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    Pic And A Q

    I’m still under the gun today, I have a lot of knitting to talk to you about, but I want to wait until I can draw a breath and sit down and, you know, talk about it. TODAY IS NOT THAT DAY.

    Instead, here’s a Makoto picture! I realized that I completely forgot to feed him on Sunday (which is his feeding day). Sorry, little buddy!


    And now the question: do you have a bottle of Kookaburra Wool Wash on hand? Does it have the ingredients listed? Can you tell me what they are?

    I did an experiment this weekend which dramatically demonstrated that I’m sensitive to sulfates. Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, Ammonium Laureth Sulfate, and Ammonium Lauryl Sulfate are all things which are added to make suds. Shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, laundry soap, dishwashing detergent – you get the picture.

    These things are known to be irritants. I mean, duh. But the rules say it’s okay if it’s going to be washed right off. Well it turns out that this isn’t really the case for a lot of people who have sensitive skin.

    News flash! Irritating chemical irritates.

    In the case of SLS stuff, this irritation can take the form of dandruff, acne, dry skin, and (specific to toothpaste) a variety of stomach/intestinal upsets.

    If you suffer from any of the above conditions, do this: spend 48 hours without coming into contact with SLS, SLES, ALS, or ALES. Go on a “suds fast” for the weekend. For two days, this may mean washing your hair with a vinegar rinse and brushing your teeth without toothpaste (my dentist says this is fine, by the way). If you have a sensitivity, you’ll see a clear difference by the end of the weekend.

    I have a bottle of Dr. Bronner’s on hand, which I’ve been using for shampoo and dishwashing detergent. And some leftover sample soap nuts for laundry. But neither of these work well in cold water – like washing knitting.

    Soak and Eucalan both contain The Bad Stuff. How about Kookaburra? Or do you have any other recommendations? I’m open!

    18 comments to Pic And A Q

    • I don’t have any Kookaburra, but I’m pretty sure it’s made of pixie dust and unicorn snot.

    • Jennifer

      …and a pure maiden’s tears.

      Anyway, for toothpaste, my husband uses Biotene, which doesn’t have any SLS.

    • Dorothy

      I made my second batch of bread from the starter you gave me. It must have been a success because both loaves disappeared very quickly and Zach’s only question was did I save some starter.

      I’ve used baking soda for teethbrushing and liked it. There’s also some tooth paste without Sulfates marketed for people prone to canker sores. As for wool washing, I believe some shampoos now advertise as being SLS free. Since many people use shampoos on their wool, perhaps that’s the thing to look for?

    • Meg McG

      I concur with Dorothy, use a SLS free shampoo. Or heck, why not use the Dr Bronners?

    • Erika

      The Dr. Bronners doesn’t work very well in cold water, alas!

      I’m hoping the Kookaburra is sulfate-free because damn, have you seen the price on SLS-free shampoos lately? I’m kind of in sticker shock!

    • I do all my knit washing in Dr Bronners. Frequently I forget to rinse it out, but then the knitted objects smell really good afterwards.

    • yvette

      you can also use baking soda on your teeth. and, just wondering, does the natural toothpaste, like tom’s of maine, have the bad stuff too?

    • Handmade lye soap doesn’t have any sulfates in it. It works just fine in cold water. It is more alkaline than wool likes so you would have to rinse well and follow with a glug of vinegar.

      But I’m really posting to say that you can hand wash wool in the sink in any temp. I use hot all the time. The colors might bleed but the wool is just fine. Heck, we scour wool in almost boiling water. Just keep agitation to a minimum. Swish, don’t rub.

    • Ditto the hot water for washing woolies. And you can wash your hair with baking soda and optional vinegar rinse. Please do report on your search

    • Deb

      My tiny bottle of Kookaburra doesn’t list ingredients. It says: No peroxide, alkali, phosphates, or enzymes…contains nut oil.

    • No help with the Kookaburra – I’ve never even seen a bottle, let alone read the ingredients…
      I hear ya on the chemical sensitivity. I react to a substance or two, but I haven’t experimented to find out which ones. Makes me not very adventurous in the skin-crap (lotion, deodorant, etc) arena.

    • This might be a dumb question, but can’t you run a hot/warm water sink and suds up the Dr Bronner’s and then just let it cool enough to stick the knitting in it? I have a screaming headache, so maybe this really IS a dumb question.

    • I use Burt’s Bees shampoos and conditioners which don’t have any sulfates in them.

      I order my BB from! They’re cheap!

    • What about 7th Generation-overpriced soap? It’s what I use for baby clothes and undergarment washing.

    • Steph

      I like Charlie’s Soap and SportWash (very similar, I think) for laundry, including wool. Inexpensive, and good for outdoor gear as well. The Charlie’s Soap people might tell you whether they have sulfates. The ingredient list is vague.

      Good luck with avoiding sulfates. I noticed a difference when I switched to Aubrey Organics shampoos (far from the best scents, though) and SLS-free toothpastes.

    • I decided to go the weekend sulfate free as well. Yikes! The prices are outrageous, but if it finally takes care of the acne, I’ll deal with what I have to. Hey, I can take the cost from all the “acne medications” I buy!
      I did a bit of research, and the recommended laundry detergent is All Free&Clear…yay! It’s what I’ve been using forever and it’s got “trace amounts of sulfates.” Here’s to acne free by the end of the week!

    • T.

      Have you looked for Arm & Hammer All Nstural Super Washing Soda ? Touted as a detergent booster and household cleaner. The caution (on the sunshine-yellow box) says, “Contains sodium carbonate”. Is that the kinda washing soda you need?

      The address on the box is HTH

    • Robin

      Fascinating. I’ve already switched to a SLS-free shampoo from Whole Foods — their store brand and surprisingly inexpensive for a 32 oz bottle but now I think I might switch toothpastes too – inexplicable intestinal disorders, anyone?
      I use Mrs Meyers laundry detergent- not cheap but it is concentrated so does a lot of loads and have washed woolens in cold water with it. Another vague list of ingredients: Water, Plant Derived Surfactant, Cotton Extract, Borax, Enzymes, Solubilizing Agent, Essential Oils of Lavender & Orange, Fragrance (Parfum), Preservative.
      I recently bought Charlie’s Soap laundry powder – haven’t used it yet but it states it quickly dissolves in cold water [I bought it as a TSA friendly travel laundry soap] and rinses completely. Lots of tests re biodegradability, etc on web site. Ingredients: all natural washing soda, sodium silicate, and coconut oil based detergent” For any questions you could call them at 800-854-3541.
      Good luck!

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