Choosing the Right Laundry Detergents for Sensitive Skin

If you have sensitive skin, knowing which laundry detergent to buy is even more important. You want a detergent that cleans your clothes and leaves them smelling fresh while ensuring it does not irritate your sensitive skin. This decision should never be a burden, and ARM & HAMMER™ makes the process of choosing a skin safe detergent easier.

Let’s talk about what to look for in a laundry detergent when you, your significant other or your children have sensitive skin. We’ll discuss what it means for a detergent to be “hypoallergenic,” as well as some ingredients to avoid if you’re prone to itching, redness or skin sensitivity. Plus, we’ve got tips for doing laundry so you can look out for your family’s best interest while still getting your laundry clean and fresh!

What are the Symptoms of a Laundry Detergent Allergy?

Symptoms of an allergy or sensitivity to your laundry detergent may include:


  • Skin redness
  • Dry, scaly or cracked skin
  • Burning, stinging or itching
  • Hives or a rash


If you or your kiddos feel any of these symptoms after wearing freshly washed clothes, it could be a sign you need to switch laundry detergents to one designed for sensitive skin. Laundry detergents that rank highly using SkinSAFE® criteria or state that they are hypoallergenic on the label can be good choices.


What Ingredients in Detergent Can Irritate Skin?


Preservatives, phosphates and brighteners in laundry detergents can irritate your skin, but the most common causes of irritation in laundry detergents are dyes, traditional fragrances, and parabens. Specific ingredients may affect you more than others, depending on your level of sensitivity and the concentration of ingredients in the detergent.


People of any age, including babies, can have sensitive skin, and skin allergies can pop up at any time. Again, your laundry ingredients may play a role in aggravating those allergies.


What is a Hypoallergenic Laundry Detergent


Hypoallergenic laundry detergents are often made without dyes, perfumes, parabens, and other ingredients you want to avoid when you have sensitive skin. They are less likely to cause skin irritation because they tend to have fewer ingredients overall, and generally avoid preservatives and enzymes.


Hypoallergenic laundry detergents are often reviewed by dermatologists or a third-party source, such as SkinSAFE® that verifies their ingredients and tests for common allergens.


Although hypoallergenic laundry detergents may have fewer ingredients that can cause irritation in some people, they still help fight stains and odors to get your clothes clean!


Additionally, it’s important to note that hypoallergenic laundry detergents and scent-free detergents are not the same. Although hypoallergenic laundry detergents are free of perfumes, they may still contain special, allergen-free fragrances. For a detergent without any added fragrances at all, look for an unscented detergent.


What are SkinSAFE® Products?

Collared shirt being soaked in a laundry detergent for sensitive skin


SkinSAFE® products have been tested and had their ingredient labels examined by independent experts to check for accuracy and integrity. You can check the SkinSAFE® website or use their app to learn if a product is free of dyes, parabens, fragrance, soy, gluten, propylene glycol, preservatives, and other irritants.


SkinSAFE® will give a product a rating between 1 to 100 for how good it is for sensitive skin – the higher the number the better! You’ll also see separate certifications like being safe for eyes, lips, babies, and other categories.



The SkinSAFE® algorithm uses clinical ingredient data and puts specific markers on product labels to help you compare different detergents or look out for your known skin irritants. You can personalize your SkinSAFE® account by asking your doctor to generate a SAFE for Me code with your specific ingredients to avoid or create a code yourself in the SkinSAFE ® app if you already know your allergens.


ARM & HAMMER™ Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent and ARM & HAMMER™ Super Washing Soda earned the highest SkinSAFE® score of 100 because they are gentle on the skin and free of the SkinSAFE® most common skin allergens. See the complete list of SkinSAFE® ratings to learn more about ARM & HAMMER™ products.


What Detergent Should I Use if I have Sensitive Skin?

If you or members of your family have sensitive skin, use a dermatologist-tested hypoallergenic detergent, that’s free of common skin allergens and is specifically formulated for people with sensitive skin. Look for the SkinSAFE® Trusted choice insignia or use the app to verify the ingredients.


Hypoallergenic laundry detergents come in multiple formats, including liquid, powder, individual packets and even dryer sheets.


Which ARM & HAMMER™ Detergents are Safe for Sensitive Skin?

Father and son cuddling while loading clothes into the washer


ARM & HAMMER™ offers multiple laundry detergents for sensitive skin, and in different formats. These include:



Once your items have been through the wash, you can add ARM & HAMMER™ Free & Clear Fabric Softener sheets to the dryer to help soften clothes and reduce static cling, without added perfumes that can trigger allergies.


Tips for Doing Laundry with Sensitive Skin

If you or members of your family have sensitive skin, you want a laundry detergent that is gentle on the skin but tough on stains. But your choice of detergent isn’t the only consideration.


Here are some tips for doing laundry to help get your clothes clean and feeling comfortable.


1. Wash New Clothes Before Wearing Them

Some clothing manufacturers add finishes to their clothes to boost their appearance in stores. The same can be said for blankets, sheets, towels and other items. These finishes may have chemicals or additives that can trigger allergies or skin irritation. Wash new items before using them to help remove these finishes.


2. Use the Right Amount of Laundry Detergent

Read garment labels so you know how much detergent to use, as well as whether your items should be washed in warm or cold water. Using too much detergent can sometimes cause irritation, because it’s harder to rinse all the detergent out of your items.


3. Pour a Gentle Detergent

Use a hypoallergenic laundry detergent that is gentle on your family’s sensitive skin. Aside from its 100 score with SkinSAFE®, ARM & HAMMER™ Free & Clear Liquid Laundry Detergent has 2X powerful stain fighters in every load vs. leading value detergents, so it also helps clean your items for a refreshed look! Or, if you have an infant or newborn, clean those baby clothes with ARM & HAMMER™ Hypoallergenic Baby Detergent, which is also free of preservatives, phosphates and dyes and has a fresh baby scent.


4. Consider a Second Rinse

Choose the extra rinse cycle on your machine if you have that setting. Otherwise, put your clothes through a second rinse on a lower setting to help remove residue on your clothes.


5. Use a Free & Clear Dryer Sheet

Although many dryer sheets have perfumes, Free & Clear Fabric Softener sheets do not! Throw some in the dryer to help limit the static and pilling on clothes. Or use wool dryer balls to help reduce drying time and static without added fragrance.


Should You Do Separate Loads of Laundry if You Have Sensitive Skin


If a member of your family has sensitive skin, you may simply choose to wash all your items in a sensitive skin detergent. This may be especially true if you have a young kid who snuggles up against your clothes or is crawling into or rolling around on your bed.


If you use a detergent that's formulated for sensitive skin as your go-to choice, you can combine all items according to the manufacturer's washing instructions and continue. However, if your 7-year-old likes a detergent with a fragrant scent and you also have a baby with sensitive skin, you’d be wise to separate those items accordingly.


ARM & HAMMER™ Looks Out for Your Clothes… and Your Sensitive Skin, Too!

Remember, if you have sensitive skin, you want to avoid detergents with ingredients like phosphates, dyes, parabens and other potential irritants. For that reason, it’s never a bad idea to check your laundry detergent’s SkinSAFE® certifications to see whether they’re recommended for your sensitive skin.


Whether you, your kids or your spouse has sensitive skin, or if you’re looking for a gentle laundry detergent for your baby, ARM & HAMMER™ has the detergents, laundry paks and dryer sheets you’re looking for so you can enjoy clean clothes and avoid irritation. From start to finish, turn to ARM & HAMMER™ products for a stress-free laundry process.


Learn More Below, Laundry Lovers!


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