Where to Put Cascade Pods in Dishwasher? All You Need to Know

The question of where to put cascade pods in the dishwasher has been an ongoing debate in content platforms like TikTok in the previous months. With various experiences and feedback, the best way to use these mini packs of dishwashing solutions is still unclear. Even those using dishwashers for years were surprised to know they used them wrong.

Why are all these discussions happening? Known content creators, who proclaimed themselves specialists in repairing appliances, claim that dishwashing pods should not go into the detergent compartment but at the bottom of the machine. This assertion opposes the instructions by dishwasher manufacturers in their manuals.

To end all this discourse, we have created a comprehensive guide for the best place to use Cascade pods.

What are Cascade Pods? And How are they Supposed to Work?

Cascade pods are premeasured dishwashing gel or powder solutions in sealed pods. Cascade produced these pods, especially for dishwashing machine use. The premeasured doses cover the needed detergent for an entire regular dishwashing cycle.

The dishwashing detergent is enclosed in a biodegradable casing or Polyvinyl Alcohol (PVA). This material instantly melts or dissolves when it has contact with water. This composition is the reason you cannot touch the pods with wet hands.

The Dishwash Cleaning Cycle

An entire cycle includes three stages: the prewash or rinse, main washing, and final wash or rinse.

During the prewash, the external hook-up pulls water and pools it from the bottom of the dishwashing machine. From there, the heater activates and heats up the water that will spray into the plates. This stage should soften the dirt, food stains, and grease on the dishes. The water pools back. And the bottom, with the system, recycles this water by collecting, filtering, heating, and spraying it back a few times on the plates.

During the main wash, the detergent compartment releases the Cascade pods into the pool. With immediate contact with heated water, it dissolves, mixes, and sprays along with water into the dishes. Here’s where the magic cleaning takes place. Depending on the model and your settings, the main wash lasts from twenty to sixty minutes.

On the final wash, the heater turns off. The water used to wash and rinse soap and dirt in this stage is newly-pulled water from the external hookups. After the final wash, your dishwashers should be clean, fresh, shiny, and dirt-free.

However, a lot of cases leave many problems. People still complain of dirty plates, undissolved dishwashing pods, gunk in the door, undissolved case pieces at the bottom, and many more.

For anyone who owns a dishwasher and knows by heart that he followed the instructions, finding these situations after the dishwasher cycle end up in many questions, uncertainty, and unsettling feeling. No one wants to sleep on still-dirty dishes, undissolved dishwashing packs, and sticky dishwasher door mess every time you run the machine on them for an hour or so.

Cascade’s Recommendation

Cascade recommends putting the pods into the detergent dispenser. The pods are designed to work with the dishwasher dispenser and release at a specific time in the dishwashing cycle. One dishwashing pod is enough for one dishwashing cycle. And according to them, your dishes do not have to undergo a pre-rinse stage.

However, most homeowners would argue with the company’s recommendation that there’s a need to undergo a pre-rinse stage. This stage sanitizes and removes the stubborn residues on the dishes.

Sometimes, users must deal with dirty dishes after washing them, even following the manual’s instructions. Other than this, they tend to find their action pods still undissolved and intact. Some even find the pods still inside the compartment, which means the entire washing cycle did not receive any detergent during the main wash.

To know what happened, let us discuss the problem one by one.

Problems when Putting the Pods in Detergent Dispenser

Many users cannot distinguish the cause of the problem when the dishes come out still dirty and smell of leftover food. And it baffles us to find out how some of them have dishwashers working like this for years. So when repair technicians come over, they suggested putting the pods on the bottom of the drawer.

However, it is not advisable since the pods dissolve pre-maturely during prewash. Let us look at the problems in detail.

1) The pods do not dissolve

Cascade pods should dissolve in contact with water. But in most cases, you may find the pod at the bottom near the door still intact or partially dissolved. One reason, the dishwashing pods do not dissolve when it does not get enough water. It could be stuck on the dispenser, or the spot where it fell does not receive spray water.

Sometimes, the dispenser remains shut. In some cases, users still find the door did not even try to open and still pressed locked. In these cases, the main wash cannot use the detergent.

2) Pods sticking on the dispenser

Remember that pods melt in contact with water. When your dispenser is a bit moist or if you place or hold the pods with wet hands, the coating reacts to this wetness. While it might not pop entirely, the pod coating melts a bit. This reaction makes the pods sticky. And sometimes, the sticky film rests on the compartment for a long time as residue.

To prevent this from happening, always keep your hands and the compartment dry before handling or loading the compartment.

3) Dispenser not opening

The dispenser is a mechanism that opens and releases the Cascade pods at a scheduled time on a dishwasher cycle. But for some reason, the door did not open to release the pod.

This event happens a lot to many users. Many complain about the pods still sitting on the compartment for the entire wash.

Some users even had the dispenser shut during the entire cycle.

If this is the problem, you can check if some dishes are blocking the compartment. Many utensils do get in the way of the detergent compartment. Aside from incorrect loading, the detergent build-up may also prevent the dispenser from opening.

Aside from obstructions, your dispenser latch could also be malfunctioning. For more complex issues, the problem may be a result of water pump and electrical issues.

Problems When Putting the Pods at the Bottom

If putting the pod on the detergent dispenser is problematic, placing it in the bottom is worse. You do not only follow the manufacturer’s instructions but also risk further damage to the dishwasher.

1) Premature dissolving

Because you placed the pod on the bottom of the dishwasher, the detergent will have contact with water earlier than scheduled. Water pools on the bottom during the prewash stage. And the machine will dissolve the detergent away before the main wash.

We’ve seen some people claiming their dishes have been cleaner than ever since doing this. But in reality, the detergent mixes with the prewash rinse. And most of the main wash time will have no detergent to splash into the dishes if you put the pod in the bottom.

2) Ineffectiveness

Not putting the pods in the proper place will cause improper dissolving. This process means dissolving the detergent too early.

Dishwashing pods, tablets, powders, and gels are designed to mix with the main wash water. At this stage, the machine is blasting the dissolved detergent to enhance its cleaning power. The pods are at their most efficient cleaning stage with the added cleaning power of the heated water and power rinse.

However, when dissolved too early, the dishwasher will only spray water without detergent to clean the dishes.

Where to Put Cascade Pods in Dishwasher?

Cascade pods should go in the detergent dispenser, depending on your machine or settings.

Some settings would need a rinse aid to enhance the cleaning cycle. Some settings will require the pods to a separate and labeled compartment. Some settings will require prewash soap and Cascade pods.

Although there are some instances where you can put the pods directly on the dishwasher body– that is when the settings are on a quick wash. The cycle will have a shorter wash cycle.

The case is not the same for older dishwashers because their compartments have different mechanisms.

In general, like what dishwashers and detergent makers advise, place the detergent pods on the detergent dispenser. And make sure nothing is blocking the dispenser.

Tips for using Cascade Pods

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Handle the pods with clean and dry hands.
  • Make sure the dispenser is completely dry.
  • Test the latch of the dispenser before using it.
  • Store the pods in a dry place.
  • Seal the pod container close every time you get one.
  • Run hot water before starting the cycle.
  • Avoid overloading the dishwasher.

Final Thoughts

The way you place the Cascade pods in the dishwasher affects not only its cleaning performance but may also damage parts. Some users who did this method have accumulated undissolved coatings stuck in the drain. This can cause reactions and corrosion with its parts and components.

Also, you want to place it in the right compartment to ensure proper dissolving and disposal. Otherwise, you are risking the pod’s exposure to children or pets. These solutions have chemicals and substances like bleaches that can be too strong and harmful to skin contact.

Additionally, undissolved packets can get into the waterways and harm the environment.

And for efficient cleaning, use the pods as advised by Cascade and your dishwasher manufacturer.