Does this make sense - laundry detergent allergy question?

My clothes washer died last week and it’s going to be over a week before the repair tech can get around to looking at it.* I was already behind on my laundry duties and before the pile started to rise up and try to register to vote, I contacted my sibling and requested to use her machine to do several loads. She agreed so I stuffed a duffel bag of my stinkies, grabbed my bottle of detergent, stopped by the store for more supplies and showed up at Sis’s place. After doing several laundry loads, preparing a nice ‘thank you’ meal for her and cleaning afterwards, she noticed my bottle of laundry detergent. Sis claims she is allergic to this brand and because I’ve used it in her machine, it is now contaminated with it. IHHO, the machine is now unusable to her until she does a dozen or more loads of clean towels and plain, hot water.

I’m near fifty years old, she’s older than I am and this is the first I’ve heard of any issues she’s had with allergies other than bee stings. Is it possible that my detergent has contaminated her machine to the point of unsuitability? Family harmony notwithstanding, what’s my obligation here?

  • (They can deliver a brand new one to me today though. Make of that what you will.)

Not too surprising that a detergent allergy wouldn’t come up in usual conversation. Some of them have dyes and fragrances that can irritate some folks’ skin.

I don’t know about a dozen loads, though, being required to strip all that away. Two or three loads, sans any detergent at all … would be good for her machine anyway.

Also, they have installation techs (and a new machine) on tap ready to go. The repair tech is likely different from their installation team, since that’s a specialized job with much more to learn, and his schedule is already booked.

I’m sure it was something similar to this but that doesn’t mean it’s not slightly annoying.

I would think one run of Affresh would remove any contamination from the detergent.

There are certain detergents that I react to, but having used a variety of laundromats over the years, and knowing previous customers may have used those products, I never had any issues. I think your sister is overreacting a wee bit.
Like my sister, who tosses food that reaches its “Best By” date, regardless of its condition…

Have them deliver a brand new one to her, take her “contaminated” washer home with you, keep your busted washer as a potential backup?

ETA: pounds gavel

Yeah,…that ain’t gonna happen. At least not on my dime.

IMO, a simple and sincere “Sorry” is the limit of your obligation. What you did wasn’t intentional.

As for your sister needing to run a dozen cycles before machine is clean, that’s very likely overkill. I’m sensitive, to the point where I get a minor rash from some detergents. A single wash, sometimes two with a non-fragrance detergent and I’m fine.

How were you supposed to know? If I’d been in her position, I’d have told you about my allergy and asked that you wash your clothes in my detergent. I don’t think you have any culpability here. Maybe buy her a thing of her own detergent to smooth things over.

This is what I would suggest, too. Run a cycle with a washing machine cleaner product, then another cycle to rinse the cleaner out thoroughly.

I know of several people who believe that they are “allergic” to certain brands or types of detergent, such as my wife (who has decided that she gets skin reactions to clothing washed using detergents with dyes or fragrances); I have no idea how much of that is actual, truly allergic reactions, so much as irritation/non-allergic sensitivity, or, for all I know, purely psychosomatic reactions, but “i’m allergic to certain detergents” isn’t a uncommon stance.

So, she’s going through the effort to turn the washing machine on 12 times? Does she want you to drive over to turn the knob for her or something?

You apologize for the inconvenience as her machine will be “unusable” for a couple of days, while she runs the requisite dozen fully automatic cleaning cycles. Maybe offer to pitch in ten bucks to pay for heating the water for a dozen loads.

12 loads is a lot of loads. It turns out that I’m allergic to Tide but I could wear the contaminated clothes again without developing another rash after rewashing them twice. Someone needing a third or even fourth was I could mostly believe but not twelve.

Even with hypo-allergenic detergent, I sometimes start to itch if I stick with the same brand for too long. Every 2nd or 3rd wash, I don’t use detergent at all as a workaround along with switching brands every so often.

Run a couple of cycles with just vinegar in the water

I find this assertion ridiculous. The rinse cycle from your wash surely cleaned virtually all the detergent. If there is trace of residue, one further rinse should take care of it. Twelve loads to clean it sounds totally looney-tunes to me.

If you’re into homeopathy, it might even get worse…! :smiley:

12 loads does sound like overkill. If she’s that sensitive. I’m surprised she can stand to be in the room with someone wearing clothing laundered with that product.

2-3 loads should more than do it - especially if you (or she) make an effort to also wipe down any surfaces that aren’t immersed (top edge of the tub, underside of lid, or whatever).

But yeah, if she’s sensitive, she should have responded to your initial requests with “Sure, but can you use my brand” vs waiting until AFTER the damage was done. I’m sure you’d have been more than happy to comply.

I have little sympathy for her - if she was that allergic to a particular brand, she should have stated that when she agreed to let you use her washer.

If I were that allergic, I’d tell you to use my detergent, and I wouldn’t ask for you to pay me the cost of the detergent, either.

And yes, I also believe that 12 loads is silly. I suppose that she’s wanting to use the towels to absorb the allergen, then wash the allergen back out?

But… it’s your sister. Do what you need to maintain the relationship you want to keep with her. Although, IMO, going back to my first sentence, it sounds like she’s looking for reasons to have problems.