Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Eczema bleach bath: Can it improve my symptoms?

What is a bleach bath? Can it treat chronic eczema symptoms?

Updated: 08-18-2011

Answer

An eczema bleach bath — a bath with a small amount of bleach added to the water — may help lessen symptoms of chronic eczema (atopic dermatitis), an itchy skin condition.

A bacterial infection often accompanies eczema, worsening symptoms. An eczema bleach bath is thought to kill the bacteria on the skin, reducing itching, redness and scaling. This is most effective when combined with other eczema treatments, such as medication and moisturizers.

If properly diluted and used as directed, a bleach bath is safe for both children and adults. For best results:

  • Add 1/2 cup (118 milliliters) of bleach to a 40-gallon (151-liter) bathtub filled with warm water (measures are for a U.S.-standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes).
  • Soak the limbs and torso or just the affected areas of skin for five to 10 minutes. Do not submerge the head.
  • Dry skin thoroughly, and generously apply moisturizer.
  • Take a bleach bath no more than twice a week.

A bleach bath can cause skin dryness if too much bleach is used or if the bath is done too often. If your skin is cracked or extremely dry, any bath — including a bleach bath — may be painful. Talk to your doctor before trying an eczema bleach bath.

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