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Guide to Choosing the Best Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

This blog tackles the important topic of how to choose the best laundry detergent for sensitive skin. The experts at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials explain what ingredients are likely to cause skin irritation and how to pick an effective laundry detergent made without harsh chemicals.

Selecting the Right Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin: A Comprehensive Guide

For anyone with sensitive skin, the simple task of laundry can become a daunting experience. Choosing the wrong laundry detergent can trigger an allergic reaction -- including itching, rashes, and extreme discomfort -- in anyone prone to irritation or with an underlying skin condition. Here at Heritage Park Laundry Essentials, we are always working to make your laundry life easier; that’s why we’re offering insight into how to choose a detergent that’s safe and gentle on even the most sensitive skin. We’ll take a look at common ingredients that are known to irritate and offer helpful tips for choosing a gentle detergent and best laundry practices for protecting sensitive skin.

Identifying the Culprits: Common Laundry Detergent Irritants

Before we delve into the solutions, let’s take a moment to identify ingredients most likely to trigger skin irritation from detergent:

  • Fragrances: Many detergents contain artificial fragrances, which can trigger allergic reactions and skin irritation, especially in individuals with sensitive skin or eczema.
  • Dyes: Colored detergents often contain dyes that can cause a skin reaction. Opting for dye-free or clear detergents can be a safer choice for sensitive skin.
  • Optical Brighteners: These chemicals are used to make clothes appear brighter. However, they can cause skin irritation in some individuals.
  • Preservatives: Detergents contain preservatives to prevent bacterial growth. Some preservatives, such as methylisothiazolinone, can cause allergic reactions.
  • Sulfates: Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and sodium laureth sulfate (SLES) are surfactants commonly found in detergents. While they create lather and help with cleaning, they can be harsh on sensitive skin and strip it of natural oils.

Bottom line: If you have sensitive skin, you will want to carefully read ingredient labels.

How to Choose a Laundry Detergent for Sensitive Skin

The good news is that there is a growing market for laundry detergent catering to individuals with sensitive skin, including our wonderful products at Heritage Park. Of course, we’d love you to be a loyal member of the Heritage Park family, but -- even more importantly-we want you to be educated about what’s in any brand of detergent you use. 

Here are some important criteria to look for when selecting the right detergent to keep your skin irritation-free.

Hypoallergenic Formulation

Look for detergents labeled as hypoallergenic and independently lab certified. These products are formulated to minimize the risk of allergic reactions. They omit common allergens, fragrances, and dyes that can irritate sensitive skin.

Heritage Park Laundry Essentials offers fragrance-free, hypoallergenic detergents in both our All-Purpose Detergent and Silk and Wool Detergent formulas. These are independently lab-certified as hypoallergenic and dermatologist tested. Learn more about hypoallergenic detergent here.

pH Neutral Balance

Opt for detergents with a pH-neutral balance. These detergents are naturally gentle on skin and prevent the types of pH-disruption that can lead to irritation and discomfort.

All Heritage Park detergents are pH-neutral. You can read more about why pH-neutral detergent is the best choice here.

Opt for detergents with a pH-neutral balance

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Steer clear of detergents containing harsh chemicals such as sulfates and phosphates. These chemicals can strip the skin of its natural oils, leaving it dry and susceptible to irritation. A gentle detergent should clean effectively without resorting to aggressive chemical agents. Also, dye serves no cleaning purpose and as such is totally unnecessary; use a clear laundry detergent.

Heritage Park detergents contain no dyes, phosphates, sulfates, chlorine, bleach, or optical brighteners.

Short List of Ingredients

Look for detergents with a concise list of ingredients. Complex formulations with numerous additives can increase the likelihood of skin reactions. Simple, straightforward ingredient lists are often indicative of a cleaner and safer product for sensitive skin.

Heritage Park Laundry Essential detergents are made with water and a short list of either nine or ten additional ingredients. Check out our ingredient lists here.

Use detergents made from natural ingredients

Natural Ingredients

Consider detergents made from natural ingredients. Plant-based and biodegradable ingredients are not only eco-friendly but also tend to be gentler on the skin. Natural detergents often lack the synthetic compounds that can trigger skin allergies.

The Cleaning Power of Detergent Enzymes

Heritage Park detergents are made with natural, plant-based ingredients including -- in the case of our All-Purpose detergents -- a proprietary blend of laundry enzymes made to tackle tough stains while protecting fabric and skin. Learn how our enzyme blend works here, and check out our stain removal guide here.

Transparency about Ingredient Sources

Choose a detergent from a company that is transparent about where their ingredients come from. Manufacturers that source their materials responsibly are more likely to deliver high-quality, uncontaminated products. Transparency in sourcing indicates a commitment to the customer’s well-being.

    At Heritage Park, we are entirely transparent about our ingredients and operate under rigorous stewardship guidelines. Our products are Leaping Bunny approved as never being tested on animals.

      Quality Control and Responsiveness

      Select a detergent from a brand that adheres to stringent manufacturing standards and specific criteria to ensure the highest level of quality. Along with that, look for a company that has responsive customer service to stand behind their products.

        All Heritage Park Laundry Essentials detergent is made in small batches in the United States in a facility that is Sedex certified, which reflects our commitment to responsible sourcing, supply chain transparency, and sustainable and responsible business practices. We are also a family-run business with headquarters, warehouse, and customer service department located in Branford, CT.

        By prioritizing these characteristics over brand loyalty, you can make an informed decision when choosing a detergent for sensitive skin. Remember, a product designed with sensitive skin in mind -- like Heritage Park fragrance free hypoallergenic laundry detergent -- is far more likely to provide a gentle laundry experience free from irritation.

        Tips for Preventing Skin Irritation During Laundry

        Choosing the right detergent is the first step, but there are a few other things you can do to ensure your laundry routine is kind to your sensitive skin:

        1. Use a Liquid Detergent. A liquid laundry detergent will dissolve more easily than laundry powder and better enable you to adjust the amount necessary. In most cases, you can use slightly less detergent than recommended (for example, try washing a large load with the amount recommended for a medium load).
        2. Double Rinse to Remove Soap: Residual detergent in your clothes can cause irritation. To prevent this, consider using the extra rinse cycle on your washing machine to thoroughly wash out any remaining laundry soap. This is especially important when washing in cold water in a high efficiency front-load machine, which uses less water.
        3. Avoid Fabric Softener: Fabric softener might make your clothes feel soft, but it is truly the worst! They contain fragrances and chemicals that can irritate sensitive skin; create build-up on towels that diminishes their softness and absorbency; and make baby clothes and sleepwear less fire resistant.
        4. Skip the Dryer Sheets: Like fabric softeners, dryer sheets contain chemicals and fragrances that can trigger skin reactions. To naturally soften your clothes and reduce static, use wool dryer balls. They help circulate air in the dryer, reducing drying time and softening fabrics without any added chemicals.
        5. Test Before Washing: If you’re trying a new detergent, especially a scented one labeled ‘for sensitive skin,’ test it on a small, inconspicuous area of your clothing before washing your entire load. This way, you can ensure it doesn’t cause any adverse reactions.

        If you have sensitive skin, you need not compromise on cleanliness or resign yourself to a life of discomfort. By choosing the right laundry detergent, being mindful of additional irritants, and following a few simple tips, you can say goodbye to itching and rashes and enjoy soft, clean clothing that feels great on your skin. As always, the Heritage Park Clean Team is here to answer any questions and offer advice on laundering and stain removal!

        Heritage Park Laundry Essentials

        At Heritage Park, caring for fine fabric is our passion. As lifelong collectors of luxury sheets, towels, and cloths, we found many commercially available "gentle detergents" either damaged our fabrics or didn't get the job done, leaving stains. We knew we could do better. So we developed a formula with the perfect balance of powerful -- yet safe -- ingredients designed to remove tough, set-in stains while remaining gentle on luxury linens. Please connect with us at (800) 977-1841 or visit our store or email us with any product feedback or cleaning questions.

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