Trader Joe’s Automatic Dishwasher Packs Free and Clear Review


Trader Joe's Automatic Dishwasher Packs Free and Clear
Trader Joe’s Automatic Dishwasher Packs Free and Clear


Trader Joe’s latest venture into the scintillating world of dishwashing, their Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Packs – now free of fragrance, dyes, and chlorine bleach – seems less like a triumphant entry into the eco-friendly household market and more like a hesitant toe-dip in the lukewarm waters of mediocrity. It’s as if they’ve decided to take all the fun out of dishwashing, stripping away the familiar chemical rainbow and eye-watering scents, leaving us with a product that’s as bland as unsalted crackers. But fear not, my dirty-dish laden friends, for I have braved the suds to bring you the unvarnished truth about these unassuming little packs. Are they the unsung heroes of the eco-conscious cleaning world, or just another well-meaning flop in the endless cycle of rinse and repeat? Let’s find out.

Trader Joe’s has been selling dishwasher detergent for many years. First, it was in a green and yellow box as a powder you just poured into your dishwasher. I used it for a while, but it just lacked the punch that the mainstream dishwasher detergents had. It just didn’t get things that clean. So, I moved back to regular Cascade dishwasher soap, but I couldn’t stand the scent it left behind on my dishes, even when I did extra rinse mode. 

Trader Joe’s introduced a Free and Clear dishwasher detergent in convenient pods (Trader Joe’s calls them “packs”) and again they did a decent job but just didn’t clean as well as the Cascade Free and Clear pods so I went back to Cascade. 

Just recently, Trader Joe’s seemed to re-package and re-introduce some new Automatic Dishwasher Detergent Packs which looked suspiciously the same except in a different box. But after closer inspection of the ingredients list, these new “packs” seem to be a whole new product. I’m not a chemist enough to know what they all are but some are the same as the old formula and there are some different ones.

Trader Joe’s on their website says “single-use Dishwasher Detergent Packs employ the power of potent enzymes like protease and amylase, as well as plant- based surfactants like corn-derived caprylyl/capyrl glucoside, to leave all kinds of dishwasher-safe kitchenware sparkling and spotless.” OK, I’ll have to go with Trader Joe’s on this because I don’t feel like doing research to prove them one way or another.

The other nice thing is that they are in plastic free packaging now. It just a cute blue and white box with the pods… I mean packs, in them. 

Trader Joe's Automatic Dishwasher Packs Free and Clear back
Trader Joe’s Automatic Dishwasher Packs Free and Clear back

They are pretty straight forward to use, just stick one in the little door thingy where you would put the detergent and turn on your dishwasher. The exterior of the pod dissolves and releases the detergent when it comes in contact with hot water.

We have a pretty nice Bosch dishwasher but I just put it on Regular mode and washed a normal load of dishes. Nothing too dirty. I had one dirty saute pan that I had cooked some meat in and I felt it was a good test.

Trader Joe's Automatic Detergent Dishwasher Fragrance Free packs
Trader Joe’s Automatic Detergent Dishwasher Fragrance Free packs
Dirty Dishes
Dirty Dishes

After about two hours of washing and drying, I pulled out the dishes and inspected them to see how clean they were and I was quite impressed. 

Clean Glass
Clean Glass

Here is the clean square glass storage dish. (BTW I love these glass storage containers!)

Clean glass storage container
Clean glass storage container

The only thing that Trader Joe’s Dishwasher Detergent struggled with was this stainless steel saute pan. You can see it left a white film on it, whereas I know that the super Cascade Ultra pods or whatever they are called would get this shiny clean. But considering they are less than half the price, I might just not care. The pan is clean enough! 

Clean Saute Pan
Clean Saute Pan

By the way, the Trader Joe’s Dishwasher packs are $4.99 for a box of 20 making them about $0.25 a piece which is pretty cheap compared to Cascade Free and Clear which clock in at $.62 a piece if you go by what I saw on Amazon.

Final Thoughts

I have been pretty disappointed in some of these no name dishwasher products in the past. It’s hard to tell if they are re-branded national products or if they are formulated just for Trader Joe’s or whoever. But, I have to say the glassware and the plastic and almost everything else came out squeaky clean except for this one saute pan. It’s not if it wasn’t clean it just had some streaks on the pan which came off in a little water and dish soap. For this price point, I say this is a solid buy. I am going to give these Trader Joe’s Automatic Dishwasher Packs a solid 8 out of 10 Bells!




  1. Thanks for this helpful review!

    I’ve been decently pleased with the pods in their previous iteration, so I’m curious to try out the new version.

  2. The first few washes seemed fine. After about 10 washes my clear glasses are all white and needed to scrub the filter to remove residue .

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