The smell of fresh, clean laundry is a scent that is universally loved by most. But the steps it takes to turn your dirty clothes into clean, folded garments in your dresser drawer? Well, those aren’t always universally loved. Thankfully, there are laundry pods that make washing your clothes a little bit easier.
Laundry pods have exploded in the cleaning market thanks to their convenience factor. Laundry pods eliminate the need to measure liquid or powder detergent into a washing machine. Laundry pods also make it easier for users to gauge how much product they have before they need to replenish their stock.
Laundry pods deliver the same or a greater level of stain and odor-fighting power as liquid detergent. Although they are more convenient and easier to travel with, which is good news for people who use laundry rooms and laundry mats, this convenience does come with the cost and laundry pods are slightly more expensive per load compared to liquid and powder detergent.
When choosing a laundry pod, it’s important to take into consideration two critical factors. One, what type of laundry machine will you be using? Standard and high-efficiency washing machines have different requirements when it comes to detergent and both have ample laundry pod options for their specifications. Laundry pods are best suited for standard top loader washing machines and HE washing machines (top and front-loading).
Two, it’s important to know what type of load you are going to be washing. Using the right laundry detergent is critical to extending the life of your clothes and keeping them looking brand-new. If you’re not sure what type of detergent you should be using, we’ve compiled a list of our top picks. Check out the best laundry pods for every situation below.
1. Tide Pods 3-in-1
Tide is a leader in the laundry detergent market and with its 3-in-1 pods, users can fight stains, odors, and fading with the same product. The concentrated pods have 10 times the stain-removing power of the leading liquid detergent brand, making it easy for users to get rid of stains without pretreating clothes. Colors remain vibrant and stains are targeted without damaging the fabric. Appropriate for hot, cold, soft, and hard water, the 3-in-1 pods reduce the need for extra stain remover products and leave whites and darks looking their best.
2. Blueland Laundry Starter Kit
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY LAUNDRY DETERGENT
SPY editor Taylor Galla loves Blueland, which makes eco-friendly cleaning products that don’t rely on single-use plastic containers. Instead, the company provides what they call “earth-friendly” cleaning products free of plastic packaging. And unlike most of our other picks for the best laundry detergent pods, Blueland tablets are totally free from chlorine bleach, petroleum, artificial dyes or fragrances. And while you might assume an ec-friendly cleaning product would cost way more than your store-bought detergent, that’s not the case. You can pick up the Blueland Laundry Starter Kit for under $20.
3. Active Wear Laundry Detergent
BEST FOR WORKOUT CLOTHES
Most workout clothes are designed to be moisture-wicking, which helps pull sweat away from the wearer’s skin for a more comfortable wearing experience. But where does the sweat go? It lives in your clothes, which can create a major odor situation. Regular laundry detergent can strip athletic wear of its performance features, getting rid of odors but also getting rid of the clothing’s’ breathability and wicking features. Active Wear uses natural plant-based enzymes to remove odor and sweat without breaking down the fabric. Active Wear is made without fillers, fragrances, phosphates, bleach, dyes, or softeners, which can break down performance fabric wear.
4. Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs
BEST LAUNDRY PODS FOR SENSITIVE SKIN
Anyone with sensitive skin knows that chemicals and fragrances used in laundry detergent can turn your favorite sweater into an itchy, rash-inducing torture chamber. For a detergent that is gentle on clothes and skin, we like the Seventh Generation Laundry Detergent Packs. The pods are Free & Clear, which means Seventh Generation doesn’t use artificial dyes, fragrance (natural or artificial), optical brighteners or fabric softeners. The fast-dissolving pods are safe for hot or cold water and can be used with standard or HE machines. Seventh Generation pods are a USDA Certified Biobased Product that is made with plant-based ingredients, which means it’s gentle on your skin and the environment. Seventh Generation’s Free and Clear status also makes the pods a great option for baby clothes.
5. Gain Flings Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs
If you love the smell of clean laundry, get a whiff Gain Flings Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs. These laundry detergent pods pack the welcoming scent of Gain while also including the odor-fighting power of Febreeze, which gets rid of the sweaty, dirty smell you don’t want and leaves behind the welcoming fragrance of clean clothes. The Gain scent lasts an impressive six weeks and the pods have 50 percent more scent than Gain’s laundry detergent. Stains are also sent packing with Gain, which includes Oxi Boost to target tough to get out messes. Appropriate for use with both standard and HE washing machines, the Gain pods can be used for hot and cold water.
6. Arm & Hammer 4-in-1 Laundry Detergent
BEST BUDGET BUY
While it might surprise you to learn some of the best laundry pods come from Arm & Hammer, we love this company’s cleaning products, from toothpaste to laundry. If you need a laundry detergent that gets rid of stains and odors and is affordable enough for multiple loads per week (or day), try the Arm & Hammer 4-in-1 Laundry Detergent. The pods target stains and odors while leaving clothes smelling fresh and clean. Microcrystals are used to clean clothes without stripping away the fabric’s color, leaving whites looking white and darks looking, well, dark.
7. Woolite Darks Pacs
BEST FOR DARK LOADS
Keep your darks looking dark for longer with the Woolite Darks Pacs. Warm water is enemy number one to dark clothing but washing clothes in cold water can sometimes leave a residue if the soap doesn’t completely dissolve. Woolite has created a specially formulated laundry pod that is designed to be used in cold water and won’t cause clothes to shrink, fade, or stretch. Each pod has a drop of keratin, which helps to repair damaged clothes and keeps their original color intact even after several washes.
8. Tide Hygienic Clean Pods
BEST FOR FIRST RESPONDERS
For essential workers, first-line responders, medical personnel, or anyone who wants to ensure every germ is removed from their clothing, we recommend the Hygienic Clean pods from Tide. Made with ten concentrated cleaning actives and designed to be 50 percent stronger than the average laundry pod, the Tide Hygienic Clean Pods are tough enough to penetrate every fiber and clean the dirt you can and can’t see. Appropriate for use with hot and cold water, the Hygienic Pods remove dirt, odors, and are powerful enough for large loads.
9. Grab Green Natural Newborn Baby Laundry Detergent Pods
BEST FOR HOMES WITH KIDS
Keeping babies and kids away from chemicals, including laundry pods, is incredibly important. The makers of Grab Green know that even when parents and caregivers take every step possible to keep their little ones safe, accidents happen. Because of that, the company designed their laundry pods with safety in mind. The pods are all white, so they don’t look like colorful toys. An outer Bitrex film that is bitter and unpleasant tasting encases each pod. The detergent is made with naturally derived, plant and mineral-based ingredients and the pods are designed to be difficult to swallow. As for their cleaning ability, the Grab Green pods help remove stains from clothes and cloth diapers without being harmful to fabric and leave a soothing chamomile scent.
10. Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner
BEST FOR CLEANING YOUR WASHING MACHINE
Your washing machine helps to clean your clothes, but what cleans your washing machine? Front-loaded washers can often get a foul smell that stems from the rubber used around the door, which creates a waterproof and airtight seal. Water gets trapped in the rubber and can breed mildew. In order to get the best results from your washing machine and detergent pods, it’s important to keep your machine mildew-free. In addition to leaving the door open between washes, we also recommend using Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner pods, which remove residue that can lead to bad smells and mildew.
11. Dropps Stain and Odor Laundry Detergent Pods
BEST ECO-FRIENDLY PACKAGING
For a laundry pod that is designed for sensitive skin and is gentle on the environment, we like the Dropps Stain and Odor Laundry Detergent Pods. Packaged in a recyclable and compostable box, the pods are made using a biodegradable formula that includes naturally plant-derived, non-toxic ingredients. Free from parabens, dyes, phosphates, enzymes, and optical brighteners, which can aggravate the users’ skin, Dropps are made with essential oils for a refreshing scent.
12. Kind Laundry Detergent Sheets
BEST LAUNDRY SHEETS
Okay, so these aren’t pods — but they are a great eco-friendly laundry alternative to pods, detergent and other plastic-heavy options. Spy Editor Taylor Galla got a chance to try them out and loved the results. The biggest plus? They’re super easy to use — similarly to pods you only need to throw them in the drum with your laundry load and press go. They’re a great alternative if your laundry machine is not pod-compatible, and they’re a completely zero-waste solution. They’re made of four simple ingredients, are non-toxic and biodegradable and clothes still come out clean. They dissolve immediately in all water temperatures and work in front-loading, top-loading, standard and HE washing machines alike.