BestReviews is reader-supported and may earn an affiliate commission. Details

Best Fabric Softener Pods

Updated April 2023
Bottom line
Best of the Best
Tide PODS + Downy Free Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs
PODS + Downy Free Liquid Laundry Detergent Pacs
Check Price
Best for Sensitive Skin
Bottom Line

Multipurpose pods that freshen, clean, and soften without harsh ingredients that can irritate sensitive skin.


Contain detergent and Downy Free softener that are formulated to be gentle. No perfumes or dyes, and don't leave behind a strong scent. Seventy-three pods per pack. Suitable for high-efficiency machines.


A few reports of damaged containers upon delivery. Pods may not always dissolve entirely.

Best Bang for the Buck
Snuggle Scent Boosters Concentrated Scent Pacs, Lavender Joy
Scent Boosters Concentrated Scent Pacs, Lavender Joy
Check Price
Lovely Lavender
Bottom Line

Affordable laundry pods by a popular brand with a lavender scent that smells mild and soothing, picked by our cleaning expert.


Lavender scent has subtle floral notes that appeal to most people. Top-selling brand and a good value. A sturdy plastic tub with a wide opening keeps the pods fresh. Work well when used in high-efficiency washing machines.


A few reports of the pods not dissolving, especially in cold water. Not as softening, more for scent-boosting.

Dropps Lavender Eucalyptus Fabric Softener Pods
Lavender Eucalyptus Fabric Softener Pods
Check Price
Maintains Clothes
Bottom Line

These pods are made without potentially harsh ingredients, and keep clothes feeling better and lasting longer.


Has a lavender and eucalyptus scent. Lessens pilling, static, and lint on the clothes, and increases the softness. Comes with 32 pods, and in a cardboard container for more eco-friendly packaging.


Sometimes the pods do not dissolve fully and leave a residue on the clothing.

Snuggle Scent Boosters Concentrated Scent Pacs, Blue Iris Bliss, 20 pack
Scent Boosters Concentrated Scent Pacs, Blue Iris Bliss, 20 pack
Check Price
Pleasing Fragrance
Bottom Line

A great option from a trusted brand that our cleaning expert cites as good on all types of clothes and laundry.


Delightful citrus and woodsy fragrance. Dissolves completely in the wash. Compatible with high-efficiency washers as well as standard models. Designed for both every day and activewear.


20-pack may not be the most economical per unit. The scent is stronger than softening power.

Grab Green Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods
Grab Green
Stoneworks Laundry Detergent Pods
Check Price
Natural Ingredients
Bottom Line

Quality, natural ingredients, cleaning and softening action, and scents that most consumers like make these laundry pods a good value.


Powdered multipurpose pods that clean, add fresh scent, and soften. Not made with harsh ingredients; don't contain dyes. Available in several scents that are derived from essential oils. Okay to use in high-efficiency machines. Great for sensitive skin.


Mixed opinions on the scents — users found them too light, too strong, or just right. A few also reported that they don't always dissolve completely.

Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and all opinions about the products are our own. About BestReviews  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.About BestReviews 

We recommend these products based on an intensive research process that's designed to cut through the noise and find the top products in this space. Guided by experts, we spend hours looking into the factors that matter, to bring you these selections.

Category cover

Buying guide for Best fabric softener pods

In today’s fast-paced world, it can be hard to keep up with life’s necessities. Doing your laundry is nonnegotiable but adding extras like fabric softener to the load can be time-consuming and messy. Still, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your comfort for speed. Fabric softener pods are a win/win for busy customers and for the environment.

These handy pods allow you to infuse your laundry with pleasant scents and cozy softness quickly and easily. With pods, you don’t have to babysit your load, take time to measure liquids, or risk sloppy drips. And since the pods dissolve fully, they don’t have leftover packaging to clog space in a landfill.

However, using individual fabric softener pods is more expensive than bottles, so you want to get the most out of your money. Is an all-in-one pod that includes detergent best for your family? Are skin sensitivities and allergies your biggest concern? Our comprehensive buying guide can help you answer these questions.

Content Image
Anyone who has to lug their laundry to a laundromat will appreciate the convenience of lightweight fabric softener pods.

Key considerations

Washing machine

The good news is that you can use fabric softener pods whether you own a high-efficiency (HE) washer or a standard washing machine. Pod ingredients are mostly the same as those found in liquid fabric softeners, but they get the job done using less water. They’re designed for use in water-sipping HE washers, but they’ll work just fine in washers that dispense more water, too. Most pod-related problems occur when they’re misplaced and not exposed to enough water rather than too much water.

Expert tip
Always store your fabric softener pods in a dry place. If you’re using them directly from the package they come in, make sure to place the lid tightly back on the container. You want the outer layer to dissolve in your washing machine, not in the container.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert


Multipurpose: If you have a detergent you love, a dedicated fabric softener pod may be your best bet. These pods contain only fabric softener, rather than a mix of products, so they must be used with a detergent pod. But if you really want to simplify your laundry, look for multipurpose pods. These pods contain several products, including detergent and fabric softener. Some combination pods include ingredients that treat stains, add fresh scents, and streamline other laundering processes.

Sensitive skin: Ingredients in traditional fabric softeners can sometimes be too harsh for babies’ sensitive skin. They can also irritate the skin of seniors or those who have eczema or other skin conditions. Since fabric softener pods contain the same ingredients as liquid fabric softeners, people with sensitive skin should beware of pods with dyes, added scents, or other potentially irritating ingredients.

Scent: For those without sensitive skin, fabric softener pods can be an easy way to add a pleasing scent to your laundry. Choose from fresh, clean finishes; floral fragrances, or soothing scents such as lavender or eucalyptus. Others use botanical ingredients or essential oils to give a more natural touch. Some users have a favorite signature scent they use all year; others prefer to vary the scent by season.



Many laundry products boast that they are “eco-friendly,” “natural,” or “green.” Some of these products may truly be purer or more environmentally responsible than other products, but there is no legal classification for these terms, nor is there a way to verify these claims. If you’re concerned about the composition of your fabric softener pod, look for those that are certified as organic by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). These products are guaranteed to be made up of at least 95% organic ingredients, and the remainder should not be harmful to humans or the environment.

Liquid or not

Most fabric softener pods are filled with liquid mixtures, but a few use powders or mineral compounds to avoid dyes and chemical coatings. These pods dissolve in the wash to freshen your fabric without leaving residue behind. Some love this more natural option; others say these formulas occasionally leave clothes feeling gritty if the pod and contents don’t dissolve fully. 


Using fabric softener pods rather than bottled liquid cuts down on waste. But pods have some unique challenges that make a quality storage container important. First, their casings dissolve through contact with water, so they must be kept away from spills, wet hands, and even high humidity. Second, children and pets have been known to mistake the pods for food or toys and eating them or squirting the liquid in an eye or nostril can be hazardous. It’s best to keep pods tightly sealed and out of sight in a durable, opaque container. 

Content Image
Fabric softener pods can look like food or feel like a toy to children and pets. Call Poison Control if fabric softener pod contents are swallowed or squirted into the eyes.


Laundry detergent podsIf you choose a softener-only pod, you'll still need to use a laundry detergent to clean your clothes. The benefits and conveniences you like about fabric softener pods also apply to laundry detergent pods. 

Laundry hamperLaundry may be a fact of life, but that doesn’t mean you want to look at it. A hamper keeps your dirty laundry out of sight.

Travel laundry bagsPods make carrying your supplies easier, now you can simplify carrying your laundry, too.

Fabric softener pod prices


The least expensive fabric softener pods are priced between $0.12 and $0.19 per pod. In this price range, you’ll find either fabric softener-only pods or pods that enhance the scent as well. These pods use liquid ingredients and are likely to include artificial chemicals and dyes.


These fabric softener pods cost between $0.20 and $0.25 per pod. You’ll find both fabric softener pods and multiproduct pods in this price range. Some use traditional fabric softener fluid, but more natural options that use powder or minerals can be found in this price range, too.

expert tip
When using pods, always add your clothes AFTER you add your pod.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert


The priciest fabric softener pods cost between $0.30 and $0.35 per pod. Pods that cost this much should be multiproduct pods that simplify your laundry routine. You’ll find both pods with quality chemical ingredients and more natural options at this price. 


  • Use pods without dyes. Dye-free fabric softener pods designed for sensitive skin are a good choice for those concerned about fabric softener streaks and stains on clothes.
  • Don’t use fabric softener on microfiber cloths. Fabric softeners can hamper microfiber’s spill-absorbing and dust-catching properties. They can also limit the absorbency of bathroom towels.
  • Don’t use fabric softener on moisture-wicking athletic wear. It can affect the garment’s breathability.
  • Don’t use fabric softener on children’s sleepwear. The product can interfere with the clothing’s flame-retardant finish.  
Content Image
Fabric softener pods may be most effective when paired with laundry detergent pods from the same manufacturer.


Q. What does fabric softener do?

A. Liquid fabric softeners work their way into your clothes and towels. They make your clothes feel softer, and some add a light scent. Additionally, these formulas can help prevent fading and stretching, as well as lint collection, to help your clothes last longer. Fabric softener reduces static and wrinkles, so there’s less time spent on ironing or adding extra static treatments.

Q. How do I use fabric softener pods?

A. It’s an important question because improper placement or handling can sabotage your load. Since water dissolves the liner, pods must be handled with dry hands. Set the pod directly on the bottom of the drum near the back before adding clothes. If you place the pod on top of the clothing, it may not fully dissolve, leaving streaks on your laundry. Putting it in the dispenser drawer is ineffective, too.

expert tip
Always add the pod to the washer drum and not into the dispenser.
BestReviews Cleaning Expert

Q. Why are my clothes streaked with fabric softener?

A. Pods that don’t fully dissolve may leave spots or streaks on clothes. If this happens, don’t  put the clothes in the dryer — the heat can set the marks and make them harder to remove. Instead, put the clothes through another wash cycle without any additional pods. Select the settings for the largest load possible to make sure your clothes are rinsed well.

Q. Why didn’t my pod dissolve correctly?

A. Pod casings are formulated to dissolve in both hot and cold water, but in the winter, frigid water from your pipes can thwart the process. If this happens multiple times, dissolve the pod in a bowl or jar of hot water, then pour it in the washer drum before you add the clothes. If the problem occurs during the summer, you may have put too many clothes in the washer, preventing the proper amount of water from reaching and dissolving the pod.