Posts Tagged ‘sensitive skin’

Laundry and Different Skin Types

Wednesday, October 19th, 2016

There are a lot of plusses to cloth diapering (I know not everybody would agree with me there, but since you’re reading this blog, I think you might feel the same), but one of the best things that I’ve gotten from cloth diapering is how much I’ve learned about laundry. I’m young enough (barely) that Home EC was not a part of the curriculum during my school years, and old enough that my busy working mom wasn’t into home economics herself much, or at least not that she let on. Plus, modern washing machines and detergents kind of made laundry stupid proof, right?

My skin is fairly sensitive, but I can tolerate most detergents, barring the most heavily scented ones. My oldest son, however, was not nearly so lucky. He didn’t have eczema or psoriasis or other more serious skin conditions, but more detergents than not gave him rashes from his clothing (and it was worse with his cloth diapers).

In detergent land, there are two main camps; mainstream detergents, and eco-friendly detergents (plus soaps and soap nuts, not usually recommended for cloth diapers). Both mainstream detergents (like Tide, Dreft, etc) and eco-friendly ones (Ecover, Biokleen, etc) can be scented or “free and clear.” And of course further, come in either powdered or liquid formats (soap nuts obviously don’t fit in either camp).

If you are lucky and have no skin sensitivities in the house, the world is your oyster. Wash with whatever you like (or like many of us, what your budget will allow). But if one or more in your house are sensitive, you will have to be careful (and it may take some trial and error to find the magic bullet).

First, if you have sensitivities in the house, you can decide to wash everybody’s clothing together in the detergent you find works for the sensitive one(s), or you can wash separate, if costs or other factors come into play. When dealing with sensitive skin, I would start with avoiding heavy perfumes. For me, detergents like Gain break me out, but I can tolerate regular Tide and the like OK. My oldest broke out in hives from Tide, but the free and clear version was OK, and he could tolerate some lightly scented natural detergents as well.

Fabric softeners are often a no-no with sensitive skin; they coat fibers so generally shouldn’t be used with diapers, towels or tech fabrics like workout clothes anyway. Some, like Ecover, are compatible with natural fibers and many sensitive skinned people, but there are often no fragrance-free options in the fabric softener world, so they may have to be avoided completely (try vinegar in the rinse cycle, like in a Downy ball), for your clothing if you’re missing fabric softeners, especially if you line dry).

Outside of not breaking you out, your detergent also needs to get the family’s clothing, well, clean. How well different detergents will work for you will depend on many factors, one of which is likely familiar to any cloth diaper vets: water hardness. The harder your water, the more difficulties you may face, from just getting your clothing clean enough (very hard water can require using more detergent and/or a water softening additive like Calgon, which could also affect very sensitive skinned people), to even leaving iron stains on your clothing. Generally, if you have water on the hard side, you will be better served with a powdered detergent as they often have water-softening agents included in the formula.

Another upside to powdered detergents is if you need to order your detergent by mail. Some markets have almost endless options, mainstream to eco to niche, boutique brands. Others … not so much. When you’re shipping liquids, you’re also shipping water, which is heavy (and therefore more costly). Powders can save you a bit of cash sometimes (and a bit of backache too) because of this.

Finally, keep the tricks you learned from your cloth diapers handy when washing clothes for sensitive people handy … Shout may make your daughter’s skin itch, but putting her clothes on the line in the sun (with or without lemon) can remove often just as many (and sometimes more) stains, without adding any more chemicals into the washing machine. Natural fibers can be easier to get fully clean, with both diapers and clothing. And line drying will save you both wear-and-tear and money when/if you’re able.

Meaghan Howard is a mom to three little dudes, a ton of (rapidly aging) pets, and a super sweaty husband. She also loves running and currently lives on a lesser surface of the sun; laundry has become a bit of a part-time job.

Sunday Funday Giveaway: Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator by BioKleen

Sunday, August 26th, 2012

One of my favorite products to strip my cloth diapers is Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator. Not only does this environmentally friendly product smell great, it is super effective at eliminating both stains and odors that can build up over time on cloth diapers. You can use it by either squirting it directly on the diapers before you wash them or by adding some Bac-Out to the pre-rinse wash cycle (my preferred method of use). Although Bac-out is powerfully effective its ingredients are safe for gentle and sensitive skin. It is completely FREE of harsh toxic ingredients such as glycol ether, alcohol, chlorine, petrochemical solvents, phosphate, MEA, EDTA, nonyl phenol, sodium lauryl or laureth sulfate, artificial fragrance, colors or preservatives. Additionally it is completely FREE of any animal products and by products nor does it test on animals which makes vegans around the world smile from ear to ear!

If your diapers are in need of a good stripping then be sure to enter this week’s giveaway for a 32oz spray bottle of Bac-Out Stain & Odor Eliminator by BioKleen! One winner will be selected at random and announced on Sunday, September 2. Winner will be notified via email and is asked to reply within 48 hours of email with shipping address in order to claim their prize.

-Sarah
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Tips for Treating Diaper Rash

Wednesday, May 9th, 2012

When you go to change your baby’s diaper and find their bum covered with a diaper rash it can be an upsetting discovery. Often the skin looks so irritated and uncomfortable that you are eager to try anything that might provide soothing comfort to baby’s sensitive skin. Sometimes a quick slab of a quality diaper rash cream is all it takes to clear it up. However sometimes diaper rashes can be stubborn and difficult to eliminate. Those persistent and/or frequent diaper rashes often require a little extra care beyond diaper rash cream. Here are a few suggestions to try:

Nakie Time  - Let’s face it, what baby/toddler doesn’t want to be naked?!? Let them go diaper free to get fresh air and keep the irritated skin nice and dry. You’ll probably want to do nakie time when baby is unlikely to poop. So if you know baby’s pooping patterns plan accordingly for nakie time. Or watch them carefully for signs of needing to poop and rush them to the bathroom as needed (you can even do this with wee ones).  Pee is a bit trickier to time (or observe cues) so you might consider having baby on a towel or other easy to clean surface during nakie time.

BreasmilkBreastmilk really is the magical cure-all! Simply express some breastmilk and cover the affected area with it. Allow bum to air dry.

Strip Your Cloth Diapers – There might be some build up , residue, or bacteria on your cloth diapers that baby’s skin is reacting to. Doing a heavy-duty stripping can help eliminate any irritants contained in your diapers. You might consider adding a few drops of tea tree oil or grapefruit oil to your wash as both have anti-bacterial/anti-fungal properties.

Tea Tree Oil – Tea Tree Oil is a definite must-have item in your medicine cabinet because of its diverse and plentiful uses including treatment of diaper rash. All you need to do is mix a few drops in a palm sized amount of a carrier oil (such as olive oil) and apply to baby’s skin.

Change Baby More Frequently – Some babies have extra sensitive skin and need to be changed more frequently than normal.

Examine Diet – Sometimes diaper rash can be an expression of something internally disagreeing with baby (as opposed to an external topical irritant) so examining babies diet might help identify the source of the irritant. For example when oranges were in season and soooo delicious we over-indulged in their sweet juiciness and baby got a fierce diaper rash. Ouch! Sometimes new foods can irritate baby’s bum too so be aware as you introduce new foods into your baby’s diet.

Change Laundry Detergent – There are many great options to choose from when it comes to cloth diaper friendly laundry detergents. Experiment a bit to see what works best for your baby’s skin.

Revamp your Stash – This is a last-resort ‘I have tried everything and my baby’s butt is still constantly bright red’ option. Sometimes certain fibers simply don’t agree with your baby’s skin. I have a friend who battled intense and persistent diaper rashes with her son until she finally decided to sell her existing stash and invest in some new fluff. Viola, no more diaper rash!

What’s your secret weapon against stubborn diaper rash? Would love to hear some more useful tips! :)

-Sarah