Tag Archive for 'detergent allergy'

Persistence of Detergent Residues

I think this research paper by Horiuchi Utako from Gunma University in Japan speaks for itself — the translation of the abstract isn’t perfect, but the meaning is perfectly clear:

1)  A lot of detergent remains in clothing even after excessive rinsing.

2)  A significant amount of those residues can migrate onto other surfaces that come into contact with the clothing, including skin.

The abstract is short and is well worth reading.  The interesting conclusion to Solveeczema users:  “wash the diapers for the babies with hypersensitivity using soaps in stead of synthetic detergents.”

The paper appears to have been published in 1983.


Avoiding Detergent "Dust": The Mattress Problem

For us, the crib mattress was never a problem because it had a waterproof surface that could easily be washed.  Many, if not most, crib mattresses seem to have waterproof surfaces.

Finding a safe twin mattress when the time came (per the issues on solveeczema) was more of a challenge.  Most mattresses are covered with fabric of some sort.  Many mattresses are filled with potentially problematic materials.  Even natural and organic bedding contained cottons and wools that were certainly washed along the way.  Latex was a potential allergen in our case.  Even if we did risk it with a “natural” mattress, the cost of most was prohibitive.

After much research and cost comparison, we ended up ordering a “No Compromise Organic Cotton Ultra – Twin” from Naturepedic Organic Cotton Twin Mattress.   We ordered it directly from the manufacturer, who was able to match the usual free shipping deal everyone else was offering on the web.

The mattress cover is organic cotton, coated with a waterproof dust-mite barrier of food-grade polyethylene on top, sides, and bottom.  It’s pretty inert.  We have had no congestion, eczema, or other allergy issues with it.  (Note:  When it arrived, it had a slight smell – not significant compared to most mattresses – which was gone after a week or so.  Not all of this manufacturer’s products are entirely covered by this barrier, this is the only one that seemed a pretty sure bet for us.)

We considered an inexpensive metal bed frame from Ikea, but at the time we were buying, they didn’t have a design we liked.  It was tempting, though.  They had one all-metal bed frame for under $40.

We ended up getting a solid maple bed frame from Pacific Rim.  It had the option of no finish or an oil-based finish.  We took a chance on the finish, and let it air out for a few weeks before using it.  We have had no allergy issues with it either.  (The model we chose also had fairly sharp corners – a problem for us in a very small room – so we simply sanded the corners.  It wasn’t difficult, it looked fine, and we no longer had problems when we bumped into the frame.)

Prices for this same bed varied wildly on the web.  We got the best price and terms from Satara Inc online store.

All told, the mattress and frame together were, for us, a big expenditure.  However, the quality is great and they should last for decades.  Having no allergy issues was priceless.

Dust, dust, dust

Dust, dust, dust

Here’s a little tidbit from one of Bill Bryson’s books, In a Sunburned Country:

“According to an article in the science section of the New York Times, every hour the average person ‘sloughs off’ 60,000 skin fragments, 160 million motes of dust, and 20,000 particles of clothing lint, among rather a lot else.”

For most people in first-world countries, all of that dust has detergents along for the ride.

It really does make a big difference for EVERYONE in the household to make the switch, and this is why.


The Best Christmas Present

Occasionally I get letters that make me cry and celebrate at the same time. I received this letter shortly before Christmas — it was the best Christmas present I could have imagined. I hope this little boy has a normal life from now on:
A.J. Lumsdaine

My name is Katrina Featherston and I have 2 sons, ages 8 and 3. My 3-year-old has always had smooth baby skin, but from the day I brought my first son home from the hospital, his skin was not smooth and soft. He has always had “sandpaper” skin even on his good days. He has spent his entire life living in misery because his skin continually itched and burned. At times he would cry. At times I would cry because it hurt my soul to see him suffer. Doctors never really offered any clear solutions to the problem. Food allergies were to blame. I have read every label in the grocery store. He spent the entire first 2 1/2 years of his life on a limited diet of chicken, apples, pears, barley and nutramigen formula. This diet did not even come close to solving his problems, but seemed to help him not bleed. He was classified as having severe atopic dermatitis.

I just happened to read your article about soaps versus detergents and saw a picture of your baby. Your baby looked just like my son. My son’s mouth was always red and scabby and his neckline would often bleed from his pajamas. At age 8, my son’s neckline reminds me of red leather and the pressure points behind his knees and elbows are often bloody.

I ordered laundry soap, bar soap, shampoo, and dishwasher soap from Cal Ben Soap Company last week. I started my son on these products last Tuesday. Last night he looked at me and said that he feels better now than he ever has. He said “Look Mommy, my tummy is soft.” I looked at him and his eczema is 90% gone. All without steroids, protopic, elidel, or creams. He looks better today than he ever has.

I am so thankful and grateful that my son’s eczema is on the healing road, but in the same breath, he has suffered for 8 years and no dermatologist, allergist, or pediatrician has ever suggested switching from detergent to soap.

Thank you so much for your insightful website and sharing your story. Sometimes the best advice comes from loving and caring moms.

Katrina E. Featherston