How colorants changed the unit dose in laundry

July 29, 2019 by David Ashley

The unit dose format has carved out a significant, double-digit portion of the laundry detergent market since it was relaunched in 2008. But, as with any products in a highly competitive space, brands recognize the need to differentiate their goods from other available options –– and color can play a vital role.

Unit doses are water-soluble pouches that can contain highly concentrated forms of various products –– laundry detergent, fabric softener, automatic dishwashing detergent, or other laundry products. Such applications offer increased user convenience while delivering quality and performance unmatched by dyes or pigments. Since the pouches are made from water-soluble PVA films, it is vital that the formulation contains very little water (to prevent the pouches from dissolving prematurely). This lack of water can cause traditional coloring dyes to precipitate.

A range of hues & benefits

Milliken has developed a highly effective unit-dose colorant solution for laundry detergent manufacturers. Its Liquitint™ true-liquid, polymeric colorants are highly stable, non-migrating, non-staining and can mask base yellowing. They offer easy processing and deliver deep, bright hues, via the following 5 primary colorants : yellow, blue, cyan, violet and red.

This small inventory of primary colorants allows the creation of a wide range of bright shades to support product differentiation. Laundry detergent manufacturers have the choice of primary colorants or blends in various concentrations, but Milliken can also develop tailor-made solutions to meet specific needs.

Liquitint colorants blend in quickly with little effort, allowing for inline blending without pre-mixing, and they will not settle or block equipment.

They also are designed to provide high levels of UV and thermal stability. And since they are non-migrating, the colorant will not bleed into other compartments should the unit dose contain multiple chambers.

Why color matters

Color is a key factor when consumers make purchasing decisions. Color promises product aspects that often cannot be experienced in-store, such as fragrance, freshness and quality. Color infuses product with distinction, belief, recognition and, most importantly, emotion. Color is key to branding, offers product differentiation, helps to personalize products, serves to highlight specific features, and can evoke emotions that make people feel happy, safe, relaxed or alive.

Clean, convenient, compatible

Being completely water-soluble, Liquitint colorants are easy to use and dispense, and can be easily washed out, making them ideal for sensitive applications. Unlike traditional coloration methods, they minimize staining on hands, hard surfaces, most fabrics, and equipment, even at high color loadings. Liquitint colorants are suited for a wide pH range and can be used at high color concentrations. Additionally, Liquitint colorants are compatible with most challenging additives, such as perfumes, and maintain color stability in concentrated formulas.