Itching “from washing machine”: why does it come?

If the “torment” is intense and lasts for several days, it is good to consult a doctor.

If the “torment” is intense and lasts for several days, it is good to consult a doctor. But knowing that sometimes the cause is easy to pinpoint.

You don’t have dry skin. You do not suffer from allergies, neither food nor skin. You are not anxious or stressed. Do not sweat significantly and, in any case, no more than usual. You are not taking any special medications. You have no reason to think that you are affected by a mycosis or some other form of colonization of the epidermis.

The skin is perfectly intact and there are no suspicious signs. Nevertheless. Yet, for a few weeks now, you have been tormented by a widespread itch, not unbearable, but definitely annoying.

Try not to give in to the temptation to rub, but from time to time capitulate and instant relief is followed by inflammation, redness and hypersensitization. And further itching. What can it depend on?

Type of detergent and washing mode

Since a generalized, persistent and cause-free itching can sometimes be the expression of a non-dermatological disease to be addressed specifically, on the occasion of manifestations of this type it is always good to consult the doctor and carry out some targeted investigation.

Excluding any possible organic cause (which happens in most cases), the search for the trigger must move on the analysis of the environment and lifestyle habits.

A trivial and very frequent reason for apparently unjustified itching comes from the laundry and can depend both on the type of detergent used, and on an inadequate rinsing.

The first thing to check, therefore, is whether those involved in washing clothing and household linen (towels, sheets, etc.) have recently changed the brand of detergent used or the washing procedure, or if they have started adding bleach or other bleaching compounds to get better results on clear fibers or have tried new fabric softeners.

If so, the itching could derive very simply from a specific individual intolerance, perhaps not particularly marked, to one or more components of the new product.

Conversely, if you are certain that no change has occurred at this level, you must check the accuracy of the rinsing. Although developed and tested to be as safe as possible, laundry detergents, like all products that must guarantee a good cleansing action, are irritating to the skin because they alter the protective superficial hydrolipidic microfilm and can induce inflammatory or pseudo-allergic reactions.

Their persistence, even in traces, between the fibers of clothing or other tissues that come into direct contact with the epidermis and / or that remain there for several hours (such as sheets) is, therefore, a frequent cause of sensitization, redness and itching.

The checks to be carried out and the solutions

To understand if the problem may depend on this reason, just check carefully if whitish and / or vaguely “dusty” halos are present on freshly washed and dried fabrics (even if a liquid detergent is used), perhaps just mentioned, examining well between the folds and at the level of the seams.

Whether or not there are signs of this type, it is also good to check the drum of the washing machine immediately after the washing cycle: if there is still some bubbles or foam thickening here and there, probably, the rinsing was not satisfactory and it is better to repeat it.

How is it possible that at any moment the usual rinsing is no longer enough?

The inconvenience may depend on a problem with the washing machine (for example, the partially clogged drain or an inefficient water exchange due to worn devices) or, more simply, on minimal changes in habits that you do not even notice, such as the use of quantities of detergent a little greater than usual or the insertion of excessive amounts of laundry in the basket that does not allow adequate penetration of water between the fibers and a complete removal of the detergent.

Once the cause has been ascertained, the remedy against this form of itching is implicit: prevent contact with the sensitizing substance (detergent residues) by improving washing and rinsing.

Joycelyn Elders is the author and creator of EmpowerEssence, a health and wellness blog. Elders is a respected public health advocate and pediatrician dedicated to promoting general health and well-being.

The blog covers a wide range of topics related to health and wellness, with articles organized into several categories.

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