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Eczema friendly laundry: Stain removers

If your baby’s eczema is aggravated by laundry detergents, keeping their clothes looking good without irritating their skin can be really tough. Especially when they are starting on solids and food starts going everywhere! Most readily available stain-removers contain enzymes that will damage the silk fibres in specialist eczema clothing (including our own ScratchSleeves). They also contain strong detergents, optic brighteners and fragrances which can irritate sensitive skin and bring on an eczema flare-up. Here are our top tips for removing stains without aggravating your eczema baby’s skin (or damaging their clothes).
  • Soaking stained clothing as soon as possible
    Soaking stained clothes in a bicarbonate of soda solution should minimise any staining. We kept a bucket of homemade stain solution by the washing machine when our little ones were small. Our stain remover solution is a gallon of cold water, a tablespoon of bicarb and a dose of our regular laundry liquid. All the bibs, foody clothing and anything that their nappies had leaked on went straight into the bucket. By not letting the clothes dry out, the stains usually didn’t have the chance to take hold.
  • Pre-treat stained areas
    We line dry most of our laundry. So I check the clean clothes for any lingering stains as they go onto the line. Anything with a stubborn stains gets put to one side. While the clothes are still damp, I rub both sides of the stained area with a soap based stain bar. Then they before popped back in the wash (without drying out). Our stain bar comes from Skin Salve and has no known irritants in it. Other soap based stain bars are available from the supermarkets. If you use the mainstream brands do make sure that you wash clothing thoroughly to remove any potentially irritating residues.
blue plastic laundry tub containing brightly coloured laundry including a confused looking teddy bear.
Most stain-removers contain strong detergents, optic brighteners and fragrances, all of which can aggravate eczema. Our top tips for itch-free stain removal are: 1) Soaking stained clothing as soon as possible; 2) pre-treating stained areas with a soap based stain bar; 3) line drying stained clothing; 4) using 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for stubborn stains.
  • Use the washing line
    Leaving the clothes in the sunshine is an amazing easy and effective way to rid of any organic stains. This is especially true for food and nappy related stains. We’ve even managed to get rid of tomato based stains this way. We find that two days on the line does the trick for most stains, even if it is cloudy. If you baby’s eczema is aggravated by pollen, give any clothing that you treat this way another wash and tumble dry before using it.
  • Hydrogen peroxide
    Really tough stains should come out with 3% hydrogen peroxide poured directly onto the stain. However, hydrogen peroxide is a bleach and may fade some dyed fabric slightly. Make sure you wash it out straight away. The striped fabric used to make our ScratchSleeves and PJs should be fine as long as it is rinsed promptly. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down to water and oxygen in light (which is why the bottle it comes in is dark or opaque) so there is no risk any residues causing skin irritation. Just wash the garment after application and leave it in the light for a couple of hours. This method of stain removal should be used sparingly as it will degrade the fabrics slightly every time it is used. However, it’s great for rescuing a favourite outfit (or a wine stained tablecloth!).
  • Allergy friendly laundry bleaches and stain removers
    There are a number of stain removers and laundry bleaches available that claim to be allergy friendly. These are usually based on bicarbonate of soda and hydrogen peroxide with some added surfactants (detergents or dispersants) to help the cleaning process along. While these are convenient, which is definitely a consideration when you have little ones under your feet, you can get the same stain removal power using the suggestions above without the risk of possible reactions to other ingredients (and for a fraction of the price).

A note of caution. As with all things eczema related, finding effective, eczema friendly laundry solutions and stain-removers that work for your family can be a case of trial and error. Products labelled as hypo-allergic or natural can cause reactions and things which work for one baby’s eczema, may not work so well for yours.

Want to read more? Our articles on laundry as a trigger for baby eczema and washing machines and eczema have more information on eczema friendly laundry.

Here at ScratchSleeves we don’t just share our experiences of bringing up an eczema child and favourite allergy friendly recipes, we also manufacturer and sell our unique stay-on scratch mitts and PJs for itchy babies, toddlers and children. We now stock sizes from 0-adult years in a range of colours. Visit our webshop for more information.

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Written by:

Coming from a family of eczema sufferers, Jae draws on years of practical, first hand experience living with eczema.

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