Written By: Krista Bennett DeMaio
If you’re one of the 50 percent of people who say they have sensitive skin, chances are you’ve tried everything to balance your comfort and your clothing. Traditional detergents with dyes and perfumes get clothes clean but can leave your skin feeling irritated—and itchy. But here’s what you may not realize: The problem might lie in both the laundry products you’re using and the way in which you’re using them. Fortunately, you don’t need to use a traditional detergent to get your clothes clean — a gentle formula can also deliver a powerful clean and spares your sensitive skin. Try these little tweaks to make a big difference in the way you look and feel.
Mistake 1: Using a strong detergent
Dyes and strong perfumes don’t actually get your clothes clean— in fact, these additives can be irritating to those with sensitive skin. Instead of using a traditional detergent, switch to a gentle one, formulated without fragrance, dyes, and harsh preservatives. Arm & Hammer Sensitive Skin Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent is a hypoallergenic formula that’s free of all the above, and designed to get your clothes just as clean, while being gentle on your skin. The detergent has a 100 percent rating from SkinSafe, a program developed with the Mayo Clinic to help those with sensitive skin identify products that are less likely to irritate their skin. Being certified 100% by SkinSAFE means Arm & Hammer Free & Clear excludes 100% of SkinSAFE’s top most considered skin allergens.
Mistake 2: Overdoing the detergent
Even using too much of the right type of detergent can leave your clothes looking faded faster and feeling stiff, and the residue the excess detergent leaves behind on your garments may rub skin the wrong way. Instead of eyeballing or filling the cup to the brim, read the instructions carefully to ensure that you’re using the right amount of detergent for your size of laundry load. You likely need a lot less than you’re probably using.
Mistake 3: Not rinsing well enough
The regular rinse cycles on your machine should be enough to get your clothes clean, but if you have sensitive skin, you may want to do an extra one for good measure. An added rinse will help remove any lingering suds from your clothes before you wear them again.
Mistake 4: Overstuffing your washer
It’s tempting to shove as much as you can into your machine and get it all done at once. The problem? If you overload your washer, your detergent won’t be evenly dispersed, and your clothes won’t get as thoroughly clean. Dirty clothes aren’t just gross; they can aggravate sensitive skin if potential irritants haven’t been washed away. Don’t fill your washing machine more than three-quarters full.
Mistake 5: Overdrying your clothes
This one won’t necessarily affect your skin, but it can damage your clothes. Overdrying can lead to shrinkage and cause your fabrics to break down faster than they should and fade, especially when it comes to cotton garments. It also leads to static cling (annoying!). To prevent it, use a low heat setting. And if at the end of the cycle, your clothes are still damp, remove them and finish drying on a drying rack.