allergy to polyethylene glycol, propylene glycol, ethylene & butylene glycols
Product Recommendations: Cleaning
Tips to Surviving a Glycol Allergy
I’m not a big fan of product recommendations, simply because the formulations can change at any time and if you’re not carefully reading each label, each time, you could think a product was safe when it wasn’t.
That said, I know that it does help to at least have a place to start from. It’s a lot of work to look through thousands of products to find the one you can use.
READ THIS BEFORE GOING FURTHER: To offer some help, below is a list of products I am currently using. Note that you may buy the exact same product and it may have different ingredients by the time you buy it. Because glycols are usually inactive ingredients, each batch can be different and you will not know for sure unless you read the label each time you buy the product.
This is particularly difficult with because cleaning products manufacturers are not required to list the ingredients in their products on the label.
Products I Use:
Home Made Laundry Detergent: One of my readers, Keri, pointed out that the detergent I was using, Ecos, contains phenoxyethanol, which is the same as Ethylene glycol phenyl ether, a glycol compound. I have been having some dermatitis that I couldn’t trace to anything until I remembered Keri’s comment. After searching a lot of natural detergents and not finding any without enzymes or ‘brighteners,’ I found a recipe for detergent. I’ve been using it and I’m very happy with it. It has baking soda, washing soda, epsom salt and kosher salt. You can add vinegar to the rinse if you want. I’ll post the recipe and link to it here when it’s up.
Citra Solv Concentrate: We’ve been using this for over 25 years. It is the best stain remover for oil spots in fabric if used full-strength and is a terrific household cleaner if diluted. I use it straight out of the bottle to get pitch off my hands when I’ve been picking up cones around the pine tree. A little bit goes a long way. It’s safe for laundry and pets, cruelty-free and vegan. Buy it at natural food stores or find an online retailer here. Ingredients are listed on the site.
Baby/Antiseptic Wipes: It’s very rare to find a product like this that doesn’t have propylene glycol in it. Although we rarely use them at home, we take them camping, or in the car when having a throw-away cleanup is easier. I haven’t been able to find a website for either product that lists ingredients, but you’ll be checking the label anyway, right? Kroger Comforts for Baby I found at Fred Meyer store and Baby Looney Tunes unscented wipes I fund at Fred Meyer as well, but I didn’t see a manufacturer’s website online.
Germ-X Hand Sanitizer: The website for this product lists the ingredients which may not work for you if require an all natural product. I don’t have a problem with it, but I also don’t use it that often. It’s good to know that there is a product I can use, though, when I’m around sick people or in a public place. It’s available almost everywhere.
I use Palmolive Antibacterial Dish soap for two reasons: Palmolive is one of the only brands that list all their ingredients, and I don’t react to anything in it. They also have a Pure and Clear Dish soap that I might try, but neither one is a ‘natural’ product in any sense of the word, so depending on your level of sensitivity to chemical ingredients, these may not work for you
If you find things that work for you, please add them to the comments. Remember though, you are the only one who can make sure what you use is safe for you and that means reading every label, every time.
FYI I was having dermatitis and looked closer at my Ecos laundry detergent and found that it contained polyoxyethylene (I believe–it might have been phenoxyethanol) which is/are synonyms for PEG
Phenoxyethanol is the same as Ethylene glycol phenyl ether, a glycol compound for sure. I may not be reacting to the Ecos detergent because it’s a small amount and it gets rinsed well in the washer, but I’m glad you pointed that out. I’ll update the post about it.