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THE BASIC CONCEPTS OF ALLERGIES: CLEANING FLUIDS AND LIGHTER FLUIDS

Dry cleaning can be a source of trouble for chemically susceptible persons. Clothes which have been dry-cleaned may retain traces of the fluids used by the cleaning establishment. Some dry cleaners now add soil retardants or moth repellants to the dry cleaning fluids. This is a hazardous practice. Some individuals are so susceptible to these agents that they cannot enter or even inhale the air outside of a dry cleaning shop without feeling sick.

Rug cleaners can also be a source of danger, and for this reason rug cleaning must proceed only when a susceptible person is away from home. The fumes should be allowed to evaporate and air out before he returns. Home cleaning agents, including rug cleaners, should be stored outside the house, a point to which we shall return.

It should be noted that there is an additional unsuspected hazard in over-zealous cleaning of rugs. If the rug or carpet does not dry thoroughly between washings, it makes an ideal environment for molds to grow in. This is especially a danger in hot and humid climates, such as the American South. Molds, as allergy-causing substances, can produce many of the same symptoms as those which are produced by food or chemicals.2

Cigarette lighter fluid is similarly dangerous for the susceptible person and should be eliminated from the home.

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