I posted a few weeks ago about yarn allergies. I thought I was allergic to acrylic yarn.
Turns out – I’m not!
I’m allergic to my laundry detergent.
Here’s how I figured it out. Last night I was steadily working on finishing my Christmas crocheting. I was using wool and I hadn’t previously noticed a problem with breaking out in red blotches all over the part of my arm just below my wrist. I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t be allergic to wool too. I am having so much fun felting with it, that I wasn’t about to accept it.
So I kept on crocheting and periodically putting Hydrocortisone lotion on my arm to see if it would get better. We were also watching a movie, so I was sitting cramped on my couch, trying to keep my yarn away from my daughter’s feet and the dog.
After the movie ended and I had time to stretch out, I noticed that the rash was worse than earlier. Determined to finish what I was working on, I spread out my supplies and kept on crocheting. As I looked down to count stitches, that’s when I saw it. The rapid motion of my crochet hook (some say I’m extremely fast when I am in “the zone”) was causing my arm to rub against my breast and my shirt repeatedly…the contact of my arm with my shirt was causing the rash, not the yarn!
Thank goodness! No more yarn allergy! I think the reason I notice it more with acrylic yarn is because it doesn’t slide as well for me on the hook and I end up using more effort to get the hook to cooperate with me.
Why do I think, though, that it’s laundry detergent instead of just a plain contact rash?
My washer and dry both died recently (thank you to my sister who is giving me her fairly new set for Christmas & taking advantage of the energy rebate to get a new one!) and I’ve been taking my laundry once/week to the laundromat. In the process, I’ve been deleting a step in my traditional washing process: vinegar.
I have a militant approach to laundry that fights stains, static cling, and keeps my washer clean all at the same time. You heard me: I keep the inside of my washer clean too. Once a month, I fill up the washer with hot water and vinegar and let it soak for about an hour. Then I wash it until the water rinses completely clear. (WARNING: If you’ve never done this before, your water could stink to high heaven!)
Soap residue and dirt & general scum build up in your washer over time. The vinegar works in your washer the same way it works in your coffee pot. It strips out the residue and you can rinse it away. The first time I did it, I had to run hot water and vinegar through my washer about 6 times to get it clean. Now I do it once/month and it stays as clean as possible.
It fights static cling by stripping out this residue. The left-over soap and gunk that gets rinsed into your “clean” clothes is what causes most static cling. I stopped using dryer sheets when I went to cloth diapers for my son (I’ll blog on that another day) and have never had static cling problems again. In fact, it was the switch to cloth diapers that changed my laundry washing habits.
Now I use 1/8 cup of liquid laundry detergent and 1/2 cup of vinegar in every load of laundry. The vinegar fights smells that may not rinse out very well on their own with just the soap and water. My son is sensitive to almost very detergent out there so I use a dye/perfume free detergent and then the vinegar keeps the soap from “sticking” to his clothes. No more contact rashes for him either.
Anyway…I am not about to perform my ritual on every washer in the laundromat, plus I keep forgetting my vinegar at home, so I’ve been tossing the clothes in with a small amount of soap and hoping for the best.
And now I’m coming up with a contact rash of my own because I’m using a not so clean washer and no vinegar with my clothes.
The great news is that I can enjoy some of my favorite acrylic colors without fear! I get my washer soon, so life will get back to normal again…my laundry washing life, that is.