Where Do You Put Dishwasher Pods?

There has been some confusion recently on where dishwasher pods should be put to get the dishes sparklingly clean. Everyone knows that dishwasher detergent powder and gel should be placed in the dispenser drawer but what about dishwasher pods?

The confusion seems to be because laundry pods are thrown directly into the drum of the washing machine and dishwasher pods are similar to laundry pods in appearance at least.

If you are confused about where to put dishwasher pods, keep reading. In this article we look at dishwasher pods and explain how to use them, where to put them and how to store them.

Where Should Dishwasher Pods Be Put?

Experts agree that dishwasher pods should be put in the detergent dispenser on the dishwasher. This is because the compartment opens at the correct time in the cycle to ensure the dishes get properly clean.

You will find the dispenser on the inside of the dishwasher door. All you need to do is place the pod in the dispenser, it doesn’t matter which way round it’s placed either. You should then shut the compartment ensuring you hear it click shut correctly.

Some dishwashers have another detergent compartment which is also found on the inside of the door often next to the main compartment. This second compartment is for putting prewash or detergents used to soak extremely dirty dishes.

Dishwasher pods should not be placed in this prewash compartment because they’re not designed to be used in a prewash. If you intend to use a prewash, you should opt for a powder or gel.

Can The Dishwasher Pod Be Thrown Loose Inside The Dishwasher?

dishwasher pods

Laundry pods can be thrown directly into the drum of a washing machine which is why there is some confusion regarding dishwasher pods. However, dishwasher pods are designed to be used in conjunction with the detergent dispenser compartment and not thrown into the base of the tub.

If you were to simply throw the dishwasher pod into the base of the dishwasher tub, it would start to dissolve and release detergent during the prewash phase.

This would mean that by the time the cycle moved onto the wash phase, the detergent would be all but gone. This would result in your dishes not getting cleaned properly.

Dishwasher pods have a PVA gel casing which dissolves easily in water. Which is why the detergent would be gone before the main wash cycle started if the pod was placed directly in the tub.

When the dishwasher starts, it sprays water over the dishes to loosen any dirt and debris before the main wash cycle begins. Once the main wash cycle starts the dispenser drawer opens sending the detergent pod onto the base of the tub.

The water dissolves the PVA gel casing and the detergent gets mixed with water to ensure all of the dishes get properly cleaned.

Are Dishwasher Pods Likely To Clog The Dishwasher?

If the PVA gel casing doesn’t dissolve completely there is a possibility of it creating a film which could, over time clog the dishwasher. This would be more likely if you failed to run a hot service wash regularly and neglected to clean the dishwasher’s filter regularly too.

However, by placing the dishwasher pod in the detergent dispenser and allowing it to be released at the correct point in the wash cycle, should result in the whole pod getting washed away completely.

There are a few things you can do to ensure there’s never any complications due to using dishwasher pods which include;

Keep Dishwasher Pods Dry Before Use

You should store dishwasher pods in a watertight container to prevent them becoming sticky before use. When handling dishwasher pods ensure your hands are dry.

You should also ensure the detergent compartment is dry before placing the pod inside.

Remove Any Sticky Residue From The Detergent Dispenser

After emptying the dishes from the dishwasher, inspect the dispenser drawer and remove any sticky residue using a damp cloth. Then dry the compartment using a dry cloth or kitchen paper.

This will prevent any unwanted mishaps when using the next dishwasher pod.

Only Use Good Quality Dishwasher Pods

Many of the problems reported by dishwasher owners concern the use of inferior quality pods. Always use top quality pods, in fact many dishwasher manufacturers recommend particular brands. 

Bosch for example recommends Finish dishwasher pods. Consult your user manual for specific information.

What Could Cause Dishwasher Pods To Not Dissolve?


If you have used a good quality dishwasher pod of the type recommended by your dishwasher manufacturer, and you placed it in the dispenser drawer, and it never dissolved properly you’ll need to check the following;

  • Low Water Pressure
  • Incorrect Water Temperature
  • Malfunctioning Spray Arms

Low Water Pressure

If your dishwasher is suffering from an issue due to low water pressure it will prevent enough water from entering your appliance. This will prevent the pod from fully dissolving.

The cause could be a twisted inlet hose, defective water inlet valve, blocked inlet screen or a problem with your water supply. You can visually check the inlet hose, inlet valve and inlet screen and if there’s a problem, deal with it.

You can check the water pressure entering your home by filling a 1 gallon (4.5 litre) bucket with cold water from the cold tap in your kitchen. If it takes 30 seconds or less to fill, your home’s water pressure is adequate.

If it takes longer than 30 seconds, you could have low water pressure entering your home. You will need to contact the water authority to get this resolved.

Incorrect Water Temperature

Dishwasher pods typically need hot water to dissolve correctly.  You may need to select a hotter wash cycle to successfully dissolve the pods completely.

However, if the dishwasher pods don’t dissolve even after selecting a hotter wash cycle, you will need to contact a technician to check the heating element is working correctly.

Malfunctioning Spray Arms

All of the water that runs through your dishwasher goes through the spray arms. If the dishwasher has been loaded incorrectly, the spray arms could be restricted and not distribute enough water to dissolve the pod.

In some cases the nozzles on the spray arms could become clogged with grease, fat or limescale which will restrict the water flow. You can remove these blockages by soaking the spray arms in warm soapy water or white vinegar. 

Then prising the blockages out using a wooden toothpick. Take care to prise the blockage out and not force it in further.

Alternatives To Dishwasher Pods

dishwasher tablets

If you can’t get on with using dishwasher pods, there are several alternatives that you can use. These include;

  • Dishwasher Tablets
    These tablets are similar to pods with some having a PVA casing while others are PVA free. They should be placed in the dispenser drawer in the same way and treated the same way too. They need to be kept dry before use and the dispenser drawer should be dry before the tablet is placed inside.
  • Dishwasher Powder
    Dishwasher powder comes in a granulated form and is poured into the dispenser drawer. You can adjust the amount you use based on how dirty your dishes are.
  • Dishwasher Gel
    This is a gel form of detergent that is poured into the dispenser drawer. Dishwasher gel works well for quick washes and short cycles and is often less expensive than pods.
  • Eco Dishwasher Detergents
    There are various companies producing eco-friendly alternative dishwasher detergents. They typically use no plastics, are free from chemicals and use biodegradable compounds.

How To Get The Best From Your Dishwasher

loading a dishwasher

Now that we’ve addressed the problems associated with dishwasher pods not dissolving properly, here are some helpful tips for getting the best from your appliance.

  • Remove Excess Food & Debris
    To help prevent the filter from clogging on your dishwasher, you should scrape excess food from the dishes.
  • Ensure The Dishes Are Stacked Correctly
    When stacking dishes in the dishwasher, always ensure the spray arms can rotate properly and that there are no utensils or pot handles likely to prevent the detergent dispenser from opening.
  • Use The Recommended Detergent For Your Appliance
    Some manufacturers recommend particular brands of dishwasher detergent for optimum performance. Consult your user manual for specific instructions.
  • Always Select The Best Temperature For The Wash Load
    For best results using a hot wash is usually the preferred cycle to ensure detergents dissolve properly.
  • Have A Regular Cleaning Schedule
    To keep your dishwasher running at its best, you need to run a hot service wash once per month at least. This should be performed in an empty dishwasher using a commercial dishwasher cleaner or a bowl of white vinegar. The filter should also be cleaned once per month as well as cleaning the door seal (gasket) and wiping the exterior down as well.

SEE ALSO: Dishwasher Salt Alternatives (what you can use instead)
SEE ALSO: How Much Salt Do I Put In A Dishwasher? (the true answer)

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you just throw the pod in the dishwasher?

It is not advisable to throw the pod in the dishwasher. It should be placed in the dispenser drawer to ensure it is released at the correct point in the wash cycle.

Where does the plastic from dishwasher pods go?

The plastic from dishwasher pods is water soluble and washes away with the waste water.

Are pods better than liquid dishwasher detergents?

In recent studies, it was found that the best quality dishwasher pods were more effective than the best quality liquid dishwasher detergents. Plus the pods are premeasured so there’s no confusion as to the amount needed per wash load.

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