Allergic To My Tumble Dryer!


Having M.E sometimes turns me into a super sleuth. Just call me Miss Marple! Trying to work out exactly what has caused a symptoms flare can often be a fruitless task, purely because of the complex nature of our illness but sometimes the cause of discomfort can be nailed down and prevented.

Many M.E patients have sensitivities to sound, noise, chemicals, and odour. My own sensitivity to odour has been heightened over the past year or so. In particular, sensitivities have flared dramatically when I am washing clothes and bed sheets. I am going to give you a timeline of my investigations to show how my super sleuth conclusion came about!

5 years ago – My tree pollen allergy flared and I had to stop drying my clothes and bed sheets outside on the washing line as the odour caused a reaction in my respiratory tract and I had breathing difficulties. So, drying everything on clothes airers indoors began. Bed sheets were dried in the tumble drier though just for speedy ‘get them back on the bed’ turnaround. Allergy – prevented.

1 year ago – Breathing difficulties, sinus problems, itchy/watery eyes started whenever I put on freshly washed clothes or slept in just-washed bed sheets. I realised that my parents had recently changed their┬ábrand of washing liquid so I started buying my own hypo-allergenic brand. I had to try 4 brands before I found one that I didn’t react to. Problem solved.

4 months ago – We needed a new tumble dryer. We bought a new condenser tumble dryer. As it was a nice hot early summer I was able to hang the sheets in our hot conservatory and they dried in a couple of hours. Perfect! Allergy-risk free!

3 months ago – Breathing difficulties, sinus problems, itchy/watery eyes re-started but this time only when I was in bed. What was going on?! It was a rainy week and I had used the shiny new tumble drier to dry my sheets (more of that in a bit) I wondered if my allergic reaction was because my head was in such close proximity to a┬ájust-washed pillowcase and duvet cover. So, maybe I was still allergic to the hypo-allergenic washing liquid?! I changed to Eco eggs that have zero chemicals in them. Allergies disappeared again. Great!

1 month ago – The really hot summer came to an end and I had to start drying bedsheets in the tumble dryer again. Breathing difficulties, sinus problems, itchy/watery eyes reappeared. For goodness sake! Has anyone else got a condenser tumble dryer? Have you ever sniffed inside the drum? Ours smells metallic/musty. The exact same smell that is on my sheets at night after they’ve been washed.

I Googled to see if anyone else had the same problem. I didn’t see anything about allergic reactions but lots of people in forums have said that they also notice a metallic/musty smell inside their condenser tumble drier that they found unpleasant. Not just me then!! Well, apart from the allergic reaction thing!

If any of you are, like I was, driving yourself crazy trying to work out what you are allergic to, sometimes you have to think outside of the box!

The Callow house will now look like a Chinese laundry as I attempt to avoid pollen of various forms and the demon tumble dryer!

What a palaver!


(and Foggy OBVIOUSLY)