Archive for the 'About Products' Category

Master List of Laundry Soaps

Sources of pure soap laundry powder or liquid

Always check ingredients first, manufacturers change product ingredients all the time.   I have compiled some of these along with other non-detergent products on an Amazon astore for convenience, and some of the links below go directly (most of the mfr links went bad).
http://astore.amazon.com/solvsblogastore-20
A small % of astore purchases goes to SolveEczema if purchased through the link, on the order of $15/month).  Unfortunately, not all of these laundry products are available on Amazon so I can’t easily include most of them in the astore.

To save money or time, do it yourself!  There are many online recipes for laundry powder and gel using bar soaps, and various amounts of borax, washing soda, and baking soda.

Here are the pre-packaged products I found:


pure soap flakes

Pure Soap Flake Company
Laundry powder, soap flakes, soap bars

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pure Soap Flake Company
http://puresoapflakes.com/
They have an unscented laundry powder which is just simple soap, baking soda, borax and washing soda.


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cal ben seafoam laundry soap

Cal Ben Seafoam Laundry
25 lb. box

Cal Ben Seafoam Laundry Soap
http://www.calbenpuresoap.com/seafoam-laundry-soap.php

More complicated list of ingredients than most of these, plus sprayed with citrus oil, but it’s essentially soap-based.  I have used this product successfully.

 

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Zumclean-sweetorange-laundrysoap

Zum Clean Laundry Soap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Zum Clean Laundry Soap
64-oz Sweet Orange on Amazon
http://www.indigowild.com/category/natural-home-cleaning/
Liquid laundry soap, various fragrances.  No unscented.

 

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vermont soap

Vermont Soap Liquid Sunshine
Other Vermont Soap products work for laundry

Vermont Soap Liquid Sunshine Nontoxic Cleaner Concentrate

Gallon Vermont Soap Liquid Sunshine on Amazon
http://shop.vermontsoap.com/Liquid-Sunshine-Nontoxic-Cleaner-Concentrate_p_59.html#.UZBrGo7DIVQ
Vermont Soap has other liquid products that can be used in the laundry.  Their website describes uses for each product.

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Dri-Pak Soap Flakes
through MSO Distributing


dri-pak soap flakes in a bag
Dri-pak soap flakes on Amazon
http://www.msodistributing.com/shop/orders.html

Pure soap flakes may work better if combined with baking soda, washing soda, and borax, per many recipes on the web

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Dr. Bronners baby mild soap

Dr. Bronners Liquid Soap

Dr. Bronner’s
32-oz Dr. Bronner’s Baby Mild liquid on Amazon
For many people, the only easy soap to access is Dr. Bronners.  Unscented Baby Mild as probably the best place to start.  Combine with baking soda, borax, and washing soda for better efficacy in laundry.

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Savon de Marseille flakes

Savon de Marseille
Traditional French Soap

Savon de Marseille Soap Flakes
Marius Fabre Marseille soap flakes on Amazon
Traditional soap flakes.  Can be combined with washing soda and borax, especially in hard water.  (It may pay to shop around, these are expensive.  Their liquid soaps use minimal ingredients and pure olive oil, and are also an option combined with washing soda and borax.)


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pure soap works laundry soap

Pure Soapworks Liquid Laundry Soap or Laundry Powder (Canada)
http://www.puresoapworks.com/specialtysoaps.htm 
This company seems to carry a full line of soap products.

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Zote Laundry Soap Flakes

Pack of 8 (17.63oz) Zote laundry soap flakes on Amazon
Still the most popular laundry product in Mexico.  (From animal tallow.  Also contains fragrance and optical brighteners.  Despite it being soap, users must take care if allergy to fragrance or optical brighteners might be an issue.)

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Grandma’s Laundry Soap

Grandma's Laundry Soap

Grandma’s Old-Fashioned Laundry Soap


Grandma’s laundry soap on Amazon
http://grandmaspureandnatural.com/laundry

A lard-based soap flake product.  This appears not to have any dyes or unnecessary ingredients.  This company also sells a soap-based stain remover stick and bar soaps.  They seem to understand the difference between soap and detergent per the site.

 

 

The roar of the crowds, the ITCH of the greasepaint?…

Brad Pitt portraitWell, add stage makeup to another class of products that appears to frequently have detergents in them, sometimes pretty strong detergents like SLS.  Wow, I was a theater buff as a teenager and remember the thick oily makeup and the greasy cold creams necessary to remove it.  Things must have changed.  I’m guessing detergents help the makeup go on easier and wash off with less pain and … grease (elbow and otherwise).

I was handed a container of stage makeup recently that was supposed to be hypoallergenic.  SLS was the second or third detergent on the list!  I don’t even know what came after.  No wonder Brad Pitt, who I’ve read has eczema, had so many problems finding makeup that didn’t bother his skin when he was filming The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.  (I wonder if that has anything to do with why he plans to retire from acting?  I hope not!  It would be such a waste and so totally unnecessary.)  Given the odds, it’s also possible one or more of his kids has some eczema, dry skin, asthma, or allergies.  (I did try to find a contact address to send a link to SolveEczema, but Pitt is famously private and anyone online these days gets so much spam, it seemed a fool’s errand.)   Note from the universe to Brad:  Switch to true soaps at home and use only makeup that contains no detergents!

Photo attribution:  Thomas Peter Schulzen
Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

The SolveEczema view on dry skin

I am reposting a part of reply I just wrote to a comment, since not everyone reads the comments (and I tend not to even read what comes in frequently, because of all the spam).  It covers the issue of myths about dry skin, from my perspective:

With eczema, dryness is almost a separate issue. You won’t hear that from anyone else, because the accepted view is that dryness causes the eczema, which I have found in my experience of actually eliminating eczema is not the case. I say “almost”, because dryness is a modulator that can make people more susceptible with lower levels of detergent exposure, as described on the site. I hear (more than I care to think about) from SolveEczema.org users who use products I find unacceptably drying, who are nevertheless happy because they get rid of the eczema.

   I’m going to write more about the dryness issue in my book – which, thanks to the crowdfunding, I can describe as “upcoming”! My bar soap experiments ended up bringing me to an entirely different idea about dry skin and how products cause it than I expected. Perhaps given the experience with detergent, I shouldn’t have been so surprised.

   Again, I believe dryness alone isn’t the reason for the eczema. After seriously experimenting with over a hundred different bar soaps, I also eventually came to the conclusion that dryness associated with the use of the products was not the result of stripping the skin of oils. I came up with a general rule and gave it a name (with some apologies for the presumption, but in hopes of making it more memorable):

   Lumsdaine’s Law: For most people, under most conditions, eczema and dry skin are more the result of what is left on the skin than what is stripped from the skin by washing.

   Adding too many moisturizing ingredients to soaps seems to backfire. We all think – as I thought before I did these experiments – that skin gets dry from washing because oils are removed, so adding moisturizing ingredients should help, right?  As with so many things, our assumptions trip us up.

   What I found is that immediately after washing with a “moisturizing” product, the skin feels soft – just as it feels soft right after washing with water or moisturizing with a creamy, absorbed moisturizer – but if I only used that product (which I was fastidious about doing while I tried each soap), over time, my hands became horribly dry. It happened over and over again with different “moisturizing” products, the opposite of what I expected.

    The surprise came when I got fed up with how dry my hands were from one product and just went back to my regular soap before my “trial” was over. My hands went back to normal almost immediately, far faster than could be explained by the typical view of how they became dry and how they might have normalized. I was able to repeat this with other products – which led to the lightbulb moment.

    I describe this in my talk – water, alone, a small layer of water on the skin, increases the permeability. Not enough to create eczema, but enough that if one, say, doesn’t dry the skin well enough after washing in the winter (with all the dry air), the hands chap. Increased permeability leads to water loss, leads to dry skin. I warn about absorbed, creamy (what I call “emollient”) moisturizers in my site, in part because they seem to create these same conditions. The skin feels more hydrated immediately after applying – just as it does with small amounts of water, right in the moment – but over time, the skin loses water (among other things). I think this is what is happening with very “moisturizing” soaps. (By the way, this is also why I recommend drying well, with a soap-washed towel, after a shower, NOT patting lightly and moisturizing over too much water – the opposite of the traditional recommendation.)

   I’m not saying some moisturizing ingredients aren’t good or are always going to create these conditions. One of the most lovely soaps I have ever used is the Luxo Banho Creme, which has sweet almond oil in it. But overusing moisturizing ingredients – which results in the kinds of products that make the skin/hands feel very moisturized immediately following usage, perhaps to the point that they don’t even feel clean – seems to create the conditions that lead to water loss over time and dry skin. The Luxo Banho – and every soap I have used that I consider the best – leaves the skin feeling clean and normal, not overly moisturized. On the other end of the spectrum, I think soaps can be drying if saponification is too complete and the end result may thus be far too alkaline – there’s a couple of products where I believe that may be the case – but that’s just a guess.

   Sadly, people with dry skin buy the “moisturizing” products which are in turn going to make their dryness worse, and assume it’s about their skin, not the products they are using!

Image credits: Dry land/water excerpted from freedigitalphotos.net photo by prozac1.  (I can’t seem to force WordPress to directly subtitle the photos anymore, no matter what I do, sorry!)  Soap dish by A.J. Lumsdaine.

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Where to Find Non-detergent Shampoo

When Solveeczema.org users ask me for choices in non-detergent shampoo, in the past, I had little to say. The best one I had tried was Cal-Ben’s. But, different people have different needs and preferences.

I just looked at the Environmental Working Group’s web site. In the shampoo category, many products listed as the safest are soap-based. The great thing about the Environmental Working Group’s web site is that ingredients are listed for most products.  I found Earth Mama Angel Baby’s soap-based shampoo through EWG’s site, and like that product as well.

I haven’t tried most of the products listed, but they are mostly castile-soap-based with very simple ingredients and thus should be safe for Solveeczema.org users.

Note: not all shampoos listed as tops in safety are soap-based, as you go down the list, some are made with sugar-surfactants (of which I’ve heard mixed reviews from Solveeczema.org users, I continue to reserve judgement for now), and as you go further, the more and stronger the product detergent bases.

In general, Environmental Working Group’s web site is a great place to look for safe products.

Gold mine for soap

I just found this web site, which (I think) is a marketplace for a lot of vendors to sell their artisinal goods, called Art Fire.  I used search term “soap” and refined it with “unscented” and found pages and pages of handmade soaps.   Not all had ingredients I would recommend, but all of the soaps I looked at listed ingredients.  I saw many that would work for the recommendations on Solveeczema.org, some that wouldn’t.

Detergents in Everything

When I said detergents are in everything these days, I guess I didn’t know the half of it.

The Whole Foods web site lists “ingredients that are commonly found as inactive ingredients, or excipients, in dietary supplements.”  Sodium lauryl sulfate is listed as an “emulsifier; also used to aid in the making of tablets.”  It’s also listed as GRAS (generally recognized as safe, though a lot of dermatology patients would beg to differ).  Does this mean supplements, especially tablets, are a potentially hidden source of detergents?

What about over-the-counter and prescription medications?  I just found SLS listed in the “inert ingredients” of Doryx, an important delayed-release formulation of doxycycline.  Here I’m guessing the SLS is necessary for the time release.  If so, the benefits might outweigh the consequences.  Tetracyclines aren’t generally given to children anyway.

But if the posters to this Wisegeek.com article are correct, SLS is in such common medications as aspirin, ibuprofen, and Zyrtec, which are given to children.   Poster #5 found SLS in one generic formulation of Zyrtec but not another.  It probably pays to ask the pharmacist for a detailed manufacturer’s insert to identify inert ingredients of prescribed medications.  Taking the medication prescribed by one’s doctor is the more important consideration, but often there is a choice of formulations, and different pharmacies often have very different options.

Check out this EPA document:   “Sodium lauryl sulfate is used as a flea and tick repellant in one registered pesticide product — a flea and tick shampoo for cats and dogs.  Sodium lauryl sulfate also is a widely used component of many non-pesticidal consumer products currently marketed in the United States, including shampoos and fruit juices.”

Fruit juices?! I had assumed the eczema from some processed juices had been from washing the fruit in food-grade detergents.  Now I wonder about SLS as an additive!

The document above is from 1993, so the assessment may have changed since then (though I doubt it).

It continues:

“Sodium lauryl sulfate is a detergent-like substance that employs a non-toxic mode of action in controlling fleas and ticks on household pets. The potential for dermal and/or inhalation exposure exists to people applying the registered pet shampoo product. However, this exposure is not considered significant and does not create a health risk concern. Published reports suggest that sodium lauryl sulfate has low acute mammalian toxicity and no known chronic effects. EPA has no reports of adverse effects resulting from its use. Both exposure and health risks to people using the product are expected to be low.

EPA also believes that since the pesticide is used only on pets, negligible exposure to the environment and to nontarget organisms will result. The Agency concludes that the registered product and use of sodium lauryl sulfate should not result in unreasonable adverse effects to human health or the environment.

Yet one more source of detergent for Solveeczema users to watch out for — reading the labels of flea collars, too.  However, since the collars are used externally, I wonder if they even have to list the “inert” ingredients?  If pet owners had problems, would it seem like an allergy to the pet?

On that score, here’s an interesting paper from a veterinary journal:  Influence of inert ingredients in pesticide formulations on dermal absorption of carbaryl by RE Baynes and JE Riviere (PMID 9492931), Feb 1998.

“The SLS also enhanced [the carbamate insecticide] absorption, especially at low solvent concentrations.”  and in conclusion , “Inert ingredients can modulate percutaneous absorption of toxicologically important pesticides…”

And lastly, a paper from Environmental Health Perspectives from 2006 (PMID 17185266):   “By statute or regulation in the United States and elsewhere, pesticide ingredients are divided into two categories: active and inert (sometimes referred to as other ingredients, adjuvants, or coformulants). Despite their name, inert ingredients may be biologically or chemically active and are labeled inert only because of their function in the formulated product. Most of the tests required to register a pesticide are performed with the active ingredient alone, not the full pesticide formulation. Inert ingredients are generally not identified on product labels and are often claimed to be confidential business information.”  (emphases mine)

Update on Sunscreens

With summer approaching, it’s time to take another look at sunscreens.

The products list on Solveeczema.org is notably short on sunscreens.  We had good luck with Mustela’s Moderate Sun Protection Stick (SPF 20), but a company spokesperson told me last week that the product has been long discontinued and they have no remaining stock.

That’s a shame, since it was not only a great sunscreen — it didn’t seem to wear off even after hours in the sun and water, and it seemed to have better protection than the advertised SPF 20 — it was also the only Mustela product on the Environmental Working Group’s 17 most safe and effective sunscreen products.  (Scroll down the page to see the list and a link to a more comprehensive list of products and the EWG’s evaluation of them.  You can also search for products to see their ranking and list of ingredients via a box on the right of the page.)

I used the EWG’s list to try out a few of the sunscreens, and found them to be fine for my son.  We liked Badger Unscented SPF 30 Sunscreen, Loving Naturals SPF 30+, and Keys-Soap Solar RX SPF 30+ the best.

Mustela sent me a sample of the product they make to replace their discontinued sunstick, their SPF 50 Sun Cream for Sensitive Areas.  It also proved to be fine.  (It scores a 3 on the EWG’s rating system, 0 being safest and 10 being most problematic.)

We have tried California Baby stick sunscreens, and based on the ingredients, they too should be fine per the issues on Solveeczema.  They rank well on the EWG’s list of safe and effective sunscreens.  Note:  the California Baby stick sunscreen we tried gave my son a rash, but it couldn’t be because of the active ingredients, it must be an individual allergy.  A friend whose preschooler has this detergent problem worse than my son and follows the Solveeczema guidelines quite effectively to keep his skin clear, uses the California Baby stick sunscreens without problems.

Per Solveeczema.org, barrier-type sunscreens (such as with zinc oxide and titanium dioxide) are  a better bet than those that absorb.

Luckily, per the EWG’s evaluations, the majority of sunscreens on their safest ingredients list also seem to be zinc oxide and/or titanium dioxide based.  As with other products, it’s always good to try a small patch for sensitivity first.  (All sunscreens contain other ingredients; always be aware of the potential for allergy to other ingredients, especially in the sun and water.)

Have a safe and fun summer!

Non-detergent Cleaners on Oprah

Here’s an entire page of non-detergent cleaners — all of which would work for Solveecema users — recommended on Oprah’s web site for being green and saving money.

http://www.oprah.com/world/Shift-Your-Habit-to-a-Fresh-Start-This-Spring-Elizabeth-Rogers/4

Soaps, soaps, soaps…

I just stumbled onto a web site selling an entire line of products that appears to be all soap-based/non-detergent.  Of special interest:  they have several shampoo products, and a pet-care line.

I’ve just ordered a bunch of travel samples to try them out.   www.keys-soap.com

Update on mattresses: Avoiding dust

Here’s an interesting development.  In a previous post, I wrote about our experience choosing a mattress that wouldn’t be an allergy source for this specific detergent problem.   In trying to find something that wouldn’t shed detergent-laden dust or introduce potential allergens such as latex, we chose an organic cotton mattress with a food-grade polyethylene dust-mite barrier from Naturepedic, on a solid maple platform bed from Pacific Rim.

With some months of experience behind us now, I have to add a wonderful observation.  Not only have we had no problems with detergent dust, we have had no problems with dust of any kind!  In my experience, the space under mattresses is a breeding ground for large dust bunnies.  Under this mattress, there have been no dust bunnies to speak of, and almost no dust at all.

I don’t know if the dust-mite barrier is entirely the reason, or if it is a combination of the barrier and the higher-than usual space under the bed (good air circulation) — but the rest of the room has remained quite low-dust as well, with no dust bunnies around the bed, either.

In contrast, the traditional mattress in the other room begets as many dust bunnies as ever, as I have come to expect is normal under a bed.

Quite apart from the allergy issue, it’s wonderful not to get those piles of dust under the mattress.  I never realized shedding from the mattress could be such a source — especially since we vacuum our traditional mattress every time we change the bedding.

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