What Dyes In Laundry Detergent Really Do And Why You Should Avoid Them

by Rachel Bray

Don’t Be Fooled By Brightly-Coloured Laundry Detergent Liquids And Pods

 They might look pretty and appealing (a problem in itself) but there are many unnecessary and potentially harmful ingredients in laundry detergent pods. They’re not good for your clothes or your washing machine either.

In 2015, after at least six fatalities, Proctor & Gamble had to add a bittering agent to the outside of their Tide pods and strengthen the membrane to make children less likely to try eating them. They look like brightly-coloured candy and are extremely enticing to small children.


bright laundry pods


A few years later a teen pod-eating challenge circulated on the internet and lead to more hospitalisations for poisoning. And while it might be obvious to an adult that they’re not for consumption, either for real or for a ‘joke’, the question still needs to be asked: why are laundry pods so brightly coloured?

Why is there dye in laundry detergent?

Dyes in laundry detergent are there to make them more visually exciting and appealing or to give the impression they do different jobs.

Traditional laundry detergents used to contain blue dye which had the effect of making whites appear whiter. These days they contain optical brighteners instead: synthetic chemicals that “transform UV (ultraviolet) light waves to enhance blue light and minimize the amount of yellow light to make things appear whiter”. They are not readily biodegradable and can remain on your clothes: they’ll glow under a special UV or black light.

glowing t shirt

So, the dyes in liquid detergents and pods are there purely for effect. Many dyes are carcinogens and endocrine disruptors, which means they can cause cancer and hormonal problems.

Laundry pods don’t always dissolve properly and can stain your clothes

Some pods contain one coloured liquid, others contain swirls or sections of variously coloured liquids. However, you don’t need three different bottles of laundry liquid for one wash. Ariel claims their pods come in three different compartments to keep the ingredients “stable and separate”. Which still doesn’t explain why they need to be different colours.

And the highly coloured, super-concentrated detergent in laundry pods doesn’t always dissolve. Pods need more water and higher temperatures than typically used in modern washing machines to dissolve properly.

You can end up with brightly-coloured stains on your clothes and gunk building up in your washing machine. This gunk can harbour bacteria, cause odours, and even damage your washing machine. The gunk can also cause stains on your freshly-washed clothes, but it’ll be brown instead of brightly coloured. Nice.

Avoid dyes, stains, and gunk by using Melt laundry detergent strips



Melt laundry detergent strips are the future of laundry.

  • They contain no dyes, bulkers, or harmful chemicals.
  • They are super concentrated and dissolve immediately in cold water and with the lower water levels typically associated with modern machines.
  • They leave no residue to build up as gunk.
  • They won’t stain your clothes.
  • They don’t put harmful chemicals into the environment.
  • They don’t look like candy, and it would be extremely difficult for a child to accidentally ingest a strip: it would be like trying to eat a monstrously bitter piece of rice paper. You’d have more chance with broccoli…


Laundry Detergent strips box melt


Light and small, Melt laundry detergent strips are packaged in recycled, recyclable cardboard. They’ll fit through your letterbox and won’t take up much space in your laundry cupboard. And you don’t even need to worry about remembering to buy them as they are available on our Melt Infinity subscription basis that can be adjusted to suit your needs.

So, why not join us!