Charlie's soap, rash, stress...??? thoughts please!

SheeshareeIIApril 21, 2008

I posted this over in the home decorating forum but someone suggested i try here also.... thoughts please? Thanks in advance!

This is somewhat off topic but awhile back i posted a thread about natural detergents. I ended up buying Charlie's Soap (powder). I've probably washed 10 loads now with it. My clothes feel soft. I was loving it.

Yesterday morning i was making the bed and my arm had an itch. (at this point i had nothing to eat or drink yet) Of course i scratched it and noticed i had two little white bump and the area around it turned red from scratching. I assumed i was bit by something and carried on my business. It went away. Couple of hours later on the other arm i got a couple bumps, it was itchy, i scratched, it went away.

We had company for the first time at our new house yesterday. I'll say that i've never entertained guests at a house or cooked for them. So this was an interesting experience for the DH and myself. I was calling my Mom asking what time i should start making this and what time i should put this in the oven etc. etc.

Company came, we all ate, visited, and they left. Later on in the afternoon DH and I were watching a movie and both my arms (this is the inside by the way..and i had t shirts on in the morning and all day. so my arms weren't really touching anything.) got all itchy and bumpy. An hour or so later it went away. This went on the rest of the evening. Before i went to bed it was my knee. I didn't have any problems sleeping but as soon as my feet hit the floor this morning i was scratching my left arm, my stomach. And i'm currently sitting here itchy right now.

DH acts like i'm making a big deal out of nothing. He told me it was a heat rash. My Dad thinks it's the detergent and my Mom was saying it was possibly 'stress' from having company. I didn't really feel stressed. A little uptight but i wouldn't call it stressed there's been much bigger issues in the past. I will say i found out the other day my Dad has to have basil cell skin cancer cut off his face in two different spots....

I don't have any allergies. Don't take any medications. I was a real big coke drinker. 3-4 sodas a day. I haven't had any since last tues. So my sugar intake has been significantly decreased. Can't imagine that would impact this either. Not real into going to the doctors. I'll wait it out first. Don't like being a guinea pig for the fda. I really don't want to think it's the detergent. It's natural for cryin out loud! I was using perfumey downy before!!!

Thoughts anyone

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That is frustrating. I must tell you that I don't think it is the Charlie's because it is about as natural a detergent as you are going to find.

I don't know where you live but Spring has come and all sorts of things get in the air and around you. There could be a pollen alergy or something else. You could try getting a small tube of hydrocortisone cream and using that on your arm, knee and stomach and see if that helps.

The thing is that we just don't know how our body is going to react to stress, change of seasons and more. If you can try the cream or another rememdy before heading to the doctor then I would.

If you would feel better I know that you can contact Charlie's Soap via email or phone and they will be gracious to answer your questions about any possible allergen in their detergent.

Do let us know what is working for you.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:41AM
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Doubt that it's the soap, most allergic reactions to laundry products are a type of contact dermititus, they don't appear then disappear only to pop up somewhere else. Sounds like hives caused by an emotional response. You may not feel nervous but it still occurs. My wive has had this happen, huge itchy welts that show up out of the blue when she is stressed. They go away once the stressor is gone. Some harmless viral infections can also cause hives to show up, once your body gets over the virus the hives will go away as well.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 1:37PM
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thanks for the thoughts. I was fine for the past couple of hours then bam my arms are itchy again. if i don't scratch at the stop it doesn't get the tiny welts. These are smaller than peas. The biggest ones might be half the size of a pea. It's so annoying. Hopefully it goes away quick. I've never had anything like this go on. I have some aveeno hydrocorisone cream that i put on..does seem to help a little but i'm going to need to buy more. this is just crazy.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 1:52PM
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If you can take antihistamines try taking a dose of Benedryl. If it is an allergy it should help clear it up. If it was the detergent it would probobly not come and go, although I have had that happen occasionally (I have very bad allergies, I used to get rashes all the time). You could try getting some All Free and Clear and washing your cloths in that, it is what was reccomended to me by a dermatologist. Also think about all the products you use. Have you tried a new perfume, hand lotion, body lotion, hairspray, etc.... anything that might come in contact with your skin? Or it could be something outside. If I garden and don't shower right away I get a rash, but it goes away after I shower or wash the affected area.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 3:57PM
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Here's a quick update. I'm still itchy. Worse now. Just took some Benadryl a little bit ago in hopes of some relief. I emailed Charlie's Soap about my issue and a guy called me. He asked me how many times the shirt i'm wearing has been washed. The answer is probably twice. (and it's an OLD shirt) He told me to go home and wash it two more times. He said sometimes while pulling the old stuff out it doesn't always wash it completely clean and that stuff could be sitting on the outside fibers irritating my skin. Makes sense. I can't WAIT to get home and wash this shirt. My legs are itchy now too. Grrr More updates tomorrow.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 3:59PM
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It really bothers me when people fling the term "natural" around thinking that it means "miracle". Just because something's "natural" doesn't mean you can't have an allergy to it. Isn't wheat "natural"? Oats? Rye? Barley? My sister's allergic to all of them. As well as thousands of people around the country. (It's called Celiac.) Isn't wool "natural"? People are allergic to it too. I'm not going to pass off your reaction and dismiss the possibility that the detergent is the cause. But I think you need to do some more testing, if it doesn't cause you too much discomfort.

One thing to consider, are you SO dedicated to it that it's worth going through the hassles to find out? If so, test away and if not, go with what works for you.

Stress certainly could be involved or it could be an issue with the laundry. Or it could be a combination of things too. I'm afraid you just need to do some trial and error to see. Maybe wash some clothes in the detergent you have had no trouble with before and see what happens. These are not easy things to diagnose quickly. But write down results! It's really important as you're testing.

Another thought, though a slim possibility, could your water have changed? Check with the City and see if something has happened recently. Sometimes they have to give a heavy shot of something to clean out a water tower and for most people it's not bothersome but could be for some. Again, probably not, but another variable to dismiss, or at least check out.

I noticed some strange things with detergents. When I tried Tide 20+ years ago, I itched like crazy. (So did my sister, cousin and others). But millions did not react to it. In any case, I dumped it and didn't touch it afterward, until recently. I had a product from Sam's I think called Windfresh that worked fine for the first 10-20 loads then I itched like crazy with it. Used a similar product by a different name, made by the same manufacturer and no problems. Later I got a deal on some off brand liquid called Spring for free after rebate and about 99/jug after rebate. Used 3 or 4 bottles with no trouble, along with other stuff, then half way through the next bottle, I started itching like crazy. Talk about irritating! (No pun intended) Recently I tried Tide perfume and dye free and it's been fine. I got some samples of Gain and regular Tide too. No problems. I had wondered if part of the problem could be a rinsing issue, but nothing really changed there.

Then, sometimes I seem to react to certain foods. Other times not so much. I wonder if part is just changing as a person ages. I know the Celiac came on rather suddenly for people I know with it.

I hope your itch clears up quickly, no matter what it takes to resolve it. But I would try to keep some clothes separate to have sort of a "control" group while you're experimenting.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:41PM
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I don't think the so-called "naturalness" of a product is any guarantee it will never cause adverse reactions. Poison ivy and jellyfish are completely natural and they cause intense itching!

That being said, however, I don't think it is the CS causing your skin problems. But if you want to be sure, then try to wear something that hasn't been washed in it. If necessary, borrow some sheets and towels and test what using non-CS washed items does to your skin.

The idea that you need to wash your stuff two more times to get some other chemicals out seems bizarre to me; I would wash your stuff without any detergent, instead.

Hope you get relief, soon.


    Bookmark   April 21, 2008 at 10:47PM
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Apparently my use of the term "natural" has rubbed some people the wrong way and I do appologize. When I used that word I meant that the Charlie's soap doesn't have a bunch of filler that is in most detergents. It is easy to have problems with the filler ingredient among other things.

There is no need to bring up living things or grains that are "natural" and say they cause itchiness and other reactions for some people. I'm pretty sure that the OP knows we are talking about a product (laundry detergent) and not fruit, dairy or any number of other things folks could be allergic to.

Yes, your sensitivity to things can change over the course of time and the problem could be in the air or a particle. You just never know but starting with the path of least resistence seems like a good idea to me.

I hope that the Benedryl helped or trying the hydrocortisone cream. One poster had a good idea of writing things down when you try something new or at least being aware of how it now affects you.


    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 2:46AM
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Yes when i was saying about it being natural i was referring to the lack of fillers that is in most detergents as well. I'm aware that people can be allergic to different things yadda yadda and so forth. I've never been allergic to anything and just find this whole thing bizarre.

I live out in the country and have well water. Just finished building this house and moved in a couple weeks ago. We also have a water softener. Hopefully it has nothing to do with the water.

Washed the same shirt last night two more times. Put on a shirt not washed in the soap and today i'm wearing stuff that wasn't washed in charlie's soap. Thought i'd give my skin a break. I feel find right now. A good thing. :) I'm willing to experiment a little more (with those couple of shirts i washed) to see if it's truly that. If it continues to be a problem i'll stop using it.

I will say that the benadryl knocked me out! i know it says may cause drowsiness but oh my...

I've heard good things about other natural detergents but stores where i live don't carry any of them. Didn't appear you could order them online. I may have to go back to my arm and hammer detergent.

    Bookmark   April 22, 2008 at 10:41AM
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Did we ever manage to help?

    Bookmark   May 1, 2008 at 9:34PM
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I'm good now. It wasn't the CS. Never did pin point was it was. I kept track for days of what i ate, wore, etc, etc. Couldn't find any pattern. The only interesting this was i didn't drink any soda for 9 days. (this is when the rash started) Went on like a three day binge....:) the rashes stopped. Been drinking water still but haven't totally cut out my soda. Doesn't make much sense to me. Could've still been stress. Whatever it was i'm rash free and happy.
Love the Charlie's Soap!

    Bookmark   May 2, 2008 at 1:59PM
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I was interested to read your post, because coincidentally, I have had the same symptoms over the past couple of days.

I just purchased Charlies Soap maybe about a week ago - I just got a new HE front loader, and I've been washing away. Thus far, I've had nothing against Charlies soap, but now you got me thinking and I'll have to pay closer attention to my symptoms to see if they are possibly related to the soap.

I have to make a few comments before I digress back to the main subject. First, I don't see the logic behind "washing your clothes a few times in Charlies Soap" in order to remedy a problem that didn't exist BEFORE you used Charlies Soap. There is NOTHING logical about that. Outside vs. inside fibers?? Um, not buying that either. In that respect, it would be like saying that Charlies Soap is causing us to be allergic to our old detergent, though we never had problems with those detergents before. Hmmmm...then maybe we shouldn't be using Charlies! I don't mean that literally, but come on...that sounds ridiculous.

The fact is the FDA can't prevent a company from claiming that their product does something like get your clothes rid of residue by washing it three times, else they'd have pulled the Herbal Essences commercial years back when those girls seemed to have an ******** experience while washing their hair. By washing your clothes three times, it is just making you use more of their soap so then you have to buy more. Hmm..isn't that a convenient concept for CS? And now you are afraid to go back to your old detergent, because the residue is now on the "outside" and not the "inside" of the fibers. I can't keep myself from laughing at this, and I (so far) have nothing against Charlies Soap, but these claims seem a little silly to me and far-fetched.

Now, this isn't to say that Charlies isn't removing residue, because I'm sure the more we wash our clothes without fabric softener, the less residue there will be on our clothes in the long run anyway, regardless of ANY detergent we use. The fact is, most manufacturers are moving towards the "ultra" concentrated products, claiming that they are "saving the environment" by using less plastic and smaller bottles, so now the average laundry detergent formula is 3X more concentrated, but have you noticed (at least the bottles I've seen) that while the bottles get smaller, the measuring caps don't? Sure, maybe those faint little measures on the inside of the clear cap that you can hardly see to begin with are labeled differently in accordance with the new formula, but my guess is that the larger portion of the population isn't going to notice or even care. This results in an increase in profits for the manufacturer. In other words, the average consumer is probably using the same amount of soap with a higher concentration, so it's no wonder people feel the difference when they switch to 1 measly tablespoon of Charlies Soap. And it's not exactly a perfect science when you are tipping a heavy bottle of liquid detergent to get just a small portion of a capful - most the time there is excess, and guess what, it goes in my washing machine, where else? My husband also made a good point that some people may look at a concentrated bottle that reads in big bold letters, "3x ultra" (it stands out from the rest of the label), and perceive that to mean that it's three times as good...not realizing they are using a concentrated product. It's good marketing in my opinion, especially that they are now competing with those who are selling detergents for HE washing machines.

It's also comparable to using conditioner on my hair every day, and then switching to shampoo without a conditioner - of course my hair is going to feel different, but that doesn't mean the conditioner was ever a problem for my hair, or that I should have a reaction if all residue is not removed. So if the residue didn't bother us before, then what is the purpose of washing it three times before we wear something (other than to troubleshoot the residue on the outside vs. the inside of the fibers...LOL)?..... that's the point I'm getting at.

Is Charlies a good soap? Yes, so far I like it. Does it clean my clothes, and leave them soft without perfumy scents and use of fabric softener? Absolutely, from what I've observed thus far.

I digress...

Like you, I have skin allergies, but I have controlled them by using only ALL free & clear detergent and Downy Free products - I've been doing this for years without any problems. I only switched recently due to my new HE front loader, otherwise, I was 110% happy with those products.

For the past two days, I've been walking around and I'd swear that I got bit on my leg due to small welts. I'd itch, it would be a small welt, like you said, the size of a pea. Then today another part of my leg started itching again, and I had a small pea sized welt. Not ruling out other possibilities, but I will say that I'm going to pay closer attention after reading your post. Hmmm...could it be the in-laws? LOL

I know you said you are now rash free - if your symptoms persist, please let us know. I'll give Charlies the benefit of the doubt for the interim (but I still reserve the right to laugh at some of their claims!).

I suppose you can't blame them for using sales tactics.

    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 4:25AM
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Kimcoco, if you keep having problems using the Charlies Soap, All does make a HE version of their Free and Clear Small and Mighty (3 times concentrated, and the lid is smaller on it). You could try that. I switched from the regular All Free and Clear Small and Mighty to the HE formula when I got my Cabrio. By the way, because of serious skin issues, I do have to wash all my new clothing at least three times before wearing them to remove residues such as sizing, but I agree that it seems odd to say that residue from an old detergent which never caused a problem would be a problem when switching to Charlies.


    Bookmark   May 3, 2008 at 7:54PM
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