kitchen.

We have looked at all the available information comparing dishwasher pods and liquid dishwasher detergent and have some answers.

In most tests run by trusted sources, dish pods have come ahead of their liquid counterparts.

When considering what is best for your kitchen, it will depend on what you are willing to spend per load and what type of cleaning power you need.

  • Cascade Platinum ActionPac has the superior cleaning power
  • For the best clean at the lowest cost, use Cascade gel
  • Cascade Free And Clear ActionPac is the best low fragrance detergent
  • Finish Powerball Quantum leaves the best shine
  • Method is a preferred bio-based option

We know that's quite a list! We'll go into each detergent and discuss why it earns a top spot on the various tests. Keep reading as we go deeper into pods vs. liquid detergent so that you can make the best decision for your dishwasher.

Close-up of hand in yellow rubber glove putting detergent tablet into dishwater - Dishwasher Pods Vs. Liquid - Which To Choose For Your Kitchen

How To Choose Dishwasher Detergent

Dishwasher Capsule hand holds the capsule

Most consumers and product testers agree that pods will generally win over detergent when comparing the final product.

Since they often include two or three different types of cleaning products, they can even power clean food that has been stuck on for a day or two or burnt on food.

Some liquid detergents performed well and were rated highly as a cost-effective option. At the same time, Cascade ActionPacs seemed to do better in a wider variety of tests and is a favorite with consumers.

Often your dishwasher manufacturer will recommend the best products to use with your dishwasher.

You'll want to consider cost, convenience, and overall cleaning power when choosing on your own. The following are some of the top brands and what they have to offer.

Cascade Platinum ActionPac Has Superior Cleaning Power

In most tests, Cascade pods came out as either first place or a runner-up in the final results. These pods combine both powder detergent and gel for maximum cleaning.

Some pods even added the grease-fighting ability of Dawn. Good Housekeeping gave a seal of approval to Cascade Platinum ActionPac for its superior cleaning power.

With no need to pre-wash the platinum pods, although more costly per load, they may save money with less water per wash.

They also perform well in the dishwasher's quick wash and other shorter cycles. Consumers were impressed with how the dishes looked compared to the job done by other brands.

Click here to see it on Amazon here.

For Best Clean At The Lowest Cost, Use Cascade Gel

If you want a lower-cost option than the pods or more control over dosage, you may want to use a liquid detergent.

Cascade gel performed better than other liquids in various tests and provided a cost-effective counter option to their ActionPacs.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Cascade Free And Clear ActionPac Is Best For Low Fragrance

Luckily, Cascade offers low fragrance options if you are bothered by the strong smell that leaves the dishwasher or that may be on the dishes after a cleaning session.

Cascade Free And Clear Action Pacs clean well without overpowering the senses. They contain no dyes, phosphates, or chlorine.

Follow this link to view it on Amazon.

Finish Powerball Quantum Leaves The Best Shine

Many agree that the Powerball Quantum from Finish leaves the best shine. The company is known for its shiny finish from the glasses drying product, which lends the same formula to its pods.

The Finish brand is recommended by many dishwasher manufacturers and has garnered respect among consumers and testers for this latest offering.

It was great with baked-on food and glassware and is even recommended for use in hard water.

Click here to see these pods on Amazon.

Method Dishwasher Packs Are A Preferred Bio-Based Option

If you prefer an eco-friendly plant-based option, there are now many to choose from. Method pods performed better than liquid and other top brands in many tests.

It was able to clean dried-on food and produced spotless dishes without harsh chemicals. It's also fragrance-free for those who are sensitive.

Click here to see this product on Amazon.

Why Should You Not Use Dishwasher Pods?

There may be times when the liquid detergents could serve you better. Pods are single-dose and formulated for a full dishwasher.

If you are washing lighter loads or dishes that have already been rinsed, you may want to go with a liquid, as pods can cause residue in lighter loads.

In many brands, dishwasher pods appear colorful and attractive and can look like candy to children.

If you have pods in your home with children, it's essential to store them in a place where they are childproof. Some families with children opt not to use them since they are attractive to kids.

Close-up of hand in yellow rubber glove putting detergent tablet into dishwater

Are Cascade Pods Bad For Your Dishwasher?

Generally, pods are not bad for dishwashers. In older or weaker dishwashers, they may not be a good choice as the film might not dissolve, clogging the dishwasher.

When you use any detergent for the first time, inspect your dishwasher for residue and buildup to see how your dishwasher is faring with your detergent.

ActionPac Not Dissolving - What To Do?

The pods from Cascade are formulated, so you can just put them in the dispenser and close the door. Do not puncture the packets or moisten them before use.

If they are not dissolving, it could be for a few reasons. It may have gotten caught in the dispenser cup. Make sure you handle the pods with dry hands to avoid them getting stuck in the dispenser.

In many cases, there wasn't enough water in the cycle. You can test it by putting a mug in the dishwasher. The mug should be full at the end of a cycle.

Follow your manufacturer's recommendations for loading a dishwasher and make sure nothing is blocking the flow of water.

To learn about cleaning your dishwasher, read  How To Clean Clogged Dishwasher Spray Arms, so it has maximum flow.

Newer dishwashers have sensors that will sense how dirty the water is.

While you should clear loose food from the dishes cleaning the dishes before putting them in the dishwasher can cause them not to run long enough, which can cause the pod not to dissolve completely.

What Happens To The Plastic In Detergent Pods?

Washing capsule pod isolated. Liquid detergent. Vector realistic

Another reason some consumers are not using pods is the debates around the contents of the plastic in the detergent pods.

Manufacturers say that in the proper temperatures in properly working dishwashers, the plastic on the pods will dissolve entirely and not contribute to plastic pollution.

Other experts disagree, saying that 75% of the PVA in the pods liquifies and passes through treatment systems without being removed.

Those who studied the effects are concerned that the PVA may harm groundwater and crops.

Can You Get PVA Free Dishwasher Pods?

Some tablets come without plastic but get poor reviews as they don't store well. Green and eco-friendly testers may recommend some products, but they have not been popular with consumers.

Dropps dishwasher pods are made up of PVOH. The type of  PVOH used in their product is not microplastic. It is an ingredient in food products.

In response to a consumer inquiry, they say that the materials in their product feature in around 50 studies showing they are an environmentally safe option.

They had three independent labs test their cleaning power, and they are popular with environmentally conscious consumers and those worried about toxic additives.

Many users state that the cleaning power of the pods was comparable to that of name-brand dishwasher pods.

Click here to see these on Amazon.

To Wrap It Up

Dishwashing liquid with a sponge on kitchen sink

Now that we've dived into the available information and have found that pods will win over liquid, in most cases, choose the best detergent for your dishwasher and personal preference.

Have more control over cost per load with a gel, or go with a pod for true worry-free cleaning power.

Made it to the end? You may also want to read the following posts:

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