Monday, October 27, 2008

Hazards of Clotheslines

As some of you may remember from previous blog posts, I have been doing laundry by hand and drying it on a clothesline whenever possible. Well, recently I learned a valuable lesson.

Our clothesline is located about 20-25 feet from our fenceline near the road. My husband moved it there to make it more convenient for me. Our back steps are made of large flat stones that tend to get slippery at times. So the clothesline was moved from behind to house to the front, which also put it close to our daughter's play area & sand box.

A couple of weeks ago while changing diapers, I noticed a little rash on both of the kids. I didn't think anything of it, since diaper rashs do sometimes happen, especially if they slept through the night or have eaten a new food the day before. I treated the rash and thought nothing of it.

Well, the kids are finally nearing the end of their rash. My husband's mother told me what she thought the cause of the rash was after seeing it when she had the kids at her home last Saturday. Poison Ivy! Who would ever think that you can get poison ivy from hanging out the wash?!!!

It seems that if you have poison ivy growing anywhere in the area and the wind is blowing the across the poison ivy towards your clothesline, the oils from the poison ivy can be carried by the wind to your clothing. The kids' diapers were hung on the clothesline and there is poison ivy near the fence.

What is confirming the poison ivy theory for me is that the rashes were not getting better when diaper rash ointment was used. Our daughter's was the worst and had about 6 small blisters that continued to grow a little bit. When her diaper rubbed up against the blisters, they would break open. I began treating them with Neosporin instead since the rash was opened up and used plain cornstarch instead of a powder. This has affected the rash the most. The rash is nearly healed now on both of the litle ones.

I would never have considered that poison ivy could get on your laundry that way. For now, until I am able to move the clothesline or get clothes drying racks for indoors I am drying their diapers n the electric dryer again.

If you have hay fever, never place you clothesline anywhere near ragweed or other plants that have pollens that can be blown onto your laundry and cause an allergic reaction. My in-laws have had problems with that in the past.

I hope that this information will benefit someone and help prevent the same problems from occurring to their family.


Paula said...

You mentioned not hanging the clothesline near ragweed (my son is asthmatic), but ragweed is EVERYWHERE! It is blown around. The allergist said that while we could get rid of the ragweed in our yard, in order to fully help our son we would have to get rid of the ragweed in our neighbor's yard, and the next yard and the next (well you get the idea). I have been wanting a clothesline and we were going to get one for this summer.

What would you suggest as far as line drying clothes without being able to do it outside? Thanks again for your blog(s) and all you share!

Prairie Mom said...

You may have to do what I will be doing this winter. Get either a clothes drying rack to set up in your home or, if you have an area where it can be done, put up a clothesline in a room of the home.

I know people who have a clothesline in their basement, laundry room, or bathroom. You will want it in a location where the clothing will dry well and not be in your way.

I am going to be buying a clothes drying rack to set up in the kitchen near the wood stove. This will make a nice location for us as the little ones' diapers and such will dry fastest near the stoves.

If you have an enclosed garage, you may consider putting up a clothesline in there or on an enclosed porch.

I hope this helps.

Christy said...

I always use our clothesline, and I have never thought about that. Thank you so much for the information!! Our littlest one has allergies and sometimes it is so much worse than others, this could be part of it!! This is my first time to your blog and I really enjoyed your posts!! Is there a way to few a page with all of your posts on it??? computer may just be having problems, that is typical!! :)

Prairie Mom said...

Thank you for the comments. I used to have the blog set up so that more than one entry was on a page, but it made the page way too long. Unfortunately, whether I have it set up as I do now, or set up so that many posts are show at a time, there will be readers who have trouble with the set up. So, I opted for the cleaner appearance of only 1 blog at a time. I will go back and check and see if there is a way to add a few more per page without it making the pages so long.

Michelle H. said...

I'd never heard of poison ivy getting on clothing but I had heard that hanging out clothes can make allergies worse. I have a system that seems to work for us. I hang jeans on a hanger in the carport and lighter items I hang on a drying rack in the washroom. This seems to work okay for us. Hope this helps.