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This is a great posting, which covers all the basics. Thanks so much for being so thorough. I have a close friend who has problems with chemicals in clothing and especially detergents, and I plan to share with her. I did a load of laundry for her once, not realizing her sensitivities, and she broke out in an awful rash all over her body. I would suspect that, as time goes on this will become more and more common, as the amount of toxins in what we eat, drink, wear and encounter on our daily walks in the air will continue to increase. The body can only handle so much, after all. For me personally, the big switch away from scented (read: chemical) detergent came about a year ago. I had bought some version of a leading detergent that was supposed to smell like mountain air. It was fine going into the wash, but later, I went for a job, and my t-shirt really began to stink. I thought it was me, and wondered what was going on with my internal organs. Then I decided the laundry had soured somehow. I re-washed, and that’s when I began to realize the detergent itself was somehow causing this awful odor. Frustrated me so much, I gave up on detergent fragrances all together.


Thanks for your comments. Your observations are totally correct. A gradual buildup of toxins in the body can lead to chemical sensitivities. It's all a question of degree and restoring balance to the physiology is difficult. Wishing you and your friend all the best.

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I had a similar problem myself, except it wasn't with laundry detergent it was with deodorants and anti-persperants. I used to use a wide variety of deodorants growing up. I never had one particular brand, I'd just buy whatever was on sale. They all seemed to work about the same. However, one day during my sophmore year of college I just started getting horrible, painful rashes under both of my arms. The skin became swolled, cracked, raw and inflamed, and the lymph nodes under my arm were heavily swollen. I switched to a different kind of deodorant and the problem got better for a few days, without ever going away completely, but then got even worse several days later.

I eventually had to go to the dermatologist and she told me that for whatever reason my body had developed an allergic reaction to commercial deodorants (the majority of them have alluminum in them which is what causes the problem). She recommended I switch to an all natural deodorant, and that the only commercially available one that she trusted was Mitchum. So I switched to Mitchum and my problem cleared right up. I've been using it for the last 3 or 4 years and haven't had one relapse. Plus it smells great and to be honest, I think it works better than the other brands (Arm & Hammer, Old Spice, Right Guard, Degree etc.) anyway. You guys should give it a shot.

But back to the article, since I too have sensitive skin I did find it useful, and will pass it along ot my sister who has a tendency to break out rather easily as well. Great post, thanks for sharing!


My bedroom closet was contaminated by the odor of what I believe is formaldehyde. The odor came from pressed-wood shelves I purchased from Home Depot. After I realized where the odor was coming from, I removed the shelves and placed them outside. I have the following questions:
* What can be done to remove the terrible smell from my clothes? I've tried everything from vinegar to odor-control products from Home Depot. I have ordered a product called Nokout which supposedly eliminates formaldehyde odors, but have not yet received it in the mail.
* Are there any products which can be applied to walls to remove or at least minimize formaldehyde odors from pre-existing paint? The formaldehyde from the shelves has permeated the walls. I plan to re-paint my closet but want to eliminate the terrible smell beforehand.
* I tried painting the contaminated shelves with oil based KILZ paint, but surprisingly, this had absolutely no effect on the odor. The people at Nokout recommend I soak the walls in my closet with their product, then use KILZ to paint all the walls. Is this a good idea?
This situation has been nothing short of a nightmare. I can barely walk through my bedroom area without getting physically ill from the odor. I also get sick to my stomach just from wearing my clothes all day. Finally, I'm concerned about the health hazards posed to me and my young children. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Shirley Remmers

Heres some helpful solutions for removing harmful chemicals when buying new bedding~pillows~baby and kids clothing that have flame retardent chemicals(which is in almost all kids clothing these days)
By adding 1/2 cup of borax and 1/2 cup vinegar to the laundry when washing can remove hazardous chemicals. It may take a few washings but it is well worth the effort.

JenJoy Henry

I just wanted to quickly share my little secret. Room Shocker is the best product I have used to handle nasty odors. It’s an odor eliminator so it doesn’t cover the smell with perfumes; it actually kills the smell at its source. It’s super easy to use and environmentally friendly, so no harsh chemicals. Check it out at

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What a great article! You have done a great job at your work. Your work is really appreciated.

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