Are dishwasher pods selling you short?
Dishwasher pods are convenient no doubt, but they do miss the boat in one respect. Most dishwashers have a pre-wash tray with a perforated cover next to the main detergent tray. This extra tray allows the detergent to rinse into the first wash cycle, when a pod is used this tray is going to be empty. The first wash cycle does a lot, it is responsible for cleaning most of the residue from your dishes. The pre-wash detergent also contains emulsifiers and dispersants which help break up oils and not allow them to re-adhere to dishes. It would make sense that you would want a detergent present when the dishes are at their dirtiest. Ever try and wash a greasy pan with no soap, doesn't work too well. By using pods you are essentially sending your dishwasher in for its mission with one arm tied behind its back.
The main lid of the detergent dispenser does not open until the 2nd cycle by design, the first cycle only lasts about 15 minutes and the water is very dirty by the time it drains. By using a time delay on the lid release the main detergent does not get pumped out right away with nasty drain water. The 2nd cycle can last up to an hour and that is when you want the main detergent released. By having detergent in contact with the dishes in both cycles you are most likely going to see improved results from your dishwasher.
HOT WATER! Your dishwasher needs it to perform at its best. North American dishwashers do not heat the water on the first cycle. How long does it take to get hot water at your kitchen tap? 15-20 seconds? Your dishwasher supply is connected right below your kitchen tap. Its first fill cycle is pretty short and it is likely going to fill with cold water vs hot water. Run your tap till you get hot water before you start your dishwasher. It should make a significant difference in performance. Give it a whirl and comment if you see better results. Until next time...