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Liquid vs Powder vs Pod Detergent: A Dishwasher Guide

by Michael Webster

If you're finding a lot of food stains on your dishes after a session in the dishwasher, the problem may be the detergent you’re using. Dishwasher detergents aren't just a simple soap—they're a complex and ever-changing formulation of chemicals that work together to eliminate scraps and other food debris.

To make it even more confusing, dish detergents can come in powder, liquid, and now, pods. If you've caught yourself frozen in the supermarket aisle trying to parse the difference between ultra, super-ultra, and mega-ultra-variations of detergent, you’re not alone! Every type of detergent has pros and cons, so check out how these cleaning agents stack up when it comes to tackling dirty dishes.


Hand filling dishwasher with liquid into the dishwasher box.

Dishwashing liquids can be deemed the most common among the rest of the detergent forms, especially when you consider its uses throughout history. Dishwashing liquids can come in eco-friendly bottles, fruity scents, and a range of sizes to conquer any-size dish load.

And because dishwashing liquid is generally mild, it is frequently a better choice as a household cleaner than other harsh chemicals. That’s why it can be a great alternative to other grating cleaners, and it can be used for many purposes that don’t involve dishes at all, like cleaning furniture and other home appliances.


Box of powdered dishwasher soap with scoop inside.

If you’re looking for the most sustainable and eco-friendly option, powdered dishwasher detergent is the choice for you. Dishwasher powder is seen as the most effective against hard water (or water that leaves spots due to high mineral content) and is relatively inexpensive.

Using dishwasher powder also leaves you with some freedom, because you can adjust the amount used according to the number of dishes or utensils.


Woman puts the dishwasher pod in the dishwasher before washing.

Dishwasher detergents packed as pods can instantly benefit you in terms of size and use. Pods are small and already come in dosages, leaving you free to store them anywhere and not have to estimate measurements.

When it comes to cleaning power, pods perform just as well as tablets or other detergents, for those who don't mind paying for them. Although they aren’t the cheapest on the market, many have considered pods the most effective when it comes to taking down food stains and other after-eating grime. Plus, they’re hands-down the most convenient.

What's the Best Choice?

Each dishwasher detergent certainly has pros and cons that you’ll have to weigh according to your preferences and needs, but any choice you make will be sure to get the job done. As you reassess the type of detergent you use in your dishwasher, we highly recommend that you also check out the state of your kitchen appliances.

Uplift your kitchen by checking out our digital catalog or browsing our in-store inventory of our top home appliances from trusted brands.Call or visit us today!