Is Laundry Detergent Bad for Your Hands

Is Laundry Detergent Bad for Your Hands

It is given that there is no laundry done without laundry detergent or its alternative. If you are planning to do laundry, you either have the detergent and if not, you will have figured out an alternative. Most of these laundry detergents are made using certain chemicals and strong abrasives that are only fit for use in the washer.

If you decide to wash your clothes manually, will the laundry detergent be bad for your hands? Certainly, yes. Laundry detergent may not be very friendly to your hands or skin in general, especially if you have sensitive skin. If you are going to hand-wash your clothes, you should look for mild detergent, which you can safely use without your hands being affected.

This article explains the effects of laundry detergent on the skin, hand washing clothes, and other related questions. Keep reading to learn more.

What Are the Effects of Laundry Detergents on the Hand/Skin?

Detergents are meant to remove any dirt from clothes so that after washing, the clothes become clean and fresh. However, most laundry detergents may contain certain chemicals that are not friendly when in contact with the skin, like in the case of hand washing.

One of the chemicals found in most of these detergents is 1,4-dioxine which among other effects is also known to cause skin irritation.

Additionally, most of these detergents contain optical brighteners and other blue light-emitting additives meant to make whites appear whiter. All these are chemicals, which can cause irritation on the hands.

Usually, overexposure to laundry detergents will strip off the natural oils on your hands, leaving them rough and dry. You will then experience some painful bundles on your hands, which may feel like overused pincushions.

However, you can still find eco-friendly or green detergents like this, which are safe on your skin and overall health. That means not all detergents will be bad for your hands; if you can find an eco-friendly one with mild ingredients, you are safe to go.

Tips to Protect the Skin When Hand Washing

You may be wondering, why you should wash by hand in the first place. Well, people can find themselves in various situations that force them to hand wash. In the absence of a washer, or in a case where the washer has broken down, you may not have other choices other than washing manually.

Additionally, you may prefer to wash your delicates such as panties, bras, ties, hand knit items, laced clothing, and beaded items by hand. These items have to be washed with care, preferably by hand. However, you can still wash them in the machine on a gentle cycle and using lukewarm water.

Still, if you wish to do it by hand, practice the following precautionary measures:

  • It is recommended that you get mild detergent, which will be tough on the stains but gentle on your hands.
  • You should not over-expose your hands to laundry detergents because sometimes the damage on the skin can even be irreversible.
  • Avoid using too hot water as it can remove the natural oils on your skin.
  • If you have any rings on, remove them to mitigate the possibility of irritants getting trapped underneath.
  • Do not scrub your hands dry; rather practice blotting them.
  • If you can work in gloves, you can avoid direct exposure to the detergent by wearing them.
  • To retain moisture on the skin, you can apply some moisturizer before washing and after washing the clothes by hand.

So, How Do You Hand Wash Clothes?

We have seen the effects of laundry detergents on the hands. We have also seen how to counter these effects by using mild detergents and taking other precautionary measures. Now, let’s look at how to wash clothes by hand.

  • You already know that you must sort your laundry. You cannot mix whites together with the coloreds. Still on sorting, go further to read the care labels to know the fabrics you are dealing with. Most items can use the standard detergent, but delicate fabrics would do best with a more gentle detergent like fine fabric detergent.
  • If there are stains, treat them gently by working the detergent or stain remover on the stain and letting it blot out.
  • Fill your sink or bucket with warm water, add your detergent and let it dissolve. For silk and wool, use cold water. Once the detergent has dissolved, immerse the clothes in the water.
  • Swish the clothes without wringing them until they are clean.
  • Proceed to remove excess water without wringing. Transfer them in the rinse sink for rinsing. You can remove the excess water using a towel and then lay them out to dry.

Can You Bypass Hand-Washing Clothes?

Clothes with the hand wash label can also be washed in the machine using the same procedure used for delicate garments. 

First, you will use cold water on the delicate cycle. With cold water, the clothes will be less prone to shrinkage or loss of color. With the delicate cycle, you will have less agitation. In the absence of delicate cycle on your washer’s setting, you can still use cold water on the short wash cycle.

For extra protection, throw the delicate garments in a mesh bag before tossing them in the washer. This will eliminate the chances of being snagged in other clothing and being damaged.

Use a detergent specifically designed for delicate clothing, which will be gentle on the clothes.

Lastly, let them dry out in the air rather than using the dryer. Heat from the dryer can damage the fabric for delicate garments.

Related Questions

What detergent should you use to hand wash clothes?

First, you are hand-washing clothes because they are delicate and better off washed by hand rather than the washer. Thus, you must use mild detergent, which should be gentle not only on your skin but also on the clothes.

How do you dry hand washed clothes?

After hand washing clothes, absorb the excess water using a towel, and the let them air dry on a rack or hanging line.