Are Laundry Pods Bad For Your Washer?

Laundry pods are a quick and easy way to clean your clothes without having to lug a heavy jug of detergent to the washer and measure it out. Their convenience makes them the go-to detergent option for many people, but some worry that the pods might harm their washing machines. 

So, are laundry pods bad for your washer? No, as long as you put them directly in the drum of the washer and let them dissolve before you put your laundry in, they are perfectly safe for your machine. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions every time.

are laundry pods bad for your washer

In this article, we’ll tell you how laundry pods work and whether or not they harm the environment. You’ll also discover the advantages and disadvantages of using laundry pods and get answers to some of the most common questions people ask about them.

How Do Laundry Pods Actually Work?

Laundry pods are liquid laundry detergent inside a water-soluble coating. That coating dissolves in your washing machine, and the detergent cleans your clothes the same way as traditional detergent.

Are Laundry Pods Bad For The Environment?

Unfortunately, laundry pods aren’t great for the environment. The polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) coating on laundry pods dissolves in your washing machine and is carried out of your home in the wastewater.

It was previously thought that this material was entirely biodegradable after going through water treatment plants. Unfortunately, recent studies at the University of Arizona show this is not the case.

Our water treatment plants need to be stronger to fully irradicate all traces of PVA from the water supply, which can harm plants and animals.

The production of PVA also harms the environment due to the toxins it produces and the amount of fossil fuel it takes to create it. This production process is also dangerous for our ozone.

Do Detergent Pods Clog Drains?

No, laundry pods won’t clog drains. The PVA coating will break down in your washing machine, so it won’t make contact with your drains at all.

Advantages Of Using Laundry Pods

pros and cons of laundry pods
  • Small and lightweight: Since laundry pods are individually packaged and compact, they’re easy to store anywhere. It’s also much easier to lift a single pod than a bottle of liquid or box of powdered detergent, making them a good option for people with limited mobility.
  • Easy to use: Laundry pods are individually wrapped, premeasured laundry detergent, which makes them simple to use with an average load. Just pop the pod into the washing machine and go.
  • More concentrated: Since laundry pods are so compact, there’s no room for excess water to dilute the detergent.

Disadvantages of Using Laundry Pods

  • More expensive: Laundry pods are more expensive per load than liquid or powder detergent.
  • Premeasured for regular loads: Since they’re made with the average load in mind, using a laundry pod on a small load will lead to wasted detergent. If you want to use pods for large loads, you’ll have to double up, making them even more expensive.
  • Poisoning hazards: Laundry pods are small and colorful, like candy, which could make small children try to eat them.

Is It Better To Use Pods Or Liquid Detergent?

Which type of laundry detergent is better depends on your needs. Laundry pods are typically easier to use.

Since they are premeasured, you can just pop one into the washing machine with an average-sized load, and you’re good to go. They’re also more concentrated than liquid detergent, and their compact size makes them easier for people with limited mobility.

On the other hand, liquid detergent is often cheaper per wash load, and since it’s not premeasured, you can use precisely how much you need, no matter what size load you run.

It’s also better for the environment since it doesn’t contain PVA and the bottle is often recyclable. 

Why Are My Laundry Pods Not Dissolving?

Laundry pods are typically pretty easy to use, but sometimes they only dissolve part-way.

Here are a few of the most common reasons the pods don’t break down all the way in the washing machine and how to remedy them.

1. You Put The Pod In The Detergent Dispenser

Laundry pods are meant to go directly into the wash basin. If you put them in the detergent dispenser, the water won’t reach them to break down the PVA coating. 

If you accidentally put your pod in the detergent dispenser, simply scoop it out and put it in the basin. If it’s dissolved too much to save, just scoop it out, throw it away, and put a fresh pod in the main part of the washing machine.

2. Your Washing Machine Is Too Full

Sometimes the PVA coating on a laundry pod doesn’t break down because you have too many clothes in the washer. The coating will only break down if a pod has enough water around it. 

If an over-full washing machine is the source of your troubles, take the pod out of the washer, run a spin cycle to remove as much water as possible, take out some of the clothes, and start the machine again using a fresh pod.

3. The Water Isn’t Warm Enough

Some laundry pods require warm water to dissolve the PVA coating. Make sure you read the label on your detergent to determine if they will dissolve in cold water.

If you’ve used cold water with a pod that will only dissolve in warm water, scoop the pod out of your washing machine, run a spin cycle to get the water out, then run a cycle with warm water.

If the first pod you used is still intact, you can use it again in warm water. If it’s broken down too much to save, just get out a new pod and try again.

Do Tide Pods Damage Washing Machines?

No, Tide Pods are entirely safe for your washing machine if you use them correctly.

Just follow these simple steps to ensure the pod fully dissolves in your washer.

  • Use dry hands: The PVA coating on a laundry pod is meant to break down when it comes in contact with water. If you reach into the container with wet hands, each pod you touch will begin to break down and won’t work correctly when needed.
  • Put the pod directly in the drum: Start your wash cycle, then put the pod straight into the main part of your washing machine. Wait five minutes for the pod to begin to break down before adding your laundry (if it gets stuck in the cycle, do this).
  • Place your laundry in the washer: After five minutes, you can put your laundry in the machine. Be sure to wash your clothes according to the directions on the detergent container.


Laundry pods are a convenient way to clean your clothes. There’s no measuring or carrying heavy bottles or boxes around the laundry room. Plus, they’re safe for your washing machine as long as you use them according to the directions on the container.

While there are quite a few advantages to using laundry pods, they are more expensive per load than liquid or powder detergent, but convenience often comes at a price. Unfortunately, part of that price is the PVA coating on the laundry pods isn’t great for the environment. 

How do you feel about laundry pods? Do the advantages outweigh the disadvantages?

Shauna Stone