Many people are sensitive to the chemicals found in laundry detergent, and if you have a suspicious rash that you think may be related to the detergent you use to keep your family’s laundry clean, you’re not alone. Both children and adults who are sensitive to traditional laundry detergent’s icky chemicals, dyes, perfumes, and other additives can experience symptoms of contact dermatitis. When brought on by the use of detergents, this unpleasant condition causes several symptoms, including an itchy, hive-like rash known colloquially as laundry rash.
What is Laundry Rash?
Laundry rash occurs when chemicals used in making laundry detergent remain behind after a garment, blanket, towel, or other items is washed. This retained residue contains dyes, perfumes, surfactants, and other icky stuff that causes allergic reactions in some users. Symptoms caused by allergies to chemically-laden laundry products include:
• An irritating rash. The rash looks a lot like hives, causing raised redness in the affected area. The skin may be red, itchy, and dry. In severe cases, the area affected swells, causing additional discomfort.
• Sneezing and itchy eyes. Inhaling residual soap particles when breathing can sometimes cause severe sneezing and itchy eyes.
• Skin temperature elevation. The skin may be hot to the touch, and in some extreme cases, blisters may develop.
Which Ingredients Cause Laundry Rash?
Three top offending ingredients in laundry detergent that can lead to laundry rash include sodium lauryl sulfate, fragrances, and coconut diethanolamide. Sodium lauryl sulfate is a chemical known to affect the skin’s oil layer, causing exacerbated drying of the skin. Fragrances, although unnecessary for cleaning clothing, are oftentimes allergens that bring on laundry rash. Coconut diethanolamide works similarly to sodium lauryl sulfate, causing dryness of the skin and skin reactions in those with allergies.
How Prevalent is Laundry Rash?
Laundry rash is widespread enough that WebMD named household cleaners in general, including laundry products, as the number two culprit in its “The Dirty Dozen” list, which is a compilation of the most common skin irritants. WebMD also names laundry detergent as one of the most common environmental exposures that may affect children. According to Dr. John Tamburro, DO, a physician with the Cleveland Clinic, certain people are more prone to the condition. “A child who has skin problems may be more prone to laundry detergent reactions. A family history of eczema also may put your infant at higher risk.”
How is Laundry Rash Treated?
The first line of defense against laundry rash is avoiding detergents that contain chemicals that cause allergic reactions. After laundry rash is discovered, discard any remaining detergent, and switch to a detergent that’s free from dyes and fragrances.
To prevent the rash, Dr. Tamburro recommends using laundry detergent and fabric softeners that are free from dyes and fragrances and sticking with one detergent. Rinse clothing twice to ensure all detergent residue is removed, and wash new clothing before wearing it to remove any residual dyes and fragrances left over from the factory.
Grab Green’s Fragrance-Free Laundry Detergent Pods contain no masking agents, dyes, phosphates, or chlorine, making them ideal for people who are sensitive to traditional laundry detergent. These hypoallergenic detergent pods are ideal for washing laundry for the whole family, including clothing, towels, linens, and bedding. As a bonus, a scientific research lab found that these fragrance-free pods performed better than Tide in removing stains, and items washed with Grab Green’s pods need to be rinsed just once.
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