Has Anyone Experienced an Allergic Reaction from Ultra Downy Total Care?

Updated on February 11, 2011
C.J. asks from New Cumberland, PA
12 answers

I think my husband (of all people who would get a reaction) has gotten a rash from Ultra Downy. Has anyone used this product, and if so what did you think? My 3 yr old did not get a rash, and neither did I, so I am a little confused. I have never used this product as it is fairly new to the market until two weeks ago, and this weekend, I had to rewash EVERYTHING. Any thoughts?

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So What Happened?

I went online, and searched all kinds of stuff... I am going to go a different route with this, and will make my own laundry detergent, and eliminate liq softener(which seems to be the prob.), and just use a free and clear softener sheet. I found a great recipe where I can use any soap I want to use, so I can switch it between ivory, and other gentle soaps... Thank you.

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answers from Allentown on

I have had reactions to fabric softners in the past, so now I only use All Free and Clear detergent and Bounce Free and clear Fabric sheets. Most brands have a "Free" type. Try those for everyone.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Many commonly used household cleaners and laundry products contain chemicals that contribute to illness, disease and rashes. Here's a copy and paste from the website of the Environmental Health Association of Nova Scotia. In Pittsburgh check out the great website for the Center for Environmental Oncology -part of the U of Pgh Cancer Institute.
"Fabric softeners are designed to reduce static in synthetic fabrics. They serve no purpose with natural fabrics. Fabric softeners may contain quarternary ammonium compounds (quats) and imidazolidinyl, both of which are known formaldehyde releasers. For about 5% of people, quats are an extreme sensitizer. They may cause a variety of asthma-like symptoms, including respiratory arrest. Exposure to formaldehyde can cause joint pain, depression, headaches, chronic fatigue and a variety of other symptoms. In lab tests formaldehyde has caused cancer and damaged DNA. Both quaternium and imidazolidinyl can cause contact dermatitis. Fabric softeners work by leaving a residue on the fabric which never completely washes out. It can cause allergic reactions through skin contact and inhalation. Fabric softeners may also contain carcinogenic coal-tar dyes, ammonia and very strong scents. When fabric softeners are exposed to hot water, heat from dryers or ironing, vapours may be emitted which can be deeply inhaled, increasing their impact.
Less-toxic Alternatives

•Dryerballs - Eliminate static cling, soften clothes, reduce drying time. No chemical residue, no plants, no scents. Purchase Dryerballs through EHANS' Dryerball Fundraiser project and support this website. http://www.environmentalhealth.ca/summer07dryerballs.html
•Static Eliminators - no chemical residue, no plants, no scents.
•Nature Clean - Natural Fabric Softener. "

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Houston on

I hope you still read your email so I can convey this to you.

Go to this website to see the chemicals responsible for your reaction.http://www.sixwise.com/newsletters/05/02/08/the-toxic-dan...

Mine started out as a contact dermatitis and now is systemic.
Although you can supposedly wash these chemicals out with Borateem and vinegar, I would suggest never touching these clothes or bedding.

You're probably doing what I've done... sensitizing yourself even more with each incident.

Your reaction is described in table 5 of this website article: http://pathmicro.med.sc.edu/ghaffar/hyper00.htm. See table 5.

Don't ever use fabric softeners again and use Borateem and/or vinegar in your washer to try to get the chemicals out.....even then there's no guarantee all the petrochemicals will be washed out because they bind so tightly to the fabric.
From now on use only Borateem (without additives) for washing and baking soda or vinegar in the final rinse.
Have your liver enzymes especially ALT and ALKP checked and also have your Immunoglobin checked e.g. IgE, IgM and IgE.
Do not go through any desensitizing procedure...you could have a type 1 reaction i.e. an anaphylactic reaction.
****You can always find out what's in a product or food by searching on the web! Check the web for any new medicine, food, chemical product, etc. before using and see what other people's response has been.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Philadelphia on

Yes. Our family can only use Seventh Generation Free and Clear Detergent or Ecover. They can be found at your local health food store, or at Giant or Wegmans in the health food section. My daughter had a horrible bout of skin rashes that progressively got worse, but were triggered by bad detergents and soaps that we used at the time. Her skin eventually got so inflammed and itchy and bled. "Normal" detergents have so many harsh chemicals and petroleum from unsafe sources that are not good for anyones health, or our planet. For more facts on that visit www.seventhgeneration.com

I think they started selling seventh generation at Babies R Us now too.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Pittsburgh on

I have massive enviromental allergies. This means I'm allergic to a lot of things including detergents. But nobody else in my family is allergic to the things I am allergic to. I have found out that allergies can hit anyone at any time. I just started getting allergies within the last 10 years and they get worse every year. Detergents is actually where mine started. Not that it means that will happen to your husband. Through trial and error I found the only detergent I can use is Regualr original Tide and I can use Clean Breeze Downey. I feel your pain......I have had to re-wash many loads of laundry do to reactions from the detergent or the fabric softner. I wish you luck with finding the right combinations to make him comfortable.



answers from Pittsburgh on

I don't use fabric softener or detergents with any colors or scents for this very reason. I have been known to have terrible reactions. My mother, trying to be the helpful mom she is, washed some clothes for me when I was a single gal at home for the weekend. She used Cheer and Bounce in the laundry. Not only did I have a massive break out, my body swelled up. I had to be put on two different allergy medications. It took me over two weeks to fully recover.

My suggestion is to skip the fabric softener completely and move to a detergent that is more hypo-allergenic.



answers from Philadelphia on

Hi C.,

Have you tried the "free" version in the white bottle? It is fragrance & dye free. In fact, I buy all of my laundry products without fragrance & dye. See if that works.

A. D



answers from Minneapolis on

Yes. I developed a severe case of atopic dermatitis from exposure to Downy softener. All fabric softeners can cause allergic reactions in some people.



answers from Philadelphia on


My household doesn't have allergies to these types of products, but I have been buying dye- and fragrance-free laudry detergent since my first child was born 13 1/2 years ago. I don't see the need for adding extra substances, chemicals, etc., needlessly. Often the "free" stuff is more expensive, but I stock up on several when they go on sale.

Good luck!



answers from Pittsburgh on

I have strong sensitivities to many commercial products inclusive of downy type products.

It is totally possible for one person in a household to be irritated by a product. And an allergy can develope at any given time in a persons life. Manufacturers change one component of a product and proof - allergy.

I resolved to using goat milk soaps/a & h washing soda and borax -- and it has resolved many of my laundry and bath bar issues.

Good luck finding an alternative.



answers from Chicago on

yes, I never used it before either until the end of April. I was the only one who broke out from this product. I broke out with a red rashy rash on my arms, stomach , upper thighs and butt. But on my lower legs, I had all these dark reddish purplish spots that turned into ugly black scabs. I have been to the hospital twice for treatments.
It's been since the last week of April and today is July 5th and I am still not healed. I suffered with sleepless nights because of the burning pain. I will NEVER, use that product again. I was on an antibiotic for 10 days. 2 weeks worth of predesone and now taking benedryl and motrin.



answers from Los Angeles on

I am allergic to all Ulta products. I get an extremely itchy rash that lasts for weeks. I used to use Tide and when they switched to Ultra I had problems. When I called them, they said the only difference was an anti-sudsing agent ( a chemical). I first noticed the rash from ultra when my diswashing soap changed to ultra. A few years later, clothes washing detergents started changing to ultra. Now the only company I can find that still makes regular detergent is Purex and that is getting hard to find. I'm getting scared that they will stop making it and I won't be able to wash my clothes. I had started using Woolite that worked for me but now they only have ultra. The way I tell if a detergent is ultra or regular: regular takes a full cup to wash a load. A lot of brands do not use the word ultra anymore.. C.

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