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How Can I Neutralize Detergent or Chemical Fragrances?

Discussion in 'General ME/CFS News' started by Sing, Jan 20, 2011.

  1. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    I have to use a laundromat again, where I just moved, and in addition to the stench in the air which makes me nauseated, tired and brain-fogged, the smell gets on my clothes even though I use Fragrance Free products. There must be a residue in the machines. These chemicals are so persistant and offensive, I feel, I am really upset. So I washed out several things by hand when I got home, over and over, and still there is this smell in the bathroom where they are drip drying. I loathe that smell. I am going to write to the manufacturers and write a letter to the newspaper. I think I will also see if I can find someone in this new town, where I have no real friends yet, where I might wash my clothes instead.

    Does anyone know of an antidote? I have tried both white vinegar and baking soda, separately and together, and they don't seem to help. Just endless washing, drying and time gradually reduces the stench, but I cannot re-wash all my clothes by hand!

    Thanks--HELP!

    Sing
     
  2. glenp

    glenp "and this too shall pass"

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    If baking soda and vinegar don''t help, that is pretty bad. I also alternate so that there isn't as much build up. Borax was ok for me until there was a build up. I also use VIP and Soap Nuts. Watch the fumes that come out of your drains as the machine is emptying - I plug my drains

    glen
     
  3. 3CFIDS@ourhouse

    3CFIDS@ourhouse still me

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    Sing, I am so sorry! I know how the fragrance, even a bit, can make you sick. I have had a couple of different fixes for those laundry fragrance disasters. Try soaking the items in water with vitamin C powder. (If you don't have powder, you can open a C cap or two.). I see you're in New England, so this next one probably isn't a good option mid-winter. After the C soak, I put the garment out in the sun- amazing what sunlight will do. Often the smell goes away in the sun. I hope something works for you! These new fabric softeners are meant to permeate and stick- and they're made of a mix of chemicals. Why does everything have to be scented now?
     
  4. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    Hi glen,

    What are VIP and Soap Nuts? I am limited in what I can do and the time I want to spend in a laundromat room. Another person suggested I pay for an extra wash at the beginning and run an empty cycle with my detergent and maybe a little bleach.

    3CFIDS, I think you may be on to something with Vit C powder. It is so strong. I actually can't use Vit C supplements because they make me nauseated, but I can afford to buy some powder for this purpose. It is a really strong acid. I remember my mother used to treat grass stains, and some other kinds of stains with lemon juice and then put the items out in the sun too.

    Thanks for your help and ideas!

    Sing
     
  5. 3CFIDS@ourhouse

    3CFIDS@ourhouse still me

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    Sing, are you able to tolerate bleach? That is one of the absolute worst things for me- in fact, in one place we lived with city water (which was loaded with chlorine and chloramines), I use to have to use Vit C powder in the washing machine or the clothes came out smelling like chlorine. Even the slightest bit of chlorine is really toxic for me. It may not affect you that way, but if you're chemically sensitive, I would hate for you to have an added problem with bleach!
     
  6. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    No, I don't tolerate bleach--sickening stuff. That is, as a rule. However, when I lived where mildew and mold would climb up the shower stall and I could only scrape part of it away, even with a metal scrubber and Bon Ami, once a year I would hyperventilate then hold my breath, slosh undiluted bleach on those walls and escape for the rest of the day. I would plan things so I could rush out like that. On re-entry, I'd hyperventilate, hold my breath and go rinse, but a good deal of the bleach was gone by then. This completely got rid of the mold and mildew for many months.
     
  7. glenp

    glenp "and this too shall pass"

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  8. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    Oh, I'm sorry I just bought a big jug of Arm and Hammer Unscented laundry detergent. I am intrigued by the soap nuts and want to try them. I like the idea that they are less harsh than the A and H, which is harsh on skin and clothes even though it is unscented. I use less than they say to, but even so...Commercial washers seem to skimp on water so you really get hit by the detergent. I am going to order the trial bag of soap nuts and see how they do!

    Thanks, glen!
     
  9. valentinelynx

    valentinelynx Senior Member

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    I can relate. Hate the horrid "fragrances" put in laundry products. One of my current pet peeves is that I can't enjoy the fresh air in our pleasant neighborhood on the edge of the natural desert, even in our own backyard... because of the venting of people's dryers to the outside air, full of "fabric softener" & scented detergent reek. Some people have become aware of the polluting harm from fireplaces in cities, yet seem to be oblivious that sharing toxic fragrances from the laundry is evil as well. And, even grocery stores are becoming harder to tolerate as "scented" candles and "air fresheners" sold in them become more potent and the products proliferate. Just walking into Bed, Bath & Beyond makes my sinuses swell and my head start to throb. How can people stand to surround themselves with these penetrating, nauseating stinky things?

    As for public laundromats: Yes, the products people use linger. It takes many many rinses to remove them, and I don't know if you can get the stuff out of the dryers at all. Things used to remove natural odors won't work, because these fragrances are not natural and are extremely potent. If someone figures out a way to remove synthetic odors let us know. We're trying to salvage a medicine cabinet in our new rental house. It had cologne spilled in at some point by the owner, and bleaching and scrubbing and airing haven't helped much. Will probably have to replace it.
     
  10. Sing

    Sing Senior Member

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    Hi Valentinelynx!

    I am with you on this subject--exactly! I have noticed that the smells coming from dryer vents last about half a block. I think a public awareness campaign is in order as well as letters to the detergent and other manufacturers. Also the FDA. I have read that fragrances are exempt from testing for toxicity. The only thing good about this is that they would then not be torturing animals with extreme doses of these products to see when their eyes are seared or they sicken and die. That is what used to happen at least--tell me if it has changed. I know there was some effort to switch or add forms of testing to include methods without animals.

    These smells really are equivalent to second hand tobacco smoke, I'd say, and ought to be eliminated/regulated too.

    Sing
     
  11. jenbooks

    jenbooks Guest

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    You can't use that laundromat. It will poison all your clothes. The fabric softeners in detergents, and the ones that people use on their own, contain chemicals that essentially stick to the clothes, like waterproofing. They are almost impossible to get out. Keep hand washing, or boil your clothes a few times until they are tolerable and then don't use the laundromat anymore.

    You can buy a wonder washer, a motorized bucket, on amazon, and that will wash your clothes. Be sure to use only a tiny teeny amount of detergent. Then get a countertop spin dryer from amazon as well. That will spin out 90% of the water. Dry your clothes on a typical drying rack for $20. They will dry in a few hours.

    There's no use in protesting, writing letters, or trying to use the laundromat. You won't change people's preferences and those machines are already permanently contaminated.
     
  12. Min

    Min Guest

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    I was going to suggest a counter top washing machine and spin dryer too jenbooks, although the spin dryer may be too small for sheets and a floor standing one may be better.

    http://www.washing-machine-reviewer.com/countertop-washing-machine.html#top


    A portable washing machine is another option:
    http://www.washing-machine-reviewer.com/portable-washing-machine.html


    If you have a bathtub you could soak larger items in whatever you use to clean them overnight, rinse in the them tub and hang over it to drip.



    Maybe there's space for a little tumble dryer to be vented out of a window? otherwise there's things like this:

    http://www.jmldirect.com/Dri-Buddi-PD2001/
     

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