Allergies can turn an ordinary household task into a dreaded chore. When you battle skin or respiratory allergies, doing dishes may leave you with dry, cracked or bleeding hands, respiratory difficulties or a headache. Potential irritants in dish soap include harsh detergent, colors and fragrances. If you have multiple chemical sensitivities, even the gentlest products might cause a reaction. Look for low-allergen or hypoallergenic products to make washing dishes a regular chore, not one that leaves you sick.
Many mainstream manufacturers produce dye-free and fragrance-free versions of their regular products. These are effective dish soaps, typically using a standard formulation. If you react to either dyes or fragrances, these soaps may reduce any potential allergic reaction. Available in your local grocery or discount stores, these are accessible and affordable choices for individuals with allergies.
If you react to the detergents in dish soaps, a dye- and fragrance-free product may not be adequate to eliminate skin irritations. You may find that you tolerate plant-based cleaning products somewhat better, such as those sold by environmentally friendly companies. While these often use gentler ingredients, they may include essential oil fragrances and pose their own potential challenges.
If you battle multiple chemical sensitivities, typical detergents, even those made by eco-friendly companies, may not be adequate to protect you from uncomfortable reactions. You can choose a soap-based product made with natural oils, such as coconut or olive oil, to reduce the potential risk for a reaction. These may be less effective than detergent-based soaps and require more elbow grease, but they offer a practical cleaning option for individuals with multiple and severe chemical sensitivities.
A Simple Solution
If your allergies are skin-based, you may be able to reduce skin irritation and discomfort by wearing gloves when washing dishes. Experiment with different dish-washing gloves to find the ones that are most comfortable and least irritating for your skin. If you prefer to wash dishes without gloves, always follow dish washing with a rich, hypoallergenic lotion even if you're using a hypoallergenic dish soap.