Do you or your family members suffer with skin allergies but don’t know what is causing it? Tried every potion, lotion & cream on the market with no success? It may be time to take a closer look at what is in your laundry detergent….
Laundry detergents can contain a number of possible irritants & allergens. The surprising fact is that these irritants may not only be the chemical ingredients, but can also be naturally derived ones too!
Most laundry detergents/softeners will contain:
+ Artificial fragrances/parfums - known to have toxic effects on fish & mammals including skin irritation, allergy, respiratory irritation & endocrine/hormonal disruption.
+ Optical brighteners - known to be a skin irritant and have toxic effects on fish.
+ Quaternary Ammonium Compounds - often found in fabric softeners. Can trigger dermatitis and asthmatic episodes.
+ Palm Oil - a known skin irritant. Its production also has a huge role in the deforestation of South East Asia, & causing the death of many innocent orangutans. If you use products with Palm Oil in them make sure it has a sustainability certification.
+ Naturally Derived Enzymes - have replaced phosphates since the EU parliament banned them in 2013 however, alThough these ingredients are natural, they have been known to cause allergic reactions. Enzymes are naturally-occurring proteins called proteases and amylases. They help break down stains caused by blood, eggs and sweat, to name a few.
Eek! So where is the good news in all of this? Well, it’s definitely a tricky situation, but by being a conscious consumer you’re more likely to identify IF your laundry detergent is causing that nasty irritation & if so which alternative is best for you to use to replace it with.
Two main types of skin reactions to clothing & detergent
+ Irritation - a red, itchy rash that will usually occur directly after contact with the offending substance. The irritation will usually go away fairly quickly when offending irritant is removed.
+ Allergic Contact Dermatitis - this also appears as a red, itchy rash, but usually not immediately. It can take days, up to a week for the immune system to identify and react to allergens. In fact Sufferers can react to a product they’ve used many times before and the allergic reaction only occurs when the skin is repeatedly exposed to the offending irritant.
And so as both reactions rely on direct contact with the substance, one of the best ways to determine if your laundry detergent is the main offender is to remove it for a period time. Try a different brand, with a different list of ingredients. If the rash or irritation goes, you can be quite sure it is the detergent. Want to be doubly-sure? Reintroduce the powder and see if the rash returns!
Are you suffering from sensitive skin? Check out all the skincare that can help you with combatting sensitive skin.
Our favourite laundry detergent? Bondi Wash Laundry Wash. This 100% plant-based Laundry Wash is scented with divine Tasmanian Pepper & Rosemary. Your clothes are left clean, soft & fresh smelling. It is suitable for most fabric types with machine or hand wash. Designed with sensitive skin in mind, this laundry wash is also a perfect option for those suffering with skin irritations to mainstream laundry powders. It is also non-toxic. biodegradable & not tested on animals. Good for you, the planet & your clothes! Also available in Delicate Laundry Wash - Blue Cypress + Petitgrain
Want another alternative? Make your own!
Superbee has an incredible option for you: the Hexawash. Hexawash is filled with small magnesium pellets, when these little balls get mixed with water they create hydrogen gas and magnesium hydroxide. This reaction results in an alkaline solution of around pH 10.5, negative hydroxide ions reduce the surface tension of water, making it easier for dirt and oil to breakdown and be washed away.
And you can always go for a do-it-yourself option. Try this fabulous recipe we came across via our wonderful low-tox community:
1 bar natural soap, finely grated
1 cup of washing soda (Can purchase at the supermarket)
1/2 cup salt
1/4 cup citric acid (can be purchased at the supermarket)
20 ish drops of essential oil (lemon, eucalyptus & lavender are all great options)
While it may be a little bit of financial outlay in the beginning, these ingredients will make many batches and is comparable in cost with mainstream laundry detergent.
And so with a little research and a lot of awareness, you can find a laundry detergent that will keep your whites stain free, your skin rash free and your conscious guilt free!
Read more about eczema & dermatitis.