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Other Uses for Dishwasher Pods

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Did you know there are lots of other uses for dishwasher pods besides cleaning dishes? I recently figured this out when I goofed and ended up with a huge supply.

a bottle of dishwasher detergent and some dishwasher pods on a white background with title text reading 7 Ways to Use Dishwasher Detergent besides washing dishes

On my last Sam’s Club run, I decided to go ahead and try a different brand of dishwasher detergent because the off-brand was $5 cheaper. Here’s a tip: If you’re going to “try” a different brand, don’t do it in a club pack that is going to take you a year to go through.

One week in, I realized that I should have bought my regular brand because the cheaper one just wasn’t getting the job done. Did I want to suffer for another 3 months (it was a pack of 105!) or cut my losses and toss the ineffective brand in the garbage?

Being the cheapskate, I mean thrifty consumer, that I am, I chose option 3 – Find something else to use the pods for so I could justify buying the brand I should have gotten in the first place. BTW, this is what I should have bought:

Clean More Than Just Dishes With a tub of Cascade Dishwasher Detergent

Happily, I discovered SEVERAL uses for dishwasher tablets (or any dishwasher detergent) other than for washing dishes. So, if you happen to find yourself stuck with a bunch of dishwasher detergent that isn’t cutting it in the kitchen, or if you scored an amazing deal and stocked up with more than you can use in the foreseeable future, here are some ways to make good use of it.

Other Uses for Dishwasher Pods or Detergent

It doesn’t matter if you use powdered detergent, liquid detergent, or the tablets. In the instructions below, I reference the tablets because that’s what I was stuck with had on hand, but you can subsititute 1/4 cup detergent for the tablet in any of the solutions.

Remove Crayon, Pencil and Scuff Marks From Walls and Floors– Combine 1 dishwasher tablet with 1 gallon of hot water, use damp rag or sponge dipped in solution to genty wipe away.

Whiten Whites – Add 1 dishwasher tablet or 1/2 cup dishwasher detergent to washing machine.

Clean Jacuzzi Tub – Add 1 dishwasher tablet to a tub full of hot water and turn on the jets to clean the areas you can’t get to with your normal tub scrubbing.

Clean Toilets – Drop one tablet into the toilet bowl and allow to dissolve, then scrub clean.

Clean Garbage Bins – Add 1 tablet to the bottom of a garbage bin and fill with water. Let tablet dissolve and soak for 30 minutes, then rinse.

Wash Patio Furniture – Dissolve 1 tablet in a bucket of hot water and use solution to wipe away dirt, mildew, and pollen.

Remove Car Leak Stains from Driveway – make a thick paste of detergent and warm water and scrub into stain. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then rinse wih garden hose.

Have you used dishwasher detergent in an unusual way? Please let me know in the comments. Even after finding all these other uses for dishwasher pods, I still have over 50 of them.

Creative Uses for Other Household Items

If you liked the tips above, you might enjoy some of these ideas for using other household items in new and unusual ways.

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Helpful Uses for Paper Towels

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30 Ways to Reuse Newspaper

44 thoughts on “Other Uses for Dishwasher Pods”

  1. Any ideas on how to remove baked on crusty grid from the outer side of the skillets?

    • Everything I looked up suggests to make a paste using baking soda and water, and then use a scrubber and the paste to clean the outside of the pan.

  2. Hi, I have been checking web pages to learn if using automatic dishwashing machine detergent can be used in a clothes washing machine. My search returned mixed results. I assume if this works you would/should use less of the automatic dishwashing powder than regular laundry soap. Would anyone have any feedback on their experience washing laundry by this method, such as amounts used and its effectiveness on clothes, including whether you think it is too severely tough on clothes?
    I appreciate your feedback.

    • I have been using dishwasher pods for my laundry these past 6 months, and it works great! I use them alone, I do not add other detergent. Depending on a big or small load, I use 1 or 2 pods per load. I use Finish Platinum Dishwasher pods (that’s the only one I’ve tried). My dishwasher has never worked, so initially I bought the pods to use to soak pans in the sink. Then I found I could just soak all my dishes in the sink, with the dishwasher pods. THEN, I had some stained shirts and other clothes I wanted to freshen up, so I soaked those in the sink with the dishwasher pods (in a plastic tub in the kitchen sink), and the clothes came out clean and fresh! And without the extra perfumy smell or “moisturizing” residue (which makes clothes soft?) from laundry detergent. I now use dishwasher pods exclusively in the washing machine, to clean my laundry, all laundry, towels, clothing, gentle cycle for delicates etc! But if I need to bleach something, I use regular liquid laundry detergent and bleach. Sometimes I like to do an extra rinse cycle (just because that’s what I do), and sometimes I will add plain white distilled vinegar to the machine, in that extra rinse cycle (after all the detergent has been rinsed out, not simultaneously with the detergent). Delicate things I usually like to wash in the sink by hand, not in the machine, but I can still use the dishwasher pods for this. Occassionally I still use my regular laundry detergent instead (I like Xtra Laundry detergent). I don’t like regular laundry detergent pods, as they have too much detergent in them which does not rinse out, the dishwasher pods rinse out well.

  3. do you take the pod out of the plastic its wropped in and just let it dissolve as you trying to scrub?

    • It depends on what kind of pod you use. If you take it out of the plastic to put in your dishwasher, then take it out of the plastic when you dissolve it in the water to scrub. If you don’t take it out of the plastic to put in your dishwasher, then don’t take it out of the plastic when you dissolve it in the water to scrub.

  4. There were many brilliant ideas in this resourceful article. Thank you all for sharing your helpful & clever advice. It will certainly make my cleanup much easier & a little cheaper!

  5. Ever had a look at what’s on the bottom of your toilet cistern? I recently had to replace a part in my ensuite cistern and noticed a thick layer of grunge at the bottom . Having recently become aware of the many obscure uses for dishwashing tablets I decided to see if they could shift this awful stuff. I dropped one tablet in and left soak for 4 hours then flushed. OMG the water into the bowl was disgusting. Repeated the process and now happy it’s all clear.
    BTW – sort of concerned about the water quality here as the water that enters the cistern is from the same source as our taps! I think a filtration system is my next purchase.

  6. Cleaning used PET beer bottles for re filling was a pain. I found that cutting a tablet into quarters and putting a piece in a bottle with hot water worked great. Leave to soak for minimum 4 hours then pour out into the next bottle that needs cleaning and repeat up to 3 times. Thoroughly rinse bottles and caps at least twice, sterilise and you’re good to go.

  7. I clean my percolater coffee pot with dishwasher tablet. It works better than the old powdered dip it. I fill the required amount of cold water in the pot and thenI cut a tablet in half and place in basket. Perk leave for 15 mins the wash and rinse as usual. Works like a charm.

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  9. For toilets, only thing to worry about is mixing dishwasher tablets that have bleach with an ammonia-containing product like pinesol. It’ll create fumes.

    I personally use liquid dish soap to do laundry, b/c it’s gentler on clothes. But, I get the old-school dawn dish soap that has grease-fighting detergents in it. It’s sold as dawn platinum. I used to get the normal dawn, and add bleach to the towel loads (b/c kitchen and bath towels are more prone to bacterial build-up). Never had a problem with that. Then I got ahold of the dawn platinum, and added bleach. I started to smell some fumes. But, didn’t think much of it. Then I put bleach in the toilet and put dawn platinum into the bowl to clean it. The fumes.. holy cow. I got scratchy throat, was coughing. Lesson learned. The “platinum” versions of dish soaps seem to have some kind of ammonia-like cleaning agent in them that doesn’t play nice with bleach.

    So, like I said, the only problem to really worry about is mixing an ammonia w/ a bleach product. Gotta read those chemical labels on products before mixing. Or, better yet, don’t be an idiot like me and mix two products at once when cleaning. LOL!

    • Don’t mix bleach with anything and you don’t have to worry about toxic fumes.

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  14. What about crock pot cleaning? Do you think I could full it up with water, turn it on high until it’s hot, drop in a pod and unplug? I’m wondering how long I would let it sit? ?

    • Actually, I’ve found the easiest way to clean my crockpot is to fill it 3/4 full with water and add a little dish soap (not detergent), then turn it on low for an hour. If it’s got a really stubborn mess inside, I use vinegar and leave it one low for a few hours. Dump the water out and the inside wipes up easily!

      • I know this is a thrifty focused blog, but I can’t recommend the crock pot liners enough. Seriously, cleaning the crock pot is one of my least fave things to do. On the occasions I don’t have any liners, I do use liquid dish soap in the way you described. Works great. 🙂

        oh, have a burnt on pan? Put some dish soap in it – enough to cover the bottom of the pan – add a bit of water. You want maybe 1/2 inch of liquid. Turn on burner and watch the dish soap do its magic. The burnt on stuff comes right off as the solution heats up and bubbles. 🙂 (DO NOT leave it and forget about it…you’ll have a still-burnt-on pan and you’ll have to do it again lol

        Thanks for the great tips! I’m going to try the toilet thing. I wonder if boiling a cup or so of water to start the pod disolving would help? Then just pour the hot water and detergent in?

        Have a good day!!

        • Hi Michelle, thanks for your suggestions! I love the crock pot liners too, especially when we host parties when I use multiple crock pots. Thanks again for taking time to share your tips!

    • Warm water, vinegar, old baking soda from fridge, in half an hour your pots and pans shine like mirrors.

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  16. I put a dishwasher detergent tablet in my glass baking and roasting dishes when they have baked on cheese, potatoes, etc. I fill with hot water and leave overnight. The next morning all the baked on crud is loosened or dissolved and I simply wash (with a drop of dish washing detergent) , rinse and dry. They come out sparkling clean.

  17. Hello! My concern is with dishwasher pods, I recently moved into a house and as I was cleaning and vacuuming out cabinets I came acrossed powder pods in the corners. First I thought my cause this cubborad had a smell but than as I kept going around the house I was finding more. I’m just curious if anyone knows why someone would leave pods in corners of cupboards.

    • Hi Tabitha, perhaps the pods were laundry detergent? I know some people use powdered detergent to kill ants. Dawn dish soap is used in many homemade insect repellent recipes, but I don’t think powdered dish soap has the same effect.

    • The pods were in corners of cabinets likely for the scent. I put bar soaps in my linen closet, and my mother puts them in her clothing drawers, to avoid a musty smell. I can see it being strong enough, when pods are new, to help deter some pests and make things smell clean.

  18. i like safeway brand dishwasher soap,,,it works better for me than the brand name pods,

    • I wish we had a Safeway near us. Good tip to try the store brands or generic brands!

  19. Super helpful list! I know I really need to clean my garbage bins (although, I may let hubby do it!). What a great list, thanks!

  20. I can’t believe this!
    Using dishwasher detergent to clean the toilet?
    OK – I’m going to try this!

    • Yep! I read in a couple of places that sometimes the tablets don’t dissolve completely since the water in the toilet isn’t warm enough, but apparently that was one of the areas that my off-brand skimped on since the plastic coating dissolves quite easily in mine.

    • This really works I moved into a new house and the toilet looked like it hadn’t been cleaned for years poured some washing liquid down and now it looks brand new.

  21. Oh, good! Now that it’s spring, I need to clean my garbage pails. I’m going to try using dishwasher detergent. Thanks for the idea.

    • Sooo much easier than trying to get in there and scrub since they are so deep!

  22. I wouldn’t put dishwasher detergent in a washing machine. The dishwasher formula can harm the machine.

    • Hi Heather, can you please share your source? I searched extensively and can find several sites that recommend using dishwasher detergent in the washing machine but none that discourage it. I have found many that urge individuals to avoid using liquid dish soap (the kind used for handwashing) since the over sudding can be disastrous, but haven’t found anything related to the soap you use in the dishwasher. Please let me know because if it is harmful, I want to remove the recommendation from my list.

      • Question-do you use the dishwasher pod instead of
        or in addition to Laundry detergent? Thanks.

        • For whitening whites I use the pod in addition to the regular measurement of laundry detergent.

    • You sure can and at 1/2 cup or even 1 full cup it does no harm at all ?

    • Actually, a dishwashing tablet is recommended by washing machine manufacturer to do monthly emptied wash to kill bacteria and clean limescale deposit because these tablets have bleach.


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