Bleach Baths for Babies?
Q: Are there any problems with giving bleach baths to a 6-month-old baby with eczema? Can the baby’s skin tolerate bleach baths? What is the ideal concentration for the bleach bath for my baby? How long does it take for the bleach bath to have a positive effect? Is it possible that for some individuals, bleach baths might have no effect whatsoever or even worsen the condition?
A: We think bleach baths with the recommended amount of bleach are dilute enough to be safe. For a full bath we tend to use about ¼ to ½ cup of bleach per full tub. This is about the strength of a swimming pool (and there is some variability with chlorination of swimming pools). For baby tubs or buckets the calculation is more difficult, so we suggest half a tea-spoon, which is a little bit stronger but still should be very safe. That said, we ask that you dilute the bleach even more if there seems to be any stinging, burning, pain or irritation with the baths.
As for your question about effectiveness, we think that bleach baths are probably helpful for people with only some subtypes of eczema, particularly those who get very infected or have lots of open, oozing lesions. We usually see a positive effect within one to two weeks when it does help.