I don't think I can win. LOL. Any ideas on what I could possibly use?
Kristin, when you or a loved one has an allergic reaction to laundry detergent it can be very uncomfortable, and so I totally understand why you want to avoid any products like this.
First, let me start out by saying that I am not a doctor, and I do not claim to be. Therefore, please take everything I say with a grain of salt.
However, I get similar questions like yours all the time, or comments when I receive laundry detergent reviews from readers, all discussing that certain detergent types and brands can cause mild to severe allergic reactions to the detergent. Therefore, I know this is a common problem. You are not alone.
In fact, in my own home, one of my children suffers from laundry detergent allergies. This has significantly impacted what products I can use to wash our entire family's clothing and bedding.
Because allergic reactions to laundry detergent are so common when I got the chance to interview a dermatologist for this site, I took the time to ask her questions about this issue. Here is my article about laundry detergent allergies, which contains a video interview with the dermatologist.
Basically, what I learned is that you need to steer clear of dyes and perfumes, which are the two most common ingredients which can cause an allergic reaction to laundry detergent. Therefore, I have compiled a list of hypoallergenic laundry detergents, sharing which brands actually make products free of these dyes and perfumes for people like us that need them. It even has links to reviews from other readers, where available, sharing how the product worked for them. After all, there is no point in buying a product to keep you from having an allergic reaction, only to have it not actually wash your clothes well.
I've also learned that people are allergic to slightly different things, as you can see since your husband and you have different allergic responses to different detergents. You didn't say whether you had tried the dye and perfume free versions of these detergents above or not, but I am guessing you haven't. The reason being is that a couple of the detergent you listed don't actually even have a scent free version you could try, like Gain or Xtra, for example.
Therefore, my suggestion to you is to look at the list of available hypoallergenic laundry detergents, and then buy yourself a small bottle or box of it to try at home. The reason I suggest buying a small amount the first time is that I've found, from people sending me in reviews, that sometimes people are so sensitive that they still have an allergic response to some of these supposedly allergy free detergents. In addition, each has a different formula, and you want to feel confident it will also clean your clothes well before you buy a lot of it.
Then, once you've gone through some of your own trial and error, and find one that works well to clean your clothes, and that both you and your husband can tolerate, then buy a larger amount of it at a time, so each load will be cheaper.
In addition, make sure you are not accidentally sabotaging your own efforts when you use other laundry supplies, such as fabric softener or dryer sheets, with your clothes. These products cannot have any scent either, or they could be the culprits of your or your husband's allergies.
I hope this will help you find something that will keep your whole family from experiencing allergic reactions to laundry detergent. If you find something that works well for you, please share what you've found! I would love to hear back from you.
This post is part of my site, where I answer people's laundry questions. Do you have a question of your own? If so, please ask me your laundry questions here, or read other questions and answers that have already been published.
If you end up using a laundry product that causes an allergic reaction you've got to first off, stop using it. Obviously. But you've also got to get the allergens out of any clothes or other fabrics you washed with the product.
Here's how a reader, Ashley shared that she does it.
Hi there! My oldest daughter around the age of two started breaking out so badly that we spent the next few years at the doctors office and the dermatologist office.
We finally found out she has extreme skin sensitivities. She has me to blame for that! :(
It was trial and error to figure out what ALL (believe me it seems like everything some days) was causing this.
I started making as many homemade products possible.
The best way I've found to remove allergens from linens is to wash it once in white vinegar (about a cup a load) then wash it a second time with baking soda (like you would use for cooking) again one cup. Then dry as usual.
Be careful about your fabric sheets as they might be making you itch also.
However, some people are even allergic to some of these scent and dye free products, since each person is so different. Unfortunately, it is not at all uncommon to experience allergic reactions like this, and all you can do is seek medical attention for the symptoms, and then switch to a new detergent until you find one your family can tolerate.
Actually you can develop an allergic reaction to a particular brand of laundry soap. Especially if the formula has been changed, which all of them have for just about all brands.
Best way to tell...wear a dress or skirt with no underwear. If, after a day or two you find relief, you know there's something afoot with the underwear.
I and my daughter both have a very sensitive personal area when it comes to detergents. I can use regular detergents on everything but our panties; to put it bluntly. It can be caused by one of three things: the laundry detergent ingredients, the pH (as most detergents are alkaline), or bacteria.
You have to rule each one out at a time, maybe even twice if you find you have to switch brands.
First, let's go with disinfection. Wash articles with chlorine bleach if that is an option (remember chlorine bleach works better in cold water), or an unscented Oxi bleach with the hottest water they can stand. Soak them if you have too. You can even hang them in the sunshine for disinfection. It actually works. ***Note from Taylor: Chlorine bleach actually works well in both water temperatures, but oxygen bleach works best in hot water :) ***
Second, use vinegar in the rinse. This serves two functions. One, it neutralizes the alkalinity. Two, it helps strip the detergent from the garment. (It can also kill some forms of bacteria as well.) If you can smell any vinegar at all by the time the load is done...rinse again.
Third, if disinfecting does not work and vinegar does not work, you will have to try a different brand. I would start with Purex Free and Clear first. Out of all the free and clear versions you find at the local store it seems to be the most gentle due to what is not in it, but it also doesn't clean as well as others so you will have to find a way to deal with stains.
If that does not work gradually keep trying other brands until you find one that works. You may even have to go with a natural brand. It's a pain in the butt..believe me, I understand.
Any detergent that you try that doesn't work out you can return to the store if they will accept it back, or you can donate them to an animal shelter. Most shelters accept it as they always have towels and blankets they need to wash for the animals they care for.
Also...and this is important..I would recommend using Dove unscented soap. It has no perfume, has moisturizers, and it is pH balanced.
For us, vinegar rinses, sun drying, and the Dove soap have worked for us, which makes it nice because I can usually use any unscented brand I want. I hope this helps.
My poor husband has been broken out for two weeks from laundry allergies.
This stuff is supposed to help. I'm so tired of washing his clothes.
And he only has a part time job, and college full time. I just can't keep buying bottles of new detergent.
I sure hope you find a detergent that works for your husband's laundry allergies, because I know it can be frustrating trying to find something that works well.
When testing different detergents I suggest buying the smallest bottle you can find, just because if you can't use that one you don't have a big old jug left that is basically useless to you.
In addition, sometimes if someone has had a severe allergic reaction they may need to go to the doctor to get medicines to help calm it down. Only once the allergy symptoms have calmed back down can you really test detergents to see if they will work or not.
Good luck finding a detergent that works! It can be a difficult, frustrating and expensive process but worth it to keep family members comfortable while also keeping their clothes clean.
I hope you enjoy this gift, and stop by again soon!
CAUTION: This website is provided for informational purposes only. It is provided as is, without warranties or guarantees. Some stains and messes just won't come out, and are permanent. Further, some cleaning methods can harm your item, so if what you want to clean or launder is sentimental or expensive call a professional. See disclaimer of liability for more information.