Allergies to detergents

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I thought I would throw this question out there because I could not find anything related to it.  My ex was allergic to certain laundry detergents or fabric softeners.  I just wondered if anyone has run across this and if so how did you handle it.  Do you ask when taking the reservation or just apologize when they show up in the morning itching?  What detergents, etc. do you use normally?

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Anyone make their own detergent?

Weaver's picture
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Penelope wrote:

Anyone make their own detergent?

Havent tried these, but they look easy enough.

I used to make my own soap, and will again soon, will have to add this to the list.

 

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I have very sensitive skin and have allergies to certain soaps, etc,.  but it's usually not a problem as far as laundered bedding is concerned.  I did use dye, fragrence, etc. free laundry detergent on all our inn linens - it was something that I did as a matter of course for our personal stuff and just carried that through to the biz because I was aware that people can have these problems. 

I have used large bottle bath gels at B&Bs and had a massive contact dermatitis from them.    Which is why I now carry my own soap just in case I encounter something that I don't know what's in it.  I think a lot of people with skin allergies do that. 

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Joey Camb's picture
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Im alergic to Bold washing powder fine with everything else just makes me itch. Drove me mad last year as DH forgot bought it on special and then washed a ton of our clothes in it. Took me a while to figure out why i didn't have any skin! trouble is then you have to rewash everything to find the stuff that has been bold washed! grrrr was still hiting itchy things months later. I am also bad with sheet dressing don't know what you call it in the USA but its whatever they spray on sheets in the factory so they hold shape in the packets and on the shelf but I don't think there are any of us here who would put sheets straight out of the packet onto the bed!

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Generic's picture
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Most cotton is coated in a chemical stew that includes formaldehyde to make them feel soft when you buy them. I have to wash everything that is new to get it out because it makes me itchy all over. I generally wash once in baking soda and then a second time with detergent and rinse with vinegar.

 

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Joey Camb's picture
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they don't feel soft in this country! they feel stiff and hard! thats what always reminds me to wash them! however we used the laundry's stuff as I am not sorting it out separately its not worth the bother.

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vinegar will help get all of the soap residue out. No, the sheets don't smell like vinegar. We purchase white vinegar by the gallon.

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 Do you put it in the rinse? Sorry for the stupid question. I am thinking yes but just checking. How much do you use?

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 Do you put it in the rinse? Sorry for the stupid question. I am thinking yes but just checking. 

Kay Nein's picture
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Personally, I am very sensitive to smells.  I use non-scented detergent for laundry at home.  When we first took over this B&B three months ago, the owner bought Tide & Snuggle.  I could barely walk into the laundry room!  Righ away, we had quite a few guests complain that the sheets smelled too strong - the vapors coming up from under the sheets made then have a fitful night.  I completely understood!  I've since started adding the same fabric softner to the wash cycle (instead of the rinse cycle).  It adds a very slight fresh scent since it gets rinsed out and still leaves the sheets soft. 

I know you were asking about allergies, but someone metionedusing scent-free.  This is a trick I started doing to keep them fresh without being overwhelming.

 

Madeleine's picture
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09/29/2011

My suggestion, as an asthmatic, is to get rid of any scented products anywhere in the guest cycle. This includes bathroom air freshener sprays, Febreeze (hideous stuff), scented washing products, candles (scented or not, the burning itself pollutes the interior air), potpourri, plug in air fresheners anything that is not 'natural' or is overly scented.

Example- I love the smell of lavendar, vanilla and rosemary but a rosemary plant in the room gives me an instant headache. (Which is why I no longer uproot my rosemary plants to bring them inside for the winter. I just let them die.) So even natural fragrances can overwhelm. Lavendar is supposed to be one of the only scents that relatively few people are bothered by. So if you want some scent, try a natural lavendar product.

I'm even going to change our guest soaps next time we have to reorder. I'm going to an unscented oatmeal soap. I can't stand the way the bathrooms smell with the soap we now have lingering.

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Innkeep's picture
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Be sure to try a sample of the oatmeal soap first.  I had a brand that left little pieces of oatmeal behind ... a real pain to clean tubs and showers with that stuff.

Kay Nein's picture
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 That's good to know about the oatmeal in the bathtub.  We're shopping around for our first soap order, so that's a great bit of info.

Madeleine's picture
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Thanks! I'm going to send away for samples again.

Generic's picture
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I use Nellie's All-Natural Laundry Soda. It's available at Costco.CA (but not .COM) It's at www.nelliesallnatural.com/ It's $125 in the US (Costco is CAD$100) for the tub that does about 1000 to 1100 loads, regular or HE and it's a tablespoon per load. They also come in smaller containers and in nuggets that are premeasured. 

Bio-degradable, non-toxic and hypo-allergetic. It's unscented. Never had a single guest react to it, ever. They have a FAQ at www.nelliesallnatural.com/shop/index.php that answers a lot of questions.

You can find local dealers as well, though I would call ahead to make sure they actually stock the product you want, because some stores only stock part of the product line. 

Madeleine's picture
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Total sidetrack here but that product contains the same chemical compounds as 'Magic Rocks' that used to be a big kid toy when I was a young 'un. You could grow your own colorful rock garden.

Innkeep's picture
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Occasionally the fabric softener dryer sheets will give people itchy skin.  I avoid using them.  My new washer doesn't seem to do ao very good job of rinsing, so I use HE detergent, 2 rinses for towels and sheets, and the wash comes out soft and fluffy.

Madeleine's picture
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We don't use any detergents with scents. So we buy 'free' detergents. No scent, no color. We don't use fabric softeners of any kind, most of them are carcinogenic and contain volatile organics. And this crap ends up blowing around the neighborhood not to mention anyone putting their nose right up against while asleep for 8 hours.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-504763_162-20097302-10391704.html

Nothing is completely safe so we try to avoid the worst.

Edited to add that we don't ask about this stuff. Believe me, if a guest has an allergy to cleaning products you will know in all the gory detail what will happen if you don't do A, B & C before they arrive. This is one group with no problem telling you what they need!

You can always do the final rinse with vinegar to be sure all the detergent is out of the fabric.

Kay Nein's picture
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 I've never heard of rinsing with vinegar.  I assume that there's no lasting vinegar smell?  Do you do an extra rinse after the vineger rinse?  

Madeleine's picture
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The laundry rooms smells like a salad bar, but not the sheets themselves! Supposed to get rid of static as well.

gillumhouse's picture
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05/22/2008

I just use perfume-free/dye-free detergent and line dry if I can but do not use softeners nor softener sheets when using the dryer. Other than that - so sorry, I cannot do anything else. Will not do anything more.

seashanty's picture
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I occasionally had folks tell me ahead of time if they were sensitive to something or would come out and ask what I used.

I never asked ... really could not go very far to accommodating in that way.  Hardest of all were those looking for as added scent free as possible throughout the place and they'd be booked in same time as people who used lots of perfume and scented EVERYthing.

I used a laundry service for the sheets, pillow cases and towels ... and had a list of what they used .  not softener but laundry starch. 

There was one woman who asked for scent free linen washing but was happy with the seventh generation products I used.  I don't remember the kind.  So I washed her sheets myself. 

 

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egoodell's picture
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 I don't have the time to worry about soap and sensative allergies.

Never had anyone complain. Have had people email to book with long lists of soaps etc to which they said they were allergic. Told them a hotel would be better for them as if a room made them sick they would have others to move them to. I can't predict someone with strong perfume won't be staying in a room the night before.

RIki

 

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