The UK has many different brands of washing pods on offer and sometimes that makes it extra hard to choose the right one for you, but we’ve taken the time to narrow them down to our top five best options.
Some of these options are great if you’re looking for pods that will be effective in a cold wash, some are for anyone who prefers pods that have a milder smell, and others are for if you’re looking for a strong scent that will linger for days. There is something here for everyone!
The following washing pods offer great value for money, and each has its own advantages, depending on what you’re looking for.
Best Washing Pods in the UK
1. Fairy Non-Bio Pods
Best for: Sensitive skin
Scent: Unscented or Fresh
Fairy’s Non-Bio laundry pods are an excellent option for a milder detergent, as they are designed for people with more sensitive skin. They have even been given the seal of approval from the British Allergy Foundation.
The Fairy pods will fully dissolve at any temperature and so will be equally effective when run through a cold wash cycle as they would in a warm one. This is a great option as putting your clothes in a cold wash cycle can make a big difference in your carbon footprint.
These pods are one of the more expensive options but are made of 75% less plastic and have an excellent child-lock feature so you don’t have to worry about where you are storing them.
The scent of these pods is very strong and can linger for up to a week, which is rare in a non-bio product. Many people would find this as a great feature for the product, but for those who do not enjoy a strong fragrance then this product may not be for you.
2. Persil 3-in-1 Capsules Colour Protect
Best for: Stain removal
Persil’s 3-in-1 Capsules are a vibrant purple, white, and blue colour and come in a large and eye-catching purple and white bag.
These capsules ensure a powerful stain removal feature and will keep the colours in your clothes looking bolder and brighter for longer.
The formula is designed to protect the fabric of your clothes, and many users can confirm that the product does exactly what is advertised.
Users unanimously agree that Persil’s product is great value for money and that they recommend buying the Mega Refill Pack as it will last you much longer.
One bag should be enough for 50 washes the capsules are boosted with biodegradable ingredients and plant-based stain removers.
Some downsides to this product are that the packaging is plastic and also is not childproof, so be sure to keep them well out of reach of your little ones.
3. Bold All-in-One Pods with Lavender and Camomile Scent
Best for: Fabric softening
Scent: Lavender & Camomile
Bold’s All-in-One pods are made in collaboration with Lenor and contain their lovely lavender and camomile fabric softener within the pods.
This product is also effective when used in a cold wash, and will still leave your clothes clean, fresh, and bright. Plus, the bags are easier to store than a big box of powder.
When bought in bulk, Bold’s laundry pods are one of the most affordable washing options available, and this is even more effective with the fabric softener being included. The price can fluctuate quite regularly though so it’s a good idea to keep an eye on them and buy when the price is at its lowest.
This is one of the products that users say has a slightly less overwhelming fragrance, so may be the best option for anyone looking for milder smells in their clothes.
The bags are various pleasant shades of purple and are also made of 75% less plastic and come with a child lock, but users have pointed out that the seal on the bags tends to break quite easily.
4. Ariel All-in-One Pods for Colour
Best for: Cold washes
Ariel’s All-In-One pods are also an excellent value for money option when buying in bulk and are another great choice for a fantastic result in a cold wash cycle.
These pods are known for dissolving very well in water of all temperatures but there is a chance that they will leave a residue on your clothes, especially if they get squashed down under a big load.
The packaging of these pods is childproof (and a little adult-proof at times, especially with the plastic containers) and the scent is pleasant without being too strong.
Ariel’s green packaging is hard to miss, and the smell of this product is mild and will not linger too long on your clothes. This makes it another great option for anyone who does not enjoy the extremely strongly scented pods.
5. Surf Tropical Lily Washing Capsules
Best for: Strong and long-lasting scent
Scent: Tropical Lily
These delightfully scented capsules have a lovely lily smell that will linger on your freshly washed clothes.
This option is probably not ideal for you if you are not a fan of a stronger scent, as the lily smell can be very strong.
This is one of the most affordable of our options though and their bright pink packaging stands out from the crowd.
For a normal load of 3-5 kgs, use one capsule at the back of the drum of your washing machine. For a larger or dirtier than normal load, try two capsules instead.
If you notice a residue leftover on your clothes, try putting them through an additional spin and drain cycle to ensure that they will be properly rinsed.
How to Choose the Best Washing Pods for You
The best way to narrow down the best option for you would be to consider a handful of key things.
The first thing to consider would be how concerned you are about your CO2 footprint. It would be possible to save up to 750,000 tonnes of CO2 annually if every single person in the UK decided to move to a cold wash.
If you would like to make a concerted effort to lower your environmental impact, then your best option would be to choose the pods that dissolve fully in a cold wash.
The three options that are most effective in cold water are Ariel, Bold, and Fairy.
If you have sensitive skin and find that you are feeling itchy or uncomfortable when wearing clothes that have just come out of the wash, you may be having a reaction to the washing detergent.
The best thing to do in this case would be to try out a non-bio detergent. These are a much milder type of detergent that contain less harsh chemicals and fragrances. They are often approved by dermatologists or the British Allergy Foundation.
On our list, the best option for you to try out is the Fairy Non-Bio Pods, which provide both a gentler option for your skin and a pleasant scent that will not cause itching or irritation.
Not a fan of the fragrance?
Many people find that using a washing pod as well as a fabric conditioner leaves their clothes smelling strongly of unnatural scents for much longer than they would like.
If you have a sensitive nose and prefer a milder scent, then Bold and Ariel would most likely be your best options.
If you are someone who loves to have a floral or fruity smell radiating from your clothes, then you should try out Surf and Fairy. Persil seems to be somewhere in the middle, so if you’re undecided then that may be the best option for you.
Laundry Pods vs. Liquid vs. Powder
Modern laundry pods, liquid detergent and powder detergent can all be used to tackle the same laundry tasks, which means the difference between them has blurred somewhat over the years.
Today, there are even versions of each type of detergent that are allergy friendly, suitable for washing on low temperatures and more.
These similarities mean that we have to look a little deeper to determine which of the three would be best for you and your family.
Liquid laundry detergent has always been an incredibly popular choice as they tend to be easy to use, distribute well in water, come in a range of scents and at a range of price points.
Whilst this might all sound positive, like most products, liquid detergent does still have its pros and cons.
Generally speaking, liquid laundry detergent is cheaper per wash than single use pods are. It also has the added benefit that it can be used as a pre-treatment or for spot cleaning fabrics.
The liquid formulas have been improved over the years too which means they now are very effective on oil or grease stains.
Once upon a time, liquid detergent bottles were made of plastic that could not be recycled and just ended up in landfill.
Today, fortunately, many bottles can be recycled and some are even made from recycled plastics or eco-friendly alternatives.
On the other hand, some people do find that measuring out liquid detergent can be a pain. The lines on measurement cups or bottle caps can be hard to read, which can lead to consumers using too much or too little, resulting either in poor performance, or a build-up of sludge in the machine.
The main ingredient in liquid detergent is water, which means not only do the bottles need to be quite large, but they’re heavy and so cost more to ship, which just adds to costs and the impact on the environment.
Powdered laundry detergents are easily the oldest type of detergent, and they are often the cheapest option available too.
However, there are fewer and fewer types of powdered detergent available in some stores as more households swap to using either liquids or pods.
One of the reasons for this change is the size and weight of the typical box of powder detergent. Not only do they cost more to ship and take up more space in shops and warehouses, they take up more space in our homes and can be difficult to handle too.
However, generally speaking, the packaging for powdered detergent is more widely recyclable than liquid detergent or laundry pods. This type of detergent can also be much more effective in areas with untreated hard water.
On the other hand, powder detergents can struggle to dissolve in cold water washes, which ends up leaving behind a nasty residue on laundry.
In the same way, it can be difficult to pre-treat, spot clean or hand wash with powder detergent as dissolving it in water is much more difficult than using liquid detergents.
Single dose laundry pods are the ultimate in convenience. These are a relatively modern invention that were designed specifically to be easy to use and easy to dose when compared to the more traditional liquid and powder detergents.
When compared to other types, they can also take up much less space, and they’re lightweight to move around. They also have the added bonus of less packaging going to landfill, especially if the box can be recycled.
The pre-measured doses ensure optimum performance and completely eliminates the risk of over or under dosing.
The manufacturing process takes out most of the water that you would find in traditional liquid detergent, which not only helps them take up less space, but also can allow the ingredients to stay stable for longer.
However, it is worth noting that when compared to liquid and powder detergents, these can prove to be more expensive per load.
The dose is also based on the average laundry load with average soiling and water hardness, which means that in some areas and for some laundry loads, you might need to use two pods, further increasing the cost.
It is also worth remembering that you cannot use this type of detergent for pre-treating clothing or spot cleaning, and often they cannot be used for handwashing either.
Laundry Pod FAQs
Do you need fabric softener with pods?
The answer to this question depends on the exact laundry pods that you choose and personal preference.
Some pods, such as the Bold All-in-1 Capsules have built-in fabric softener so you don’t need to add any extra unless you really want to.
Other pods, such as the Fairy Non-Bio Pods, do not contain fabric softener, so you may wish to add it to your wash.
Can laundry pods ruin your washing machine?
As long as they are used correctly, modern laundry pods will not damage your washing machine.
Most modern pods are even now designed to dissolve fully even in a cold wash, so you don’t need to worry about a build-up of plastic on the inside of the machine.
How many laundry pods should you use per wash?
This depends on a variety of factors, including the type of pods you are using, how hard the water is in your area, how big the load is, and how dirty the laundry is.
In the case of the Persil 3-in-1 Colour Protect Capsules, for example, a standard soiled load of washing that weighs between 3 and 5 kg in an area with soft or medium water will achieve great results with just the one pod.
If you’re washing a bigger load, have hard water or your laundry is very dirty, you would achieve better results using two pods.
After all of this research, if we had to pick just one product to recommend, it would be the Fairy Non-Bio Pods. These laundry pods are perfect for sensitive skin, they have a pleasant lingering scent, and the packaging is childproof.
In addition, they are equally as effective in a cold wash as they are in a hot cycle, and they are great value for money.
An adventurous book lover with an animal obsession and a proclivity for travel and spontaneity. Used to passionately despise cleaning but has grown to enjoy it thanks to learning all the best tricks and shortcuts to guaranteeing a stress-free routine and a spotless home.