Frequent washings with specially developed laundry detergents can really help the allergy sufferer. Many products are now fragrance free and free-rinsing, so that sensitive skin is not irritated. Some detergents can now remove allergens in all water temperatures.
However, if you have chemical sensitivities, not many things can be more important than how you wash your clothes. Your clothing (including whatever it has been exposed to) is in contact with your body all day long. The trick is to balance your requirement for clean clothes, free of particulate allergens, and your need to stay away from chemical irritants.
Fortunately, more and more people are demanding products that stay away from common chemical allergens and yet still clean your clothing. If that description fits you, be sure that you look for the following in your laundry soap:
- 100% free of petroleum-based ingredients
- 100 % free of other common additives like fragrances, phosphates, animal by-products or dyes
- Free of common triggers for respiratory or skin irritations
- Non-caustic or pH neutral product
- Safe for all washable fabrics including gentle care items
We recommend that once you find a laundry soap that works for you and your family, stick with it! If you don't have to put your family or yourself through another round of testing a new product, this is always a plus. That is also the reason why your laundry soap should work for gentle care as well as "regular" laundry. If you can reduce the number of soaps that you are using, you can also make your life easier if someone develops a reaction.
There are also now specialized laundry additives that can be used along with your regular detergent to remove allergens in your bedding, clothing and other washable fabrics. These additives can be useful against dust mite allergens; one of the single greatest sources of allergies. They also mean that you can use cold water washes on your sheets, which can save you a lot of money over time. Remember: Detergent alone (without hot water) won't solve the mite problem in your laundry.
Further, weekly hot water washing of your sheets (which is widely recommended by allergists) is very hard on your sheets. If you can wash in cold with laundry additives and still remove dust mites, why not?
If you are interested in this kind of laundry additive, keep in mind:
- It should eliminate mites and their allergen in your bedding or clothing. Otherwise, it's no more effective than hot water washing. And if it's not more effective, don't bother.
- The active ingredients in the allergy relief product should also be as non-allergenic as possible.