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There are a lot of choices to make when it comes to dishwasher detergent- pods, liquid, or powder? But which is the best for your needs? In this article, we will take a look at the pros and cons of each type of detergent as well as some factors you might want to consider when making your decision. So whether you're looking for convenience, budgetary concerns, or deciding if handwashing is better, read on!

When most Americans think about the topic of washing the dishes, the role generally falls to women, moms, and our wives. We know though that it is important for men to take an active involvement in keeping the home and kitchen clean as well. Discussions about which is the best dishwasher pod or who makes the best dishwashing detergent are things that play well to core male strengths and interests in science, technology, and innovation. However, these questions are ultimately practical too. 

dishwashing 101 what dads need to know about cleaning dishes

It really doesn't matter what looks coolest, smells best, or has the best marketing. The debate over dishwashing detergent vs dishwasher pods is ultimately practical. Does it get the job done well? Are my dishes clean?

Frankly, when I look at dishwasher detergents, it's a fairly fascinating industry with very complex science and chemistry and traditions that go back to the first time someone decided that clean pots, pans, and plates were better than dirty ones.

Let's take a look at the three main types of dishwasher detergent on the market today and see if we can't help you make a decision about which one is best for you.


Pros and Cons Of Dishwasher Pods

Pods, also known as tablets, are the newest type of dishwasher detergent on the market. They are popular because they are very convenient- you just pop them in the dispenser and go. No measuring, no spills, no mess. But there are some downsides to pods as well. They can be more expensive than other types of detergents; some people find that they don't dissolve or leave dishes quite as clean.

Additionally, there is an ongoing debate that suggests that you should add the dishwasher detergent pod to the body instead of the dispenser cup. This will allow the detergent to be introduced to your dishes earlier in the cycle.  

I've done this occasionally when I know there's a tough cleaning job ahead and added it to both the dishwasher tub as well as the dispenser cup so that your dishes will actually get two cycles of detergent to get them extra clean.

Ultimately, once dissolved, dishwasher pods offer the strengths of both liquid and powdered detergents as well as in some formulations being able to offer task-specific detergents that help for instance with addressing challenges related to hard water or dissolving tough baked on food.


Pros and Cons Of Liquid Detergent

Liquid dishwasher detergent has been around the longest and it is still a very popular choice. It is generally the least expensive detergent option and far cheaper than pods. However, like powder, it is a classic and does a good job for most cleaning tasks. The main downside to liquid detergent is that it can be messy and difficult to measure correctly- leading to either under or over-dosing your dishwasher, leading to subpar results.

 Additionally, compared to powdered dishwashing detergents, liquid and gel detergents are less powerful in terms of cleaning ability. However, you don't always need maximum cleaning ability and if you are looking for an inexpensive detergent for moderate jobs - liquid dishwashing detergents will do a very good job.


Pros and Cons Of Dishwasher Detergent Powder

Dry powder dishwasher detergent is similar to liquid detergent but without water. This means that it doesn't tend to spill and make a mess but some people find that it doesn't dissolve as well as liquids, leaving behind a residue on dishes. It also generally requires a pre-wash to get dishes clean. However, powder detergent is usually the most budget-friendly option.

 Dishwasher powder is best used in situations where hard water (usually high in calcium or magnesium), leaves limescale, mineral spots, or residue on dishes. This is because you have the ability to use extra detergent - unlike with pods, as well as offering stronger cleaning power vs liquid dishwasher detergents and gels.

Powdered Dishwasher Detergent is also among the cheapest solutions so you don't have to worry about the economics of pouring a little extra. Many dishwashers will offer a "pre-rinse cup" which will automatically dispense it before the main cleaning phase, but you can also simply just add it to the body of the machine. 

Like all things though, don't over do it! Adding too much detergent powder may have negative results, so you should only ever double the amount at the maximum or ideally just add an extra shake of the box if you feel you need an extra boost of cleaning powder.


Automatic Dishwasher Or Go Old School And Do It By Hand?

Washing dishes by hand is certainly the most labor-intensive way to get them clean but it also generally does the best job. If you're looking for convenience, an automatic dishwasher is probably your best bet but if you're concerned about getting your dishes sparkling clean, you might want to consider doing them by hand.

One thing that is counter-intuitive when it comes to the topic of washing dishes is that automatic dishwashers may seem wasteful. Still, it is actually exponentially better in terms of water conservation. Consider this - a full load of dishes would consume 27 gallons of water per load by hand versus as little as 3 gallons with an ENERGY STAR-rated dishwasher.

There are ways to reduce that by filling one side of your sink up but that can get gross quickly and likewise, constantly turning the water on and off can reduce usage as well. Still, like many things today such as manual transmission vs automatic - machines are simply more efficient today.

 Dishwasher pods vs Liquid

At the end of the day, there isn't a singular answer in terms of which is better - powdered, liquid, or dishwasher tabs. They each have their own strengths and weaknesses and so it is up to you to pick the best one for the job at hand.

So there you have it! The pros and cons of different types of dishwasher detergent as well as some things to think about when making your decision. We hope that this article has helped make your decision a little bit easier. Happy washing!

Written by:
#MenWhoBlog MemberBlogging GuruThought Leader

James' passion for exploration and sense of duty to his community extends beyond himself. This means he is dedicated to providing a positive role model for other men and especially younger guys that need support so that they can thrive and be future positive contributors to society. This includes sharing wisdom, ideas, tips, and advice on subjects that all men should be familiar with, including: family travel, men's health, relationships, DIY advice for home and yard, car care, food, drinks, and technology. Additionally, he's a travel advisor and a leading men's travel influencer who has been featured in media ranging from New York Times to the Chicago Tribune, and LA Times. He's also been cited by LA Weekly "Top Travel Bloggers To Watch 2023" and featured by Muck Rack: "Top 10 Outdoor Journalists for 2022".

He and his wife Heather live in St Joseph, Michigan - across the lake from Chicago.