Could your Laundry be Making your Allergies Worse?

A Healthier Michigan

| 3 min read

Many triggers, allergies or allergens are either found in the home or brought into your home. They can then very easily aggravate and trigger allergy symptoms in the supposed comfort of your own home.
One of the most common culprits of allergens in the home is laundry and the laundry room. Allergens brought into the home on clothes, combined with different possible allergens in laundry detergent, could really make your allergies act up.

How laundry can affect allergies

Allergens collect on clothes, sheets and bedding, towels, stuffed toys and more items around the home. These irritants can build up over time if they are not properly cleaned during the laundry process.
Laundry detergents are often irritating and triggering to those with respiratory allergies or immune conditions as well, according to a study in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Even after being highly diluted, laundry detergents can compromise the respiratory system.

Laundry tips for sensitive skin and allergies

The first step is to reduce the number of allergens that enter your home and laundry cycle. Common things that can be avoided to reduce allergens on clothes and sheets include:
  • sleeping with pets
  • opening windows
  • neglecting to use air filters
Seek alternatives to laundry detergents that include allergens or triggers if they bother you, or make some laundry habit changes including:
  • using hypoallergenic laundry detergent products
  • using laundry sheets, laundry balls, or homemade detergents
  • double rinsing your laundry loads
  • using gloves when handling detergents and laundry
  • don’t use any scented laundry products
It’s also a good idea to do a spring cleaning of your home and laundry room, especially when allergy season is at its peak.

Tips for keeping your laundry room free of allergens

The laundry room can easily harbor mildew, mold, pet dander, outside allergens and pollens, dust and more allergens that can wreak havoc on your allergy symptoms. If you have asthma or hay fever, don’t relegate these deep spring cleanings to allergy season alone. Here are some tips to reduce allergens in the laundry room:
  • Keep the room cool and dry – not above 50% humidity of 72 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Keep doors and windows closed during warm or humid weather.
  • Remove non-washable carpets or rugs from the laundry room.
  • Sweep and mop or damp-mop weekly.
  • If you are a smoker, stop smoking.
It’s also important to know what allergens are specifically leading to irritation and symptoms. It’s always a good idea to dilute and patch test any new laundry detergents and consider seeing your care team for an allergy test if symptoms persist or become worse.

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