Maybe you’re one of the millions of people across the internet who saw a TikTok video (see below) or two claiming we have all been using dishwasher detergent pods wrong. The theory is that the pods can sometimes get stuck in the dispenser or prevent it from opening during the wash cycle. So instead of using the dedicated dispenser, the pod should be thrown into the bottom of the dishwasher. One appliance expert even suggested putting the pod in the silverware caddy.
Admittedly, the debate of where to place the dishwasher pod has been ongoing in my home for months after my partner saw videos just like these. So I set out to settle it by reaching out to the experts. Here’s what I found out.
Since this controversy started on TikTok, it seemed appropriate to find an appliance expert on the platform to help me get to the bottom of the dishwasher detergent pod dilemma. I reached out to Renae DuHaime, an appliance repair technician located in Connecticut, who accrued a huge audience on TikTok by sharing educational appliance content.
DuHaime admits that they were originally a proponent of adding the dishwasher pods in the utensil caddy, especially for those who frequently had trouble with sticky dispensers. However, after Cascade, a popular brand of dishwashing products, invited them to tour the company headquarters and testing facilities, they’re firm on what best to do: “Dishwasher detergent pods should always go in the detergent dispenser of your dishwasher unless otherwise specified by the detergent packaging or dishwasher manual.”
In fact, many home experts warned against tossing the dishwasher pod into the base of the dishwasher because it would fully dissolve and drain out in the initial rinse cycle and the wash cycle would run with just water and no detergent. Turns out that those home experts are right and Duhaime agrees.
“The majority of dishwashers have a pre-wash portion of the cycle, so if you put the detergent pod anywhere other than the dispenser, 85% of the pod will be washed away in the pre-wash before the main wash even begins.”
So what are you supposed to do about those sticky dispensers or pods that don’t fully dissolve? DuHaime shares three tips:
1. Wipe out your dishwasher’s detergent dispenser before adding a tab.
“The main reason why people have issues with pods not dissolving is user error. The packaging specifies that the pods must be kept dry and if the dispenser is wet when the pod is inserted, it can stick.” So make sure to dry the inside of the dispenser with a rag before adding a tab.
2. Use dry hands when adding the detergent pod to the dispenser.
Even a small amount of moisture can cause the pod to begin dissolving and make it stick in the dispenser. Dry your hands before reaching for a pod.
3. Load your dishwasher correctly.
“Loading dishes parallel to the door can block the water from getting into the dispenser once it’s opened, which would prevent the pod from dissolving as well.” Load the dishes, especially the ones on the bottom rack, perpendicular to the dishwasher door.
Now that the dishwasher pod debate is settled in my house, we can return to debating who is in charge of loading the dishes and whether they’ve been loaded correctly.