Guidelines For Visiting The Chemically Injured
Guiding Principles To Follow
Since you don’t want to inadvertently make the Chemically Injured person sicker, we developed some guiding principles for you to follow in your preparation for a visit with him or her. These are not rules – only guiding principles. However, you should always keep in mind that the sicker the person is, the stricter the guidelines must be followed!
- Do not wear any kind of insect repellent on your person.
- Do not have scent of any kind on your person. For a chemically injured individual, the words “No Scent”, means No Scent on your entire person. This includes your hair, your skin and your clothes.
- Do not have any odour of any kind on your person - your hair, your skin and your clothes.
- Never use the products that claim to cover, mask or remove all scent, which usually are made from toxic chemicals. A chemically injured person becomes ill by the toxic chemicals that produce the odour, not by the scent itself.
Skin and Hair
- Do not wear perfume or cologne of any kind.
- Do not wear any kind of scented product, this includes essential oils.
- Always check to ensure that there is nothing scented on your person. Review all the personal care products you are using and make certain they are all unscented. This would include:
- Hair Sprays
- Hair Gels
- Hair Perms
- Hair Straighteners
- Hair Dyes or Bleach
- Shaving Cream
- After-Shave Lotion
- Sanitary Napkins
- And so on
Helpful Tips To Remove Scent From Skin And Hair
- Scented skin products will often wash off the skin with one to four washings.
- If it is a stubborn scent on your skin, try using 99% isopropyl alcohol, as this will often cut through the scent and remove it. However, you will then need to wash off the smell of isopropyl alcohol.
- Scented hair products are often difficult to wash out. They might wash out in four to seven washings. Use an unscented shampoo to wash out the scent. However, if the hair products are heavily scented, it might take 30 or more washings to remove the scent. You will know you are making progress if the scent smell lessens over a period of a number of washings.
- Sadly, some products are scented in such a way that the scent is not removable – it will not wash out. This is especially true with some hair dyes and some hair perms. When the scent is not removed by washing, it is only removed by cutting the hair.
- If you cannot remove the scent from your hair, one possibility is to cover your hair with a plastic cap that has little or no plastic smell. This will act as a barrier keeping the scent from your hair contained. However, this must first be verified with the chemically injured person, as many chemically injured individuals can’t tolerate exposure to any plastic smell.
- Do not wear new clothing, until the ‘new clothing’ smell is washed out.
- Always review the clothes you will wear. Do not wear clothing that retains the smell of:
- Scented Detergent
- Scented Fabric Softener
- Stain Removers
- Dry Cleaning Solutions
- Perfume or Cologne
- Scented Sachets
- Cedar Chips
- Moth Balls
- Paints or Glues
- Gas or Diesel Fumes
- Oil or Grease
- Asphalt or Tar
- Cigarette Smoke
- Smoke of any Kind
- Insect Repellents
- And so on
Helpful Tips To Remove Scent And Odour From Clothing
- Getting scent out of clothes is just as difficult as getting it out of hair. Scent is usually made from a group of chemicals called VOCs or Volatile Organic Compounds. Heat makes the scent vapourize and leave the garment. Therefore, heat is usually a necessity, in order to remove scent from clothing.
- Consequently, the clothes are washed in hot water, with baking soda and unscented soap. The hot water helps get the scent out of the clothes; the baking soda absorbs the scent to prevent it from going back into the fabric; and the unscented soap helps prevent the baking soda from making the clothes stiff.
- When it is determined that there is no more scent in the clothes, then they go through a soap wash to remove any remaining baking soda. Optionally, an additional clear wash may also be done at the end, as an extra rinse cycle.
- The number of times the clothes need to go through the baking soda wash will depend on the degree of scent that needs to be removed.
- New clothing is often easier to make unscented than clothing that has been laundered with scented laundry products. The “new clothing smell” washes out easier than the smell of scented laundry products. Some new clothing is treated with formaldehyde and it takes approximately six baking soda washes to remove the formaldehyde. (follow the instructions of # 2 to 4)
- Never wash unscented clothing with scented clothing, as the scent will be transferred to the unscented clothing, and all of the clothing will become scented.
- Some laundry products are designed in such a way that the scent is permanent – it will never wash out. Garments washed with these laundry products can never be made unscented.
- To remove other odours from your clothes, follow the instructions of # 2 to 4.
- If the washing machine that is being used has had scented laundry detergent or scented fabric softener used in it, you will need to first removed the scent from the washing machine. If you don’t, the scent on the washing machine will transfer onto the clothes.
- First, using a cloth with clear water, wipe down the entire washing machine, inside and out, removing all soap residue.
- Next do a full load wash, using hot water (as hot as possible) and a cup of baking soda. Don’t put any clothing in this wash, as you are really washing the machine, and you want the baking soda to remove the scent from the washing machine.
- Check to see if the scent is gone.
- If the scent is still there, but diminished, it means you will probably succeed in your goal. Therefore, you need to just repeat step B until the scent is completely gone.
- If the scent is still there, and if it is just as strong, it probably means that the scent is not removable. The clothes will need to be have the scent removed using a different machine.
- It is advisable to hang the clothes to dry in a scent free place, rather than put them in a dryer. This is due to the fact that most scented fabric softeners and scented dryer sheets leave a scent residue on the dryer drum, which is extremely difficult to remove.
General Helpful Tips
- Ask the person you are planning to visit for suggestions on what soaps, other personal care products, and laundry products you could use.
- Put the clothes you will wear to visit a chemically injured person in a paper bag or in a cellophane bag. This will protect the clothes from picking up scent or an odour from other scented clothing or things close by.
- Remember that each person is unique in their individual tolerance levels. For some individuals there will be a need to be very strict in following these guidelines; and for other individuals a general reduction in scent will be adequate.
- You will never go wrong by being completely scent free and odour free.
Following these guidelines is a challenge; but not an impossible challenge. A great many people not only succeed, but they also discover that their own sense of smell becomes revitalized and drastically improved. Typically, the chemically injured person that you are visiting will deeply appreciate your efforts.
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