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Understanding the Risks When a Baby Eats Laundry Detergent Powder

An Overview of the Hazard: Baby Ingesting Laundry Detergent Powder

Almost every household stores cleaning products like laundry detergent powder for daily use. While these products effectively clean our clothes, they can also pose a potential danger due to the chemicals used in their manufacture. An unsuspecting baby may ingest laundry detergent powder without realizing its hazardous impacts. This article delves into why babies might eat laundry detergent powder, the dangers it presents, and the preventive measures you can take.

Why Do Babies Eat Laundry Detergent Powder?

Babies are naturally curious and always eager to explore the world around them. As they start to crawl and walk, they engage with their environment using all their senses, including taste. Since they lack the capacity to distinguish between toxic and non-toxic substances, they may end up tasting everything within their reach, including laundry detergent powder.

Detergents often have a sweet smell that can attract a baby, leading them to mistake it for edible material.

The Toxic Nature of Laundry Detergent Powder

Most laundry products, including detergent powder, contain harmful chemicals that are toxic both to humans and the environment. When a baby ingests laundry detergent powder, these chemicals can cause substantial harm to their bodily organs, potentially leading to serious complications or even death.

Consequences of a Baby Eating Laundry Detergent Powder

Despite their pleasant aroma and ability to freshen clothes, laundry detergents can cause significant harm when ingested. Among other harmful chemicals, laundry detergent powder can lead to irritations in the throat, nose, and skin, carcinogenic effects, and severe cases may even lead to liver and kidney damage.

Immediate Actions if Your Baby Eats Laundry Detergent Powder

Should you discover your baby has eaten laundry detergent powder, it is crucial to seek medical attention immediately. Keep a sample of the detergent on hand for examination by the doctor. Meanwhile, the following first aid steps can be taken:

  • Ensure the baby doesn’t ingest any further substance.
  • Prevent the baby from drinking anything to avoid induced vomiting that could further harm the airways.
  • Keep the baby conscious and awake.
  • Rinse any leftover detergent from the baby’s mouth and other surfaces with water to prevent further ingestion.
  • If possible, help the baby rinse his or her mouth with water, ensuring that they do not swallow it.

Preventive Measures to Protect Your Baby

It’s crucial to remember that preventing a baby from ingesting hazardous substances is always better than dealing with the aftermath. As such, be aware of the dangers that household products like laundry detergent powder pose to your baby.

Common causes of detergent poisoning include improper closing of detergent containers and failure to store them out of a child’s reach. Keeping these potentially harmful substances away from your baby is essential, especially when they begin to crawl or walk and explore their surroundings.

FAQ About Baby Ingesting Laundry Detergent Powder

Baby Ate Laundry Detergent Powder: What Happens?

When a baby ingests laundry detergent powder, harmful chemicals contained in these products can harm their bodily organs, potentially leading to severe complications, and even death in extreme cases. The exact effects will vary depending on the amount ingested and the specific product consumed, but generally, symptoms can include irritation of the throat, nose, and skin, and carcinogenic effects. In severe cases, there could even be liver and kidney damage.

Causes of Baby Eating Laundry Detergent Powder

Babies are innately curious and often explore their environment by putting objects in their mouth. Household products with appealing scents or colorful packaging, like laundry detergent powder, can be particularly enticing. Often, ingestion happens when these substances are not securely stored out of a baby’s reach.

Immediate Actions to Take When a Baby Ingests Laundry Detergent Powder

What to Do When a Baby Eats Washing Powder

If you suspect that your baby has ingested laundry detergent powder, it’s crucial to take immediate action:

  1. Seek professional medical attention as soon as possible.
  2. If you can, bring a sample of the detergent for the doctor to examine.
  3. Before medical help arrives, rinse the baby’s mouth with water to remove any leftover detergent, ensuring they don’t swallow the water.

The First Step When a Child Ingests a Toxic Substance

The first step upon realizing a child has ingested a toxic substance, like laundry detergent powder, is to seek immediate medical help. If you are unable to reach a healthcare professional promptly, you may contact a poison control center. While awaiting help, prevent the child from consuming any more of the substance and keep them calm.

The Dangers of Other Household Cleaning Products

What Happens If a Child Swallows Laundry Detergent or Dish Detergent?

Ingesting laundry detergent or dish detergent can result in similar harmful effects due to the chemicals present in these products. A child may experience symptoms like vomiting, stomach upset, breathing difficulties, and, in severe cases, changes in heart rate or even loss of consciousness.

Dangers of Drinking Dishwashing Liquid and First Aid Measures

Like laundry detergent, dishwashing liquid is also hazardous when ingested. If a child drinks dishwashing liquid, they could suffer from symptoms such as stomach upset, vomiting, and, in severe cases, difficulty breathing. As an immediate measure, rinse the child’s mouth with water and seek medical attention promptly.

Safety Measures to Prevent Ingestion of Household Cleaning Products

Storing Cleaning Products Safely

To prevent accidents, always store household cleaning products, including laundry detergent and dishwashing liquid, out of children’s reach. Ensure containers are securely closed after each use.

Understanding Product Labelling

Always read and understand product labels for household cleaning products. They usually contain important safety information and instructions on what to do in case of accidental ingestion or exposure.

The Impact of Laundry Detergent on Human Health

Is Laundry Detergent Harmful to Humans?

Laundry detergents can be harmful to humans when ingested or when they come in direct contact with the skin. They can cause a range of reactions from mild irritations to severe internal injuries depending on the quantity and the individual’s sensitivity.

Can Babies Be Allergic to Washing Powder?

Yes, some babies can be allergic to certain washing powders. Symptoms of an allergic reaction can include skin rashes, hives, and breathing difficulties. If you suspect your baby is allergic to a certain washing powder, stop using it immediately and consult a healthcare professional.

What Happens If You Get Laundry Detergent on Your Skin?

Direct skin contact with laundry detergent can cause irritation, redness, and in some cases, a rash. If detergent comes into contact with your skin, rinse the area thoroughly with water. If irritation persists, seek medical advice.


Laundry detergent powder, despite its inviting smell and crucial role in keeping our clothes clean, poses a significant risk to babies. Apart from ingestion, even inhaling these detergents can prove harmful. Hence, ensure these products are always beyond a child’s reach. A few precautions can make a substantial difference in ensuring your baby’s safety.

How Can Help

At, our focus extends beyond helping your baby establish healthy sleep patterns. We also offer insights on a range of baby-related topics, including safety issues such as the risks associated with babies eating laundry detergent powder. We strive to provide comprehensive information to help ensure your child’s overall well-being.