During the week I probably ask the question, “What washing powder do you use?” about ten times. This is because, as far as eczema is concerned, washing powder has a lot to answer for, a lot, A LOT, A LOT! Just think, you cover your clothes and bedding and towels in it, that sit against your skin all day long. Even if you don’t have sensitive skin, that’s a big ask for your skin to tolerate.
I can assure you that many of my customers have eliminated eczema from their family just by switching to a gentle, perfume-free washing powder or liquid. This is because the majority of the washing powders and liquids you can buy at the supermarket contain many, many irritants, EVEN the ones that claim to be for sensitive skin ; here’s just a few:
perfume (or fragrance)
sulphates (frothing agents)
biological products contain enzymes – a big irritant to sensitive skin.
Have a look at the box or bottle of laundry liquid or powder in your house, it probably tells you it contains irritants, so why do you want that rubbing up against you all day? As I’m always telling my lovely customers, our skin is delicate – let’s treat it with the best possible care.
Everyone always asks me what they should use, and it’s a little bit of trial and error, but you can’t go wrong by starting with working your way through the list below.
Washing Powder to Try
- Surcare washing liquid: easy to buy at most major supermarkets, affordable, contains no perfume at all. Normally costs around £3 for a bottle. I think there is some question over how they preserve this liquid, so you may want to investigate this yourself.
- Ecover Powder: we love Ecover and have never had any problems with it in our house, we always opt for the powder, not the liquid due to the slightly different preservative they use in the liquid version. We just use a really small amount in each wash.
- Green Scents: I met them at the Free From Awards a couple of years ago, these are lovely products, very natural, smell amazing, they have a whole range of household cleaning products. I absolutely love the lavender laundry liquid. They are very genuinely natural and ethical and extremely transparent about exactly what they use in their products. I highly recommend them. Find out more at their website: www.greenscents.co.uk
- Violets: I’ve never tried this myself but I know lots of green/natural beauty bloggers love this so it’s definitely worth a try.You can buy it from Amazon.
- For other fabulous laundry options, pop to your local health food shop and see what they have an offer. If you’re in the northwest, there is the most amazing organic, vegan co-operative called The Unicorn in Chorlton, it’s amazingly fabulous and has a really great range of laundry stuff. I’ve had a few different ones from there and have loved all of them. Affordable too.
- Use a Laundry Ball: these are actual balls that you put in the washing machine drum with your laundry and they roll about all over your stuff, making the dirt come out. If you do a search for “laundry balls” you should get some options up. The Eco Egg seems to be a good one, it’s certainly a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option.
- Use nothing at all! I’ve read a few things about people who choose to use no detergent/laundry product at all. The simple act of rinsing through your laundry and them jigging about against each other is enough to dislodge dirt. Sometimes I do this and I just add a few drops of lavender oil to add a lovely fresh smell to the washing. I think this is definitely an option if you’re not washing for children. I’m not convinced it would get rid of the spag bol stains from school shirts, although my top tip for getting rid of tomato-ey stains is hanging them up to dry in direct sunlight and the sun bleaches those stains right out in a couple of hours.
A general tip is try to use a smaller amount than the laundry company suggests – you can probably get a clean load using much less than suggested (of course they want you to use plenty, you’ll buy more sooner!).
Regarding fabric softeners, I don’t use them at all. I think I have used the Ecover one in the past and it’s good enough, but the whole concept of softener is just adding a layer of grease to your clothes/bedding which eventually adds enormous weight to material and clogs it up. If you can avoid it, try without: I stopped using it about 4 or 5 years ago and have never missed it.
I hope this gives you some ideas of laundry options to try out. I absolutely promise you, if you have a skin problem, changing your washing powder will change your life, it’s that simple. I’d love to hear what you think, and try out some more, so please list yours below.