If you buy dishwasher pods, chances are you’ve been getting the same ones over and over, just because you don’t want to waste money on a brand that may leave your glassware streaky. Or force you to rewash half your dishes afterward. They’re just expensive enough to make it hard to switch brands, because what do you do if, after three washes, you realize you hate those new pods and you’re stuck with 45 tablets lying around? It’s a problem we’ve had ourselves, which is why we tested a dozen firsthand to bring you what we consider to be the best dishwasher pods you can buy right now.
The 8 Best Dishwasher Pods, Tested Against Our Grimiest Plates
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The Best Dishwasher Pods At a Glance
Scroll on for in-depth reviews of each.
- Best Overall: Cascade Platinum Plus ActionPacs
- Best Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Pods: Dropps Dishwasher Detergent Pods
- Best Scented Dishwasher Pods: Method Dishwasher Detergent Packs
- Best Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Pods: Seventh Generation Fragrance-Free Dishwasher Detergent Pack
- Most Powerful Plant-Based Dishwasher Pods: Grove Co. Pure Power Dishwasher Detergent Packs
- Best Value: Finish Quantum Infinity Shine Dishwasher Tablets
- Best Aesthetics: Blueland Dishwasher Tablets
- Honorable Mention: Cleancult Dishwasher Tablets
How We Determined the Best Dishwasher Pods
After researching the top-reviewed brands on the market (big and small), we tested several dishwasher pods, evaluating them based on their price, effectiveness in removing food and grime, scent and ability to deliver a streak-free finish.
Wait—Are Dishwasher Pods Better Than Liquid Detergent?
They’re more convenient (no measuring, no mess!), but they tend to be a bit pricier than liquid—and, for that matter, powder—detergents. They can be equally effective in terms of cleaning your plates, so really, it comes down to personal preference.
How to Get Dishwasher Pods to Clean Better
- Stick the pod in the dispenser, not your cutlery bin or the bottom of the dishwasher. Why? When it’s outside of the dispenser, it dissolves during the prewash, so you may not have enough detergent to properly clean your dishes.
- Don’t overcrowd your washer. Dishes and cutlery that’s nestled too closely = areas where the dishwasher’s spray can’t reach effectively.
- Place cups at an angle so they don’t collect water. If your glasses come out cloudy, you may need a rinse aid to remove the minerals left behind from hard water.
The Best Dishwasher Pods of 2023
- Why We Love It: removes hard water stains, best at removing grease/grime
- Cost per Wash: 38 cents
Confession: When a recent Cascade study revealed 86 percent of dishwasher owners pre-rinse their plates, we realized we’re part of that 86 percent. Largely because we’ve been burned by washes that left us with semi-clean dishes before. Well, Cascade’s new Platinum Plus ActionPacs promised you wouldn’t need to do that, because it contains twice the Dawn grease-fighting power of previous pods and enzymes that break down starches and proteins to deep clean. We were skeptical…until it left every single dish—even a casserole pan left out for two days with baked-on cheese and marinara—sparkling.
The best feature, perhaps? It contains a rinse aid that removed hard water spots, so we don’t need to buy (and load) a separate rinse aid anymore.
Best Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Pods
- Why We Love It: low-waste packaging, unscented, climate-pledge friendly
- Cost per Wash: 43 cents
If you’ve seen one dishwasher pod, you’ve seen ‘em all, right? Not quite. These pods have been deemed Climate-Pledge Friendly, meaning that Amazon has certified that the brand does everything, meaning that Amazon has certified that the brand does everything it can to minimize its carbon footprint in the shipping and packaging process. Beyond that, though, the mineral-based ingredients wash away even the most crusted-on leftovers, without leaving a filmy residue behind (a common complaint with natural products). The brand also partnered with ocean-protection organization Oceana to educate people on the dangers of plastic pollution and make it easier to find plastic-free alternatives in your daily life.
Best Scented Dishwasher Pods
- Why We Love It: crisp scent, bleach-free, cruelty-free
- Cost per Wash: 34 cents
OK, OK, you don’t want the plates you eat on to smell like a field of roses, but when you open the dishwasher, it’s nice to smell something other than the hot, damp remnants of washed-away dinners past. Method’s lemon mint scent is bright and refreshing, without being overpowering. Better yet, these plant- and mineral-based pods aren’t tested on animals and work well to combat hard water stains.
Best Unscented Dishwasher Pods
- Why We Love It: unscented, no harsh chemicals
- Cost per Wash: 37 cents
Another Amazon Climate-Pledge Friendly pick, Seventh Generation’s detergent packs stand out for being a plant-based formula that still cuts through grease well. Admittedly, it wasn’t quite as powerful at tackling baked-on grease as brands like Cascade, but if you’re looking for a bio-based option (which, BTW, is USDA-certified to be 83 percent bio-based) and you’re sensitive to fragrances, this is an excellent pick. Plus, we appreciate how each package includes a clear breakdown of each ingredient and what, exactly, it does.
Most Powerful Plant-Based Dishwasher Pods
- Why We Love It: plant-based, refreshing scent, cruelty-free, bleach free
- Cost per Wash: 40 cents
If you’re the type to let your dishes pile up for a day or two before loading the dishwasher and you're looking for a nature-based option, these are the pods for you. Grove Co. Pure Power Dishwasher Packs work better than most plant-based pods at removing caked-on food. To that end, they're 91 percent plant-based and bleach-free, using a combination of enzymes to remove bits of food from your plates, cups and bowls. We did notice it left water spots on some cutlery, prompting a quick polishing before they were stowed away.
- Why We Love It: streak-free shine, great at removing baked-on grease/marinara
- Cost per Wash: 28 cents
If a spot on your wine glass instantly turns you into Lady MacBeth, fear not: Finish Quantum Infinity Shine Dishwasher Tablets have got your back. Each pod features three chambers: one to break down bits of food, one to cut through grease and one to ensure your dishes clean evenly and without streaking. (And our editors can attest that they’re great at removing glommed-on sauces and peanut butter.) The end result is stemware that sparkles—with the occasional exception, but hey, no pod’s perfect.
- Why We Love It: compact container, no plastic, no artificial fragrances
- Cost per Wash: 42 cents
We use these tablets in our own homes, but what first got us to try them was the fact that Blueland had a third-party lab independently test their pods against other brands—and share their results. As we’ve found, the tablets are great at removing sauces and starches, though proteins—like bits of meat—can be left behind from time to time. That said, if you remove bits of food before loading your dishwasher, you’ll have pretty consistently sparkling dishes in the end (at least in our experience).
- Why We Love It: chemical-free, recyclable packaging
- Cost per Wash: 59 cents
While many brands come packaged in plastic—baggies or plastic tubs—Cleancult’s dishwasher tablets arrive in a compact cardboard box that’s easy to break down and recycle. The tablets themselves may look like they’re wrapped in plastic, but that’s actually a water-soluble casing that dissolves easily and completely. The lemongrass scent is subtle, and while the tablets did a great job of cleaning away spaghetti sauce and brownie batter, it struggled with glommed-on grime. These tablets are best suited for people who thoroughly rinse their dishes before loading the dishwasher.
Why You Should Trust Us
PureWow's editors and writers have spent more than a decade shopping online, digging through sales and putting our home goods, beauty finds, wellness picks and more through the wringer—all to help you determine which are actually worth your hard-earned cash. From our PureWow100 series (where we rank items on a 100-point scale) to our painstakingly curated lists of fashion, beauty, cooking, home and family picks, you can trust that our recommendations have been thoroughly vetted for function, aesthetics and innovation. Whether you're looking for travel-size hair dryers you can take on-the-go or women’s walking shoes that won’t hurt your feet, we’ve got you covered.