Does your detergent give you allergies? And what can you do to avoid it?

Posted by Rikke Macijowski Nielsen on

Many people experience allergy symptoms when using certain detergents. This may be because detergents often contain a number of synthetic chemicals that can be irritating to the skin and cause allergic reactions.

Detergent allergy from detergent and why detergent can cause skin allergies and how to avoid it

Here are the most common causes of detergent allergies


One of the most common causes of allergies from detergents is perfume, which can cause a perfume allergy . Perfume is often used in detergents to give them a fresh scent, but it can also be a source of allergy symptoms for many. Symptoms may include dryness, swelling, itching, rash and shortness of breath.


Another cause of allergies from detergents can be the synthetic dyes used in some products. Dyes can cause allergy symptoms in some people, such as swelling, redness and itching.


In addition, detergents can contain a number of other chemical substances for stain removal such as enzymes, which can also cause allergy symptoms. Enzymes have the ability to dissolve fats and typically come in detergents to act as stain removers. But frequent and prolonged skin contact with enzymes from soap in the clothes can cause skin irritation, because the skin's outermost barrier precisely contains fat. The enzymes will therefore work to dissolve the fats in the skin and thus irritate the skin barrier.

Instead of using a detergent with a built-in stain remover with enzymes that can cause contact allergies, you can choose an enzyme-free detergent and then remove stains locally where it is needed. It's really a bit silly to stain remove all the clothes, when maybe it's only a single stain or 2 that needs to be lifted from the clothes.

bleach and optical white

Bleach and optical white are substances that are added to detergents to give clothes a brighter and cleaner appearance. Bleach in detergent naturally bleaches the clothes, making them lighter. Optical white is a synthetic substance that is added to detergents to give clothes a brighter appearance. It works by reflecting light, so the clothes look brighter. But this kind of synthetic substances in detergent can be harmful to the skin and cause allergic reactions.

If you experience irritation or allergic reactions after washing clothes with detergents that contain bleach or optical white, you should avoid using them and instead choose detergents that are milder and free of those substances.


In virtually all detergents there are also sulfates that are used as a foaming and cleaning agent. Although sulfates are effective in cleaning and removing dirt and oil from clothes, they can also cause allergic reactions in some people and can, among other things, irritate the skin and cause dryness and itching.

If you suffer from e.g. contact allergies or have particularly sensitive skin, you should be careful when using detergents that contain sulfates.

What can you do to avoid allergies from detergent?

Choose a detergent free of the problematic substances

If you experience allergy symptoms when using a detergent, you should try to switch to a product that is free of the most problematic substances - perfume, bleach and synthetic dyes, and preferably free of enzymes and sulfates as well, if possible.

Look for certifications

Also look for certifications such as the blue wreath from the Asthma & Allergy label and the Swan label . If you choose a detergent with e.g. the blue wreath means that the product is free from perfumes, dyes, optical whites and other allergenic substances.

Use the correct dose

Make sure you use the correct dose of detergent. You should be aware that if you use a larger amount than indicated, it may result in the detergent not being completely washed out of the clothes, which may cause allergic reactions on your or your child's skin.

It is also important to check the hardness of the water where you live. The hardness of the water affects the amount of detergent to be used - soft water requires e.g. less soap than hard water. You can find out the hardness of your water by visiting your local water company's website.

Switch to an all-natural detergent

Fortunately, there are also a number of natural detergents that can help solve the problem of detergent allergies. An alternative to traditional detergents is to use soapberry , which is a completely natural detergent. Soapberry is the fruit of the Sapindus tree (soap tree), found in Asia and South America. Soapberries have been used for centuries as a natural detergent due to their cleansing properties.

Allergy-friendly detergent that does not cause allergies soapberry is a natural detergent without perfume and allergenic substances

Soapberries contain natural soap substances called saponins that produce a foamy mass when they come into contact with water. The saponins have antibacterial and antiviral properties, making them effective in fighting bacteria and other microorganisms. Soapberries are also hypoallergenic, meaning they are less likely to cause allergic reactions than traditional detergents.

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