Scrud, sludge, laundry pod gunk – what it is, why you don’t want it in your washing machine, and how to get rid of it

by Rachel Bray

How traditional laundry detergents are damaging your clothes and your washing machine

What is the gunk in my washing machine?

Call it what you will, it’s brown, greasy, and lurks in your washing machine if you use traditional laundry detergents. And especially if you use laundry detergent pods.

dirty washing machine seals
Traditional laundry detergents contain ingredients ranging from fillers to optical brighteners, many of which are unnecessary and toxic to the environment. Laundry detergent pods are the latest incarnation of ‘convenience’, a fixed dose of liquid detergent wrapped in a dissolvable plastic.

What’s wrong with laundry detergent pods?

They are encapsulated in plastic, sold in plastic boxes, often contain too much detergent for the wash, and don’t fully dissolve at the lower temperatures or in the lower water volumes typically used by newer washing machines.

As the right micro-organisms needed for pod plastic membranes to degrade are generally found in water processing plants and not in washing machines, the undissolved plastic will remain in the machine and build up, along with the other undissolved elements from traditional liquids and powders.

brightly coloured laundry detergent pods

This is what creates the gunk you’ll find in the washing machine seals and sometimes on your washing. Usually on your whites or your sheets…

How do you get rid of residue build up?

Although you might expect a washing machine to effectively clean itself every time it does a wash, in fact dirt, bacteria, mould, and odours can quickly build up because of these leftover detergent residues. You’ll find a handy guide to cleaning your washing machine on our blog so if you don’t already do this on a regular basis and need guidance, check it out.

Now you know what this gunk is and why it’s there (and you’ve cleaned your washing machine to get rid of it), what can you do to avoid it in the future?

Laundry detergent strips are the future of laundry

The answer is simple. Melt laundry detergent strips are all the things that traditional laundry detergents are not. They are designed for low water, low temperature washing machines that now dominate. Our strips are a zero-waste product that naturally eat dirt and stains. They are fully dissolvable and biodegradable, and are packaged in recycled, recyclable cardboard.

Melt laundry strips combine charged nanoparticles and patented "target" bio-enzymes and are formed using a unique dry roller process. This means they contain no bulkers, water, or toxic chemicals. Which makes them safer, easier to use, and more environmentally friendly than traditional laundry detergents.

Easy to use, difficult to over-use

It’s easy to use too much detergent when you’re using fixed-dose pods or tablets (or even pouring liquids or powders), but our strips can be cut or torn to allow for exactly the right amount. We recommend one strip for a standard size washing machine load, or two to three for larger machines, dirtier loads, and hard water areas. But you can give them a go and decide what works best for you.

And because they are so small and light our packs can be posted through your letterbox. At around a tenth of the volume of the equivalent traditional liquid or powder detergent we are seriously cutting emissions in the laundry detergent industry. Imagine if everyone switched their laundry detergent supply to a subscription-basis, zero-waste, environmentally-friendly product like Melt.


Join us by subscribing, contract free– as well as all the obvious benefits to your clothes, your washing machine, and the planet, you’ll never run out again.

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