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Learn how to use laundry pods correctly

Learning to use pods can help you save time and keep things moving on laundry day. Keep reading to learn 5 simple steps for using pods in your front or top load washer, including how to determine pod dosage, when to add them to your washer and how to store them away. Discover some tips on what to try when pods won’t dissolve and learn more about laundry pod ingredients.

How to use laundry pods

Laundry pods are designed with simplicity and convenience in mind, so learning to use them is relatively easy. Read through the five steps below to get started.

What you’ll need
  • Laundry detergent pods


Full laundry basket icon

Step 1: Gauge dosing by load size

Size up your laundry pile to determine if the load size is small, medium or large. The number of pods you’ll need and the detergent concentration may vary by brand, so refer to your pod detergent’s use instructions for specifics on dosing by load size.

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Step 2: Remove pods with dry hands

Laundry pods are water soluble and begin dissolving as soon as they come into contact with liquid, so be sure to remove the correct number of pods from the detergent packaging using completely dry hands.

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Step 3: Add pods to washer

Add pods to the washer tub before clothing, either to the back or bottom of the tub and never to the detergent dispenser unless you’re directed to by your washer’s manufacturer. Adding them to an empty tub helps them dissolve properly and can help prevent detergent streaks or residue on clothing.

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Step 4: Add clothes and start

Toss clothing into the washer on top of the laundry pods, then select the cleaning cycle as you normally would to accommodate the load’s soil level, size and fabrics.


Disable bulk dispensers

If you have a washer with an automatic bulk dispenser, like Whirlpool® Washers featuring the Load & Go™ Dispenser, be sure to turn off or disable it before adding laundry packs to avoid a double dose of detergent.

Laundry pod in packaging icon

Step 5: Store pods

Be sure to seal packaging tightly and store pods away in a secure location per package instructions. 

Why doesn’t my laundry pod dissolve?

Partially dissolved pods can be the result of adding the pods after clothing, an overfilled washer tub, exceptionally cold water or a wash cycle that was cut short. You can likely remedy the situation by ensuring pods are added to an empty tub, allowing the cycle to run its course and using a warm water temperature when water is uniquely cold during winter months. 

If you continue noticing that pods aren’t dissolving completely, consider an alternative like Swash® detergent1 that features a precision pour cap for similar dosing convenience without worrying about pod residue.

Do pods have fabric softener?

Some laundry pods only include a concentrated dose of liquid laundry detergent in their simplest form, but lots of brands offer pods packed with extras. A few may incorporate a dose of fabric softener while others work in extras like stain removers, scent boosters or fabric brighteners. Check the details on the packaging to find out what’s in your laundry pods.

Do laundry pods expire?

Your laundry pod packaging may include an “expiration” or “best used by” date, but every brand is different. Refer to your product packaging to find out how long your pods last, then be sure to use them within the specified time frame.

What’s the difference between liquid detergent and pods?

Laundry pods are film-coated packets of concentrated liquid or powder detergent designed to dissolve when they come into contact with the water in a wash cycle. Unlike traditional liquid or powder detergent, pods are pre-measured and typically include a single dose of detergent per pod. Traditional liquid detergent like Swash® detergent easily dissolves in any water temperature and doubles as a pre-treatment for stains, while pods are a quick and convenient alternative for any laundry load.

Are laundry pods bad for your washer?

Pods are generally safe for your washing machine, but always check your model’s owner’s manual. Be sure to take a few precautions as you work them into your laundry routine. Disable any bulk or automatic dispensers in your washer to avoid a double dose of detergent. Verify that the laundry pods have an “HE” designation when using a high-efficiency washing machine and always follow the pod manufacturer’s instructions for dosing and storage.

What are some alternatives to laundry pods?

One hallmark of laundry pods is their convenient, hassle-free dosing — although they’re not your only option for quick and easy laundry prep. Some washers from Whirlpool brand, for instance, feature the Load & Go Dispenser that automatically adds the right amount of detergent. Simply fill the dispenser once every 20–40 loads and let your washer take care of accurately dosing and dispensing detergent for you. You can also add Swash® detergent1 to your laundry routine, which features a precision pour cap that dispenses the right amount of detergent so you only pour what you need.

Shop Whirlpool® washers

Top and front load washers from Whirlpool brand feature the settings, cycles and extras you need to keep laundry moving with ease. Select models feature the Load & Go Dispenser that automatically senses your laundry load size and adds just the right amount of detergent for you.

Learn more laundry care tips

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1. Swash® detergent and the recommending brands are owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.