Have you ever thought about how much a thick coating of Aquaphor on your skin multiple times a day would completely saturate and eventually destroy your clothes?
Yeah, probably not. But, wow. Aquaphor is fierce for skin moisturizing, but so hard on laundry!
It actually took me a while not to be sad about ruining Brenna’s clothes. I wouldn’t even want to use some of the “nicer” clothing items we’d been given. But I’m over it. Because she just looks so darn cute. And she uses clothes about 20 times longer than most kids since she grows so slowly, so we get our money’s worth!
It also helps that, through trial and error, I’ve figured out how to preserve her clothes much longer – and ours.
I’m definitely a laundry person…which works out well, because Brenna goes through laundry like crazy!
I think this was about 2.5 days. To save you from counting, there are 12 outfits there. Not pictured are her towels, socks, hats, etc!
But now I feel like I have a winning game plan when it comes to laundry that has made a noticeable difference with her clothes and with our machine…
Step 1: Soak the clothes in hot water with powdered Oxi-Clean, preferably for a couple of hours. This really seems to break up and loosen the Aquaphor.
Step 2: Wash in hot water on “heavy cycle” with detergent AND anti-grease cleaner. I have had good luck with Stanley’s Original Degreaser, but I currently use Dawn dishwashing detergent most of the time. I also do a medium-sized load but run it as a full load.
Step 3: Be amazed at the grease.
The inside top ring of our washer after a Brenna load…
Step 4: Dry as usual. I don’t use a dryer sheet in Brenna’s laundry because it doesn’t really need it. (Someone on Facebook did point out that the heat from a dryer actually makes the Aquaphor/grease soak into the clothing even more…so hand-dry if there is something you want to save from this.)
Step 5: Clean your washer. I use paper towels to scrape off all of the grease that I can, both on the inside of the washer and inside the ring. It took me a while to figure out that the Aquaphor builds up in the ring…when I finally discovered it, it was COATED with thick Aquaphor and anything else that sticks to Aquaphor (ahem, cat hair. yuck.)
Step 6. Run an empty heavy load on full with hot water and a degreaser. I use Dawn dish detergent for this task.
And now your washer is good to go for the next non-greased load of laundry!
As for what washing machines work better, a top loader is definitely preferred over a front loader. But many ichthyosis families just use a cheap washer and replace it when it goes out.
I know for certain in our next house, when we move hopefully in a couple of years, we’d like to try to have one washer for Brenna and one washer for the rest of us, to keep our clothes separate from the Aquaphor-soaked clothes. I’m glad that we are figuring out exactly what we/Brenna need for our next house (hopefully our ‘forever home’), so we can house-hunt with her needs in mind (I’m looking at you, bathroom.)
Eventually, I do end up pitching most of Brenna’s sleepers and outfits that she wears on a daily basis because after months and months of use, they are done. But I’ve been able to save a decent amount of clothing that she only wears a handful of times now. I really try to make a concerted effort to save clothes that can be saved!
So if you’re ever in the situation where you have some greased up clothes…I hope this helps 🙂
My book, A Different Beautiful, is now available for order!
Interested in reading more with your kids about differences and being yourself? You can download a guide to the best children’s books on differences and disabilities when you subscribe to my monthly email newsletter! Follow me on Facebook and Instagram.