Launder Your Way To Better Health by Cathy Neilley, Principal Owner, Spin Doctor Laundromat
Featured in Professional Women’s Business Network Magazine, Fall 2016
Our facility has a customer-centric focus and this translates to a strong desire to address customer concerns about possible allergic reactions to irritants in their preferred laundry products. After all, many modern detergent products contain more than surfactants to lift dirt; they’re combined with brighteners, softening agents, and stain dissolvers as part of an all-in-one formula.
Here are some tips that we offer customers to help them launder with less worry about an undesirable impact:
- Get the Facts
According online health sites, including WebMD, an allergic response is triggered when your immune system overreacts to a chemical ingredient that it normally finds harmless. These sources report that the most common reaction to these agents is a red, itchy rash known as allergic contact dermatitis. This rash, however, may be a symptom of extremely dry skin—a condition also known as eczema, which is not due to an allergen and tends to run in families.
In our industry, the agents of concern are the fragrance and/or dyes found in most detergent and softener brands. But before you dispose of all your favorite laundry products, have your physician examine you in order to determine the best course of action. A 2012 report published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology found that less than 5% of participants in a study, about brightener and enzyme additives in detergents, were found to be allergic to them.
- Smell The Roses
Few customers, today, use fabric softeners to soften and facilitate ironing. Instead it is all about affecting a fresh, long-lasting fragrance that implies that the clothes are clean. This desire is reflected in the popularity of heavily scented products like Gain® and Purex® crystals. A caution: The bouquet from this “rose” comes with thorns since the user is likely exposed to a higher than average level of fragrance additives.
Just as important as fragrance quality is quantity per load.
Customers are often observed adding significantly more product to the wash than is suggested by staff or the respective product manufacturer—oftentimes enough to pressure force all of it down the sewer. Then there are those who leave nothing to chance and utilize both softener liquid and sheets. A double threat!
The point is, if you want to reduce your exposure to irritants, consider hypoallergenic products with little, or no, scent or dye. Ask your healthcare professional for a recommendation and read product labels carefully when you shop; recognizing that those claiming to be “gentle” could contain additives. Importantly, follow the quantity recommended by the producer which has been determined to give you the best outcome for your particular wash size. They have a stake in your satisfaction.
- Change Up
Since dust and lint from dryer sheets can trigger an allergic reaction it may be worth switching to a liquid. The other benefits are that industry experts find liquid to be more effective and less harmful to the environment.
Consider acquiring an allergen-free pillow or mattress cover as a protective barrier. The composite material of the bedding or pillow, (plus whatever critters it may be harboring), can cause allergic reactions involving the skin or respiratory system.
You may also want to change your bed sheets more often—not because you have more everyday dirt than anyone else, rather because of the allergens that may have settled on it.
And, what do you think about showering in the evening? A recent CBS radio broadcast segment advised this remedy designed to prevent outdoor pollen and irritants from transferring from your skin to sheets and pajamas.
Hope these tips provide you with either confidence in the your current products and methods, or ideas to adopt that can impact your life and health in positive way.
Spin Doctor Laundromat, 1070 Whitehorse-Mercerville Rd, Hamilton, N.J. 08619
www.spindoctorlaundromat.com; Tel: 609-981-7746; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org