General Question

silky1's avatar

"Why do the ingredients in Tide laundry detergent make so many people itch and develop a rash?"?

Asked by silky1 (1505points) December 28th, 2011

I broke out so bad I had to see a doctor.

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

15 Answers

Soupy's avatar

Generally laundry detergents don’t give people rashes, however some people are overly sensitive to the cleaning chemicals in detergent. There is usually a warning on products like this telling people who develop rashes to stop using the product and see a doctor.

Some people have this issue with soaps and shampoos also. It’s not a big deal – just switch brands or buy a special “gentle” detergent.

whitetigress's avatar

Tide has super active agents in it. These agents can act as a corrosive towards the skin. The skin detects these agents and sends signals to the brain to release histamine within the region. And if the histamine doesn’t get your attention in time for you take notice of the affected area, I don’t know what else the bodies physical alarm system can do for you to save it’s self from corrosion in time.

augustlan's avatar

Some people are allergic (or sensitive) to certain detergents. I happen to be allergic to just about all of them, except Arm & Hammer, for some reason. Has any other detergent or soap ever caused you trouble?

judochop's avatar

My girlfriend will get hives the size of Texas if we use the wrong detergent. They last for days at a time and itch like poison ivy.
Personally I think they are hot. Hello hives! Woot woot!!!
Really though, joking aside…it sucks. Have you tried using an anti allergy detergent?

fizzbanger's avatar

The fragrance/ingredients.

I recommend Mrs. Meyers laundry soap if you’re looking for something non-irritating that smells great.

SmashTheState's avatar

I washed my hair with Tide a few times, and it did a remarkable job. I suffer from sebbhoreic dermatitis, and Tide cleared it right up. It also left my scalp red and tingly, but I was very impressed with the way it worked. I called the 1–800 number they have on the Tide boxes to tell them, and the lady who took the call yelled: “WE DO NOT RECOMMEND THE USE OF TIDE ANYWHERE ON YOUR BODY.” I tried to explain to her that I wasn’t suing them, I wasn’t even complaining, I just wanted to compliment them. She just kept yelling at me, “SIR, THE USE OF TIDE AS SHAMPOO IS NOT A RECOMMENDED USE.”

I figured at that point that I probably shouldn’t use it on my scalp again.

On a related note, I recently took a six day train ride, 3 days non-stop either way. Before my trip, I laundered all my clothes so I’d have enough to last me (I don’t own much in the way of clothing) just before leaving. I had bought a different brand of detergent than I normally do because it was on sale (half price), and discovered that I was allergic to something in it. I spent the next three days feeling like I was being bitten all over my body by ants and was covered in neck-to-toe rashes by the time I reached my destination, so I can empathize with you.

Tide never caused me any problems, even when rubbing it into my scalp as shampoo, but switching to Sunlight caused rashes and hives. My suspicion is it may be related to which products you’ve become accustomed to; as a child, my family always used Tide. I know that one of the treatments for allergies is massive exposure, so if you’ve always used one brand and switch, the chemicals in the new brand haven’t had the benefit of already having been in contact with you for most of your life.

john65pennington's avatar

Did you know that Tide use to use sawdust in their soap powders?

They still may do this and this may be your culprit for your itching.

JLeslie's avatar

I don’t think Tide is more likely than other detergents. I don’t seem to have much trouble with chemicals, my problem is certain plants and natural products. I also am reactive to some adhesives and latex. I once did the testing for contact dermitis (skin allergies) where they put something like 25 common chemicals on your back. I thought I was allergic to everything, but I was allergic to none of the chemicals not one. What I was allergic to was the adhesive or latex in the “bandaid” used to hold each chemical to my back. I outlines of mini squares in rows down my back, but the interior of the squares where the testing chemical was had no reaction.

elbanditoroso's avatar

My assumption that is people use far too much detergent – they don’t read the instructions and put a cup in where a half cup will do.

As a result, it doesn’t thoroughly rinse out of the fabric, and a sensitive skinned person will feel the chemical.

Follow the instructions and I’ll bet the irritation is reduced.

cazzie's avatar

Usually, it is the fragrances people build an allergy to. While the caustic stuff is formulated to rinse away, the fragrance, and other buffer material, is formulated to stick on to the material. Fabric softeners are horrible when it comes to causing allergies.

Remember, everything is made up of chemicals, natural or formulated. I have natural extracts in my lab I would never place directly on anyone’s skin. If anyone feels allergic to their washing powder, I always tell them, shift to an unscented one, any brand, and see if that helps. It usually does.

Latex allergies are very common. I am mildly allergic to it, due to years and years of using latex gloves (thinking I was protecting my skin from worse chemicals.. oh the irony). Nickel allergies are also well documented and all too common.

What we know, in the cosmetic formulations industry, is that there are well documented allergens and there are also what we call ‘sensitisers’. What sensitisers do is, when you are exposed to them, you become sensitive to things you never reacted to before, like a reaction to sunlight after applying something containing a citrus oil on your skin. It also makes you more sensitive to the next time you are exposed to them. The eugenol in clove oil is a big culprit in bath and body products for men. The fragrance that smells like rose, geraniol, is a culprit in many, many products. Some people will react, some people won’t. What I try to do, as a formulator, is take all the precautions and ensure the labels are truthful.

Tide must being using a fragrance that people have become sensitised to. That is my best guess. I was also freaked out a few times, buying products for my young son that were labelled, ‘unscented’ still contained a fragrance component in it because companies throwing that ‘unscented’ label around were still allowed to used a ‘masking fragrance’ and call it unscented.

If you are allergic to things, or suffer from skin problems, KNOW what you are putting on and around your skin. My best advice is be as informed as you can be. Know the rules and the rule breakers and read the ingredient lists.

figbash's avatar

I have the same problem with Tide, specifically.

Linda_Owl's avatar

I cannot use Tide detergent at all. I have tried it & it will break me out & make me itch.

JLeslie's avatar

By the way, Tide is the best selling laundry detergent in America.

greenmummy's avatar

I used to use Tide for my families laundry, almost exclusively, until a friend sent me a link to this article, I haven’t converted to the Norwex brand, but reading this made me start to look a little more closely at the ingredients in my laundry detergent. I had no idea that the ingredients in most laundry detergents are so unhealthy. I’m looking into purchasing something with less fillers, decreased harsh chemicals and no fragrance. Tide will not be used in our house anymore.

I am interested in a previous comment in this thread that says that there is sawdust in Tide… really??? I’d like to see some credible source to back up this claim. Is it used as one of the fillers or is this just a myth?

DeLaVega44's avatar

You need to avoid detergents all together, invest in a detergent free cleaning system that connects to your washing machine. Commercial versions have often been used by hospitals to protect their patients from detergent allergies, and are now available for residential use as well! The added benefit of a detergent free system is that they don’t use hot water which makes them energy-efficient, potentially saving money on electricity bills while protecting your skin. For more information on how you could permanently stop using all detergents go to:

Answer this question




to answer.

This question is in the General Section. Responses must be helpful and on-topic.

Your answer will be saved while you login or join.

Have a question? Ask Fluther!

What do you know more about?
Knowledge Networking @ Fluther