Can you use dishwasher pods for laundry

Can you use dishwasher pods for laundry?

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I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in procrastinating with the piles of dirty laundry that need attention every week! 

Welcome to EnviroMom! x
Welcome to EnviroMom!

Dealing with laundry is not one of my favorite chores! Often, it is not until I am running out of clean comfortable underwear that I start taking action. 

Occasionally, the joys of managing a household take a much worse turn when I realize the washing machine smells a bit like sewage! I also realize that I have been procrastinating for months with giving my washing machine a good proper clean! 

All good until I realize, I don’t have any specific washing machine cleaning product! I really don’t feel like going out to buy some. 

That’s when I start looking around and thinking about what could possibly replace it? 

I have plenty of dishwasher pods. Could my dishwasher pods be used for my washing machine?

I am sorry to bring bad news, the answer is no. Not even in an emergency. 

dishwasher pods can damage washing machines
Dishwasher pods should not be used for laundry – not even in an emergency

Dishwasher detergent pods are not recommended for laundry, whether it’s for the purpose of cleaning a washing machine (on an empty cycle), or for cleaning your dirty clothes. 

Why can’t I use dishwasher detergent pods for laundry?

There are a few good reasons for that recommendation. Let’s address them:

Water temperature

Dishwashers operate at much higher temperatures than washing machines. Rightly so, as high water temperatures are likely to damage your clothes. 

Dishwasher pods are designed with these temperatures in mind and will dissolve accordingly. Cold water or warm water temperatures are unlikely to have the same effect leading to an “unbroken” or only “partially broken” pod. 

That could result in your clothes not coming out clean. But an even greater risk is to have your washing machine clogged with large chunks of unbroken pod. Clogged pipes can lead to all sorts of problems, including an unpleasant smell of sewage. 

Excessive foam and bubbles

While dishwasher pods are not as foamy as hand-washing dish detergent, they will still produce way more ‘bubbles’ than laundry detergents. Modern washing machines are designed to operate with minimal amounts of water. Foam needs a lot of water to go away, often way more than what a rinse cycle will be able to handle. 

dishwasher detergent pods are not recommended for laundry
Dishwasher pods produce more ‘bubbles’ than laundry detergents

This could result in your clothes coming out un-rinsed. But again, the greater risk here is to damage parts of the washing machine with a product they are not designed to handle. 

Not gentle on Fabrics

If you are thinking of washing your clothes with Dishwasher pods, it is worth keeping in mind they are designed to break down grease and residual food from plates, cups, cutlery. We can safely assume that glass, coated ceramics and stainless steel are pretty safe with such chemicals as they are sturdy, strong and mostly non-porous materials. 

Fabrics are a different story. 

Dishwasher detergent’s chemical formula is way stronger than fabric detergent, which is made with the purpose of cleaning, but also with the purpose of not damaging fabrics. 

Presence of Bleach

Some detergent pods contain bleach. This means that if you wash your clothes with detergent pods inside the washer, it can leave a residue in the form of stains on your clothing. Even if you used your dishwasher detergent pods for an empty cycle, residual bleach could linger around and damage your clothes in your next laundry run. 

Warranty could be compromised 

Using dishwasher pods is likely to go against the manufacturer’s instructions for use. The risk of damaging your washing machine with products not designed for them also means you are at risk of compromising your warranty (should your machine still be under one). 

From a sustainability point of view, an eco-friendly washing machine is one that lasts for years and years – possibly decades. 

Final Thoughts 

There are specific products that can clean your washing machine. It will likely involve a trip to the supermarket. So far, I have not come across any laundry detergent subscription that has these products available – please consider producing them!

Affresh and Glisten are some of the most popular brands for washing machine cleaners. They are usually found in the laundry detergent aisle. 

In conclusion, even in an emergency, you should not risk it. Not only dishwasher detergent pods aren’t designed for laundry purposes, they actually can do real damage to your washing machine and to your clothes. 

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