“Don’t forget the extra rinse,” my mom called down the stairs to me. She reminds me of this every time I help with the laundry while visiting and for good reason. A number of years ago, my dad developed a rash (don’t worry, I asked if I could share this) around his waistline. The diagnosis from the family physician was too much laundry detergent.
Before writing this blog, I took a look at a number of articles on this topic. Most said something like the dyes, chemicals, and perfumes in detergent, if not completely rinsed out, can cause skin irritation. I became curious about what was exactly in the product I like to use so I pulled up the MSDS. Some of the ingredients include Ethanol, Ethanolamine, and Anionic and Nonionic Surfactants. Under signs and symptoms of exposure for skin it said prolonged contact with concentrated material may be drying or transiently irritating to skin. My dad has really sensitive skin so it makes sense that his clothes with soap residue remaining rubbing against his skin day after day would cause irritation. Based what I read, it’s a fairly common problem.
Here are three simple things you can do to ensure there is no detergent residue left in your clothes. First, use less detergent. Experiment with the amount to see how little you can use and still get your clothes clean. Second, add an extra rinse. Finally, add vinegar to the final rinse as it helps remove any excess residue.
Let us know if you’ve experienced this problem and if you have any tips to share!