I saw a meme the other day that showed laundry as the adult’s version of the “Never Ending Story”. Boy is that true! This is especially true for those with psoriasis. When my disease was at its worse, I (and by I, I mean my wife) had to change the sheets up to three times a week. My skin would ooze and bleed on an almost constant basis. This soiled not only my sheets, but also my clothes. When you live like this long enough, you develop “skills” on how to deal with it.
If you have had this disease even for a minute, you realize quickly that bleeding is going to happen. Often my skin is so tight, like an overfilled water balloon, that it will break at the slightest touch. This is especially true at night, which is why my sheets have to be changed so often. I itch without even realizing it while I sleep, and the result is the lower half of my sheets looking like a cat fight had ensued. One may think “just buy dark sheets!”, but unfortunately, dark sheets magnify flakes, which makes the bed feel even dirtier.
So what happens when your sheets (or pants, or shirt, or socks) get stained? Well, there are a number of remedies that could work, but this is what I have found most successful.
Soak in cold water
This is a MUST. Do not let your stained linens near warm water or (gasp!) a dryer. That is a sure fire way to set the stain. I used to soak my linens in the bathtub, but it honestly looked like a crime scene. Plus, not to sound wimpy, but it felt gross to put my dirty stuff in a place where I clean myself. The basin in your washing machine works just fine. Soak for about an hour, do a gentle agitation, and then run through a regular wash cycle.
Treat set stains
If you didn’t know you were supposed to use cold water and already set a stain— fret not! My mother-in-law showed me a great easy trick to save me from having eternally spotty sheets: Dawn dish liquid. Rub some of the dish liquid right on the stain and let it sit for 24 hours. Rub the spot about half way through the day with a wash cloth if it is an especially tough spot. After that, follow the instructions above.
If you are getting a stain out of a smaller area, you can also soak the entire piece in a bowl of hydrogen peroxide for an hour. Just be sure to rinse out with cold water.
Choose the right detergent
Using the right detergent is also crucial. It may seem obvious to stay away from perfumes and dyes, but I CANNOT STRESS IT ENOUGH! If you are like me, even the slightest scent in a detergent can make my skin ignite. You definitely do not want burning skin when you are trying to sleep. I have three kids, so sensitive baby detergent flows a plenty at my house, but before kids, I felt weird buying it (don’t judge) so I used a free and clear variety from my local warehouse store. Just be sure to read the ingredients and look for as minimal ingredients as possible. You may also be one of those awesome self-sufficient people and choose to make your own detergent! Just skip anything smelly.
After all of that hard work, you are going to want to try and keep your fabrics in tip-top shape! For nighttime protection, I try and wear long socks and/or long pants (depending on the season). There are also cotton gloves that are helpful to wear at night. This will keep you from damaging the skin while you sleep. I would caution against trying to put bandages on cracked skin. I have found that the adhesive irritates the skin around the crack and causes a bigger issue.
Have any other tips that have worked for you? Have a question about daily life tasks and psoriasis, ask the community!