How To Get Rid Of An Allergic Reaction To Laundry Detergent

Putting on freshly cleaned clothes can be some of the most comforting feelings.

But what happens when you start to get itchy and form rashes?

Could it be due to laundry detergent allergies?

Continue reading below to identify if you may have laundry detergent allergies and how to get rid of an allergic reaction to laundry detergent.

Are You Allergic To Your Laundry Detergent?

Laundry detergent allergies are not very common, but they need to be ruled out!

The biggest confusion people have regarding laundry detergent allergies is distinguishing between allergic dermatitis or irritant dermatitis. 

Both dermatitis types look similar, causing bumpy, red skin, hives, burning, itching, sensitivity, swelling, but they are triggered by different things. 

Allergic Dermatitis

Allergic dermatitis is when your immune system triggers a response to different chemicals, preservatives, dyes, or fragrances in your laundry detergent.

This will cause the above symptoms on the skin and responses in your nose, lungs, and throat. 

Irritant Dermatitis

Irritant dermatitis is when your skin reacts to irritants that have continued exposure to your skin, leading to irritation, inflammation, and rashes.

This irritation can also be caused by the same chemicals, preservatives, dyes, or fragrances in your laundry detergent that can cause allergic reactions.

This reaction will also be contained to locations that are coming into contact with your clothing if it is coming from your laundry detergent.

Regardless of whether it is allergic or irritant dermatitis, you need to treat that rash!

Follow the steps below to get rid of an allergic reaction to laundry detergent.

What You Will Need:

Note: All skin types are different.

The above items are meant to be seven different options.

Depending on your age and skin type, a wet towel or bag of ice may do the trick.

However, others may need to be more aggressive and use a steroid cream or anti-itch lotion.

Step By Step Instructions For How To Get Rid Of An Allergic Reaction To Laundry Detergent

Step 1) Identify If It Is A Laundry Detergent Allergic Reaction

Often a rash that comes from laundry detergent allergies looks very similar to eczema or dry skin.

Consider the location of the rash.

Is it in locations where your clothing rubs that would likely be due to laundry detergent?

In addition to looking at the rashes location, consider if anything in your routine has changed recently.

Have you recently changed your detergent, have you recently changed your diet, are you using a new lotion or skin-care product?

These questions can help you determine if it is indeed an allergic reaction to your laundry detergent or something else.

Step 2) Use A Different Detergent

If you have identified the problem as a laundry detergent allergy, be sure to immediately stop using your current laundry detergent and get a different allergen-free detergent.

Be sure to wash your clothes again to remove the allergens in the previous detergent.

Step 3) Try An At Home Remedy

There are several different types of at-home remedies you can try, ranging from all-natural to pharmaceutical.

Cold Compress

Wet a clean cloth with cold water and hold it against your skin.

You can also use a bag of ice in the same manner.

The cool temperature will help to soothe the irritated skin and reduce any tenderness.

You can hold it against the affected area until the tenderness or itchiness is gone or reduced.

This will help to treat inflammation of the rash.

Oatmeal Bath

Take a bath using about one cup of colloidal oats and warm water for 30 minutes.

Then rinse off in a cool shower.

These oats can be found easily online or in the Pharmacy department of a drugstore.

I found these Traverse Bay Bath and Body Colloidal oatmeal (oat flour) on Amazon, and they get great reviews and work well.

The oats will help to reduce itching and soothe skin. 

Aloe Vera

Wash the affected area and then apply aloe vera.

You do not need to wash off the aloe vera.

By using aloe vera, you can also treat and soothe any irritation or pain from the rash. 

Coconut Oil

Like aloe vera, wash the affected area and then apply coconut oil, leaving it on the skin without rinsing it.

Beyond soothing the rash, coconut oil has antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, which will aid in your rash’s healing process.

There are many brands of coconut oil out there, but I narrowed it down to Fractionated Coconut Oil – 100% Pure & Natural Premium Therapeutic Grade, which gets excellent reviews on Amazon.

Anti-itch Lotion

You can purchase an anti-itch lotion from your local drug store or supermarket or find one anywhere online and apply it to your affected area after washing it.

We recommend Sarna Sensitive Anti-Itch Moisturizing Lotion for Dry Irritated Skin.

Sarna is the #1 dermatologist-recommended brand in the Topical Anti-Itch category and gets excellent reviews on Amazon.

This will help to soothe your skin and keep you from scratching the area.

Steroid Cream

Steroid cream is similar to the anti-itch lotion in that it will relieve your itching and reduce inflammation.

You can find many types of steroid cream with an easy search on Amazon.

We recommend Cortizone-10 Maximum Strength, which gets excellent reviews and is more gentle on the skin than some of the other leading brands. 


You can take antihistamines to stop your allergic reaction.

These can also be located in the pharmacy aisle in your local drug store or supermarket or with a simple Google or Amazon search.

GoodSense All Day Allergy, Cetirizine Hydrochloride Tablets, 10 mg, Antihistamine is a best seller and gets the most positive reviews on Amazon.

Be sure to check for whether or not you are taking a non-drowsy antihistamine before you take it. 

Step 4) Consult Your Doctor

If the problem persists after a month and you have changed your detergent and tried the above home remedies, you should consult a doctor to get their professional opinion on the cause and treatment of the allergic reaction. 

Commonly Asked Questions

How Can I Avoid Allergic Reactions To Laundry Detergent?

There are a number of ways you can avoid allergic reactions to your laundry detergent.

You can be sure to double rinse your clothing and use fragrance-free, dye-free liquid detergent, which will rinse off better.

You can also add white vinegar to your rinse cycle to try to further remove any chemicals.

By drying your clothes outside, you can get rid of any lingering irritants or allergens in your clothing.

Where Can I Find The Ingredients Laundry Detergent?

If you want to find out what ingredients are in your products to try to become a more informed consumer, use the website SkinSAFE, which is a database of products & ingredients.

This can help you select laundry detergents that are free of any allergens.

What Are Some Good Allergen-Free Detergents?

Different options for allergen-free detergents are The Laundress, The Honest Company, and All Free Clear.

There are many different paths you can take, so you may want to do a little research on eco-friendly options, what chemicals are in the detergents, if they are fragrance-free, etc.

If you’ve ever wondered about using something besides laundry detergent to wash your clothes, check out our article on substitutions for laundry detergent.

How Long Does A Detergent Rash Last?

Depending on it, you change out your laundry detergent for a detergent that is either allergy-free or for sensitive skin will determine how long your rash may last.

By changing the laundry detergent, you should be clear of your rash within 2-4 weeks or even faster, depending on if you use any of the above treatments.


I hope you enjoyed learning how to get rid of an allergic reaction to laundry detergent.

Rashes and other reactions to laundry detergent can be annoying to downright painful.

If you have the unfortunate experience of having an allergic reaction, follow the steps above to treat and avoid symptoms of laundry detergent allergies.