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Is the fabric softener in your clothes irritating your skin?

December 29, 2018 jemma 4 min read No Comments
fabric softener irritating skin

Is the fabric softener in your clothes irritating your skin?

December 29, 2018 Jemma 4 min read No Comments

These days lots of people suffer from sensitive skin which can often be irritated by both internal and external factors. If your skin is dry, irritated and possibly eczema prone, something that comes into close contact with your skin daily could be making it worse…! Have you considered that your fabric softener could be irritating your skin?

Why would fabric softener irritate my skin?

The majority of people with sensitive skin should avoid products that contain perfume as it’s widely documented that perfume aggravates eczema and other skin conditions. We are all aware that fabric softeners are added to your washing machine cycles to make your clothes clean, soft and fresh but to what negative effect? The majority are packed full of perfume and chemicals such as benzisothiazolinone (used as a preservative proven to cause skin irritation) so is it worth adding these to our machines when there are some great alternatives? When my eldest was a baby he had eczema and I could tell when he’d been having cuddles with friends and family as his face would react and go red and irritated from the fragranced products on their clothes! Heartbreaking!

What should I use instead?

For years now I have avoided perfumed products and when we had to buy a new washing machine I decided it was the perfect opportunity to make sure that nothing perfumed went through my machine. I searched for detergent products for sensitive skin and found Surcare. Surcare is a range of cleaning products that are aimed at those with sensitive skin including washing up liquid, washing capsules and fabric softener. Okay! So they don’t smell of anything but I know I’d rather that, than have itchy, irritated skin! (It does leave your clothes soft and feeling fresh – that’s enough in my eyes!).

Surcare products

Most of the Surcare product ranges is…

  • Dermatologically tested and approved
  • Suitable for sensitive skin
  • British Allergy Foundation – Allergy UK Seal of Approval

They promise…

…Not to put anything unnecessary into our products that may irritate your skin.

No enzymes, no dyes, no acids. None of the other stuff that other brands seem to think is okay. Not even fragrances. Even if they’re the nicest smelling scents in the world. Because we know that anything we put in that’s not absolutely necessary to get your laundry or dishes clean risks irritating your skin. So, as the champions of sensitive skin, we promise: nothing unnecessary and outstandingly clean laundry and dishes each and every time you wash!

That’s pretty good going if you ask me.

fabric softener irritating skin

What do I get for my money?

The large bottle of liquid washing detergent is around £5 but whilst it can be a little more costly than some others, you can get up to 28 washes from one bottle! For me and my family, it’s so worth it!

They are supported by The British Allergy Foundation and Talk Eczema.


As well as being great for those like me with allergic skin, it’s a great product for babies and children with sensitive skin however to really make good use of it and to see the benefits from removing fragrances from the products you use on your clothes, you may have to go through the process of ridding your machine of the old products.

I’ve not been asked or paid to write this about Surcare, I genuinely use this range and love their products and how they don’t irritate either mine or my kid’s sensitive skin.

There are others on the market. I found this range also which I’ve not personally tried but having looked on there ingredients list, looks like a good one to try too. Attitude Fabric softener baby

fabric softener irritating skin

Rid your machine of the fragrance and chemicals…

If you have been using fragranced fabric softeners and detergents in your machine, you may need to do a couple of hot washes with nothing in to flush it through and to rid the machine of any residual product. (You may also need to remove the drawer to clean it thoroughly.)

You may find that your clothes will continue to smell of the previous fabric softener for a while after (even after washing in Surcare) as it takes a while for the chemicals etc to come out of your clothes.

You may find not spraying or using perfume for a while may help your skin calm down too. Unfortunately I can no longer wear perfume as it causes my skin to flare up so badly! 🙁


How to protect yourself against the Corona Virus when you have eczema

My baby/child has Eczema, What can I do to help?

Top Tip

In the meantime, (whilst you go through the process of eliminating fragrance from your machine) if you find that your skin is irritated by a fragranced washing liquid or fabric softener, hand wash a new pillowcase in a bowl with Surcare detergent and use that on your pillow. My face is a lot more sensitive so I’ve found this helps (Also a great tip and useful when staying away from home).

If you are suffering from irritated skin,  but aren’t sure what’s causing it, perhaps a new fabric softener is causing the flare? Perhaps you are allergic to the chemicals and artificial fragrances in the products that you are using that come in to direct contact with your skin!

Making a simple switch and following my tips above, may just make life that bit better for you!

Here’s to less irritated skin!


If you have taken the time to read this, thank you!! Please click the ‘LIKE’ button below and feel free to share with anyone you think may benefit 🙂




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About Me

About Me

Nonscents at No.10

Hi I'm Jemma. Allergy Mummy to 3 boys. Eczema, TSW and RSS sufferer. A 'conscious' shopaholic who is mindful of fast fashion. Lover of 'rewearing' my wardrobe, oat milk lattes and Peanut butter. Loathes losing things, cold tea and being itchy! xXx

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