Ahh… laundry. The sorting and washing, the drying and folding, the putting away and realising you’re missing the other half to your daughter’s favourite pair of stripy socks (seriously, sock, WHERE ARE YOU?)
Let’s face it, doing your family’s washing is not an easy process, especially if you have a little one with allergies, sensitive skin or eczema. Thankfully we’ve compiled a clever list of laundry tips for allergies and hope to finally banish the itch.
If your child is prone to episodes of dryness, itching, sneezing and stuffiness, you are probably already mindful of how you clean, what products you use around the home and what items you serve for meals and snacks. But there’s always the fear of a flare-up and the concern that, perhaps, there’s more you can do.
The good news is there are ways to reduce the risk of an allergic reaction and eczema simply by making a few minor changes to your laundry routine. These laundry tips and tricks will provide you with an allergy-free washing regimen and help your little ones get the relief from allergens and eczema they deserve.
1. Always wash before wear
Before they try on their new clothes, pop them in the wash. This goes for everything fabric – tea towels, bath towels, hand towels, curtains, pillows, bed sheets, quilt covers. Chuck it all in the wash first.
2. Remove tags
Avoid the dreaded “this tag is itchy” complaint by removing those annoying polyester tags as soon as you buy new clothes. They can irritate the skin, even when the clothes are cotton or made from natural fibres.
3. Avoid ‘over cleaning’ their clothes
The more detergent, the cleaner the clothes, right? Nope! Experts confirm this isn’t the case at all. In fact, using too much detergent simply makes your clothes get dirtier quicker. And it can leave a soapy residue on clothing too.
Don’t use more than the recommended amount for the load you’re washing.
4. Choose the right detergent
Not all laundry detergents are created equally so choose wisely! How do you know which ones are best for preventing allergic flare-ups?
The ecostore Laundry Powder ($8.99) is plant and mineral based and steers clear of unhealthy chemicals like optical whiteners, phosphates and artificial fragrances.
It’s gentle on your little one’s sensitive skin and leaves your laundry clean and smelling fresh. The ecostore Ultra-Sensitive laundry liquid ($9.99) is another good choice, especially if your child’s skin is sensitive to fragrances. Plus, all ecostore product packaging is made from recyclable sugar plastic so you can reduce your carbon footprint every time you put on a load.
What more could you want in a laundry detergent (except, perhaps, the ability to find that missing sock)?
You can find both the powder and liquid in the washing section of Woolworths or check out the full range of products online.
5. Dry inside when the pollen count is high
With your washing regimens sorted, it’s time to move on to the drying. There’s nothing quite like the smell of freshly washed sheets dried in the sun. Except when your little one is allergic to pollen and the pollen count outside is quite high. On the days when this happens, skip the outdoors and move the laundry line inside.
If you want to use the sun’s natural drying power, but are worried about the pollen, hang pillows and quilts in rubbish bags off the clothesline in the sun. This will keep the nasties away and still give that sun-kissed feel.
6. Add an outdoor laundry bin to your patio
Get the kiddies to take off their outdoor clothing before coming into the house. That way the dirt, dust and allergens remain outside the house until you wash them.
7. Colour code towels
Every family member gets a different colour. This ensures your little one won’t accidentally use a towel that daddy JUST used to dry his dirty hands after changing the oil in the car.
Teaching your kids to stick to their own towel (and to keep hand towels separate from bath towels) can also help spread low-grade infections like ringworm. Plus, it’s a bit of fun for the kids, especially if you select towels that are their favourite colours.
Oh, and make it a habit to wash towels every two or three days!
8. Don’t skip the beds
It’s easy to let the sheets stay dirty for an extra day (ahem… week). But it’s important to stick to a strict washing schedule when you have kids with allergens, which means weekly bed washing.
Many mums will use a spreadsheet to keep track on what needs to be washed when. You may want to designate a day to different items in the house. Monday – towels, Tuesday – bedding, Wednesday – uniforms. And so forth.
9. Use hot water to get rid of dust mites
To ensure your child’s sheets are dust-mite-free, stick to hot water cycles.
10. Be mindful of fabrics
In general, the most offending fabrics include polyester, acrylic, rayon, acetate and triacetate and nylon. It’s also a good idea to avoid anything static resistant, stain resistant, permanent press, wrinkle-free, stain proof or moth repellent.
Stick to natural fabrics such as cotton, silk, linen, hemp, wool and cashmere.
11. Aim for 250 or above
Check your child’s bedding thread count. Go with sheets that come with a thread count of 250 or more, which are proven to prevent dust mites better than lower thread count sheets. Bedding with natural fibres are best so avoid blends and look for pure cotton or bamboo.
12. Keep your laundry area clean
It’s so easy to bypass this room when doing your weekly clean. But don’t. The laundry is actually prone to mould and mildew, especially if you happen to have water leaks. Check behind the washing machine, the dryer and the sink for watermarks and wash your appliances and walls to kill the nasties.
Be sure to also clean your washing machine regularly. Fill the washer using the highest load size, hottest water setting, and longest wash on a top loader. Then add four cups of vinegar plus a cup of baking soda to the wash and allow the machine to fully rinse clean.
For a front loader, just add the mixture when you set the wash (again, use the hottest setting).
Hopefully, these laundry tips will make a difference to your family and your child’s allergic and eczema flare-ups. But, most of all, we hope they provide you with peace of mind that you’re doing everything you can to keep your family healthy, your home safe and your child’s allergies under control.
Choose a better tomorrow with ecostore
The ecostore range of products has been helping parents of children with sensitive skin, eczema and allergies for over 15 years.
The New Zealand company believes everyone has a right to know exactly what’s in the products they use every day and if they could be harmful to your health. Their products are natural-derived, designed for sensitive skin, safe for the environment, packaged in the best material available, labelled with a full list of ingredients and free of nasty chemicals.
Take the harmful chemicals out of your home. Head to Woolworths and check out ecostore’s full range of laundry, cleaning and bath products. Together we can make a difference in our homes and in our environment.