A long time ago, in a land far away, lived a guy named Aaron who had crazy itchy skin….
This guy hadn’t yet discovered natural products. And he hadn’t yet created Happy Skincare (Australia’s greatest skincare brand, in case you haven’t heard!)….
He’d get dressed in the morning and it would take about 3 minutes before he was tearing off the irritating shirt and start scratching up a pole like a horse (he’s a country boy, you see).
It wasn’t because the shirt was emblazoned with the slogan “I’m with Stupid”. It was because the shirt was washed with regular laundry powder.
If you have sensitive skin, right now you’re probably yelling “ME TOO!”
Regular, run of the mill laundry detergent (like the majority of the options sitting on supermarket shelves) have ingredients in them that can cause irritation.
Laundry detergents can leave a residue on your clothes, and when this comes into contact with your skin – whammo! Itchy and scratchy come to town.
The most likely culprits – no surprises here :(
Surfactants - The most likely culprits of your skin irritation are the surfactants used in these laundry detergents. In case you’ve forgotten, surfactants are the ingredients responsible for making bubbles and removing stains.
Unlike skincare products, laundry products don’t need to list which specific surfactant is used in its formula. They can get away with using a general description like “cationic surfactant”.
If you want to know more about why surfactants can be so problematic, read this post about your skin’s acid mantle.
Fragrance - This bad boy keeps causing problems in many products. Skincare, perfume, cologne, air freshener, cleaning products, laundry detergents, and on and on and on….
If you have sensitive skin or are looking to live a low-tox life, artificial or synthetic fragrances are something you definitely want to steer clear of as they’re the number one cause of allergic contact dermatitis.
How to prevent laundry itchiness
Sadly some of the natural, hypoallergenic detergents don’t have the best reputation for getting your whites white, but with a little know-how you can have those brighter whites AND lose the itch.
Here are our tips for switching to laundry products that are going to be gentler on your skin:
- Use a fragrance free and dye free laundry liquid (our current favourites are Earth Choice Laundry Liquid and Eco Store Fabric Softener, both available from major supermarkets - we have no affiliation with these brands!)
- Use liquid rather than powder as it washes out better
- Don’t over-load your washing machine, as it makes rinsing less effective
- Program your washing machine to rinse twice
- Pre-soak your clothes. It may allow you to use less laundry detergent in the wash cycle which means less detergent residue.
Do you have any tips to share? Leave us a comment below :)