Laundry products make you itch? wheeze? – The Food Sensitive Shopper

eczema and asthma

Take a look at your laundry products.  What brand of soap do you use?  Are you using dryer sheets?  Are there fragrances and dyes in any of the products?

If you, a family member, or any resident in your home suffer from asthma and/or eczema these products may contribute to worsening symptoms.

Symptoms of eczema and asthma

Eczema – a skin condition that exhibits red, itchy patches.  These patches sometimes have blisters that itch like crazy.  Sometimes the skin can thicken after years of eczema in the same area.

Asthma – a respiratory (lung) condition that can cause severe trouble breathing or no breathing at all.   Symptoms may be one or more of the following;  coughing, constant clearing of the throat, wheezing, fatigue, dizziness, inability to move quickly (run, walk fast, etc…), and in worse cases turn blue and pass out.  Take this condition seriously…it can be a life or death situation if uncontrolled.

Both of these conditions need to be examined and diagnosed by a physician…don’t delay if you or a loved one has symptoms.  We have managed both eczema and asthma in our household since our twins were born.  I have had a resurgence of eczema myself from  frequent hand washing with hot soapy water to remove allergens for the last eleven years so I know how difficult it is to control eczema.


Our topic is laundry products. Yes, I have finally gotten to the point!   When our boys were infants our doctor advised to use ‘Dreft’ detergent and no dryer sheets to help our twins breathe easier and scratch less.   What is interesting is my sons cannot stand to smell those strong scents from soaps and fabric softeners so we continue to use unscented products.

Here are some products that we have found are reliable and clean clothes well…oh, don’t forget to stay away from bleach because of the toxin chlorine it is made from…yes, give it up.  I have another product in mind for you.

Laundry products – (If you or a loved one has food allergies check ingredients before purchase) –

  • All Free and Clear -Have used this one with good results; has an HE* brand for front loading washers.
  • Tide Free – We use this now after years of Dreft.  Good for cleaning, no scent and no skin irritation.  Has HE brand.
  • Dreft – Slight scent and great for infants and young children…protect their skin – it is the largest organ in the body and one of the major players in allergy and immune system health.  HE compatible
  • Seventh Generation – One of the better natural laundry soaps.  HE compatible.
  • Sun & Earth 2x concentrated – Haven’t tried but the reviews were pretty good
  • Ecover – My least favorite product due to lack of cleaning power.  It may have whey, check the label.  Years ago their dish soap included whey (dairy)
  • Eco friendly magnetic washing balls – quite expensive but lasts a long time.  I haven’t used and am curious if you know how well these work?

*HE is the designation on the package that means okay for front loading washers.

Bleach –

OxyClean or other oxygenated bleach free product.  Works well, no smell, no chlorine.  Can use in HE washers.

Dryer sheets –

Dryer balls – Makes a bit of a racket but will soften clothing without a scent or chemicals.  Don’t use a tennis ball, they can emit a rubbery or chemical smell.  Ever smelled a new tennis ball? Not good.

Method Dryer Activated Fabric softener – Use very sparingly.  I like the Lavender/lilac scent.  A minimal spray before turning on the dryer.  Afterwards I detected only a very mild light scent…I use on my clothes and bedding only.

I remember my mom hanging the sheets out to dry and when they were placed on the beds they smelled so fresh.  This fresh scent triggers your brain to connect clean with the scent of the  fabric.  Isn’t it so delightful to sleep on clean sheets?  We also want our clothes to be clean and smell fresh.   If you have asthma or eczema the fragrances in cleaning products can be lung and/or skin irritants.  This is because they are chemicals that stick to our clothing which can create an eczema flare or asthma trigger plus affect the quality of the air in your home.

Give a new, asthma and eczema safe product a whirl…literally in your washer and dryer.

Here are some links to articles about the link between laundry products and your health…

Go to:    (this article is interesting and cites the studies in the previous links)

Tell us what laundry products you recommend…we want to hear from you.


Category: Food

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