Detergent Allergy Pictures - The Not So Pretty Truth Behind These Allergic Reactions
This site has become one of the go to locations on the web to discuss laundry detergent allergy problems, and as such several readers have actually sent in pictures to me showing the problems they've experienced because of these allergic reactions.
Part of me considered not showing the pictures, since they aren't necessarily very pretty. However, there are some people who doubt that people could actually be allergic to laundry detergent or other laundry supplies, and I think these pictures graphically show that is definitely not the case.
This page is a good resource to show not only doubters, but also those who are trying to figure out if they've had an allergic reaction to a laundry product.
If you're using this page to help with self-diagnosis please be aware each person is different, so their allergic reaction symptoms may also look different from your own. In addition, lots of things can cause allergic reactions, not just detergents so there is no guarantee this is the cause of your problem.
Hopefully though, this page will help show you what some detergent allergy reactions look like and help you figure out what's happening to you too.
Picture Of Severe Laundry Detergent Allergy Reaction
Rashes & Eye Swelling Can Also Be Symptoms Of Detergent Allergies
Joe shared his experience when he had an allergic reaction to laundry detergent.
I have been using regular Tide for a long time and would get minor rashes/irritation from time to time. Then, 2 days ago, while using Tide HE with bleach alternative I had a HUGE flare up and had large lumps and rashes all over my groin, underarms, waistline and legs (picture of underarm included) and both my eyes were half shut from swelling.
I went to the local urgent care clinic and received treatment. While getting the prescription filled I grabbed some Arm And Hammer Perfume And Dye Free Detergent hoping it would help me. I washed approximately 5 loads of clothes including bedding and the next day my hands were very swollen and throughout the day my legs, waist and arms developed more rashes and swelling.
I had to go back to urgent care and get another shot, which didn't seem to help much this time.
Now I am trying an all natural detergent that is plant based. I am REALLY hoping this help me. All I can do is wait it out now and keep taking meds.
Thanks Joe for sharing your experience with me, but I'm sorry it was so bad for you.
It is no fun to have an allergic reaction, and by the looks of it you've had quite a bad one. I'm glad you've gone to the doctor and hope you'll be on the mend soon.
If you do have luck with this new detergent I'd love to hear about it from you. In addition, you may want to check out this list of hypoallergenic laundry detergent brands to see if it may help you find another detergent to try.
I actually have gotten a couple of complaints very recently about scent free Arm & Hammer, saying that although they had used it without problems for years, it had started giving them an allergic reaction (see the link above). I'm still investigating that issue, but it sounds like it didn't help you.
The other thing is that when you re-wash clothes that have detergent that has caused an allergic reaction you sometimes have to wash a couple of times, or do multiple rinses to get all the offending detergent out of the clothes. If you didn't get all the residue from the Tide out, that may have caused your symptoms to get worse, instead of the Arm & Hammer. It is hard to say for sure.
Has anyone else had a severe allergic reaction to any type of detergent? If so, please share your story here, and how you fixed it (if applicable).
***Update: I received this comment from an SR101 reader saying:
I had the same reaction to Arm and Hammer free and clear. Swollen eyes, large itchy spots all over.
Bought Dreft to rewash my clothes but so glad I read this, am rewashing in plant derived detergent instead.
Wasn't sure what I was allergic to, but narrowed it down after having read this site. Thanks !!
Jared also shared some pictures of what happened when he had an allergic reaction to laundry detergent.
About 1 month ago, I started having breakouts from what I assumed was an allergic reaction.
The laundry detergent I was using was already hypoallergenic, so I went to one that is supposed to be good for babies, Dreft.
What happened next was even more shocking because the baby detergent caused a severe breakout to the point where I had to go to the ER and have a nurse give me some prednisone to reduce the swelling.
For ten days the swelling was gone, then I put on my work clothes for the next day to go to work, and as I woke up in the morning, I realized that my face felt kind of funny. I looked in the mirror only to find that my face was swollen so bad I could not see out of my eyelids but a squint, so I walked to work to see if my boss still wanted me to work. Naturally, they didn't want to be liable if anything happened on the job, so they sent me home.
After that I decided to wash my clothes in just regular water and do an extra rinse cycle to see if anything remaining was still on my clothes.
Only problem, is that the washer and dryer are shared by more than just myself where I live, so whomever used it before me or whomever has the detergent that I react to, I do not know.
So for now, all I am able to do is use allegra, whenever the break outs occur. They happen less and less as I start to just wash my clothes in water and no detergent, which means that there are still detergent residues in my clothes or in the washer basin.
I have attached some photos of what happened. It looked similar to what happened with a guy named Joe on there as well.
***Jared also shared this comment directly with Joe, from above. I've added it here to go with the rest of his submission. Jared said in response to Joe's submission:***
I have been having similar reactions that you have had, break outs, swelling, even had my eyes nearly swollen shut.
Problem for me is I live in a place where everyone uses that same washer and about 5-50 detergents could be going through there.
The picture of that breakout looks exactly like what has happened with me, I even tried a hypoallergenic detergent called dreft, and that just made it worse.
At this point I am at a loss what I am supposed to do because if there are that many different detergents going through the washers, the possibilities of narrowing it down are endless
Sorry you've had this bad experience Jared. I hope you feel better soon.
You're probably right that whatever caused your allergic reaction, to begin with, is from the residue of someone else's detergent that was left in the communal washing machines.
However, you're right, you most likely made it worse by switching to Dreft. I've gotten several submissions from readers sharing how Dreft caused them to have allergic reactions, so you are not alone, although I'm sure thats small comfort to you right now. This detergent, although made for babies, is scented, and scent is a major component in many people's allergy problems with various detergents.
I don't think washing your clothes in plain water is a viable long term solution for you though, because eventually your clothes are going to start to feel pretty dirty! I would try another hypoallergenic laundry detergent -- this time confirm it is both scent and dye free -- and use it with your clothes. Buy a small bottle, so that you can experiment until you find one your body tolerates and that works well for cleaning your clothes.
Then, make sure you always do an extra rinse cycle to help reduce the amount of detergent residue in your clothing.
If things continue to go badly you may want to run an empty load in the communal washing machine to rinse away residue before running your own load. I know that's more expensive, but better than missing work for health problems, right?
I hope these suggestions help, since I know having these allergic reactions can make you feel miserable!
Allergic Reaction To Snuggle Fabric Softener: Picture
by SR101 Reader
It is actually not just detergents which can cause allergic reactions, but any laundry products. Here is a picture and store from a reader who has suffered an allergic reaction to Snuggle fabric softener.
SR101 Reader says:
A few years ago I used Snuggle in the emerald green scent.
The reaction started with a burning itch on the bottoms of my feet. I thought it was a reaction from our recently steam cleaned carpets so I just started wearing shoes around the house.
A few days later it moved to the tops of my feet and up my legs. The only relief I could get was scrubbing down thoroughly in the shower.
I still didn't make the connection to the fabric softener, since I was sure my mom used Snuggle when I was younger. But, the burning itch would not go away.
I went to the doctor who prescribed prednisone, which I also had an allergic reaction to.
After trying several other steroid and anti anxiety medications we found ativan which worked.
I figured out it was my fabric softener and washed everything twice with the extra rinse cycle.
I still broke out on my feet. It would not come out of my socks.
I ended up buying more socks to cure that problem.
I have since stayed away from all Snuggle softeners. Until several days ago I've been really lucky.
Then, we used the apartment community washer/dryer and the familiar buring sensation happened instantly when I put my socks on. I guess I'm going shopping again.
But I have yet to find anything to actually treat the reaction.
I have not been worrying about it like last time, so I don't feel there's any need for an anti anxiety meds.
I have just been going back and forth from Neosporin to Palms cocoa butter.
After several days it is still there. A half dollar size rash on my forearm.
I don't know what else to do. I refuse Benadryl because I would like to stay awake, and the cream doesn't work.
Any help would be very very much appreciated.
Sorry to hear about your allergic reaction, and I hope you feel better soon.
I'm not a medical doctor, so I can't give any advice about fixing the rash you've already got, but definitely avoid those community washers if you can at all avoid them. (I know that is sometimes easier to say than to do though!)
If you've got to wash clothes in such a machine definitely try to do a second rinse, and perhaps also add vinegar or baking soda to the rinse to help release even more detergent and other laundry product residues from your clothing's fabrics.
Has anyone else experienced an allergic reaction to fabric softeners? If you have, I'd appreciate you sharing your story. You can share your experiences here.
Son's Reaction Brought Him To The ER Swollen From Head To Toe
by Mary Redd
I purchased All with oxi stain lifters in hopes to lessen my stain problems as I have 2 active boys. My older son broke out with hives on his arms, his face swelled up where you could barely see and his eyes and his legs, feet and hands were sausage-like. This is significant as walking was a problem too.
Now I'm in the midst of washing every fabric in this home which means a loss of a day of work and worry he may break out again if I miss washing something.
This is a true nightmare. I may need him to stay with family until I'm done.
So sorry to hear this Mary, and I really hope your son feels better soon.
I have gotten a LOT of complaints about the ALL detergents that contain OXI (plus complaints about many other detergents that contain oxi ingredients as well, since something about this ingredient seems to bother lots of people). You can even check out these ALL Free & Clear Oxi detergent complaints where even the supposedly hypoallergenic version bothers people.
Hives & Welts Caused By Gain Scent Booster (Fireworks)
My teenage son developed hives/welts on his legs, trunk and arms after use of this additive to our regular laundry detergent.
I've never had any issue with detergents in the past. I guess the additives are not worth the added fragrance!
Sorry your son had such a bad reaction.
You're right though -- scent boosting products are completely unnecessary for anything but adding additional scent to your wash. They don't clean, they don't soften, nothing.
Therefore, it isn't surprising that many people get allergic reactions for all the added scent these products provide. I've got stories now for Gain Fireworks (the product you used), as well as for Downy Unstopables, and Purex Crystals (although this one does technically have some softener in it as well).
Itching On My Body & Itching, Redness & Swelling On Face From Tide Pods
by Mary Barnwell
(Fayetteville, NC, USA)
I have had increased itching since using the Tide Pods.
I had been itching more. Then again I washed my bed linen, pillows, pillow cases and all in the Tide Pods HE.
When I got up yesterday morning and I had itching, redness, and swelling on the right side of my face to go along with the body itching.
The only change made at that time was using the Tide Pods.
So far warm compresses to the right side of my face has not relieved it. Going to try Benadryl to see if that helps. I will stop using these Pods immediately, and go back to regular Tide HE since I did not seem to have the reaction to it.
This is a terrible feeling.
Now I have to wash all of my clothes again that I washed in the Pods, and even all the bed linens and everything.
Also I used the Tide Boost Vivid along with the Tide Boost HE laundry detergent.
So sorry to hear this Mary, I hope you feel better soon!
You are definitely not the first person to complain about allergic reactions from Tide Pods. In fact, I've gotten so many complaints I had to create a whole page about it on the site.
You can check out others who've had the same problem, even if they, like you, can use the regular (non-pod) versions of this brand.
I've recently used Snuggle Fabric Softener. It gave me a huge breakout.
I only used it because I was low on funds, it was a little cheaper than another softener I regularly use. Big mistake I made!!
I've been dealing with a breakout that's all over my entire body. Of coarse I had to rewash EVERYTHING in my home, not to mention I have 3 kids and a husband... 8 loads turned into 16 loads... I will NEVER use this product again!!
Horrible allergic reaction to Kirkland liquid. It looks like I have scabies.
I'm sticking with Gain.
Alana, so sorry to see your experience.
You're definitely not the first person to say that the Kirkland brand products (sold at Costco), although you're the first to report it specifically with the liquid version. (Ironically, it is the hypoallergenic Kirkland version which most readers, at least so far, have said they've been allergic to.)
Travis asked me this question about a possible allergic reaction to detergent he had.
I just went to Walmart and just grabbed any kind of laundry detergent, which happened to be Xtra, and man am I regretting it.
I have done nothing but break out since I last washed my clothes in this detergent. I have like pimple like bumps without the white head and they're really irritated as well as kind of swollen up pimples. When I first got one I thought it was a pimple and squeezed it, and white hard like puss came out.
This detergent is the only thing I can think of that broke me out. Do you have any ideas or input on if this would be the actual cause? Like I said, I've not had a problem until I washed my clothes. Does the symptoms sound like that of an allergic reaction?
Travis, I'm not a doctor so I can't say for sure if you had an allergic reaction to laundry detergent or not, but it very well could be. You definitely aren't the only person who has been allergic to Xtra detergent.
I would suggest going to the doctor to deal with the break out if it came suddenly, since it may need medical attention.
In regard to dealing with the possible allergy, I would first worry about your health and then I would rewash all clothing you previously washed in the Xtra detergent in another detergent you have previously used without problems. It may take a couple of washes to remove any perfumes or other allergens from these clothes.
If this, by itself, calms your break out you'll have a better indication that you and Xtra detergent don't get a long and you shouldn't use it anymore.
I hope that helps, and that you feel better soon!
*** Update: Here's another picture sent in of an Xtra detergent allergy sent in by another reader who said, "I get hives throughout my body" from that brand.
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.