Anonymous asked in Home & GardenCleaning & Laundry · 2 months ago

Been troubleshooting itchy clothing after washing for years, tried EVERYTHING!?

My elbow area and neck sometimes break out in itchy rashes *after* washing my clothing. Some of my T-shirts, even new 100% cotton ones after a few washes, still get contaminated. I have been trying absolutely every logical thing that I can think of. Hypoallergenic detergent is not strong enough. I've tried multiple strong detergents and am currently using Tide Ultra Plus with Clorox 2. Depending on the washer, if top loader, I put the detergents in first, then warm water about a quarter of the way, then mix it around a little, and then dump my dirty clothes in, then let warm water continue. I've also tried variations of each of these steps and the sequence of what goes in the washer. And I tried using side-load machines in the laundromat that they just got and I put the detergent in A and the Clorox 2 in B, then warm water again. Those *seem* to work a little better. And as for drying, they spin dry in low-medium heat (not roaring heat) for 1 hour.

Despite the last few years of troubleshooting, I still *sometimes* get itchy clothing. For example, I rest my arm on my T-shirt while sitting at my computer and working, and my arm will tingle and itch and I'll get these tiny raised bumps. Also, sometimes I'll go to bed and my neck will tingle and I'll wake up to red "burn" like marks. Again, same thing can happen to my arms. But it's not all shirts and not all the time, it's not consistent, and I don't *see* any contamination. It's driving me crazy. How do I finally fix this?


In response to the first Anonymous: No, the problem is NOT ME. Early this week one of my shirts was DEFINITELY contaminated because within a few minutes of wearing it, my arms and left chest started breaking out. I switched it out for another shirt of the same exact kind with the same washed batch, that shirt was not contaminated, but the first one was. And besides, I don't believe that a dermatologist will have a suggestion other than to get my own washer (I can't do that in my apartment).

Update 2:

In response to the second Anonymous: What do you mean, "personal finance"? What the hell does that have to do with anything????

Update 3:

In response to "A Hunch," I never said that I was using bleach.

I'm surprised that no one else is mentioning any kind of contamination from using a laundromat, e.g., someone else used that same washer and got gunk on it which transferred...

Also, I'm surprised that so many of you are suggesting that it's the dyes in the detergent. As I already clearly said, hypoallergenic detergent is NOT STRONG ENOUGH. It did not get my clothing clean enough and did not fix the problem. So, it's not the dyes.

Update 4:

In response to drip,

1. First off, I'm not sure how one shirt gets more contaminated than the other. What's your proposed mechanism?

2. Second, I never said that I refused soap, you misread my post.

3. Third, what if a dermatologist tells me to use hypoallergenic stuff which, as I said, doesn't work?

4. Fourth, one washer was actually contaminated (cigarette ashes), but I don't use it anymore and I replaced all the clothing.

5. So what is anyone suppose to tell me? SOMEONE should have the answer

Update 5:

In response to Common Sense, what are you saying? Would you say that everyone's skin would have itchy raised dots on my arms like mine because of bad chemicals, and if so, why do you think so many people use them all the time?

Now I don't mind trying a totally different kind of product like Zum since I've never heard of it before, but I have tried Arm & Hammer regular, also tried hypoallergenic, All, and a few others, and with extra baking soda. Zum is new so maybe I'll try that, or 7th gen...?

Update 6:

Let's clear the air. At this point, I have received some helpful suggestions about trying detergents with fewer of those chemicals. I guess I was so shocked by some of the other "Answers" that were rude, impolite, presumptuous, and/or accusatory... these really upset me. I don't think that I want to check this thread for answers anymore

Update 7:

Turns out that I need to use fabric softener.

Someone (not a dermatologist) told me that by not using fabric softener, the leftover detergent is not neutralized. That would explain much of the itching. Detergent can inconsistency accumulate/get trapped near the collar areas. As for the rest of the itching, old cigarettes from others' clothes got onto the washers. Finally, adding Clorox 2 was not needed.

This concludes my experiment, as suspected, that responses on Answers Yahoo are unhelpful.

Update 8:

Oh and my apartment complex won't allow me to put in a water softener, so that's the way that it is here.

14 Answers

  • drip
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    How can one shirt from the same washed load be “contaminated” and another not be? 

    You refuse to think it is the soap you are using, you don’t believe a dermatologist can help you, you strongly believe the washer are contaminated.  

    So what is anyone suppose to tell you?

  • 2 months ago

    I suggest you keep a log of your laundry activity and also the physical reaction, time, date, all that.  

    I'm not sure what hypoallergenic detergent is but I use only Free and Clear type detergents because my skin doesn't tolerate the other stuff.  I am also very conservative with how much of any sort of detergent I use and I ONLY use liquid detergents and the powdered ones have "filler" ingredients that don't seem to wash out of clothing well.

    You could also try some other sorts of things to get your clothing clean like baking soda and vinegar.

    You could be picking up gunk from inside the laundromat machines, I have a washer and dryer but have to do my big comforters at the laundromat and I always give the machines a sniff before I load and use the one that smells the least like detergent.  

    I also have skin reactions to synthetic fabrics so wear mostly cotton, sometimes silk or wool and occasionally rayon, but can't do nylon or acrylic at all and most polyesters make me itch.  What I find REALLY irritating is when my nice cotton garments are stitched with nylon or blend threads.  The tags in clothing are often stitched in with a cheap nylon thread that scratches me so I typically remove them immediately.

    You could also try washing your clothes with a small amount of dishsoap.  Dishsoap rinses differently so use very little.  You could also try Borax, which I use for really dirty clothing.

    I always use extra rinses on my laundry and if it's really dirty will put it through twice with double rinses not using any detergent at all for the second go-round.

    If you are using powdered detergent switch to liquid detergents immediatley.

  • 2 months ago

    My you realize how many chemicals are in the laundry detergent you are using? Chemical wonder your skin is reacting.

    Try an all natural laundry soap made from essential oils. Zum has some great laundry soap. Yes, laundry SOAP..NOT laundry DETERGENT.

  • Amy
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    If you've tried different detergents, adding vinegar, etc., and still get the rash, then it may be a fault in the machine itself not rinsing detergent out. Try rinsing them in the sink with plain water.

    ... that's the best you're going to get from the Finance section of a crowdsourced website. You would get a much better answer from a dermatologist.

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  • 2 months ago

    You keep saying "contaminated."  That's not what's going on here. Detergent and bleach don't contaminate clothing. BUT--they do remain in the cloth after washing. The amount of stuff that does remain can be inconsistent and vary quite a bit--henceforth your problem being inconsistent as well. Not every piece of clothing will have the same amount of residue--not every time--and not every wash. 

    You are obviously allergic to some substance in either the bleach or the detergent or both. YES--a dermatologist CAN help you--by identifying the exact substance(s) you are allergic to, and by offering you some topical or systemic relief. 

    Until you see a doctor and get the problem isolated and a treatment in place, wash your clothes TWICE--once with detergent, then a SECOND time with plain water--no additives, no bleach or detergent. Keep using detergents without dyes, additives or extra stuff--i.e., your hypoallergenic stuff. You will probably find a little relief if you rinse more thoroughly.  But DO see a doctor about this. Try a hydrocortisone barrier cream before you put on your clothes. Try taking Benadryl or an anti-histamine tablet. And go to the doctor about this. 

  • 2 months ago

    First, try buying some new ones and not washing them.  Just keep wearing them, even if they get dirty.

    Also try washing some with only water, no detergent.

    And try buying some and washing them repeatedly, before you wear them.

    If they are fine after many washes if they have never been worn, then that tells you something, although I'm not sure exactly what.

    If they are fine when washed in just water, with no detergent, but itch when washed with detergent, then you're allergic to detergent.  Try washing once with detergent to get them clean and then a few times with just water to get rid of any traces of detergent before you wear them.

    You could also try pouring some detergent on your arm to see if you have a reaction to it.

  • Tavy
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    It sounds like eczema. Which can be caused by anything not just washing powder.

    See your Doctor.

  • n2mama
    Lv 7
    2 months ago

    I’m not sure what all to suggest, but can only offer that my husband has a skin issue with Tide detergent. Not sure what it is about Tide specifically, but he would get rashes from that detergent. He never has had an issue with Cheer or Arm and Hammer, so those are what I’ve used for years. Maybe you have something similar. It’s possible that the reason that some items bother you more than others have to do with where they are in the load, like being pressed up against the side “trapping” the detergent or similar. The other thing I would think to suggest is running a rinse cycle twice. I don’t know how possible that is at a laundromat, and it may cost you more to do, but I’d suggest a second rinse cycle to help ensure all chemical residues are off the clothes.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    The problem is not your clothes or soap.   The problem is you.    Go see a dermatologist.   You probably have eczema or something like that.

  • Anonymous
    2 months ago

    personal finance??????????????

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