Free and Clear: Navigating Kids, Sensitive Skin, and Keeping (Pizza-Stained) Duds Fresh


Of all the curveballs that have been thrown my direction over the past year, the onset of August and Birdie’s skin allergies just might take the cake for the most caused hours of lost sleep.

Waking up to a 21-month-old with swollen-shut eyes and raw, cherry-colored cheeks is an experience I hope I never have to undergo again. Even worse, when you don’t know the cause, making you feel helpless and you begin to question everything you did the day before in fear you might be responsible for the latest outbreak.

Our quest for the cause of August and Birdie’s skin issues has been an extensive and exhausting one, sending us in a new direction nearly every day. We have met with doctors, dermatologists, and allergists. We’ve been through the gauntlet trying to pin down exactly what was triggering flare-ups. We changed our entire laundry routine, sent Winnie away for a month, tried all-natural lotions and oils, removing all chemicals and fragrances, encased our bedding… the list goes on and on.

Although many questions still remain unanswered, there are a few findings we now know for certain. We have figured out the cause: food allergies, lack of healthy bacteria in the gut, and the Minnesota climate. But even when you understand what is causing the eczema, it’s important to understand how triggers can contribute to spreading even the smallest outbreak.

Thanks to decades of expert research, scientists have found that the chemical substances commonly found in laundry products are hard on our skin and triggering to individuals with skin sensitivities such as eczema (aka my little ones). The irritants typically lie in the fragrances, detergents, and solvents; the ingredients responsible for cleaning, deodorizing and disinfecting our laundry. To my surprise, our dermatologist told me to move away from any products that include dyes or fragrances, and move to those labeled all “free” and “clear.” I listened.

Both August and Birdie immediately improved. Excited by his improvement, I removed ALL detergent, thinking that was the cause, not a trigger. After a couple months of really stiff, dingy looking clothes, his all cotton clothing began to make him itch again. This was just one of the many times I felt incredibly defeated. Around this time, we removed milk and wheat and he looked like a new kid almost overnight. Since then, we have reintroduced free and clear detergents, lotions, shampoos, and more, back into our lives, and August has never looked better.

Fortunately, the brands behind our detergent and softener are recognizing the concerns being voiced (or, quite possibly yelled) by adults or parents of kids with skin sensitivities, and they’re creating products that solace them. Because let’s be honest, that unidentified substance on the front of August’s shirt isn’t going to clean itself, especially as a working mom with two kids under two. Sometimes, no matter how many plant-based detergents you throw at something, you need to bring out the big guns.

When our duds are looking less than fresh, we’ve been turning to a quick and easy way to get them back to looking their best. Free of any dyes and perfumes, the Clorox 2® Free + Clear Stain Remover & Color Booster Packs are gentle on skin, and tough on stains. The 3-in-1 formula removes stains, brightens colors and fights odors in a single wash. Pro tip: when you pair Clorox 2® Free + Clear Stain Remover & Color Booster Packs with your favorite free and clear detergent, you’ll remove four times more stains and get double the brightening. It’s especially satisfying with a toddler who prefers to wear his spaghetti rather than eat it.  

Like all household cleaners and chemicals, the Clorox 2® Free + Clear Stain Remover & Color Booster Packs should always be handled with care and kept out of the reach of children and pets. August is at the age where he’s starting to get into everything, so childproof cabinet locks are my go-to.

As all parents dealing with eczema know, there are no two cases that are the same. We’re finding that what works for August and what works for Bennett are very different. You’ll be bombarded with people who cured it with just a slather of coconut oil or a trip to the chiropractor. People will tell you even free and clear detergents are bad for eczema. You’ll be told you can’t treat it without steroids. And while that might be the case for their child, it is important to remember that you know your child and family better than anyone else, and your journey to finding an eczema solution will always be met with someone who had the exact opposite result. Our kids’ skin only started to improve when we stuck to the advice we were given by our team of doctors and stopped doubting our care choices. I appreciate you respecting our journey and choices as a family and for sending us words of encouragement and compassion!

Ed. note: This post was sponsored by Clorox. The compensation received in exchange for placement on Wit & Delight is used to purchase props, hire a photographer, write/edit the blog post and support the larger team behind Wit & Delight.

While compensation was received in exchange for coverage, all thoughts and opinions are always my own. Sponsored posts like these allow for the development of additional dynamic content to be produced, unsponsored. Thank you for supporting our partners!

BY Kate Arends - May 11, 2018

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add a comment

  1. Mailinh

    May 11th, 2018 at 10:39 am

    Glad to hear they’re getting better. I’m taking note of this since I myself have sensitive skin and am adding this product to try.

  2. Eva

    May 11th, 2018 at 11:44 am

    How interesting! Glad your babies are doing better. I have pretty tough skin that doesn’t get easily irritated, but what I’ve noticed is that the detergents definitely make me sneeze. Like the floral smell, or their makeup give me a little bit of a sinus reaction. The first thing you want to do with warm clothes is put them on! But I’m left with a little hayfever every time.

    Eva |

  3. Isabella Wang

    May 11th, 2018 at 11:51 am

    I love your site. We should definitely connect. I’m a school counselor and recently launched a site for parents to address pertinent teen topics. Like you, I struggle with the ultimate service I’d eventually offer on my site, but Ramsay’s idea is a great start. He’s absolutely right that people are looking for fresh content for their sites! Best of luck to you and I hope we can collaborate.

  4. Melis

    May 11th, 2018 at 5:32 pm

    I’m so glad you are finding solutions for your sweet babies’ skin. As a mom with 4 kids and 2 having ultra sensitive skin—it’s just such a guessing game! And not to mention all the heartache and worry! I’m a relatively new follower (6 months ish) and so glad to find y’all. Sending all my love as you navigate these allergies and the transition to two! I applaud you for all you do—both for your family and your business! 👏👏👏 cheers and happy weekend!

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