My Laundry Detergent Is Making Me Itch!!

I’ve finally figured out what has been causing my skin rash!! I’ve had itchy skin on my stomach, back and thighs for the past five or six weeks which has been a huge pain in the butt! During the day it’s not so bad, a little itchy but bearable .. but every night I wake up in the early hours of the morning scratching like crazy.

First I thought it was just dry skin so I was plastering on my homemade moisturizer like crazy. Then I thought it was a reaction to parasites so I did a parasite cleanse (with no change in my rash). And then someone mentioned bed bugs so I freaked out a little and started to wonder if that was it. But in the end the answer was really quite simple – my rash is a reaction to my laundry detergent.

I typically use natural laundry detergent to wash my clothes and have done for years. At my home here in Peru I haven’t been able to do that because natural laundry detergent is not available in any stores. I also don’t have a washing machine at my house so I’ve been hand washing everything which has been okay but it’s almost impossible to rinse all of the detergent out. So my clothes have kind of been left to dry holding a slight residue of chemical laundry detergent .. which has been causing this rash and annoying itchiness on my skin.

I cannot stress enough how important it is to use natural products for everything, including for washing our clothing. My skin reaction to the detergent I’ve been using is enough evidence of just how easy it is to soak detergent into the skin from what’s left on our clothes. And as we know, our skin is porous which means anything you put on to it can soak in and end up inside our bodies. Take a look at your laundry detergent for a moment. Would you be happy and comfortable with rubbing a bit of that onto your skin? And how do you feel about the possibility of some of that detergent actually soaking in?

And really it’s not just our bodies that we need to be concerned about. Any household cleaning product that you use does end up in the environment in some way or another. I apologize to those of you who are going to hate me for sounding like a greenie for a wee bit, but I do feel the need to make you aware (if you’re not already) that using a chemical product means that, that chemical product you’re using will potentially end up polluting our environment in some way or another. If not just from the use itself, it will be polluting from the manufacturing process of the product and its ingredients.

So purchasing and using natural household cleaning products is going to be beneficial not only to you but also to your environment. The more I live here in Pisac and get closer to the land and the simple way of living, the more I hold a greater respect for Pachamama and want to nurture and love her as much as she’s provided for and loved me. One of the simplest ways I can do this is to as much as I can limit the ways in which I pollute her. Using natural household products is a very simple way to do this.

Considering it’s impossible to purchase natural laundry detergent here in Pisac, I’m going to have to figure out how to make my own !! which I’m actually very determined to do because I don’t particularly like this skin rash and scratching all of the time is not fun. If you have a great natural laundry detergent recipe then let me know about it.. otherwise I may just be posting up my very own formula.

9 comments… add one

  • Janice Mack

    I had a similar problem while in Texas, I was hand washing some clothes and the detergent ripped up my skin and made me itch.

    That was not only when I was awoken to how bad these products can be but it made me turn to natural products like pure body butters.

    I bought some shea butter on a tip from my mom and it really healed my skin nicely now its something I cant do without.

  • If you’ve got access to vinegar, I’d just wash them in a mixture of water, with a half-cup of vinegar added, especially if the clothes are not stained or dirty. Adding bi-carb, and a couple of drops of something like tea-tree oil would be even better, but if you don’t have access to these, I’d just go with vinegar and water, rinse out and dry in the sun.
    As others mentioned, soap-nuts are great, too, if you can get them where you’re living.

  • Elise

    Please don’t apologise for being a ‘greenie’. If caring about the planet we live on makes you a ‘greenie’ then we need more greenies. About 5 billion more of them.

  • Leslie

    Hey Fran,

    I’ve been following these folks in Chicago for awhile, and they’ve got a pretty informative video on how to make a basic (cheap) laundry soap.

    http://theurbanfarmingguys.com/diy-laundry-soap-20-cents-a-gallon

    It uses bar soap, however, so you would have to find a natural bar soap nearby. That might be easier to find than natural laundry detergent, however.

  • agnei

    Dove, this is a great tip with vinegar in the washing machine, I will definitely try it, THANKS!

  • Angee

    I love Soap nuts (or earth berries). They work great and they are natural. No need for fabric softner either.

  • My goal is to use as few store-bought products as possible–especially eliminating all those toxic mainstream ones. Most of us don’t even stop to think about it, like zombies we just use what we’ve (or our mom’s) always used, follow what the almighty commercials tell us.

    We’re used to suds–oh, our blessed suds, lol ;) It was so difficult to stop using dishwashing liquid. But guess what? We don’t wash all that crap off, that means we eat some of it. Ick. Learning that motivated me to nix it. Now I’m totally acclimated to no suds in the dish water. I put 1/4c baking soda and a squirt of white vinegar in the wash water. Then several squirts of vinegar in the rinse water. Works for me, and my glasses do sparkle :)

    How “dirty” do adult clothes get? If I had to handwash them, I’d just use hydrogen peroxide, dr. bronner soap (dilluted) or borax on any stains depending on severity of stain. After that just soak them for a bit in water with maybe a half to a cup of vinegar. Rinse and done :)

    I’ve also used vinegar in the washing machine, in both the wash and rinse cycle.

  • Eli

    Try soap nuts. Maybe you can find this in Perú :-)

  • Maria

    Recipe:
    1 1/4 cups white vinegar
    1 cup baking soda
    1 cup washing soda
    1 cup borax
    1/4 cup liquid castile soap

    http://bonzaiaphrodite.com/2009/04/natural-homemade-laundry-detergent/

    also, how to make washing soda from baking soda: http://www.ehow.com/how_5598724_make-washing-soda-baking-soda.html

Leave a Comment