Have you ever put laundry pods (or pacs) in your dishwasher and vice versa because you ran out of one or the other? Some of us are guilty of this improvisation but are the two really interchangeable? No, they are not! It can actually be quite damaging to use dishwasher pods and laundry pods where they do not belong.

Dishwasher pods vs laundry pods: Although both of them do contain common ingredients such as cleaning agents, enzymes, stabilizers, and fragrances, they also have many differences. Laundry pods contain oxygen bleach, polymers, builders, brighteners, and softeners which aren’t found in dishwasher pods and are sudsier, while the latter contains very harsh chlorine bleach and high pH chemicals which are not found in the first.

Put simply, even if you do not feel any difference other than the fact that one is frothier, they have more serious differences and are just not meant to be used interchangeably!

Dishwasher pods

Automatic dishwasher pods are even different from dishwashing liquid or soap, and that is even worse in this case. Since they do not rely on scrubbing dishes using hands, they contain very harsh, brute force chemicals meant to work only in a dishwasher environment. You cannot even use them to wash the dishes by hand without badly affecting your skin let alone using them to do laundry.

Dishwasher pods contain very strong chlorine bleach. It is a much stronger oxidizing agent than oxygen bleach and is not good for fibers like cotton and wool. Because it can damage most clothes, it is not used in laundry pods. It can permanently bleach your clothes (strip their color) and even make them lose their elasticity and strength. Fibers are not hard like dishes!

The smell of chlorine bleach is very harsh too.

Dishwasher pods have fast-acting enzymes that can break down crusted food and stubborn grease stuck to our dishes. Moreover, the pH of dishwasher pods is very high and that can damage skin and fabrics too.

Dishwasher pods also have a distinctive smell that is too strong and chemical for clothes. Imagine your clothes smelling like dishwashing detergent instead of the pleasant flowery smells in laundry detergents.

See Also: 5 Best Dishwasher Detergents For Coffee Stains

Laundry pods

Forewarning: Do not use laundry pods in your dishwasher if you do not want a kitchen full of foam!

Oh yes, laundry pods are extremely sudsy. If you make the mistake of popping them into your dishwasher, you might end up with foam leaking and pouring out of your dishwasher. It may even get into the vents and insides of your dishwasher and damage it. Plus, it would block the water spray effectively rinsing out your dishes.

Laundry pods have oxygen bleach, which is very effective for fabrics but less harsh than chlorine bleach.

They also contain brighteners, fragrances, softeners, anti-soiling chemicals, and other ingredients that leave some residue on your clothes. Using a laundry pod in the dishwasher would thus be harmful because it would not rinse off of your dishes completely. Since we eat from dishes, dishwasher pods are not supposed to contain chemicals that would leave any kind of toxic traces.

Other ingredients found in laundry pods are builders that make surfactants less susceptible to water hardness, anti-redeposition agents which bind to impurities and prevent them from redepositing on the clothes, and enzymes to break down protein, fat, and sugars.

Dishwasher pods vs laundry pods

The following table summarizes the differences between dishwasher and laundry pods as explained above.

Dishwasher Pods Laundry Pods
Contain chlorine bleach, very harsh and strong-smelling, could permanently bleach fabric   Contain oxygen bleach, which is effective for fabric but less harsh than chlorine bleach
Very high pH, damaging to the skin and fabric   pH can be near neutral to high
Stronger enzymes to break down crusted food   Enzymes to break down protein, fat and sugars
Less sudsyVery sudsy, can cause foam to pour out of vents if used in dishwasher  
Contain surfactants Also contain surfactants, but ones that are less susceptible to water hardness  
Can contain anti-redeposition agents   Contain anti-redeposition agents
Do not contain chemicals that could leave harmful residues or films on dishes Contain brighteners, fragrances, softeners, anti-soiling chemicals, and other ingredients that leave some residue
Smell is harsher and chemical, not long-lasting   Contain long-lasting very pleasant fragrances

So the bottom line is, even though dishwasher pods and laundry pods both look pretty alike and do contain some similar chemicals like surfactants, enzymes and bleaches, they are made to work in different conditions, have different kind of compounds and different strengths.

If you use a laundry pod in a dishwasher, you would be responsible for any damage to it and your warranty would no longer be valid either. You’d also be exposing yourself to toxic chemicals that would be left on the dishes and in the environment if they are vaporized by the heat of the dishwasher.

Likewise, you would not want your laundry to be stripped off color and shape by harsh dishwasher chemicals.

Since they are manufactured for different purposes, they obviously cannot be interchanged without incurring some negative effects. So next time you run out of either, just pop out to buy more instead of trying something not made for the same purpose!

Related Questions

Are dishwasher pods better than liquid?

Dishwasher pods are overall more effective with cleaning, very convenient to use, and reliable compared to liquid counterparts. They are also very easy to store and never make a mess. Liquids can get messy and it is hard to determine the amount you should pour into your dishwasher. Pods are user-friendly because all you have to do is toss one in the washer without worrying about measurement.

Another con of liquids is that they come in plastic bottles, which are not environment friendly. On the other hand, the packaging on pods is water-soluble and dissolves completely, leaving no packaging to dispose of or contribute to waste.

The only downside is that pods are costlier. However, people are willing to pay a higher price for convenience.

See Also: 5 Best Dishwasher Detergent For Samsung

Is it cheaper to use pods or liquid detergent?

Liquid detergent. Pods or pacs are more expensive to use than liquid detergent, about 50 percent more in fact. They are still sold lesser than liquid detergents but have become very popular in very little time ever since they were introduced, simply because of convenience.

Are dishwasher pods toxic?

Compared to powder and soap, they are more toxic. The worst part is that they look like small, colorful candies on the outside and so children are attracted to them. There have been complaints about children eating these poisonous pods and ending up in the hospital emergency department.

See Also: Can I Use Dishwasher Detergent To Hand Wash Dishes

What can be used as a substitute for laundry detergent?

Ran out of laundry detergent in an emergency? Don’t worry, there are substitutes available at home. If you must, add baking soda to whatever is left of your laundry detergent to increase its volume or just use it separately; you’ll be surprised to see that it works almost like detergent! You can also use vinegar to remove tight stains. Other options are bar soaps, body wash and shampoos.

Warning: Automatic dishwasher detergents (liquids or pods) are a big no, as they are too harsh and can damage your clothes.

See Also:
Can I Use Dishwasher Detergent To Hand Wash Dishes
Can You Put Tupperware In The Dishwasher
Can You Use Dish Soap In A Pressure Washer

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