Dealing with a Laundry Detergent Allergy

by Cassandra Merkling
(last updated July 13, 2009)

Having an allergy to your laundry detergent can be a huge pain in the neck. These days, there are a lot of chemicals that go into laundry detergents that make them unhealthy for those of us who have skin or breathing sensitivities. Of course you have to get the dander and dust mites out of your linens and clothing, but what about the stuff that is left over from the rinse cycle? Well, the good news is that there are still some things you can do to get through the tough times you will go through until you can finally switch detergents.

The first, and possibly most obvious, alternative is to throw your clothing and linens back into the washer for another rinse cycle. It may help if you use hot water, but you can use cold if you feel that would be of more benefit to your situation. Some people suggest pulling your clothes and/or linens away from the wall of the washing machine's drum if it is still in there from the last spin cycle. Having the articles loose in the drum will facilitate any extra rinse since there will be more interaction of the clothing and/or linens as they are agitated within the drum.

Another thing you can do to rid your clothing of the smell and chemical residue of your laundry detergent is to try washing your clothing in hypoallergenic soaps you may already have around the house, such as using baby shampoo on your hand-washables. The use of an alternative detergent that you already know will not harm your skin or lungs may be strong enough to rid your clothing of the extra detergent left on it.

Lastly, if nothing else works, even after changing detergents a thousand times over, you can always start washing your clothing without detergent at all. This can mean your clothing will require more pretreatment in the form of a really good scrubbing, but lots of people in other countries wash their clothes without detergent and it turns out alright. The only downside, besides the time you will lose doing such a thing, is that your clothing and linens may not last as long with this method. However, it is still worth considering this route as a possibility, especially if nothing else seems to work for you.

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