Dealing with a chronic skin irritation issue in the household, we've determined to get detergent out of the schoolhouse. It sounds so easy, doesn't it? Just substitute something in the laundry . . . .
A lot of reading about the lingering presence of detergent suggests that simply switching products doesn't do the trick. So we've been doing the Superwash: it's four cycles in the washing machine, the first two with detergent-free soap, and the second two with plain water. Not my idea; it comes from the motivated folks at Solve Eczema who have been looking at this problem for years.
I'll just say up front that this is not a lot of fun. On a really focused day I can get four loads of laundry done. And it's not just the clothes. Towels, kitchen linens, rugs, curtains, slipcovers: when you start looking at the detergent in your life it's kind of scary.
And then go and read your shampoo, soap, and toothpaste labels. We've found alternative detergent-free products for most of our needs (the dish liquid and dishwashing powder come from an awesomely retro company in California that clearly hasn't done a label redesign in decades). I'll share a list of resources in the future, or visit the link above. In the meantime, I'm going to put another load in the washer.