Laundry pods have become all the rage in the last couple of years. They’re practical, efficient, and come in cute little packages. But is there a right and wrong way of using them? What can you do to make the most of your laundry pods to avoid the streaking and spotting pitfalls?
What Are Laundry Pods?
For those of you just learning about laundry pods, I’ll do a quick breakdown to show you what they are and how they work.
Basically, laundry packs or pods are water-soluble pouches of concentrated laundry detergent and fabric softener.
Some of the biggest laundry pod manufacturers include Tide, Persil, and Purex. They work just as well, if not better, than liquid or powdered detergent and are more eco-friendly. Their biggest drawback, though, is that they come with a heftier price tag.
Benefits of Using Laundry Pods
After just a few short years on the market, pods have become more popular than powdered detergent. The biggest reason for this overtake is that the packs are just so convenient to use.
You don’t have to lug big bags of detergent from the store or to the laundromat. What’s more, you don’t have to worry about them ever drying out or clumping together, like powder does.
Since every pod is essentially pre-measured, there’s little room for error, especially if you’re just learning how to do laundry. You will get more consistent results when you use pods.
Pods are also rather convenient for those who have disabilities, like rheumatoid arthritis or limited movement in their hands or arms. They’re light, easy to hold, and won’t spill if your hands are shaking, for example.
When to Use Laundry Pods
The #1 rule of washing clothes with laundry pods is to add the pod before you put your clothes in. If you put a pod on top of your load, chances are, it won’t dissolve all the way through. Instead, it will leave stains on your clothes and sheets.
You might also see streaking or spotting if you’ve overloaded your washing machine. In that case, there’s not enough water to get through to the pod.
Another unfortunate side effect of overloading is that it can make the washing machine rather noisy.
Where to Use Laundry Pods
Let’s get this out of the way — you can use laundry pods in almost all types of washing machines. Time has shown that they work great for both front- and top-loading models.
However, if your washing machine has an automatic detergent and fabric softener dispenser, skip the laundry pods! Those washers require you to use regular liquid or powdered detergents, so pods just won’t cut it.
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making with their laundry pods is putting them in their dispenser drawers. That’s a huge no-no! Instead, put them directly into your washer’s drum, right before you load it with clothes or sheets.
Cold Winter Water
It’s true — laundry pods dissolve in both cold and warm water, so you don’t have to worry about using them with specific cycles.
That said, during the winter, the water that goes into your washer might be too cold for the pod. If that’s the case, the pod won’t dissolve all the way through, and once again, you’ll have a streaky nightmare on your hands.
If you see that it’s not working properly, you can try putting the pod in a cup or jar of warm water before you throw it in the wash. That way, you’ll guarantee that it dissolves all the way through.
Just be careful when you’re putting the pack back into the washing machine. Try not to touch it with your bare hands.
How Many Laundry Pods Is Enough?
Since laundry pods are significantly more expensive than other types of detergent, you don’t want to waste them. Even though some manufacturers recommend two or three packs per load, that’s usually overkill.
If you have a standard washing machine that can handle around 12 pounds of laundry, one pod is more than enough. However, if your washer is a bit bigger than normal, and you can fit 20 pounds inside, I recommend putting two packs.
A Low-Suds Formula
Most laundry pods have almost the exact same formula as their liquid or powdered counterparts from the same company, but with one key difference. Pods produce a lot less suds than any other detergent.
That’s actually a huge plus, especially for washing machines that use low levels of water during their cycles. Keep in mind that there’s no real proof that detergents with suds wash your laundry better.
In fact, it’s often the other way around; a huge amount of suds can redeposit soil and stains on your laundry. Also, they can make your clothes and sheets look duller and not as soft.
Storing Laundry Pods
Now that you know how to use your laundry pods, it’s time to learn how to store them.
Almost all laundry pods, no matter who makes them, are pretty colorful and resemble candy. So, kids are usually drawn to them and might want to try and eat them.
The best course of action here is to store your pods in the container they came in. Make sure that it’s always properly closed. Also, put it on a high shelf somewhere, where it’s completely out of reach.
You should avoid leaving the pods on your counter or washing machine while you’re preparing your laundry. While a small child might not be able to reach them, your dog very well could.
In Case of Ingestion
If someone, by whatever freak accident, manages to get into your container and ingest the laundry pods, here’s what you should do.
First, get them to drink water or milk to try and dilute it. Don’t try to induce vomiting because that’ll do more harm than good.
If the symptoms are mild, like coughing, nausea, or drooling, call Poison Control. They’ll walk you through the other symptoms and tell you what you should do.
But if the symptoms are more severe, call 911 or go directly to an emergency room. There’s no antidote for detergent poisoning. As such, the doctors will probably administer an IV and monitor the patient for a few days.
Mistakes to Avoid
If you accidentally put too many pods into your load or the water was too cold, and they didn’t dissolve, don’t worry — there’s an easy fix. Simply rewash your clothes without adding any extra detergent or fabric softener.
If you have some spots on your laundry, don’t put it back into the dryer, because that’ll only solidify the stains.
You shouldn’t be handling the pods with wet hands either. If you do that, the packs will start dissolving, and they might even burn your skin.
Another mistake that I see loads of people making is thinking that laundry pods and dishwasher tablets are interchangeable. When you put packs into a dishwasher, they can release toxins, which irritate the skin or lungs if you breathe them in.
On the other hand, putting dishwasher tablets into your washer could bleach your clothes and sheets. Even worse, your laundry won’t be washed at all!
As you can see, figuring out how to use laundry pods is pretty simple, provided you follow the golden rules. Remember to put them in before you load your washer, make sure that the water is not too cold, and don’t use more packs than you need to.
On top of that, keep both yourself and your family safe by hiding them on a high shelf and never putting them in your dishwasher.