Unilever logo
Coronavirus (Covid-19) information: How to keep yourself, your loved ones and your home safe.

Relieving itchy skin: how your cleaning products could be the root of your itchy skin

There are many causes of itchy skin, and perfumes in laundry detergents are just one. Find out about suitable laundry detergents for itchy skin here.


By Cleanipedia Team

relieving itchy skin - how your cleaning products could be the root of your itchy skin

Skin irritation can come in many forms – you may have a rash, you might not. Itchy skin is often a symptom of skin irritation but fortunately it’s one that can usually be relieved with some simple self-care methods and lifestyle changes.

Here we give you the lowdown on the causes of itchy skin and answer the question ‘can laundry detergent cause itchy skin?’ Read on to find out if cleaning products could be the root of your itching.

There are many causes of itchy skin, and one contributing factor could be your laundry detergent. If you’ve got itchy skin or are prone to sensitive skin, it’s a good idea to switch to an unscented laundry detergent to reduce the risk of irritation.

How concerned are you about disinfecting while cleaning?

Why are my clothes itchy?

One factor you may like to consider is switching your laundry detergent. Chemicals in perfumes and colourings found in some cleaning products can irritate the skin, especially if you have sensitive skin. You may also have a skin allergic reaction to your new washing powder or detergent. Below are some tips on how changing your laundry routine could help you control your itchy skin.

Laundry detergent on skin: bonus tip

Wash clothes before first wear – Clothes can contain residual chemicals as a result of the production process, so we recommend that you always wash new clothes before you wear them. This way you can reduce the risk of itchy skin irritations from these potential irritants.

Now you know that chemicals in your laundry detergent can be a common cause of itchy skin, you can think twice before reaching for that new brand on offer in the supermarket and make sure you choose one specifically suited to sensitive skin!

What causes itchy skin?

Itchy skin can be caused by a variety of factors. Here are a few common causes:

  • Dry skin – often the result of environmental changes
  • Irritation or allergic reaction – e.g. from foods, fabrics, or chemicals
  • Skin conditions such as eczema or hives
  • Pregnancy

Symptoms can include:

  • A rash
  • Redness
  • Dry, cracked skin
  • Flaky skin
  • Bumps or spots

However, you may also have itchy skin and no rash or noticeable change to the skin. Itchy skin can be widespread or localised to a specific area.

It’s always best to consult with your doctor to identify the cause of your itching and determine a suitable treatment. It’s particularly important to speak to your doctor if you have severe itching that is preventing you from getting on with your everyday life and that has lasted for more than two weeks.

How to Prevent Itchy Skin from Laundry Detergent

  • Use a mild laundry detergent to help itchy skin

When you or a member of your family have sensitive skin, it’s best to use a gentle detergent that’s specially developed for sensitive skin and people who suffer from skin allergic reactions. Look for a product that contains zero perfumes or colourings to reduce the risk of skin irritation or allergic reactions when clothes come in contact with skin. A detergent like Neutral 0% Liquid Detergent is gentle to skin and fabrics, and can help reduce the risk of further irritation.

  • Opt for an extra rinse

Be extra sure that all soap residue is removed from your clothes by setting your washing machine to do an extra rinse cycle. This will help reduce the risk of skin being irritated by any leftover residue.

For more information on the ingredients in products mentioned in this tip, visit What’s in Unilever Products here.


It’s not just laundry detergent that could be irritating your skin. Chemicals in your washing up liquid or hand soap could be causing your hands and arms to itch. Switch to perfume and colour free products like Neutral 0% Hand Soap and see if you notice a difference!

Originally published