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WWYD here? Laundry detergent, irritation, eczema, etc.


ILiveInFlipFlops
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I'm natural product-oriented, but I've been trying to find an eco-friendly laundry detergent that works for a long time now, and I keep striking out. Even detergents that seem to work for other people don't seem to work for us--I can still smell armpit stink, deodorant fragrance, DH's cologne, etc. after using them.

 

I finally gave up and bought the most eco-friendly mainstream laundry detergent I could find on the EWG database (with a grade of C). It's doing a great job on our clothes! And while I can't stand the perfume-y fragrance out of the bottle, the clothes themselves just smell like clean clothes out of the dryer. So performance-wise, I'm happy with it. 

 

Except that last night, DD came to me with...ummm...girly bits issues. External itching and burning, specifically. And now that she's mentioned it, I realized that I've been noticing it too. And when I mentioned it to DH, he said that he'd also noticed that he'd started to get itchy in his eczema flare places (armpits, other tender spots). 

 

So now I have two huge containers of this laundry detergent. I can't use it on any underwear, DD11's clothes, DH's clothes, bedding, or towels, but I could use it on my clothes,  DD14's clothes, tablecloths, area rugs, etc. In the interest of not wasting it, I'm tempted to use the more expensive, safe (and totally NOT eco-friendly :() detergent on theirs and the current detergent on mine and DD14's. But is it worth the effort/risk to even deal with it? Should I just donate it somewhere and be done with it? 

 

WWYD? 

 

And the worst part is that I'm kicking myself over the fact that I know that sodium carbonate (washing soda) is what exacerbates DD11's and DH's eczema flares, and what did I choose for our new detergent? Arm & Hammer liquid. Guess who makes washing soda? Yep...Arm & Hammer. Sigh.

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Have you tried the trick of using plain vinegar in place of fabric softener? Either in the softener compartment, or if you don't have one, in the Downy ball.

 

The vinegar should rinse out any residual soap. Hopefully. Maybe.

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Ah....we have the same problem.  Bought a giant container of Sam's Free & Clear to realize that my kid is allergic to it.  I gave it away.  It wasn't worth trying to figure out what we could/couldn't use it with and how I'd have to clean out the washer each time.

 

We're down to 3 liquid detergents: All F&C, AAFES F&C, or Charlie's Soap.  That's it.  For deodorant I squirt a little Charlie's in the armpits before washing.  Everything else comes out clean.

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Ah....we have the same problem.  Bought a giant container of Sam's Free & Clear to realize that my kid is allergic to it.  I gave it away.  It wasn't worth trying to figure out what we could/couldn't use it with and how I'd have to clean out the washer each time.

 

We're down to 3 liquid detergents: All F&C, AAFES F&C, or Charlie's Soap.  That's it.  For deodorant I squirt a little Charlie's in the armpits before washing.  Everything else comes out clean.

 

Oh, I just got excited and went to look at Charlie's. Main ingredient: Washing Soda :lol: 

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Have you tried the trick of using plain vinegar in place of fabric softener? Either in the softener compartment, or if you don't have one, in the Downy ball.

 

The vinegar should rinse out any residual soap. Hopefully. Maybe.

 

Not with this one, but I've done it in the past when I was trying to get around the washing soda issue, and it didn't help. Thanks though!

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I *always* use an extra rinse cycle on clothing as well as linens. Pretty much everything except "dog towels" and cleaning rags get an extra rinse cycle. I find this to be very helpful. 

 

I also keep at least 2 detergents available at all times. One is the "stinky stuff" detergent -- Persil. It cleans like magic. The other is a Tide Free and Clear. I generally use the free-and-clear detergent on as much of our clothes and linens as possible, reserving the Persil for stuff that is stinky or otherwise gross. 

 

You can even do an entire extra wash cycle after using a strong detergent . . . Either just water (as warm as safe for the fabrics) or with maybe some white vinegar or baking soda. And, of course, another extra rinse cycle if you use any products . . .

 

I'm not worried about the eco-footprint of my laundry detergents. I'm just focused on keeping my family's skin intact and not getting hives . . . and, of course, not stinking so bad that we scare people. 

 

Oh, also, for detergent-resistant stink, I've found hanging things out in the sun *really is* as magic as people say it is. Got several blankets on the line at the moment, actually . . .

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Thanks all. Yeah, I was able to identify washing soda as the eczema trigger after trying homemade laundry detergent. It works really well to clean things, but two of us just can't tolerate it. 

 

I could do two rinses, but I have an old-fashioned top loader, so that's a lot of extra water here. I think I'm going to go back to the Ecover we liked two "detergent rounds" ago. Amazon has it at a good price. Biokleen was just recommended to me as well, so that's also an option, and I might be able to get it via Prime Same Day tomorrow if I can figure out how to get the order up to $35.

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Can you do a bonus rinse with ammonia or vinegar to get out all of the detergent? Then you'd have the best of both worlds. I have luck with the costco detergent, but we're just sensitive to strong smells. Nobody itched with the fragranced stuff.

 

I'm almost hesitant to recommend things here anymore. So many things work for me that don't work for others. I'm becoming convinced that the water does most of the work and I got lucky with water quality/type. Is yours one of those problems a water softener could help?

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I'm natural product-oriented, but I've been trying to find an eco-friendly laundry detergent that works for a long time now, and I keep striking out. Even detergents that seem to work for other people don't seem to work for us--I can still smell armpit stink, deodorant fragrance, DH's cologne, etc. after using them.

 

I finally gave up and bought the most eco-friendly mainstream laundry detergent I could find on the EWG database (with a grade of C). It's doing a great job on our clothes! And while I can't stand the perfume-y fragrance out of the bottle, the clothes themselves just smell like clean clothes out of the dryer. So performance-wise, I'm happy with it. 

 

Except that last night, DD came to me with...ummm...girly bits issues. External itching and burning, specifically. And now that she's mentioned it, I realized that I've been noticing it too. And when I mentioned it to DH, he said that he'd also noticed that he'd started to get itchy in his eczema flare places (armpits, other tender spots). 

 

So now I have two huge containers of this laundry detergent. I can't use it on any underwear, DD11's clothes, DH's clothes, bedding, or towels, but I could use it on my clothes,  DD14's clothes, tablecloths, area rugs, etc. In the interest of not wasting it, I'm tempted to use the more expensive, safe (and totally NOT eco-friendly :() detergent on theirs and the current detergent on mine and DD14's. But is it worth the effort/risk to even deal with it? Should I just donate it somewhere and be done with it? 

 

WWYD? 

 

And the worst part is that I'm kicking myself over the fact that I know that sodium carbonate (washing soda) is what exacerbates DD11's and DH's eczema flares, and what did I choose for our new detergent? Arm & Hammer liquid. Guess who makes washing soda? Yep...Arm & Hammer. Sigh.

 

I would donate it to a women's shelter. It's too much hassle to deal with it, IME.  I used Ecos free and clear when my dd had severe allergies. Here's the ingredient list: http://ecos.com/product/ecos-hypoallergenic-laundry-detergent-free-clear/

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Thanks all. Yeah, I was able to identify washing soda as the eczema trigger after trying homemade laundry detergent. It works really well to clean things, but two of us just can't tolerate it. 

 

I could do two rinses, but I have an old-fashioned top loader, so that's a lot of extra water here. I think I'm going to go back to the Ecover we liked two "detergent rounds" ago. Amazon has it at a good price. Biokleen was just recommended to me as well, so that's also an option, and I might be able to get it via Prime Same Day tomorrow if I can figure out how to get the order up to $35.

I would think long term about saving up for a front loader because it gets the detergent out of the clothes SO MUCH better. Often people just changing to a front loader can forego detergent for the first few washes because there is so much detergent build up in the clothing.

 

Our front loader paid for itself in two years based on lower water bills (didn't bother to add in the detergent savings, but it was upwards of $150/year). 

 

Most Americans use front loaders all wrong, which is why they hate them. But Germans are much pickier about cleanliness (my German friend actually pre-boiled her towels on a stove because she felt that front loaders did such a bad job) and know how to use front loaders, which is why they despise top loaders. If you find yourself wanting to know how to use one, I can send you the instructions I have written up.

 

Emily

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If you find yourself wanting to know how to use one, I can send you the instructions I have written up.

 

Emily

 

I'd love to see them! I'll PM you. I've thought about getting a front loader, but the only people I know IRL have had such problems with them, and the ones I've used in vacation houses have been so moldy and icky and such a pain in the rear to use that I've never wanted one. I'm strongly considering a Speed Queen top loader though!

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When you wash, only use a little soap, and put white vinegar in the fabric softener place.  After your wash completes, run another quick wash cycle, but don't add any detergent, just warm water.  

 

Also, when I do this, in a front loader, since the clothes don't actually get submerged for much time, I use hot water.  

 

All the detergent gets rinsed out.  

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I would also double-check that you're using the right amount of soap - they often give you the most enormous scoop to use, but for a light soil load you generally only need a little.  Read the box carefully, and consider using half of what they suggest.  I use the cup from a single-serve peanut butter, and only fill it half-way with Tide.  It's plenty.  And also double-check that your top-loader is agitating well.  We started to get soapy clothes, and found that poor agitation was a problem.  A ten-dollar part called the "agitator dogs" solved the problem and all was well.  

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We love our front-loader - we've had one for 15 years and I wouldn't switch back. I know people who hate them and can't figure out what we're doing differently. We switched to Melaleuca detergent and have found that all of us are less itchy and my eczema-prone kid has done really well. Before you pay the $30 to join, see if you know somebody who uses it so that you can try it, or see if somebody who uses melaleuca will let you order a small bottle off of their account. I'm using up my leftover Tide on floor mats and dish towels until it's gone.

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I developed an allergy to Tide this May. First I thought it was the Tide gel packs so I used the Tide ultra bottle- no it was both. I went with Tide Clear and Downy clear- I don't use Fabric softener almost anytime but my youngest does and I don't want the non okay stuff to be here. So far, so good.

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