Can a bleach bath treat chronic eczema?

Answer From Sindhuga Sominidi Damodaran, M.D.

A bath with a small amount of bleach added to the water may help ease symptoms of chronic eczema. Eczema is also called atopic dermatitis.

Eczema is an itchy skin condition, often worsened by a bacterial infection. An eczema bleach bath helps reduce itching, rash and scaling. This is most effective when combined with other eczema treatments, such as medicine and moisturizer.

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

  • Add 1/4 cup (about 59 milliliters) of bleach to a 20-gallon (about 125-liter) bathtub filled with warm water. Or add 1/2 cup (about 118 milliliters) to a full tub. Measures are for a U.S. standard-sized tub filled to the overflow drainage holes. Use household bleach and read the product label.

    In the United States, bleach products may contain 6% to 8.25% sodium hypochlorite, the Environmental Protection Agency says. If the concentration of sodium hypochlorite is at the higher end of that range, use less than 1/2 cup of bleach.

  • Soak from the neck down or just the affected areas of skin for 5 to 10 minutes. Don't rub your eyes.
  • Rinse with water. Gently pat dry with a towel.
  • Apply a generous amount of moisturizer while your skin is still damp.
  • Take a bleach bath once or twice a week.

You may get dry skin if you use too much bleach or take bleach baths too often. If your skin is cracked or very dry, any bath may be painful. Talk to your healthcare professional before trying an eczema bleach bath. Ask about other products that might be more convenient than a bleach bath, such as bleach-like body washes.


Sindhuga Sominidi Damodaran, M.D.

June 26, 2024 See more Expert Answers