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Here's Where You Should Put Your Dishwasher Detergent Pods

Southern Living 11/21/2022 Susan Hall Mahon

We asked appliance pros to explain.

The world of TikTok cleaning hacks can be exciting and even controversial. Dishwasher hacks and how-tos alone have clocked millions of views on the platform. With viral videos on how to shine up silverware with aluminum foil and the little-known fact that many machines have an adjustable second rack, it seems there is always something new to discover.

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A recent TikTok video, viewed 1.1 million times, makes an interesting claim about the proper place to put dishwashing detergent pods, and it sparked many “I never knew that!” comments. The trouble with the video is that dishwasher manuals and manufacturers themselves do not agree—except in one particular circumstance.

Here’s the story–and the bottom line on where you should be putting your dishwasher pods.

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In the viral TikTok video, the host advises placing detergent pods in the silverware basket or on the bottom of the dishwasher to avoid residue from the pod getting stuck in the detergent dispenser. 

Experts at both GE Appliances and Bosch advise against doing this (except in one instance, which we’ll explain below), because when a pod is loose in the machine at the start of a cycle, detergent will be released too early, resulting in an inadequate amount of detergent for the actual wash cycle.

“The extended water exposure will dissolve the tab very early into the cycle,” say the experts at Bosch. “As the dishwasher refreshes water during the cleaning cycle, the detergent will exit the dishwasher much faster than what is needed to fully wash the dishes.”

There are some dishwashers, like GE Appliances’ drawer-style models, that have pod-specific compartments, but in general, pods should be placed in the traditional detergent dispenser compartment.

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There is, however, one instance in which you should place your pod in a different spot: if you’re running an express cycle that’s 60 minutes or less in length.

In this case, place the pod into the pre-wash compartment of the detergent cup or in the bottom of the dishwasher, according to the experts at GE Appliances. “These cycles are designed to be shorter, which could result in bad detergent wash-out if the detergent is placed in the main wash compartment of the detergent cup.” 

And a final tip from the pros at Bosch: “Handling detergent pods with wet hands can lead to the pod sticking to the wall of the dispenser. Detergent pods should be handled with dry hands.”

As always with any home appliance, it’s best practice to consult your owner’s manual to ensure you’re operating it correctly.

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