What is the best soap/detergent for washing plastic pants?


Diabetes, type-2
Est. Contributor
  1. Incontinent
1675099182103.pngI've been using just a teensy bit of Tide Free and Gentle to wash away the urine smells of my plastic pants. I usually wait until I have 2+ pairs to wash. But I wondered if perhaps there is a better, but safe and perhaps lower cost detergent to use.

I usually wash them inside out, with 2-3 rinses and towel dry. Then they are hung for complete dryness. The process seems a bit tedious but the pants seem to like it. 😁
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I’ve had the best luck with washing mine in warm water and aloe vera soft soap and hanging them, without rinsing, over the shower head. The aloe vera seems to help prolong the plasticizers in life vinyl.
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I've lately been using Tide Free & Gentle for my cloth diapers. I used to throw my vinyl and PUL pants into the wash with the diapers, but lately I've just been washing them in the sink with a little hand soap and hanging them up. The vinyl pants don't seem to need much more. The PUL pants can be stubbornly smelly at times, and when that happens I presoak them overnight in water + borax (which I already do for my diapers because I have hard water) and then hand-wash the next day. I'll add that I'm usually not dealing with poop.
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I have also been using a tiny bit of Tide Free & Gentle with warm water in the sink targeting the bands as they seem to hold color and odder. Also rinse with warm water. I am very lucky as we have soft water. Use pant leg hangers to hang them.

I am going to look into aloe vera soft soap, thanks.
my wife just washed and dries my pul pants with the rest of the laundry, dryer too, they seem to hold up.
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I wash mine with other laundry but hang to dry, I also cut way back on the fabric softener when I have plastic pants inthe load. Washing instructions said to use the softener occasionally.
I found this narrative at www.fetware.com:
Never ever use detergent of any kind to wash plastic pants. Always use SOAP. Detergent is made from soap, but it also contains degreasers that may strip out the softening agents mixed into the plastic during manufacturing. Soap will not harm plastic. An easy way to make sure you never use detergent on your plastic pants is to use only a soap that you would use to wash your face. Any bar soap or liquid brand is fine, as well as anti-bacterial soap.
Based upon that, it appears that I can just us a bit of hand soap when I wash in the sink.
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This is on the website where I purchase mine. Pretty much the same as cautions as Fetware
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I don't know why it took me so long to discover this but I recently found that adding some cleaning grade vinegar to the water initially, does a great job of removing that stale pee smell from my plastic pants. That smell is completely eliminated. After an initial vinegar wash and rinse, I then do the hand soap soak and rinse and then everything comes out clean and smelling peachy.

Vinegar is used for soaking cloth diapers in a pail to keep the smell under control. Being a weak acetic acid, vinegar counter acts the ammonia (a base). I don't think it harms the PVC (when diluted with water), so this seems useful for washing for plastic pants. Cleaning grade vinegar is relatively cheap to buy and you don't need full strength for it to do its job.

Note that the compatibility chart found here, lists the effect of chemicals on PVC for a 48 hour period. I don't recommend soaking them that long!

Acetic AcidD-Severe Effect
Acetic Acid 20%D-Severe Effect
Acetic Acid 80%C-Fair

Ratings: Chemical Effect
A = Excellent.
B = Good, Minor Effect, slight corrosion or discoloration
C = Fair, Moderate Effect, not recommended for continuous use. Softening, loss of strength, or swelling may occur.
D = Severe Effect, not recommended for ANY use.
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I use PUL (polyurethane laminated polyester) pants. The care instructions mention that washing them with detergent is fine.
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PoofsNFloofs said:
I use PUL (polyurethane laminated polyester) pants. The care instructions mention that washing them with detergent is fine.
That is true, but they do affect the life. It is very important to read the fine print regarding moisturizers and other chemicals that are commonly found as part of detergents. In the vast majority of time, the term 'mild' will appear.
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