How Long Do Dishwasher Pods Last?

May 22, 2022
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They Do Expire - Here’s How to Know if Yours Still Works

Many prefer pods as a replacement for dishwasher detergent in the kitchen, and as a replacement for laundry detergent in the laundry room.

They're a lot less messy than dealing with liquids or powdered detergent. You also get the exact amount of detergent wrapped up like a present every time and know how long it takes for your dishes to clean. The dishwashing pod is able to remove stains very effectively, being a great alternative to other dish detergents.

Photo of a dishwasher pod

Dishwasher pod being put into a dishwasher

Because of their multiple benefits, dishwasher pods have become a common item to find in anyone’s house. Similar to dishwasher soaps, they last a long time, cleaning your dishes and eliminating nasty bacteria.

Cascade Platinum Dishwasher pods

Overall, dishwasher pods are a kitchen essential for clean dishes. But, how do you know when they go bad or is that even possible? While the answer to the question of how long do dishwasher pods last depends on the brand type, we’ll dive into what you can generally expect when you purchase a tub of these pods the next time you’re at the grocery store.

After conducting plenty of research regarding dishwasher pods, we found answers to all your questions about their shelf-life. Keep reading to learn more about dishwasher pods.

Do Dishwasher Pods Expire?

Dishwasher pods should have an eternal shelf life, right? They’re just packaged soap, after all.

That’s not necessarily true. Dishwasher pods don’t quote-unquote go bad. However, as they age, they won’t perform as well. Some last over a year, while others start losing their effectiveness within a few months. Many brands claim that their products don’t expire, but they won’t clean your dishes properly the older they get.

Photo of a single dishwasher pod

The dishwasher pod contains detergent to get your dishes clean

In short, detergents and your detergent pod will and do expire, and their cleaning properties will weaken.

Why Do Dishwasher Pods Expire?

Before snagging a box, understanding why dishwasher detergent goes bad is important, and what you can do to help maximize the shelf-life.

Let’s break down what ingredients create dishwasher pods to answer this question. In each pod, specific enzymes and chemicals combine to soften the water, emulsify grease, break down oils and fats, and eliminate bacteria. Dishwasher tablets sometimes have the addition of bleach added to the cleaning mixture. Bleach eliminates stains from tea, lipstick, and coffee.

The plastic around dishwasher pods, also known as polyvinyl alcohol, dissolves during the cleaning cycle which won’t leave grime on your dishes or cause problems with your machine.

Even though that sounds good, the downside is that these elements oxidize over time, becoming less effective at sanitation. Pods are more susceptible to expiration than liquid soap.

Outside humidity causes the chemicals to collapse in the dissolvable plastic packaging. Once broken, the inside gel seeps out, and you’re left with a sticky mess.

As for powdered dishwasher pods, they lose their cleaning ability over time too. Store them in an airtight container since air exposure affects the pods if you consistently open and close the box.

How Long Do Dishwasher Pods Last?

In general, dishwasher pods have a shelf life of around 15 months, but some start declining as early as six months after purchase. Other companies flaunt that you can use their tablets for 18 months. For example, Cascade claims that its dishwasher pods last up to a year and a half. But that doesn’t mean that they will keep for that long.

As much as we wish for some products to last forever, unfortunately, that’s not the case, and detergent pods are no exception. This article will tackle later on what signs you should look for if you think that the pods you purchased could be expired.

Other Contributing Factors

The shelf life of dishwasher pods depends on the type, the age, and the dishwashing method you employ. Dishwasher pods fully clean traditional dishes like plates and glasses for over a year. If you use expired pods for larger dishes, they will struggle to clean them entirely since their potency level has gone down.

Additionally, you’ll notice the clean smell reduces. This feature decreases significantly (10-20%) after each year. You want your dishes to be clean and have a fresh scent too!

Brand new pods ensure that they’ll work as advertised and what you’d expect. You don’t have to worry about efficiency and focus on other household tasks instead.

How Do You Know When Dishwasher Pods Are Bad?

Firstly, take a look at the expiration date printed on the label. This will help you determine how quickly you need to use the product. If you notice a drop in the cleaning quality of your dishwasher, that’s most likely a tell-tale sign that you need to buy another package of pods.

Pods sometimes turn yellow or brown after nine to ten months. If any of them are moldy, immediately get rid of them. The best advice is to dispose of the pods or liquid soap since expired powder can clump and damage your dishwasher or leave a noticeable residue on your dishes.

You can dump it down the drain while running water or toss it into the trash. You don’t want to pose a risk to your dishwasher and look at expensive repairs after using expired pods.

Can You Use Old Dishwasher Pods?

Use expired pods with caution. Since some pods decline after about six months, you could face worse situations than a damaged dishwasher. You risk contracting food poisoning because old pods don’t remove dirt or kill germs. Some people might have allergic reactions or develop infections by using expired products.

That said, you can use an old dishwasher pod as long as it’s not over two years past the expiration date. They won’t be as great as fresh ones, and you pose health risks and inconveniences, such as having to double wash your dishes.

Not having clean dishes is bad, but if your health begins to suffer, then that’s an immediate indicator to replace the pods stuffed in your kitchen.

Dishwasher Pods vs. Dishwasher Detergent

Are dishwasher pods better than liquid detergent? For the most part, yes.

Tablets and pods work best in the machine, but dish soap is superior when washing dishes by hand. However, pods better regulate how much soap is in the machine and prevent overflow. Most modern dishwashers are compatible with pods.

Mostly, liquid soap lasts longer than the pods. On the other hand, you might have a separated, dried-up, or gelatinous expired dishwasher detergent.

Dishwasher Pods and Hard Water

Some dish detergent pods are adept at preventing hard water from staining glasses and dishes in your dishwasher. These liquid dishwasher detergent pods eliminate the need for a rinse aid to fight hard water. Cascade Platinum is one dishwasher pod that has this capability.

Photo of hard water stains on a glass

Hard water stains on a glass after a dishwashing cycle

Tips and Tricks For Storing Dishwasher Pods

Here are a few suggestions for prolonging the life of your dishwasher pods. Even though you should keep the expiration date in mind and heed any signs of expiration, this advice will help maintain the pods during the months of use.

  • Avoid letting the pods sit for a while. Use them sooner rather than later. They break down structurally after opening them and won’t clean like you want them to.
  • Store dishwasher pods somewhere safe, or natural elements could damage them. Under the sink poses the risk of having the pods inadvertently exposed to water, which causes them to lump.
  • Store them in a room temperature, dry place.
  • You shouldn’t purchase pods in bulk, and make sure to use them by the date or symbol posted on the package.
  • Buy dishwasher pods in smaller portions so you can use them within the shortest amount of time. Save your money by not buying massive quantities unless you have a large family, and know that you can use the pods within a reasonable time frame over the year.

Frank Salvatore

Hey there - I'm Frank Salvatore. I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!

About Me
Frank Salvatore
I created this site as a comprehensive kitchen resource. You'll find everything you need to know about everything in your kitchen. From appliances to utensils and layout - it is covered on this site!
Learn More About Me
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