A Complete Guide to Laundry Pods So You're Not Left Second-Guessing

Laundry pods are one of the greatest inventions of recent years, and you can't persuade me otherwise. Not only do pods take the hassle and stress out of laundry day, they're an easier, faster, and tidier alternative to liquiddetergent.

Still, laundry pods come with their own instructions and guidelines, and when it comes to figuring out how many pods you need per load, things can get a bit confusing; pods and dirty clothes also need to be placed in a certain spot and order in the machine's drum to be most effective. I promise, though — it's not as intimidating as it sounds. Below, you'll find a complete guide to using laundry pods. While these guidelines and instructions apply specifically to Tide Pods, they're pretty standard for laundry pods in general. As always, things can vary by brand and formula, so make sure to double check a product's label for specifics.

How Do Laundry Pods Work?

According to Tide, laundry pods are little gel capsules packed with neutralizers, optical brighteners, and stain-fighting ingredients like surfactants, enzymes, and polymers. Between the weight of your laundry and the force of the water pressure, the pod bursts once the wash cycle begins. Generally, laundry pods are safe across the board in terms of water temperature, wash cycle, and garment material. They can also be used in high-efficiency (HE) washing machines.

The best part about laundry pods is that they come predosed, so you never have to worry about pouring in the right amount of liquid detergent. Plus, they're packaged in dissolvable film. Just grab however many pods you need, throw them in the wash, and boom — your work is done. The only thing you do need to be wary of is using the proper number of laundry pods in each load.

How Many Laundry Pods Should You Use?

The first order of business is figuring out your laundry-load size, since this will help determine how many pods you need. The easiest way to do this is by loading your laundry into the washing machine and taking a visual measurement. If the drum is only half full, it's a medium load. (Tip: there's no such thing as a "small" load — a medium-sized load is considered regular.) A drum that is three-quarters full is a large load. If the drum is maxed out on space, it's an extra-large load. Still confused? Check out Tide's handy chart.

Now that you know the load size, you can figure out how many pods you need. Each load has an assigned dosage based on factors like how dirty the items are, as well as the size of the load. It's recommended that one laundry pod be used for medium loads, two pods for large and extra-large loads, and three pods for extra extra-large loads (or laundry that's extra-extra dirty). Extra-extra-large loads aren't a typical occurrence, but they can be found in front-load washers, which are a lot bigger and typically located in shared laundry rooms in dorms and apartment buildings.

If you have a load of heavily soiled clothes or linens (for example, gym clothes or beach towels), you might want to throw in an extra pod to make sure all the dirt and odor is thoroughly removed. It's important to use the correct dosage, as using too many pods — or not enough — can result in poor stain removal or lingering grime.

How Do You Use Laundry Pods?

Using laundry pods is an easy five-step process. Here's what to do:

  1. Calculate the laundry's load size to determine the number of pods you need.
  2. With dry hands, place the pod(s) into the machine drum (not the detergent dispenser drawer).
  3. Put all dirty laundry on top of the pod(s).
  4. Close the drum's door.
  5. Select the proper wash cycle (normal, permanent press, or delicate) and water temperature (cold, warm, or hot).
  6. Enjoy clean and fresh-smelling laundry!

That's all there is to it. Remember, while Tide's instructions and load guidelines are fairly standard, usage recommendations can vary by brand and formula — so make sure to read the product label just to be safe.