Can Homemade Soap Containing Fels-Naptha Cause a Rash?

I have used the homemade soap and loved it. It cleans well and is cheap. I started using it in January of 2011. In February I started with a rash on my head. After about a month the rash started on different parts of my body. I have about gone crazy itching.


I have been to several Dr.'s and they can't come up with the reason for the rash. The only thing I can think of is the soap I have been using. Could Fels-Naptha be my problem?

By Jeannine H.

June 1, 20110 found this helpful

It could very well be caused be the soap. If you've never had the allergic skin reaction before and then started having the reaction after doing your laundry that is what the problem is.

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful

I think it is your soap. I can not remember exactly why I know this, but I heard growing up to avoid naptha in all respects. It is a chemical perhaps related to lye. I will look it up and get back to you but it is an 'old-fashioned' product and not all of them are worthy of re-introduction.

When America introduced detergent I lived in a country where women still washed by hand in tubs. One day at our local shops one woman mentioned her itchy skin and showed a rash up to her elbows, all the women around had the same thing. It was easy to realize it was detergent which we had never used before. The ingredient was eventually banned. I will let you know what that was too.

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful

Depending on any other symptoms you might have besides the itching, it could be psoriasis. This is a rash/itch that can lay dormant for years and all of a sudden show up for the first time. I would consult a doctor/dermatologist.

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June 2, 20110 found this helpful

I grew up using Fels Naptha as a laundry soap, and have used it to wash my hair and as a bath bar when we didn't have anything else. We're talking about the days of the 1940's when all soap could be hard to get.

My Mother would wash many items of clothing by hand, and if anyone was going to get a rash from that particular soap, she certainly would have.

All that being said, anyone can develop dry skin from almost any soap if they have delicate skin in the first place or if they simply have a period of sensitivity. I am still buying and using Fels Naptha soap bars and we still are OK with it. It makes wonderful homemade laundry soap providing it's mixed with the proper ingredients. That is very important.

Did you make the laundry soap yourself? If you did and you know you made it right, then it could be the laundry soap causing the problem. Usually, doctors ask right away what cosmetics etc you use, and I'd think they would have picked up on the fact that you are using a homemade laundry soap and questioned you about it.

If it were me, I would start using a laundry soap like maybe Arm and Hammer and see if after a couple of weeks you were better, and if not, go to see an allergist. I'm not sure I'd be able to wait a couple of weeks more. You must be very miserable with an itchy rash that doctors don't know what is causing it. I wish you the best.


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June 3, 20110 found this helpful

A person can be sensitive to something, that doesn't bother someone else. It could be your soap. However, it could be something else obvious that your doctors have overlooked. I had an itch for several months, went to the doctor, to the allergist, and they could find nothing to account for it. When I went to the dermatologist, he said it was scabies. Two treatments, and no more itch. Now my family doctor has diagnosed scabies for other people (kids who have been at camp, for instance) lots of times, but for some reason couldn't figure this out It might also be a rash caused by stress. I would stop using the homemade soap first, and then if that doesn't fix the problem, go to a dermatologist.

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June 4, 20110 found this helpful

Fels Naptha is not related to lye. Lye is part of soap and is not cancer-causing. Besides, lye is used up in the chemical reaction process of making soap and does not appear in the final product. That being said, you should not use Fels Naptha or Octagon in your soap -making. Use Zote, Lirio, Dr. Bronner's, Kirk's, or any other castile soap, or laundry bar soap. You can find them on line or at Hispanic or Afro-Carribbean stores. Fels and Octagon contain a chemical that was added to the original formula way back when to increase the stain removal power. It causes kidney, lung, nerve problems, and is not safe for contact with human skin. It makes no difference what other ingredients are present or how you make your soap. you can use them for washing walls and floors and wear gloves at all times Some people are more sensitive than others in terms of rashes and cancer and other problems can take decades to develop.

In terms of your rash, stop using anything but, castille soap or baby soap. It takes 6 weeks for an allergen or offending agent to clear from your system. You could have an allergy, seborhheic dermatitis( a type of dandruff due to fungus), head lice, anything. You need to see a dermatologist who can do a biopsy if necessary or take scalp scrapings. change all pillow cases, hair brushes, hats, etc, daily until you find out what it is. Do not share hair items, hats and wash your hands after touching your hair.

The best way to diagnose a rash is by inspection-looking at it, getting a history, and them doing necessary tests. Do not put anything on the rash because it could interfere wit the diagnosis. Go as soon as possible.

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July 3, 20110 found this helpful

I did a google search of "Fels Naptha rash" and had more info that I could possibly use in 3 seconds. It was quickly evident that that is probably your problem hope you didn't spend to much going to DR's. I found " It is prominently noted on the packaging that Fels-Naptha is a skin irritant, and that one should do their damnedest to avoid prolonged contact with the skin."

"Although placed with the hand soaps, Fels-Naptha is explicitly designed for the purpose of washing laundry, and is a skin irritant". It was noted by some this product is a good laundry stain remover. And can work well to remove poison oak oil from skin or a once in awhile hand cleaner for especially dirty hand like automotive grease.

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November 26, 20110 found this helpful

It may be a coincidence. Winter tends to dry out skin and scalp increase your fluids we tend to not drink as much in winter check for allergens, in winter people only think of plant allergies, but in reality we have a lot of stuff drug in on people's shoes - here in Maine that means the molds and mildews from rotted leaves etc, wet shoes on carpets etc, etc.

If youare using a laundry soap:

how hot is the water in washer? is it hot enough to break down soaps? Don't forget clothes, sheets etc tend to have soap left in them if you use the amount of detergent on the box or label. You may need to add more water to the bucket. It might be too strong.

Are you stirring it up before using it?

The rinse cycle may need to be repeated. Try adding vinegar to the rinse water.

We use as a bath soap here and have had no issues - using it for over 35 years.

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