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Bleach Prescribed to Relieve Eczema Itching: Talk About a Toxic Bath!

bleach baths for eczema?

Editor’s note: The following post was originally published on Green and Clean Mom. “Green & Clean Mom can inspire you to try a little harder, be a catalyst for change and to offer you some new tips and news on how to be the green, sexy and sassy mom…I know you are!”

The New York Times recently reported that a  study was just published in the Journal of Pediatrics showing the children who took a bath in a half a cup of bleach per full standard tub were relieved of their eczema related itching. The bleach apparently had very little odor and the children were relieved of the itching. One article totes the solution of using bleach in the bath with children as “safe, simple and inexpensive…” and I’m trying to figure out how the hell this is safe.  Something is seriously messed up about this and I’m feeling very sick over the idea of a child breathing the toxic fumes, having their body exposed to the toxic substance when bath time should be a safe place to play. Do the children drink the water? How does it not get in their eyes? How is this legal and okay? Time Magazine explains that using the bleach bath might sound harsh but it’s safer than exposing children to the antibiotics…

“The bottom line is that the more antibiotics we use, the higher the risk for something becoming resistant to them,” says Dr. Amy Paller, a study author, specialist in pediatric dermatology and chair of the dermatology department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “The beauty of something like dilute bleach is that one doesn’t get resistance to it.”

Eczema and Your Child

So what is eczema and why is that you would want to put bleach patches on your child’s skin or have them soak in a bath of bleach? The online eczema center compares a bleach bath at home to swimming in a pool but will parents correctly mix the solution and aren’t may pools trying to switch from bleach to safer alternatives? Besides not all bleach is the same and companies like Clorox have ultra bleach with high concentrates. Seems like a dangerous prescription for a doctor to give and easy mistake for concerned parents to make.

Both my daughter and my niece suffer from eczema so I understand the frustration and wanting to help your child. According to Keep Kids Healthy eczema is:

Atopic dermatitis, or eczema, is a common problem in infants and children. It usually begins between two and six months of age with very dry and sensitive skin that will then become red and extremely itchy. It often starts on the forehead, cheeks and scalp and spreads to the trunk, creases of the elbows, knees, and wrists. With scratching the rash may become raw, crusted and weepy.

Kids Health offers many solutions and helpful tips, none of which include bleach. Avoiding harsh detergents, clothing and lotions instead are suggested. I’m not sure I would call bleach a mild detergent or soap. A March 2009 study claims that food allergies are not to blame for eczema but instead says environmental and seasonal allergies might be playing a role in the increased number of children being diagnosed and suffering from eczema.

Eczema can be made worse by allergens like pollen, as well as irritants like soap or woolen clothing, according to the Institute.

“Research knowledge on eczema and allergies is growing quickly, so parents need to make sure that the information they are relying on is based on up-to-date evidence,” commented Professor Sawicki.

I’m not sure I agree with the study totally ruling out food allergies. Have you read Monica from Healthy Green Mom and her experience with eczema and food allergies?

Must Know Information on Bleach

If you decide to use this so called “safe” remedy I would really like to point out some information about bleach and poisoning – the dangers associated with bleach. From Right Health:

Airways and lungs
Breathing difficulty (from inhalation)
Throat swelling (may also cause breathing difficulty)
Pulmonary edema (water filling the lungs)
Eyes, ears, nose, and throat
Severe pain in the throat
Severe pain or burning in the nose, eyes, ears, lips, or tongue
Loss of vision
Severe abdominal pain
Burns of the esophagus (food pipe)
Vomiting blood
Blood in the stool
Heart and blood vessels
Hypotension (low blood pressure) develops rapidly
Necrosis (holes) in the skin or underlying tissues
Severe change in acid levels of the blood (pH balance) which leads to damage in all of the body organs)

Many children I personally know with eczema also suffer from asthma and allergies (my daughter) and if  I used this  bleach remedy it would likely throw her into a horrible asthma attack. Chlorine bleach has even been linked to childhood asthma but a year after this study was released another study comes out telling parents that it is okay to put their child in a bath with chlorine bleach – what? The American Academy of Allergies and Asthma even lists Chlorine Bleach as causing dermitis and irritating the skin. Personally, we opted out of taking my daughter to swimming lessons due to the high chlorine odor and what we felt it would do for her lungs; why would I put her in a bath of it and let her breath it?

Natural Alternatives and Solutions for Eczema

There are a number of other alternatives that I would personally consider but everyone should contact their doctor and feel comfortable with their choice for treatment. Personally, using probiotics and other natural alternatives and food changes  to help “heal the gut” as well as avoiding all thing harsh on babies skin, using botanical solutions for pain relief and even seeking alternative medicine. I like how Dr. Amy Well’s explains eczema and that creams and medicine doesn’t get to the root of the problem. Dr. Amy Well’s offers some great suggestsions for helping naturally cure and deal with eczema.

Read more at Green and Clean Mom!


  1. I’ve heard that coconut oil is soothing on eczema…and it’s definitely non-toxic!

  2. Wow whoever was responsible for letting that article out should be kicked in the head! It is amazing to me the stupidity! I’m freaking out right now! This is like a bad joke or something right?

  3. I concur,it seems crazy to take a bleach bath for several reasons (drying out the skin,pain to open sores,toxicity etc).However,i wonder what the difference is from a swimming pool.Factualy,atopics do carry several times the amount of staph than normal.I’m gonna give it a try…..wish me luck ! as far as probiotics go,they seem to have lost their luster as far a eczema relief goes,even deemed potentially dangerous… http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=93375 …..enter probiotics eczema at medicinenet if link doesn’t work….good luck to all in finding relief !!!

  4. There are safe, food-grade, baby friendly products available that are proven to relieve the itch and irritation while improving the appearance of the skin affected by eczema. Go to http://www.malibuwellness.com, click the ACNE buton and read the testimonials. These products are green, contain no harsh ingredients and are based on pure L-Ascorbic Acid as the basis for normalizing skin. I agree with Emily; I am shocked that the article was published. Bleach is about the worst oxidizer there is and can literally kill the layers of skin on an adult much less a baby. Eczema is a difficult disease and painful to watch your baby suffer with, but it can be managed in a safe and effective way.

  5. Our daughter had infant ezcema and we found great relief using olive oil in our baths. The only problem was she was slick, and we had to be extra careful lifting her out of the tub!

    Her excema started out as a symptom of food allergies and later was aggrevated by contact to irritants. I could only imagine what bleach would have done to her baby skin!

    You are very right about the ezcema/asthma relationship, a year or two later we learned she had asthma and to this day (she’s 8yrs old now) she has asthmatic attacks to strong chemicals – including bleach.

  6. Michelle says:

    This is one of the worst ideas i have ever heard. If you have eczema you know how bad it hurts to get bleach into the eczema…. This is like torture to those that have eczema… trust me i have it it sucks to have it but there are better ways to get rid of it then bathing in bleach!!!!! People need to wise up

  7. Why does the study’s author think it is a this or that alternative? Either use bleach or use antibiotics that are causing bacteria to become resistant? Why on earth would you prescribe antibiotics for eczema to begin with?? I can’t believe that woman is a ped. derm and is the chair of the derm dept. at Northwestern! Eczema isn’t a bacteria. What about other options – like diet. High doses of vitmain D3, fish oils and probiotics. Even gluten and dairy free diets can enhance a person’s immune system to help with the symptoms.

    The thought of a baby sitting in bleach is so disturbing. Not only are they breathing it in – they are getting this stuff directly on their genitals. Not to mention, the warm water opening up pores and allowing the bleach to enter the body through their largest organ – their skin! I hope no one actually tries this completely flawed treatment suggestion.

    • Actually, most derms will proscribe bleach baths not just this one. The nature and structure of those will atopic eczema are more vunerable to staph in general which then leads to bacterial infections from the scratches and cracks. Its really one vicious cycle.

    • Eczema itself isn’t a bacteria, but sufferers are open to greater infections. My LO started off with a small spot, and we now (only 4 months later) have a LO with an entire body of eczema (weeping and open). And we’ve tried everything (everything listed, we’ve tried).
      The thought of a bleach bath is disturbing, but having your baby suffering with no end in sight is also disturbing. Her open sores from the eczema are just waiting for bacterial infection. That’s the point of the bath.
      Also our pediatrician said that some eczemas are actually bacterial because the pH of the baby is off, so bacteria takes over (not my words, but our pediatrician’s).
      For a mom in my situation, the bleach bath seems like a last resort.

      Oh and my LO is ebf and I am on a super restricted diet (no gluten, wheat, dairy, soy, peanuts, eggs, or fish) and we don’t use detergents for washing, she has cloth diapers, 100% organic cotton clothing… etc.

      It’s a last resort. Absolute last. I wouldn’t say “try it first”, but for me, the idea of it is tempting. I haven’t done it yet, because I am going to ask the dermatologist, but if we get green lighted, we’re doing it.

    • Just an update. We saw a dermatologist and my baby’s eczema was infected and she went on antibiotics for it. Within DAYS her eczema was clearing up.
      She is on daily Aveeno oil baths, and has two different medicated ointments (without them her spots return). The dermatologist said we could have been doing absolutely everything right but once eczema gets infected the only thing that can calm it down is antibiotics.

      She said she doesn’t recommend bleach baths right off the hop, and she didn’t with us. She said they are basically a last resort for babes who keep getting re-occuring infections (not just eczema). She said it’s better than doing constant antibiotics.

      The most important thing is helping your baby and making sure they get better.
      Do what you feel comfortable with.

  8. I’m shock at all the misinformation written here so far.

    Also, I’ve tried it and it works. The inflammation on my baby’s skin is dramatically reduced after just a couple of baths of a chlorine concentration of 0.005%. The anguish you feel seeing your baby with scaly sensitive skin is heartbreaking. I’m glad someone has finally discovered something that helps relieve eczema.

  9. Caroline says:

    This is a subject I take very very serious! We have been through three loooong years with our now 4 yr old son who has been through so much…too much for a little one to endure. We have tried everything in fact, I was desperate. Doctors and children’s hospitals could not help and told us he was a “gray area”, resorting to high potent meds and creams including steroids. STEROIDS as a 1 yr old until he was 3…how awful. We had to have an endocrinologist wean his body off. Now… I have been following all of this “crazy” talk of the bleach bath and fully understand how desperate we become for answers and help. I would NEVER be able to do this to his little body. It is, like you said, a TOXIN! *******Our son has been cleared of his Eczema 95% by starting him on our beloved Vidazorb Children’s probiotic. It has been shown to help people for so many things and this…out of everything we tried has really really really helped him! He is now a happy and healthy 4 yr old without pain, suffering, itching and bleeding everyday and night. I want to shout this to the world…it CAN help…and if not, what do you have to lose? It is certainly a safer option than a toxic bath. Sorry…I don’t mean to sound so opinionated, but this is my little boy and if he can be helped without antibiotics and toxic baths….I am on a mission to help other little ones to get well too. Caroline (if interested you can email me onemommyslove.gmail or check out vidazorb.com

  10. Kimberly says:

    No No No No a thousand times No.

    I get why it could work. My skin cleared up in the summer – Houston hot, sticky, humid Houston summers – when I was swimming. Be it a chlorine pool or salt ocean water it cleared up. It didn’t clear as much when I was swimming in fresh water rivers and lakes.

    I know it sounds wrong that drying agents would make atopic better. Basically they reduce the swelling allowing a)you to move without fissuring the skin b) the skin to actually heal.

    My vision of horror was different than you all’s. When I was in lower elementary 6 – 8 yo, someone cleaned a scrape from a fall with rubbing alcohol or Hydrogen peroxide. I experienced a new sensation – not itching in that area. My skin always itches on some level it is like a white noise in the back ground that you get used to. Flair ups are like a million fire ants crawling under my skin and biting. But when they used that alcohol or Hydrogen peroxide it stopped. For a blistful few minutes that area didn’t itch.

    For the next few years my parents had to keep rubbing alcohol and Hydrogen peroxide locked up. I would take bottles and pour them over areas of raw red skin with deep fissures. Yes it burned but then for a short period of time nothing no burn no itch. Can you imagine the damage if I had done that with bleach? I would have if I had made the connection between it and not itching.

    I have a deep fear of fire/burning. My father was burned in a kitchen fire in front of me with 2nd and 3rd degree burns on his hands leg and foot. Still my parents caught me nearly scalding myself because hot water also stopped the itch on a temporary basis. Once they caught me boiling water to put in a foot soak they used.

    This is a very bad idea.

    • My utmost sympathy goes out to you. Pouring bleach, hydrogen peroxide, and boiling water on your wounds is a very bad and painful thing, despite the momentary feeling of relief. From your post, it sounds like you need more help than just skin treatment. I think there could be deep seated psychological issues that probably should be dealt with.

      The bleach bath being suggested is a dilute solution; not pouring strong chemicals directly onto your skin. It’s parallel to swimming in a dilute chlorine pool, which you mentioned helped clear your skin. Many people use 1/4 to 1/2 cup in a 40 gallon tub. That is 0.0391% to 0.0781% bleach; less than 1% and assuming that a full concentration of bleach is being poured into the tub. Check out the math:

      1 gallon = 16 cups
      16 cups (40 gallons) = 640 cups of water in a 40 gallon tub

      To find the percentage of bleach in a 40 gallon tub:
      .25 cups bleach divided by 640 cups water = 0.000391 x 100% = 0.0391% bleach

  11. RicAndrea Weaver says:

    This has to be the most absurd “remedy” that has been proposed in this decade! Next they will be telling us to put battery acid on sunburns…

  12. I’m as easily panicked as anyone at the idea of putting chemicals all over my kids, but I, like another reader here, am also wondering why we’re freaking out about this, but no one thinks twice about sending their kid into a swimming pool. Pool maintenance requires huge tubs full of pure chlorine that bleaches hair and dries out skin and stings open wounds, and we know our kids swallow a little sometimes, but we don’t blink. Put a half cup of bleach in a bath full of gallons of water and it becomes horror inducing? Hang on. Let’s not pick and choose our battles, guys- if chlorine in small concentrations is a true problem, it needs to be a problem ALL AROUND. Is it? I’d personally be interested to know if I should be keeping my daughter away from pools.

    …I say this after soaking my arms in cold bleachwater last week to dry out my poison ivy, mind you.

  13. Momma in MA says:

    I first heard about this treatment almost 3 years ago. As a fiercely alternative and protective mother, I was horrified as you are. The reason I heard about it was because I had a 3 month old son who was COVERED in not only eczema but tenacious and increasing staph infections. Both of my sons had severe eczema by the time they were a month old, I mean SEVERE, but it was my second who was also covered in infection. I saw a dermatologist I felt good about, she was talking about probiotics and analyzing all the natural ingredients in the washes, salves, ointments I was applying to try to help my son’s raw and oozing skin heal. To my horror he was allergic to the base ingredients of the most pure, EXPENSIVE, best-I-could buy healing treatments. We had to start him on an oral antibiotic. I can’t tell you the anguish of feeding that nasty artificially-flavored antibiotic concoction to my 2 month old son. His first solid was, to me, the equivalent of garbage. And it didn’t work. Nor did the next, or the topical antibiotic we moved to next. I was dying inside as I helplessly searched for every alternative solution and found no lasting improvement with the antibiotics. I breastfed exclusively, had eliminated all the major allergens from my diet before he was even born and kept eliminating to try to break the cycle, all the while trying to keep myself heathy to nourish him. I took a probiotic for him and applied it to his skin.

    Finally the dreaded bleach bath was suggested. I’d been against this but knew the dermatologist understood my agonizing decision and equated it to a pool. This helped some to keep it in perspective as again I was faced with what felt like poison. It was logical, a chance to knock the staph back enough to allow the skin to form even a minimal barrier to protect itself. My son literally did not have skin on his face, he was a raw, oozing chubby smile. With a broken heart I mixed that bath as carefully as I’ve done anything in my life. I kept it to the minimum, rinsed him immediately and checked my pride at the door. This was a chance for him and all my best efforts just weren’t working.

    It worked. An improvement, not a cure, but in the one time I did it it bought us time before we got to the point that we were hospitalized for over a week with viral and bacterial skin infections that were threatening his life. When a parent is faced with the possibility of losing their child, or filling them with drugs that can damage them further, bleach might be a better option. Its side effects are temporary, and while we’d prefer to protect our children from everything, every child is different and what works for one DOESN’T work for everyone. I hope this treatment is prescribed carefully and sparingly but it is an improvement to me over corticosteriod use which can cause permanent damage. The strongest we were prescribed could have caused my son to go blind.

    Please don’t judge unless you have been there and never assume what you would do before you are facing losing or damaging your child. Any treatment taken out of context can cause alarm and controversy.

    • Thank you for sharing your personal and such a touching story.
      I am facing a problem with my 8 month old who has been diagnosed with MRSA, and for a few month now, with an Eczema.
      As mom who is also trying to stick to everything that is natural, organic and best for my baby I struggle because nothing has really worked for us so far.
      Just yesterday I came from my baby’s dermatologist, and he suggested bleach bath in order to avoid future episodes of MRSA. Tell the truth, I went to the store and bought bleach right away but then I got panicked from reading about bleach and all the dangerous side effects from it. Then It got me thinking about my childhood, and I remembered when I was little kid and how my mom used to complain all the time about the water quality that we had to drink and bath in it on regular basis because it actually contained bleach, and I have to tell you that we didn’t have as many problems with health as kids do now. By the way, originally I am from Ukraine. My baby’s dermatologist also told me that European countries use bleach on regular basis and they do just fine.

    • For years my (now 6-year old) son HAD terrible eczema coupled with frequent staph infections (in the form of boils on the eczema affected areas), and at times cellulitis. At my wits’ end and really terrified of the frequent infections– (which the doctors always treated with antibiotics which I felt really weakened my son’s natural immune response)– I finally tried the bleach baths (twice a week, 1/4 to 1/2 cup of water to a full (40 gallon) bathtub of lukewarm water. I really couldn’t believe how quickly it worked. For us, the bleach baths have been nothing short of a miracle.

      I can understand why those of you with kids who have mild eczema wish to avoid bleach baths entirely; but if your child is suffering horribly, please re-think it. The bleach solution is very diluted– smells like a swimming pool. Immersion is of short duration, and you’ll be able to tell almost immediately if this wiill work for you. (Within two weeks, my son looked–and acted– like a new boy.)

      They tell you to simply have the child sit in the tub for 10-15 minutes– put them in with plenty of tub toys– but b/c of the recurrent staph infections, I also use a wash cloth to wash his face –(closed eyes)– arms, back and butt crack with the (very diluted) bleach solution. (Staph colonizes in the nasal passages and butt crack.) If you’re not careful–ie don’t dilute properly or get it in their eyes– I’m sure you can do more harm than good.

      Note: Although I started off giving my son twice weekly bleach baths, we have tapered off as his condition continues to improve. Now he takes bleach baths only as needed. His skin is definitely much more robust than it used to be. I still put aquaphor on his eczema twice a day and use an extra rinse cycle with vinegar in all of my clothes washing; and my son still scratches– but he no longer has open, weeping wounds or recurring staph infections. I feel that the bleach baths have eliminated the skin infections and the endless rounds of antibiotics and allowed my son to live a normal life for the first time.

  14. This article is an outrage. I sit here today 15 months later after my children’s entire bodies were burned by high chlorine concentrations at an indoor waterpark. They have had rashes since and today my daughter saw a new dr and looked at the hive like welts all over her and said it was Excema, never had it before now, also got asthma due to the exposure as well. Who and what kind of person would ever subject their children to such a toxin, it is a carcinogen. Very careless whoever wrote this.

    • Bleach itself is not a carcinogen. Bleach may chemically react with other material, and that mixture may be a carcinogen, but bleach itself is NOT a carcinogen. It’s really careless and irresponsible to comment when you obviously don’t know what you’re talking about.

  15. I have cured THOUSANDS of patients of Eczzme, cancer, soriassis and scabbies adn lice!

    buy my cream–it is NATURAL not toxic bad things like those EVIL doctors like to give!

    just givve ME your money! trust me! I went to a natrual school called “Jim’s forest” and learnt the ways of nature. The problems are all caused by LACK OF NATURE and BAD PARENTING!!!!!!

  16. Mom in MA – if you check back here – can I talk to you over the phone? Were you able to help you child? I am also agonizing over eczema that is rapidly spreading all over my sweet 2 year old, who also suddenly became covered with an acne-like rash, getting more and more constantly clingy and crying and awkwening at night–and docs who just don’t like you if you won’t do what they say unquestioningly–WHAT worked? Did anything? If you can write, I would be so grateful. leorarosen@yahoo.com.

  17. Jane Doe says:

    My 2 1/2 yr. old daughter has suffered from excema since she was an infant. We have tried the full spectrum of treatment, from homeopathic to aggressive medical treatment with steroids.

    Nothing – NOTHING – provided any sustained relief for her and she was absolutely miserable.

    I read about the bleach bath treatment, and I was initially appalled. But after another agonizing excema breakout recently, I decided to just try it once.

    It has been like a MIRACLE. We have done three baths over the last ten days, and all her excema patches are almost completely healed. I am shocked at how quickly and thoroughly it has worked.

    If you are a desperate sufferer, or the parent of one, don’t knock it until you have tried it. No treatment, natural or medical is without effects or risks. The benefits have been so dramatic in our case, they have far outweighed the negatives.

  18. Our son was healed by using 14 drops of bleach in a tub filled with water. 14 drops of BLEACH is better than steroids or antibiotics which must be applied twice daily and NOT heal him. He had the worst type of eczema I have ever seen or heard of – most of his body was covered by it at one point. I am thankful I heard of this alternative cure becuase we were close to going crazy from not sleeping at night. Yes, it sounds cruel to bathe your baby with bleach, but when you think about it, its even worse to give him/her steroids or antibiotics that are known to cause problems later on.

  19. Brittany says:

    My son is 18 months old and has suffered from severe eczema since birth. We tried many home remedies, but he still always seemed to be in pain and was always scratching himself to relieve how itchy eczema can be. He would scratch himself raw until the spots would be horribly red, cracked open and bleeding.

    When I heard about the bleach baths, I was very sceptic as well. I read many articles and did much research before giving into the idea of putting bleach in my son’s bath.

    First of all, the bleach baths are not mean’t to be done when you child needs to be washed. Obviously, you wouldn’t want to irrate their eyes or have them swallow any of the water! The bleach baths are mean’t for them to soak in. We do it once a week and he only soaks for 15 minutes. He is closely monitored so that he doesn’t swallow any water. All it’s mean’t to do is soothe the skin and help with the itching.

    After the first bleach bath we gave him, his skin looked dramatically better! He had less redness and the itch seemed to be much better. I have never seen his skin 100% clear of his eczema, but since the bleach baths is just keeps getting better.

    I know that people will still think the idea of bleach in a child’s bath is crazy, but after seeing how much it helped my son’s suffering, I will continue to do it.

    If bleach is still too extreme for you, I have also heard that salt baths or vinegar baths can help. It’s the same principal. You only use 1/2 to 1 cup of salt or vinegar and let them soak in it.

    I hope this helps any other parents who struggle with children who have eczema! I would recommend it any day of the week! Good luck!

  20. Good to see some reasonable parents who have actually tried this and have seen the results have spoken over the crazies who initially reacted to this story.

  21. One of the most important factors in clearing up eczema is diet. I have severe eczema and by cleansing my liver and blood and eliminating foods that I couldn’t tolerate my eczema cleared up.

    I can’t believe that anyone would even suggest bathing in bleach, much less a baby! Why is it so hard to accept the fact that food allergens are a major problem for many eczema sufferers?

  22. Terry Thiel says:

    I am a microbiologist and my spouse has severe eczema. A few months ago he was hospitalized with what turned out to be a severe Staph aureus infection that caused septicemia (a blood infection) and then got into his spinal column, forming an abscess. It took weeks of I.V. antibiotics for him to recover.

    As soon as I found out that the bacteria causing the infection were Staph aureus, I knew it came from his skin, probably through a scratch or open sore, of which he has many. His eczema improves when he is on antibiotics, but if he takes antibiotics all the time he is much more likely to end up with antibiotic resistant Staph, which could not be treated if he got another bad infection.

    Bacteria cannot become resistant to chemical agents like bleach. DILUTE bleach is not toxic. No one is suggesting that you fill the bathtub with bleach and sit a child in there. Municipal drinking water contains bleach and most of us have stayed much healthier drinking water treated with bleach than people who live in countries where the water is not treated. Also, if you think immersing a kid in very dilute bleach is so dangerous, I hope you never let your child in a swimming pool. Of course, letting a child in a swimming pool without bleach is what is really dangerous! People get sick from swimming in untreated natural lakes, not from chlorine treated swimming pools.

    The ability of bleach to kill bacteria at very low bleach concentrations that do not harm people is something that we should all be grateful for. When I travel to countries where the water is not safe I carry a very small dropper bottle of bleach. I add a couple of drops to the water (in my water bottle) so that it is safe for brushing my teeth, or even for drinking (after it sits for a few hours). Used correctly at the right low concentration, bleach is a good thing for killing bacteria that could kill you.

  23. the bleach is to kill staph infection that is present in 90% of eczema sufferers.
    Nobody has mentioned this yet.

  24. Veronica says:


    My son is 10 months old and he suffers from eczema. We’ve tried every cream on the market. Natural remedies, you name it. Nothing seemed to cure or soothe him.

    His allergist told us about this study and we decided to try it. We only put 1/8 a cup of bleach in his baby bathtub. So far so good. He hasn’t worn socks on his hands in over a week. He’s worn socks on his hands since he was born so the fact that he hasn’t had to wear them for a week is great for him. He was so uncomfortable all day and especially overnight. So far this has been helpful for us.

  25. marissa says:

    I think whoever wrote this article is stupid! They obviously have no idea what it is to suffer from eczema. I have had eczema all my life… 22 years, and nothing has worked. I have tried everything out there.. lotions, oils, soaps, no fragrances, diet, pills, everything! You can imagine my frustration reading this since the author makes it seem so easy to find another solution for eczema. I recently started taking bleach baths and have found it to be positive. My skin has never been so soothed and calm before it was really amazing. So for those of you who have no idea what severe eczema do not think you can write an article on how to use alternative methods. The bleach bath has the possibility of helping so many eczema sufferers. I know for me it has made a huge difference better then anything the doctor has ever prescribed or anything else i have tried. So before you judge these crazy bleach baths but yourself in the position of someone who is constantly scratching at their skin making it bleed 24 hours 7 days a week. The bleach bath works!

  26. A.Marie says:

    Not only is this article replete with spelling mistakes, but the opinion in it comes across as so judgmental when it is obvious the author has not fully researched all her facts surrounding bleach and eczema.

    This is actually an old medicinal treatment that goes back centuries, many people in the south have been curing their children’s skin ailments in this way, and there *IS* a safe way to do it, without harming your child, their skin or yourself.

    Please research before you write….

  27. grassalwaysgreener says:

    I have suffered from eczema since a child. I read through the comments and most of the ones against a bleach bath are those who don’t even have eczema. And those who have kids with it, can’t even fathom how painful and itchy it is…u have NO clue how horrible it feels. You can look at it and feel for them, but bottom line…you DON’T know and if it was you with it all over your skin, I’m betting after trying everything and it all failing, you’d dip right into that bleach bath if it even meant a SLIGHT chance of relieving just half the pain eczema causes.

    I have chronic eczema. I try all the suggestions, medications and do everything the doctors order, but I still suffer and I loose sleep constantly because it is so out of control and nothing is working. I have a lot of allergies and the eczema naturally flares up worse in the summer. But it will linger year round no matter what time of year. I can’t turn the weather off, I can’t move to some cold climate…it’s not as easy as changing a lifestyle to make your body work right.

    I’d like to know what you think is a better alternative. Let them suffer or risk a little for a saner life. And I do mean saner, you don’t have a clue how it feels. I’m a adult and having a hard time coping…imagine it on a child. I’d risk 10 years off my life if it meant one with out eczema. And don’t think I don’t remember what it was like as a child…I was just as miserable. To this day I suffer from Major Depression…I don’t doubt growing up in pain contributed to that.

    Until you have it, don’t criticize and that goes to the parents with kiddies who have it. You may THINK you know how it feels…but you don’t have a clue. Pour gasoline on your feet, light them on fire and put it right out. Then maybe you’ll begin to understand the fraction of burning, itching and pain that goes along with eczema.

  28. Stephanie Nicholson says:

    I both surprised and appalled at how judgemental some are being about the bleach bathes. At the same time, I am so glad that there are people on here to stick up for the parents who have children suffering from this horrid condition. My daughter sufferers from allergies, asthma, and severe eczema. She is now 7 years old. She does have food allergies (eggs, tree nuts and oats). I had been to our physician, dermatologist, and allergist. We are now seeing an immunologist who specializes in the pediatric area of food allergies-asthma-eczema relation.
    Once we saw her, I was surprised at all the misinformation that we had been given. First of all, people with eczema should never have the standard rast allergy test – they should draw blood and test directly. And NEVER have allergy shots (we had allergy shots for a year). Everyone had a differant opinion -don’t take to many baths, take as many as you can, don’t drink milk, diet doesn’t matter. We were so confused.
    Our Dr. explained that dealing with eczema may always be a battle -unless she grows out of it. There is no known cure. The three conditions are usually linked in some way -and can be food related – but not always. Doctors are desperate to find a way to relieve patients. And the staph that 90% of people with eczema have on the skin is quickly becoming antibiotic resistant. BTW the reason for the antibiotic is the staph. In the population that do not have eczema only about 25% carry the staph. That is the itch-scratch cycle. Eczema is not contagious but that is how it spreads on thier body – they scratch her and staph enters and the they scratch somewhere else.
    So to those of you that say I am poisoning my baby by having her soak in the bath with a 1/4 cup of bleach, I want you for one second to step in the shoes of the parents who are desperate – who watch thier child suffer by not being able to stop scratching. I want you to put the creams (steriod creams mind you) over the red scabby bumps, smear aquaphor all over them, wet some fitted cotton pjs, and the put a dry pair over them. All the while the child is telling you she is cold and asking why God made her this way (my answer is so that one day she will be able to help children just like her deal with something that they shouldn’t have to and what we go through makes us who we are).
    Then I want you to put that child to bed – only to have her wake you up crying because she has scratched herself and there is blood on her pillow. Then I want you to rock that child and hold her hands while she sleeps so that she can’t scratch herself. THEN you tell me that you wouldn’t do anything you could to help her.
    How DARE you judge! You are probably the same person who looks at us and pulls thier child towards them so that my little girl doesn’t accidentally brush against them. You have no idea what it is like – so if that little bit of bleach 2 – 3 times are week in a 10 to 15 minute soak – while she pretends she is a mermaid helps. I will do it. We will beat this and she will get better! But know what you are talking about before you post judgemental comments. I am sorry to rant and rave – I am stepping down from my soap box. Thanks

  29. It’s loveley that many people who do not have eczema and are not scientists can quickly dismiss this kind of treatment as dangerous.

    I have had Eczema since I was a baby; I am 24 now. I have Tried almost everything out there. Different grades of steroids, elidel, protopic, elimination diets, taking care to eliminate reactions from dust mites, holistic treatments, and none have worked so far, except limited results from steroids which are counter-productive.

    I’ve done the nonsense with salts and creams and oils. I have have been trying these bleach bath’s for a couple of weeks now and they have shown the most improvement of any treatments I have taken.

    As for your side effects listed, unless you pour a cup of bleach into a cup and drink it, then you wont have problems such as coughing up your organs. Obviously safety precautions need to be taken, which goes for all treatments, especially the ones for eczema such as steroids and other immuno-suppressants.

    You might as well write an article condemning chlorine pools.

  30. Eczemamom says:

    WOW. Just WOW. People who’ve never had eczema spewing the danger of toxic chlorine bleach (diluted, mind you) in a bath to kill the staph germs on someone’s skin will be the same people putting diluted chlorine bleach in water to purify it when their water supply goes wrong. Harumppf.

    My 25 year old daughter who has suffered SO BADLY for her entire life has just found out about this therapy and is thrilled after just one bath in it.

    Vinegar, salt, good on chips but doesn’t kill Staph.a.

    Those of you with young children who are suffering with eczema have no clue what is in front of you. There’s not a natural “cure”, “solution” out there. Stop their suffering now. Please. Your child will thank you, your pocketbook will thank you.

    Oh, and if you are using any sorts of corticosteroids on your kids, get them in ointment form. Again, your child will thank you. Creams burn the open areas. Ointments soothe. We found this out by accident when the pharmacy didn’t have the cream and asked if we wanted ointment. For the first time in eight years (when she was eight), she didn’t scream after a bath when we had to put the medicine on her spots. It was only then that she could take responsibility for putting her ointments on herself.

    Why didn’t some damn doctor think of this??????????

    I’m with Stephanie and Glen on this one…if you’ve never seen a child suffer you have NO FRICKING IDEA.

    P.S. We had never heard of Vanicream til a visit to a new allergy specialist the other day…FABULOUS STUFF. No lanolin, no formaldehyde, no NUTTIN in it but great moisture. Comes in a 1 lb jar with a pump that will help avoid contamination….

  31. Eczemamom says:

    Oh yes, another reason for getting these open sores/itchy spots/flares under control..something called Eczema Herpeticum. (Or, maybe the diagnosis is Herpetic Stomatitis. Google them both. Google the images.) Imagine what it feels like to have body parts covered with fever blister types of sores.

    Yes, the herpes virus can be transferred through a touch, a kiss, etc. (And I’m talking about a mom with a cold sore kissing a baby, or touching a baby, HSV1, not HSV2). Or, maybe the baby, child, young adult develops a cold sore on their own.

    If the HSV virus invades the skin through an open eczema flare the results are a horror you don’t even want to know about or imagine. Hospitilization. IVfluids and unable to eat, swallow. Acyclovir through a drip. Swollen lymph nodes. Pain like you wouldn’t believe. Think shingles, on steroids, all over your face.

    Then it autoinfects when the child touches a spot and then has another open wound on their body, say a hangnail. The eczema herpeticum invades that and it leads to a cycle from hell. From HELL. Imagine hands that crack, weep, blister, itch, are scarred. Daily dose of Valtrex…and imagine when young adults hear you take Valtrex. What do they think?


    Give me a quarter to half cup of bleach twice a week, diluted in a bathtub full of water ANY DAY over the above described situation. I weep at the thought the pain and heartache from which my daughter might have been saved if we had known of this simple treatment for her eczema when she was young.

    Whew…I feel better now.

  32. Eczemamom says:

    No, I have to say this…

    Toxic is eczema herpeticum that goes undiagnosed correctly. Like fatally toxic.

    Think about that one.

  33. Cindy Lopez says:

    Thank you to everyone who has defended those of us who have used the bleach baths. I have watched my 3 year old suffer for 2 years with eczema. She has recently flared up so bad that she scrathches to the point of bleeding. We have tried antibiotics, steroid creams and every eczema lotion created. We have been to the pediatrician, the dermatologist and allergist. Nothing has worked. I’ve had other children and parents ask what is wrong with her after looking at what she’s done to herself. I have never felt so helpless. We even went as far to bandage her arms and wrists to keep her from scratching. My husband and I noticed that after being in a pool the eczema seemed to get better so we have recently started the bleach baths and have noticed an improvement. I still am not crazy about the idea but will do whatever it takes to have my child not suffer. Some here have judged and would like to make those of us who have tried this method feel like bad mothers. I hope you never get to a point that you feel you have no other alternative for your child. If other methods have worked for you, then count your blessings. I think that my continued use of steroids after 2 years is more harmful to my child. I thank all the parents here who have offered support because nothing is more difficult than watching your child suffer. It has given me comfort to know I’m not alone. I hope I can give the same to you.

  34. Homeopathic doctor prescribed this remedy for impetigo for myself and my brothers over 35 years ago. It is just a small amount of bleach. Disinfects, dries up and avoids contagiousness.

  35. What is so ‘toxic’ about a VERY dilute bath of 0.005% bleach? Have some common sense, people! Before you deem something ‘crazy’, look at the evidence. This treatment works. It may not work for everyone, but it evidently works for a lot of people. Far be it for me to suggest that Ms Lance is scaremongering with her huge list of the dangers of bleach, I just want to point out that this list the effects of FULL STRENGTH bleach, NOT the highly diluted solution used in the study. I suggest she reads the original research article before making such rash comments and putting parents off trying something that may bring about relief and well-being to their eczematous kids.

  36. I would like to say that I hugely disagree with this post! My son has cronic excema, enviromental allergies, food allergies, and asthma! He has had all of these conditions from birth. We have taken him from doctor to doctor, specialist to specialist, and hospital to hospital. His asthma and allergies are now controlled by our diligence and a large mixture of medications that keep him breathing and functioning in society. However, his excema has never been controlled! We have tried steriods, and creams, and oils of all sorts, oral medication, different soaks, and different “home remedies” NOTHING worked! He is almost 5 and almost everyday of his life he has to deal with bleeding and complusive itching! he has had sores and outbreaks cover entire limbs, he wakes up to bloody sheets nearly everyday. FINALLY, our dermatologist recommended this course of treatment, with guidelines and careful instructions and my son, for the first time in his life has a bit of relief! When used the proper way you should not have a “bleach” odor, you are instructed to use a very small amount! It is successful and it does work without the crazy consequences that are mentioned in this post! Without this option my son would still be suffering the bullying of other children, the embarrassment and the pain and itching! Use it properly and carefully! That should be obvious! Your child just might have the amazing results that my little boy has had!

  37. Our daughter has eczema. We’ve not yet tried the bleach bath, though, as we just heard about it this past weekend. Our daughter’s case is not very severe (so we’re told), and is mainly on her face, though she does scratch in other areas, leaving scratch marks, and sometimes making herself bleed. The doctor and allergist prescribed a steroid cream, which actually works, but we don’t want to use it as the pharmacist told us that it would thin the outer layer of skin. The allergist did tell us that eczema never results in adult scarring, even in really bad cases, so we don’t feel the need to use the steroid cream (Fluticazone).

    This past weekend, at a child’s birthday party, we met a girl who asked if our child had eczema. She told us that her son, who was also at the party, had it really bad–much, much worse than our daughter– up until three days before the party. She said she’d taken him to the dermatologist and was prescribed the bleach bath. We were amazed, because her son’s skin was completely clear. For his face, she said she just gently wiped it with a cloth that had been moistened with the bath water. What more can I say? This solution worked. It relieved the child’s eczema (completely–no visible signs, and his mother said he had it all over his face, forehead, legs and arms.), without giving any discomfort to the child.

    About the antibiotics–they aren’t prescribed for eczema, they’re prescribed for infection. Our daughter was prescribed them, when her face had been scratched so often that it started oozing. After the infection is gone, they do nothing for the eczema. Steroids creams do help, but they will thin the layer of the skin, which doesn’t sound like a good idea to me, especially since the pharmacist warned us about this effect.

    Most likely, we’ll try the bleach bath, so our daughter can finally get to sleep without being driven crazy by itchiness. First, though, we’ll probably consult with the pediatrician to get his take on the whole thing.

  38. I suppose they are recommending bleach for eczema because dangerous staphylococcus bacteria could be present along with it (or might be causing it). I have no idea. I just read about this on a website specializing in MRSA decolonization. They said something about eczema and a link with MRSA.

  39. The treatment work,and it works quickly.It was amazing to see how quickly our daughters skin cleared up and stays clear without TOXIC prescribed medications.People need to think things out,there is chlorine in pools and even chlorine in low dosage in a lot of city water systems.Our daughter no longer cries in the night due to itching and infection

  40. 90% of children/adults with chronic eczema have s.aureus, the SA part of MRSA. S.Aureus can become resistant to antibiotics, hence, MRSA. HOWEVER, s.aureus does not become resistant to chlorine bleach, making the small portion of bleach to water much safer, LESS TOXIC, for eczema sufferers.

    For the poster who said their allergist said there would be no scars (from eczema) when their child reaches adulthood, I’d have to offer an opposing position. PERHAPS, if we had known about the bleach bath treatment 23 years ago I might could agree. However, if you don’t get it under control, there will be scars…physical and emotional. My daughter’s hands are a constant source of eyebrow raising and questions.

    We once had a shoe saleswoman asked her how she had “hurt herself” while strapping on a sandal when she was six. She still has that scar, which still flares.

    Any parent out there owes it to their child to try this treatment if it will truly help clear up and prevent what my beautiful daughter has had to endure since she was 3 months old. She will never be able to have a wedding picture of the couple’s hands with their rings. Silly sounding but a big deal when you’re going through that.

  41. I am 34 years old and have suffered from eczema on my face and all over my body for the last 6 years. I have had recurrent staph infections (that is why antibiotics are prescribed to eczema sufferers). I have even been hospitalized for my condition. For the first time in SIX YEARS I have been FREE of eczema for 3 months. I contribute a large part of this because I have been taking a bleach bath once a week for the last 4 months. I’m so glad I tried this!

  42. I’m one of millions of mothers who suffer watching their children suffer with severe eczema. I’m also one of probably millions who want to use only natural, substances, remedies and protocols. Tried various natural oils (even emu oil!), creams, salves, etc. I had some success with homeopathic Florasone cream when my daughter first presented with mild eczema when she was about 1. It took a while to work, but it did seem to make it go away. Now she’s just turned 10 and has a wicked case of it, made worse by scratching which has led to infection.I give her a children’s Benadryl at night so she can sleep without the itching. I took her to a homeopath who prescribed Sulphur and she’s been on it for about 5 days. The only difference I see so far is that she can go for longer during the day without scratching. I’m going to stick with it because I’ve had success with homeopathy in other areas.

    But I did break down and take her to a regular allopathic doctor, a dermatologist who prescribed fluocinide ointment (generic Fluticazone) and these bleach baths. I thought he’d lost his mind, but I also saw that she needed something to kill the infection and I wasn’t going to put her antibiotics. So we’ve done the bath once so far, and I feel like a sadist. I used only the half cup in a full lukewarm bath, but it caused her such stinging and burning she cried the entire 10 minutes. CAN ANYONE WHO HAS USED THIS METHOD AND WHOSE CHILD HAS SEVERE ECZEMA TELL ME HOW LONG BEFORE THEY SAW RESULTS? I only want to use the ointment long enough for it to heal the cracks, then I intend to wean her off it (and the Benadryl) by using use the Florasone and continuing with the homeopathy.

  43. Ummi,

    Please, please be very careful with your approach in using homeopathy for eczema.

    I know how desperate people are nowadays to avoid conventional medicine but homeopathy alone can lead to horrendous results. The case in point being that of an Australian child, Gloria Thomas, who died, malnourished and struck down by infections after her homeopath father treated her exclusively with homeopathy, while her mother also refused to get her conventional medical treatment. Both parents are now serving long jail sentences. Read up a little online about this poor unfortunate girl and hopefully then you’ll think twice about using just homeopathy for your own precious child.

    If, as has been proven time and time again, homeopathy works by the placebo effect, it is your own personal belief that it is working and your child is surely too young to have such strong beliefs.

    Do you think those parents in jail, with their own little daughter dead and buried because of their beliefs can still say in their heart of hearts that homeopathy is good for childhood eczema? And if they can’t then how can you?

  44. An abc news video about bleach baths has just appeared online under Healthbeat Report: Soothing Skin, where doctors address a lot of the skepticism raised in this article.

    The item also tells you that it can take 3-4 weeks to work and that you should ALWAYS speak to your doctor first, before trying bleach baths.
    Unfortunately they show a graphic where the child is in the tub before the bleach is poured in, which looks pretty dumb. In the video the Mom sensibly pours the bleach in first.

    I don’t know if I can post a link here but I’ll try.


  45. I just wanted to add my $.02 here- my daughter has had severe eczema for years and I realized last summer that when we are swimming several times a week during the summer, it clears up but as soon as the swimming tapers off, it comes back with a vengance and she suffers all the rest of the year with itchy scabs all over her legs. They were coming back and she went to a friend’s party and they sat in a jaccuzzi for a while and the next day her legs were like 70% better! I’m a believer, we’re doing bleach baths! I would be more nervous if she was still a baby though, but nothing else has worked besides hydrocortizone cream and I don’t want to be using that every day.

  46. I understand both sides of this discussion. I don’t have a kid with eczema, nor do I have excema. But I do come from a very holistic family, raised on a steady diet of allergy drops and goats milk and tests and cool diets.

    I also have a friend who fights this eczema battle, and I’ve urged her to come to a decision on her own about this idea of bleach baths…. I told her to read all these posts and come to her own conclusion.

    My position is this: there are tons of natural things that could help. The bleach baths apparently help, too. There are tons of things out there in the world that are bad for us. And there are a ton of things that are good. Moderation in thought is the key to discovering whether things are right for you and your family or not. Anything in excess is more than likely bad… including visiting doctors, taking numerous medications, etc.

    It seems to me that there are many families that would consider the bath idea. Good for them. Maybe try a few trips to the local pool first. If the child responds well, then maybe keep doing it….. on top of working holistically and incorporating a special diet, coconut oil, etc etc…

    This issue is not one sided…much of life isn’t…. and working from a WHOLE – istic perspective, meaning taking a bit from everything one might read or consider implementing in their family is MUCH wiser and better than choosing a one-way, one-track path.

    Kudos to those parents who tried it. It might be scary sounding, but seriously, so is driving down the interstate at 80 miles per hour with your child in the car…. seat belt or not.

    -Shannon, Martha’s Vineyard.

  47. Common Sense says:

    PLEASE, anyone reading this article, use some common sense, and resist the urge to dismiss this finding because it involves a “chemical” or because it came out of conventional medical research.

    The recommended ratio of household bleach (and make sure it is REGULAR household bleach, not some special variety containing other things) to bathwater is 1/2 cup to 40 gallons (and you can proportion this ratio if you want to use less water, or just immerse the inflicted area).

    At this dilution level, it is very similar to a regular swimming pool. Many eczema sufferers also notice improvement from ocean water — well, that’s because there are a lot of free chlorine ions in the ocean.

    As a lifetime eczema sufferer, it has been a miracle to discover this treatment. It really works. I have found it takes about 24-48 hours for the effects to kick in, but then the skin heals better than before and seems more resistant to relapses.

    After trying this several times, I have found the most effective approach for me seems to be to *scrub* the afflicted area in the diluted bleach bath while soaking in it for about 15 minutes. Yes, this will irritate the rash a bit, but it also seems to help clear away the broken dead skin which is what can harbor bacteria and other irritants.

    Then rinse off in regular water. I found that rinsing helps prevent irritation.

    After that, I’ve found it helps tremendously helpful to apply an emollient to the skin. This can probably be any emollient you’ve used before that doesn’t cause irritation.

    I’ve used a few things that I’ve found non-irritating, most often A&D ointment (contains lanolin, vaseline, vitamin a and d, mineral oil, paraffin, and some other ingredients, including, unfortunately, some kind of fragrance) or pure Vitamin E oil. Both are kind of pricy, but you probably know of alternatives that you like (e.g. shea butter, coconut oil, olive oil).

    I also have used and really liked Burt’s Bees Farmer’s Friend (sold for chaffed hands, and found in many commercial drugstores).

    Personally, I have NOT found pure Vaseline good for eczema. I’m not sure why.

    AFTER applying an emollient, I use a brand of Zinc cream I’ve found really, really great: Calmoseptine (google it and you can find it easily online). It’s sold to hospitals for baby rash and bedsores, and is an oily zinc cream that contains some of the same ingredients as calomine lotion — but much oilier.

    This stuff seems to work GREAT as a protectorant and helps seal in the emollient. It also really, really soothes any immediate itching. Word of warning: Calmoseptine stains — the stuff is like oil paint, no surprise because zinc is the main ingredient in white oil paint.

    That’s all I wanted to say. I frankly think some of the opinions in here lack critical sense, and are just emotional reactions (chemical! bad!).

    But I feel for your children. I suffered from this ALL my life from childhood on, and it was a source of enormous shame and misery. (It did drive me to take up swimming as a sport though). Anyway, it’s dreadful to think of parents NOT trying this solution — I wish mine had known about it.

    If your child suffers from this, please think about trying this solution. It’s no more harmful than a (properly) chlorinated swimming pool, and I’ve yet to hear of swimming pool water representing a grave threat to any child’s health.

    Consult with your skin doctor and ask about my advice here — I don’t think there’s anything here that any pediatrician or dermatologist would object to, but better to ask.

  48. Common Sense says:

    @ Ummi, who wrote

    So we’ve done the bath once so far, and I feel like a sadist. I used only the half cup in a full lukewarm bath, but it caused her such stinging and burning she cried the entire 10 minutes. CAN ANYONE WHO HAS USED THIS METHOD AND WHOSE CHILD HAS SEVERE ECZEMA TELL ME HOW LONG BEFORE THEY SAW RESULTS? I

    A lot of people have already written about results (I also did, if my comment is published), but I also just wanted to tell you that from my own experience, when the eczema is bad enough (skin is raw or bloody), contact with water can really hurt at first. Any kind of water. It stings.

    Although most of us who suffer from eczema eventually discover that hot baths offer some temporary relief**, the initial contact of water with raw skin can burn like hell.

    So that might be part of the problem. But if it isn’t, try using a lower concentration of bleach. Or wait until the rash has gotten somewhat better before trying it again. I do hope she can tolerate it, because it really works well. You’re the first person I’ve read about encountering stinging, so hopefully it’s just because her rash is so bad at the moment, and not because she can’t tolerate contact with mildly chlorinated water.

    Has she ever been to a swimming pool? If that doesn’t bother her, try that, too. Ocean water also really helps because it has naturally occurring chlorine.

    **look up Marat in Wikipedia — the French revolutionary polemicist AND lifetime eczema sufferer… He spent most of his working day writing in a customized bathtub that had a built-in writing desk. It was the place of his death, too, when he was stabbed by Charlotte Cordat.

  49. We’ve tried all lotions, potions, natural stuff, emoliants for our five year old wrecked with ezcema since six months old. Just about everything stings his skin, some things actually calm his skin down but stop working after a few weeks.

    We also have him on phenegan at night-time to help him sleep and stop the itching. We don’t like giving him phenegan but the dr’s say it is the strongest medicine (anti-histamine) – the day time anti-histamines don’t help him at all. Sometimes he takes an oral steriod for a couple of days which helps greatly until the next flare up. We limit the steriod’s to once a month if we can.

    Anyway, we’ve tried vinegar which I believe reduces the redness and it didn’t sting our son – I’m going to try bleach. I’d do anything to lesson the pain, itching, inflammation and scabs on my son’s skin. This ezcema has been a battle for us and by reading these post’s I feel that I’m not alone in this battle.


  50. hey im 14 years old ive had ezcema since i was like 10 i hate it. it burns ,imbarrising and its rly itchy if u kno wut it feels like to have this CRAPPY thing you do try anything to get rid of it ima use this procedure tonight. my freinds told me there sister just pored bleach on it and it went away with rly bad pains before. so yea i am gonna try this bleach treatment

  51. I tried it myself two days before I used this remedy on my two-year-old. It worked on me and didn’t sting a bit. So I just gave my son a bleach bath. Paranoia got the best of me beforehand so I used 2-3 oz. of bleach and filled the tub up to the trip lever to make sure it was heavily diluted. My little man’s face is almost CLEAR. This is AMAZING and it’s definitely something we will be doing again -once a week to twice a month.

    -Just don’t forget to moisturize after bathing.

    Trusted Source: http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1894149,00.html

  52. I have had eczema all my life and have been swimming since I was very little in all types of pools I also have asthma and other allergies I am glad my parents encouraged me to have swimming lessons as I am now a strong swimmer and it is my sport of choice, and being able to swim has given me amazing experiences Snorkling in Tobago and surfing and body boarding and just having fun. eczema/asthma shouldn’t stop you from living your life I am sure there are may professional swimmers with asthma and may even eczema.

    I have never heard of bleach baths before but I am interested in it as having eczema is a nightmare although I can understand the concern with babies – saying that I know what its like to have it and wouldn’t want any one to have to have it going through school was a nightmare when I was little with all the bullying.. so if it was to make a real difference I would give it ago.

  53. Eczema Mom says:

    I think this article is a little harsh. Sure, if you bath you baby in a bottle full of bleach you may get these effects, but come on, I would hope that more people have more sense than that! Our infant son has SEVERE eczema! We have tried all of the home remedies, change all of our detergents, has MANY MANY prescription creams and antibiotics and NOTHING has helped… except the bleach baths! I am sorry about your children, but when my son hasn’t slept in 3 days because of the oozing and itching is so bad, and is refusing to eat because of it, wouldn’t you think that is just as dangerous?? I feel like this article attacks my decisions as a parent and insults my intelligence, and honestly.. I am VERY offended!

  54. Personally I think anything that is a corrosive and is capable of damaging skin, eyes and irritate the respiratory system should not be used as a treatment for a sensitive skin condition such as eczema.

    Why would one want to expose their children to such a treatment with all the possible negative health risks involved? One has to ask is it worth the risk…

  55. Jennifer Lance you are obviously a moron and shouldn’t be confusing bleach poisoning with diluting bleach to a concentration slightly higher than a hot tub. Do you stand outside your community pool and tell people they are exposing themselves to a toxic substance. Come on people don’t let your stupidity show!

  56. I’d like to hear how your daughter feels about this later. I’m a 16 year old girl and I have eczema covering at least 20% of my legs. It’s torture. I can’t go swimming with my friends out of embarresment of my red flaky ichy legs. Maybe when it gets to this point you will look at the facts and realize that a little bleach will hurt her a lot less than the humiliation and pain of eczema.

  57. My 8 year old son has had eczema for several years now. I never knew about the bleach bath treatment. We recently had a pool installed last summer and the kids were swimming daily and loving it…….to my amazement my sons eczema was clearing up dramatically. I can only pinpoint the treatment in connection with the chlorine in the pool.

    During the winter when my son wasn’t swimming, his eczema flared up again. So, we asked his dermatologist about the connection with the pool and he suggested we try the bleach bath treatments. It worked! No joke.

  58. Nicole T says:

    As soon as I saw the FOOLISH blurb in a parents magazine about dipping your baby in bleach to fight eczema, I ran to this site to see if you had gotten wind of it yet. Ridiculous.

  59. As soon as I saw the FOOLISH blurb in a parents magazine about dipping your baby in bleach to fight eczema, I ran to this site to see if you had gotten wind of it yet. Ridiculous.

    Guess what, Nicole, that’s not what anyone is recommending. Since when is a weakly diluted bleach bath (1/4 to 1/2 cup per full tub of water) the same as dipping a child in bleach?

    Pretty irresponsible of this post not to mention WHY the bleach bath is recommended. According to the Time article from April 27, 2009,

    The theory is that the antimicrobial properties of bleach help relieve symptoms of eczema not by acting directly on that skin condition, but by improving children’s skin infections of staph bacteria — a common co-occurrence that exacerbates the irritating symptoms of eczema.

    In the new study, researchers followed 31 children between the ages of 6 months and 17 years, who had both conditions: atopic dermatitis, the most common form of childhood eczema, which affects 17% of the school-aged population, as well as a co-infection of Staphylococcus aureus. Although antibiotics are typically used successfully to combat such staph infections, the emergence of drug-resistant MRSA (or methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus) has physicians increasingly wary of overusing the medicines.

    “The bottom line is that the more antibiotics we use, the higher the risk for something becoming resistant to them,” says Dr. Amy Paller, a study author, specialist in pediatric dermatology and chair of the dermatology department at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. “The beauty of something like dilute bleach is that one doesn’t get resistance to it.”

    According to WebMD:

    Pediatric dermatologist Amy Paller, MD, tells WebMD that about 90% of people with eczema have staph on their skin, compared to about 25% of the population at large.

    Staph infections have traditionally been treated with antibiotics, but bleach baths can also kill the microbes that cause infection.

    Pediatrics.about.com says about hard-to-control eczema:

    If your child has hard-to-control eczema, you might also consider that he could have a secondary skin infection. Your pediatrician will especially suspect a bacterial infection if your child’s skin is red and has honey-colored crusts over it, pus-filled blisters or appears wet and weepy.

  60. Sometimes it is rather pointless to spot treat infections when there are bacterial colonies on healthy skin you can’t see and spread and cause new infections.

    I too have tried every possible natural remedy and antibiotic.

    This is a very logical way to REDUCE BACTERIAL LOAD on the body. Not just the parts that are infected. Reduce the bacterial load with bleach baths THEN spot treat the infected areas with manuka umf 16 honey under curad non stick -to wound gauze and Johnson and Johnson hurt free tape. Eat a raw food diet. Avoid antibiotics as they only worsen the situation. My opinion on why there is an explosion of kids getting infections of various kinds, excema, impetigo etc is because of the mercury contained within vaccines.

    Until you are in agonzing pain from infections do not knock a DILUTED bleach bath. How many people swim in clorinated pools every day and DRINK chlorinated water?

  61. Ok, so I was just told by a very good friend of mine that her doctor had recommended this treatment for her and that I might consider using it. My eczema can be very severe at times and all other treatments have failed. Since I had not heard of this treatment before, I decided to look at the amounts recommended again before trying it. This article about the dangers of bleach is quite honestly rather silly. For one thing, bleach is often used to purify our drinking water. So even the water you drink, especially if it is tap water has bleach in it. Granted the amount of bleach in our drinking water is about 1 to 2 teaspoons per 10 gallons. If you do the math, 1/2 cup in a full standard size bathtub in about 24 teaspoons (as standard baths are about 60 gallons). Yes, this figures to be about double of that you drink from the tap, but since this is to be used on the OUTSIDE of your body rather than ingested, I believe this to be perfectly safe. For concerned parents worried that kids will drink it… simply watch them. From what I have heard and read, this treatment is about 5 minutes soaking in the tub. From there you bathe as normal and then be sure to use lotion afterwards. I know that I will certainly be giving this a try.

  62. Lynette Quinto says:

    My 16 month old son has suffered from severe eczema since he was 2 months old, the oozing, open would type. We tried everything from the oatmeal baths, to many topical creams. What has definitely calmed his eczema and relieved the itching and redness has been his daily diluted bleach baths. Even if we skip one day during the summer, he flared up. The recommendation by my son’s dermatologist to soak our son in a bleach bath has been the BEST advice given.

  63. Ezcema Father says:

    It seems like the author of this article would be the kind of person to get up in arms about dihydrogen monoxide…

  64. yo whoever wrote this article has a brain the size of a pea!

    “Something is seriously messed up about this and I’m feeling very sick over the idea of a child breathing the toxic fumes, having their body exposed to the toxic substance when bath time should be a safe place to play. Do the children drink the water? How does it not get in their eyes? How is this legal and okay?”

    Like it’s not that bad. Its like a drop of red dye in a drink. Its there.. You may even see or smell it slightly, but it is not going to harm you.. it is not THAT outrageous.

  65. Rudellith Ramirez says:

    I just want to say that my son has suffering fron severe eczema since he was 3 month old, getting skin infections, the long nights without sleep,the sad life for a young boy, missing school, all types of creams and medication that help him during the time he was using them. Now he is ten, and last year was the worse year, 3 times in the hospital for severe skin infection.

    The dermatologist in the hospital told us about the bleach bath, we started the bleach bath on him, and for the first time this year he did not miss school because his eczema, he is a complete different child, a happy boy. I know that the bleach baths sound bad, but is what it made a big change in my son severe eczema and he does not have any side effect. The amount of bleach is minimun to the amount of water that is use. We see the changes in his life.

  66. I have eczema all over my body and nothing ever helped. In 2007, my husband and I bought a house where the people had been smokers. I had just started to develop eczema on my hands. I cleaned the entire house with bleach, not using any gloves for my hands, and guess what…no more eczema on my hands. It never came back. I guessed it might have been the bleach, but wasn’t sure,until this year when I read a few articles about it. So, I guess now, I will have to get in a tub of bleach water. Hopefully, I get the same results.

  67. In reality bleach is not much different than chlorine in a swimming pool…You are to measure it out and measure how much water your tub holds in order to get the amounts right… I am about to try it myself as I have eczema and it is sooooo annoying and frustrating.

  68. Actually… um.. I hate to point this out to you guys.. but if you’ve been swimming in a chlorinated pool lately.. you’ve taken a bleach bath. We actually use unscented bleach in our small pool in place of pool cholorine as its THE SAME THING… so taking in a small amount of bleach like this article suggests is really only a slightly larger amount than you’d get from swimming in my pool. I’ve not given my son a bath with bleach but he routinely swims in our pool and it has helped his skin quite a bit. I didn’t know why till I read this article and you better bet his next flairup I’ll add a little bleach to his bath…

    Also.. um.. bleach will not BLEACH your skin.. or your hair.. unless your using HUGE amounts.. much more than the small amount this article suggests.

  69. The bleach bath works! Just get the dilution right, moisturise afterwards and SUPERVISE!!!! I was instructed by the allergist to use the bleach bath for my 3yo’s eczema in her flexures. It took me weeks to build up the chupta to do it, but her skin was 80% better after the first bath and 95% after the second. I wish I’d done it earlier!

  70. Yeah…. like all those Rx creams and oral meds for excema aren’t toxic. I would much rather let my eczema kiddos play in a bath of diluted bleach anyday, then all those Rx creams, steriods, antibiotics that they would otherwise be using. The author obviously doesn’t have any first hand experience with a child crying all night because they can’t stop itching and the skin infection they picked up from having an open wound is burning. Bottom line: Bleach baths work and save children from many sleepless nights of unnecessary suffering. 😛

  71. As a 28 year old who has suffered chronic eczema since childhood and who has been hospitalised due to secondary infections I am horrified by this article. Since undertaking twice weekly diluted bleach baths my eczema has been cured and therefore would recommed the treatment highly. As bleach is obviously an irritant after a 10 minute soak in a bath with 1/2 cup bleach I shower and then apply moisturiser. It works.

    Jennifer Lance has no medical training and the article is irresponsible. It does not include facts covered in the quoted articles (which were reports of published medical trials advocating the use of diluted bleach in eczema treatments). The reported effects of bleach are for undiluted bleach. Diluted bleach is safer for skin than other treatments for chronic eczema – UV light treatment and topical steroids which in high doses can cause cancer and thinning of the skin repsectivley.

  72. I to have real bad eczema after having 2 kids it fleared up worst with each child now im 27 my baby is 2months old and since birth my eczema has spread and is getting worst im itchy most of the time my skintone is uneven on my face and body ive been to the doctors and nothing has worked today i am gonna try the bleach bath im so desperate for some relief of this i look at myself every day and cant believe how my body has changed into this red patchy ugly thing I soooo hope this works.

  73. As terrifying and barbaric as this treatment sounds….IT WORKS. When your toddler has been up for night screaming and crying (and both parents crying too) from a flare up…this is a god sent. Im a “green mom” too so this really sounded atroshish to me at first. BUT IT WORKS.

  74. I started bleach baths two months ago and the only thing that happened was that it cleared up the eczema completly!!!. Just be sure to apply a good moisteriser like Aquaphor. I have not had any of the side effects you listed. It really works!

  75. I forgot to say that after soaking in the bleach water for 10-15 mins, I drain the water and rinse off in warm shower. Then put on the aquaphor.

  76. I wrote here last year about my young son’s painful ezcema and hives and how we’ve tried everything natural, as well as prescribed medications, topical ointments – doing everything possible to minimise dustmites and keep him from not being too cold or hot which seems to aggrevate it. He was always getting skin-infections on top of his ezcema and was always in pain.

    Anyway, I just wanted to let you know that we have had success with bleach-bath application and our son is actually sleeping through the night instead of constantly scratching and itching. He still gets flare-ups when the weather is humid or he gets hives sometimes and that flares up his ezcema – and when this happens we use a diluted bleach bath about three times in the week (1/4 cup of bleach in a full bath) and his skin definitely becomes less inflamed and he has not had a skin-infection since we began using this method for his flare-ups.

    Just a note with other bath applications. We did the natural route and have tried white-vinegar before and didn’t have much success. I also tried to use Baking Soda as was told this was good to stop the itching but it actually stung his skin when he was in the bath – perhaps I put too much baking soda in the bath? It’s all trial and error but I must say that if your exhausted from trying everything under the sun then this is truly worth a go.

  77. My daughter has suffered with Eczema since birth. It is so frustrating for us to watch our poor baby suffer, scratching until she bleeds, crying, tearing at her self… She must be covered from head to toe at all times to prevent access to her skin. That is, until we tried bleach bathes. About a month ago, I was so desperate to help her that I called my doctor to get a steroid prescription. And this is after food trials, trying every soap and lotion known to man, every homeopathic treatment you can think of, jumping through every hoop, crying myself to sleep and nothing helped. So the doctor gave me steroids, which to me was the absolute last resort… While researching steroid side effects on the internet, I came up a study from Northwest university about bleach baths. It sounded promising, so we tried it. It was a miracle. I cried the first time I saw her walking around in her diaper with nothing else on. It made all the difference in our life. I was very skeptical at first and concerned about bathing my baby in bleach but the bottom line is this: I use 1/4 of a cup to a full bath. You don’t smell it, we sit with her to make sure she doesn’t drink it and it gives her and us a normal life. She can go to the beach, she can now swim in a pool, she can do all the things that other toddlers can do without her skin getting in the way. Obviously, she only gets a bleach bath when she needs it and then the rest of the time we just use preventative measures to keep it at bay but it really did change our life. I understand that a” bleach bath” sounds awful and I can see why people would be up in arms but it is more like a “bath with a tiny bit of bleach” in it. We were desperate, it helped, and I am thankful. It is not for everyone, but it is for us!

  78. Susanne Koch says:

    Do you prefer your child’s eczema? I don’t get your fear about using bleach, as the side effects you’re listing are for concentrated bleach solutions, not dilutions approaching approximately twice a pool’s concentration (3/4 cup for a 40 gal bathtub). It is amazing how fast the eczema cleared up and the only spot it DIDN’T clear up in the british study, was the face. Then they added the recommendation of SPONGING the face and voila, it cleared up there, too. Staphylococcus infections cause many problems with the eczema and bleach is a safe way to kill it. Most of you would gladly reach for a topical antiobiotic cream, yet the use of antibiotics yields superresistant bacteria (they can share their resistance genes and pass on the trait to be resistant!). Bleach does not lead to superresistant bacteria and it is NOT harmful at those concentrations. Eczema is very damaging to the child’s body and psyche – I think I would risk a bleach bath (again: TWICE a public pool’s concentration) any time.

  79. Susanne Koch says:

    Here’s the study, so you can read about the research:

  80. In 1983, I was a ‘tween and had gotten severe Poison Ivy. After a couple weeks, it was excruciating -spreading and not improving. I remember clearly, I was in much pain, and in tears.

    My dear grandmother (born 1906) prepared a bleach bath for me and I thought it was so strange. I soaked for 30 minutes and emerged greatly relieved. Thereafter, I felt much better, I stopped oozing and was able to stop itching. Within days, it dried up and completely disappeared. This after one soak!

    These days they give you rounds of prednisone, instead. I’d much rather give a suffering child a bleach bath instead of prednisone! I completely believe and support the outcome of this eczema study, even for infants. Grandmum said it was an old home remedy for itchy skin. I gather these bleach baths have been in use for a long time now.

    As strange as it sounds, it really works.

  81. Eli's Mommy says:

    My son is 6 months old and has had eczema since about a month old. We have done one round of oral prednisone, which worked great but I know he can’t stay on it. Hydrocortisone 2.5% cream doesn’t help. We have just been doing very short, luke-warm baths with either Dove soap or just plain water, and slathering him with Eucerin cream. I plan on trying the bleach bath tonight. I am a Registered Nurse, so I understand about the MRSA and becoming resistant to antibiotics. I, myself don’t even like to take antibiotics unless absolutely necessary! I wish I could post before and after pics on here. I really hope it works. I have great hope that it will! My poor sweet baby boy deserves to have those socks taken off his little hands so he can play!

  82. The solution in studies has slightly more chlorine than a swimming pool. I think you are over exaggerating potential toxicity.

  83. My cousin used the bleach baths on her kids, and all went well. My son also has excema, and he’s just fine. As for the questions, “Will the children drink the water?”, and “Will it burn them?”, I see it, (and it’s only use of common sense), that the children will not drink the water if their parents are super using them, and the parents should always first get the directions from a doctor before risking their children being burned in case the skin is too irritated at the time. At the very first sign of excema outbreaks should probably be the best time to do this, so the risk of burning is lower. It’s all a matter of common sense. One half cup of bleach to a full tub of water. I certainly do understand the risks of bleach that’s listed above, but aren’t these risks primarily if one is exposed to the bleach in such a way that either they’re drinking it, or exposed to it in higher concentrations, and/or unsupervised by an adult?

  84. Oh wow! You guys are bein dramatic. Im a 28
    year old female, and I take bleach baths! I have severe
    Asthma and I’m often on steroids, wether inhaled
    Or pills. I also have a condition where my body
    Doesn’t fight off fungi. I’m prone to athletes foot
    and other things. One half cup of bleach in a child’s
    Water will barely be detectable. It has never burned
    My eyes and I do wash my face in the water. And as
    Far as a child drinking bath water with bleach, who let’s
    Their kids drink the water they bathe in anyway! That’s
    An issue all in iTs own. Supervise your kids and if their
    Too old to not want u in there, then they should be old
    Enough to know not to drink what most of them urinate
    In anyway! Mother of 4…

  85. I have neither the time or energy to get into an argurment over this, but I have to say that bleach baths have been a godsend to our (now happy) 3 year old. We tried everything we could to help him with his severe eczema and bleach baths have been the answer. Better than the medications that have “black box” warnings and the like. Better than olive oil. It’s an infection in the skin, and a MILD dilution of bleach in the water is perfectly safe and helpful in my opinion. We have been relieved to be free of bloody cracked eczema rashes. Our son never complains of pain and is happy and healthy.

    I understand how one could be very concerned at first, but we started with a capful of bleach in about 30 gallons of water and that was all it took. As for the “fumes” -there are none. It’s too diluted. Worried about burning the skin/eyes? Simple answer is NOT to put too much in the tub. The Mayo Clinic recommends 1/2 cup in a 40 gallon tub, or 2 tablespoons in every 10 gallons, no more than twice a week. That’s about 3 times stronger than we mix it in our home. If there was a threat of bodily damage , they wouldn’t assume the liability of recommending it.

    Do your child a huge favor and try this if they are in pain. It doesn’t hurt when you properly dilute the bleach, and you can always discontinue use if you do not see an improvement. Keep an open mind and I hope you do give this a try.

  86. I’m not a doctor, but it seems that it’s difficult to diagnose skin problems. Is it really atopic dermatitis, fungal infection, allergy or what? Whatever infected my 2year old hands for over a year is now gone after a week vacation near a pool. I’d think clorine baths do make sense!

  87. Actually I tried bleach bathing my baby (currently 6M) after seeing him suffers from eczema for so long and our pediatrician knows nothing more than what I could find online. We tried the bath twice since 6 days ago and so far it actually works!! My in-law who is the main care taker was opposed on bleach bathing at first. But after a big fight on baby food previously, I insisted the bleach bathing and so she gave up and let me try. Just after the 1st bath, she told my hubby she saw the improvement right away. She didn’t tell me I guess she felt embarrassed. But today she asked me how to bath my son.

  88. @ Jessica:
    Glad it’s working for you! I’m working on a product to make the whole bleach bath process much safer and with less risk of damage to towels, rugs, etc…
    Too bad there are people who would rather scare you out of this simple process than see your child (and mine) get relief from this painful condition. My little one gets sores on his feet occasionally, but the rest of his body has been eczema free for better than half a year. And after a month or so of twice-a-week bleach baths, he has tapered off to once a month or even less.

  89. It upsets me that someone with no medical knowledge can write an article and it be the top of the Google search when typing in Safe use of bleach in eczema. As a dermatology nurse who has nursed thousands of children and desperate parents I have seen outstanding results with the bleach. I am also a mother and I understand how unusal it may seem. We all however put our children in chlorinated pools, the amount of bleach required in the bath is far more dilute than that. I hope my patients parents don’t read your article and get frightened off from using this very effective and yes safe method when appropriate.

  90. I wish I hadn’t read this neurotic article a year ago! I finally found it again after eventually trying the bleach baths and I wanted to report that it is a MIRACLE! I always thought that it was the sunlight in the summer that helped my skin so dramatically… But then I had a baby and could’t use my chlorinated pool. My skin was awful, despite a good tan. It was the chlorine that was making my skin well! Now I take them at least once a week. No more steroids, no more antibiotics, no more expensive creams or useless herbal nonsense. Just bleach.

  91. Bleach is simply diluted sodium hypochlorite. Sodium hypochlorite is used as a swimming pool sanitizer as well as a drinking water sanitizer. Ordinary table salt (sodium chloride, NaCl) is half chlorine, and a simple electrochemical reaction with salt water produces chlorine gas easily. That same reaction produces sodium hydroxide (NaOH), and by mixing chlorine gas with sodium hydroxide you create sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl). When you buy a gallon of bleach at the grocery store, what you are buying is the chemical sodium hypochlorite mixed with water in a 5.25-percent solution. You’re buying salt water that has been changed slightly by electricity. Bottom line we all most likely consume and or bathe in bleach on a regular basis during our life. A low ratio of bleach to water will harm you or your young one about as much as a nice day in the pool will. Just make sure you do not over do it with the bleach.

  92. Bleach is a common sanitizer used every day. What do you think your drinking water is treated with? (not all but many public water distribution systems). It is used in drinking water in amounts that should be undetectable at your tap by smell or taste, as a public health employee i am very familiar with bleach applications. So, that cup of concentrate juice you give your child was made with this water, not to mention washed with this water. In no means is someone advising you to bathe your child in bleach, but to add a little in a proper amount. Before dismissing the idea, do a little research. I’m sure a few googles can help you understand the mixture being proposed and if done properly will serve as a helpful remedy to the unbearable itch of eczema.

  93. Bleach bathing is very dangerous. I used to do them of 1/2 a cup per bath. When your head goes under the water the bodys first reaction to this chemical is to inhale. It will also draw out to much of the protective body oils and kills off the good bacteria that protects us from fungal and air born yeast infections. The reason it works to releive is the electrolytes that is in the bleach. There is a much more effective method. SALT! Contains zillions of electrolytes and is complectly safe. Fishermen do not suffer ill effects of exposure to salt water. Salt water heals and stops alergenic itching and false stinging. And for carps sake its not about ebson salt either. Its just plain salt. Use non iodine though there is such a thing as iodine poisining from overuseing it. Pool salt comes in 40lb bags at walmart garden section for 6$. Ebson is 9$ for just 8lbs. Or a half box of non iodine table is good and safe. For 33 cents a box. And never take a borax bath either thats as dangerous at bleach.

  94. I should have also stated that there are many who think bleach bathing is safe because it is in many cities drinking water. True! But there is no where near the concertrations of a 1/2 cup per tub. That amount is a lot of bleach. You don,t gag on drinking water. But a 1/2 cup per bath will. Reactional drowning is possiable with this type of reaction. I should also add that when I did bleach bathing after several monthes I devoloped hair fungus and syestematic yeast infection of the body,organs,joints and skin and heart valve. Yeast can also pass the blood brain barrier and cause Fungal Meningitis.

  95. Esperanza says:

    JimDoe doesn’t know what he’s talking about. When doctors recommend bleach baths treatment, they tell you NOT to put your head under the water. You’re also NOT supposed to drink it! You’ve got to use common sense.

    I’ve given my son bleach baths– 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup bleach per 40 gallons of water (full tub)– for three years. No hair fungus. No yeast infections. Note: Once you’ve got the eczema under control– and it won’t be long– you don’t have to keep giving regular bleach baths. Taper off. We only do it as necessary now– so far this year only twice! If your child is truly suffering, you owe it to the both of you to try bleach baths. Before bleach baths my son had horrible eczema on his ankles and behind his knees (less on his inner wrists and inner elbows), frequent infections from scratching the ezcema (impetigo and staph). Now he looks like a regular kid. We moisturize in the morning and at bedtime, I run an extra rinse cycle with white vinegar added whenever I wash his clothing, and I give him an occasional bleach bath when I see that I see the tell-tale red scratch marks on his legs.

    Re: salt water: I’m not knocking salt water. Salt water does help; however at my son’s worst, he cried and said that salt water stung– probably because of his marathon scratching. At any rate, bleach baths worked best for us. Note: re: expired bleach: bleach degrades at 20% per year and you eventually end up with– harmless salt water!

  96. Esperanza you are a complete yoyo. I never said drink it. But I do know going under water with head will make ones reflex try and inhale. Do that to a momentairly untended child that dips his or her head or splashes it on face. And I,ve never heard or met in my experience even one doctor to say bath in it but try not to get your face wet. Uh just try? And this babble about expired bleach degrading at 20% a year? Mega babble. Are you sugesting buying somewhere only expired bleach and then waiting so many more years to pour it in the bath. Meaningless point you make on that. And you make my case for me by stating salt water is harmless. But you do make one valid point, even a cup of “non” idodine salt will burn some on open sores. I can see that point and have experienced that. But it will heal faster to reletive, at even small times of bathing exposure. Many children can not tolorate that kind of superfical pain. Nor can some adults. In all things honest I,m glad its working for you and that no one has experienced fungal, ringworm or yeast growths so far. I hope it stays that way to. To say I don,t know what I,m talking about is a egotistical and uneducated remark. A simple google search will turn up hundreds of sites about the warning of bleach bathing or exposure to harsh chemicals and fungal infections. Bleach is a harsh chemical, and bathing in it is way more harsh.Whole towns have been destroyed and evacuated in several states because of train derailments of bleach cargo. Its happened several times in the US alone. Many have died and many more suffered burned lungs and skin and even some of those lived over 25 miles away from the derailment site. It peeled paint off of houses that far away. Living rooms dripped its paint from walls. You may say I don,t know what I talk about but you,ll stay wrong on that remark until you,re able to alter or remake history. Those were extreem cases of concentrated exposure. The FDA has limits on how much can be added to drinking water. Your skin is your largest organ and it adsorbs this as well as your gut lining. And it (drinking warter) has a lot less parts per million than it this is recomended for bathing at 1/2 cup per bath. Bleach! It seemed to work really well for me, man it releived the itching pretty good, I said, HECK I can live with this now. In less or about a year is when I got the ringworm on body, fungus in hair and syestematic yeast infection. I know you,ll keep on using this. Its ok, you are not my body. But as a sincere warning please be careful. And at least watch for these signs I mentioned. I don,t mean meaness to you at all,ever. I,m only slightly passing through this site and mentioned something I personally experienced.

  97. Esperanza, I missed reading this part of your post.
    ” Note: Once you’ve got the eczema under control– and it won’t be long– you don’t have to keep giving regular bleach baths. Taper off. We only do it as necessary now– so far this year only twice! If your child is truly suffering, you owe it to the both of you to try bleach baths.”
    At least you seem to be doing smart bathing. Maybe,just maybe what you are doing is safe.I,m glad to have gone back and read that part I missed. I apologise for using the word yoyo.You are not a yoyo. And I still know what I,m talking about. :)
    Heres one thing I do know. Bleach can kill off whats called the Good bacteria in the skin. Thats when syestematic yeast and ringworm and fibered fungus can set in. Be careful and do watch for these signs, Brusing on skin usually side and back and knee, That could be yeast overgrowth inside the skin organs and blood. Matted fibers in the hair and or brittle breaking hair.
    To all here good luck and wishing you all very well.

  98. Just a clarification: Re: Jim Doe’s statement: “And I,ve never heard or met in my experience even one doctor to say bath in it but try not to get your face wet….” In spite of his statements, it sounds to me like JimDoe has never consulted a doctor for directions on how to administer a bleach bath to a child. A bleach bath is not like a regular bath. It is of very short duration (10 minutes) and NOT AT ALL like a regular bath, where you wash your hair and clean your whole body. Think of it as a ten minute, supervised soak, done no more often than 2 to 3 times per week–(not more often than every other day.) The child’s upper torso and head never get in the water AT ALL, though you can take a wash cloth of the bleach bath water and run it over exposed areas–(areas not under the water) that are prone to eczema. If JimDoe had ever done this, he would know how easy it is to do correctly– without getting faces in water–for even very young children. With our son, we simply put some favorite bath toys in the water and sit beside the tub and watch him play for 10 minutes. If your child is too young to keep his own face out of the water, then get in the tub with him, nestling him between your legs and supporting his body in the water while you play with toys together. This is not rocket science. You NEVER leave a young child unattended in a bath. Not momentarily. Not ever. My son has NEVER had his head go under the water in all of our time of bleach bathing. It is EASY to do this.

  99. JimDoe you also pointed out that there are hundreds of websites saying how bad bleach baths are for you; well there are hundreds if not thousands or hundreds of thousands of websites that say that Elvis isn’t dead, the moon landing was faked, and President Obama is an alien muslim…..goes to show that you can’t believe everything that you find on the internet, go figure.

  100. I have eczema on my inner arm, a little on the back and inner knee area. I started taking this bleach bath remedy last week and can happily say that their has been a visible improvement in my eczema in a matter of days! :)
    For those who are concerned with the possible pulmonary or breathing problems associated with the inhalation of bleach, or if you are a sufferer of asthma (as i am), i would recommend that you open the bathroom window whilst you are taking this bath and if you have an extractor fan in your bathroom, switch it on.
    I would sincerely recommend this remedy to anyone who suffers from atopic dermatitis. Good luck!

  101. Thats funny Star, which medical websites claim the moon shot was a fake or elvis is still breathing. Go figure while you,re so busy doing your figuring.

  102. DoubleSuccess says:

    We have 4 and 7 year foster children that had moderate excema when they arrived with us 3 months ago. I decided to google alternative treatments as it was quickly apparent that the prescribed medicines didn’t work. Hit the Mayo Clinic article first try and tried the bleach bath as recommended that night. Next day there was surprisingly significant improvement. After the second bath both were excema free and continue to be with a maintenance dilute bleach bath every few weeks or so that seems to have no side effects. Makes me wonder if this information was actually surpressed by the big pharma companies. They’ll be losing a lot of money now.

    It also makes me wonder about the etiology of excema. If excema supposedly is not caused by bacteria then it shouldn’t be clearing up from this, should it? Now it is time to do some research into why it works.

    • It works because it is treating the staph on the skin to stop the repeated skin itching-cracking-infection with staph bacteria…itching-cracking- infection cycle.
      Which it does by killing the staph bacteria which are more prevalent on those with atopic eczema (90% of those eczema sufferers compared with only 25% of the average population have a lot of staph on their skin).
      Unless you experience it yourself it would be impossible to understand quite how debilitating and constantly irritating eczema is when really bad. As an adult with chronic eczema all I can say to everyone is please consider the treatment-it is proven to work…even if you think it sounds crazy! The concentration is extremely dilute. It’s no cure, but if it helps calm things down it is so worth it. Constant itching (and then pain once you have itched and the skin breaks) does your head in!

  103. Johnathon Smith says:

    This isn’t that big of a deal. It is just like having chlorine in your pool and we all let our kids go swimming don’t we? Yes, if you mix the bleach 50/50 with the water it is going to be dangerous and honestly you’re stupid. Its a 1/2 a cup of bleach to a whole bath tub of water. Unless your washing your kids in the bathroom sink this level of dilution isn’t going to harm your kids, unless your stupid enough to leave them unattended and let them drink the whole tub. Yes, bath time is a time to play. So, let them have a different bath after this bath. This should be treated just like any other treatment, you don’t leave a kid with asthma on a breathing treatment all day. You monitor them for the 15 minutes and then take them off and let them run around. You clean your house with bleach, the fumes from that are more dangerous than this 1/2 a cup bleach bath. The people who argue this is cruel and wrong are the same type of people who don’t let their kids near the microwave because it will give them cancer.

  104. My young daughter from birth to abotu 6–7 months had a staph infection, which caused her body to be covered in boils. It was so traumatic for us to watch her in so much pain and suffering so much. Her pediatrician had us try everything, from giving 3 round of antibiotics, which workeded temporarily, but hte infection would just come right back. Steroid cream was also prescribed, but didnt wwork. We must have used 5-6 different creams on her skin, but none worked. the staph infection would not go away because she had exzema and the and her skin was just too vulnerable and the infection would just come back after a while. Finally, her doctor referred us to the best skin specialist in town and the specialist told us about this remedy. (bleach in her bath 3* a week). The amount of bleach that she suggested was about 1 teaspoon for every 3 litres of water. We just to had to try it! After so many attempts, we just couldnt watch our daughter go through anymore suffering. After the first bleach bath we gave her, her staph infection was gone! After a few baths in bleach her skin got notcibly less and less dry. We kept this routine up for about a month or so, and after discontinuing the bleach water bath, we wre just able to maintain her skin by just using plain old creamy vaseline on her skin daily. SHe is now almost 2 years old, and we are so thankful for this remedy. Please dont knock on theparents who had no choice but to go this route. it was theonly thing that helped us.

  105. Matthew says:

    The thing I enjoyed most about this article (& many of the comments) is how so many uninformed people (the OP included) can just go off on a wild rant without having the faintest idea what they’re on about.

    My first piece of advice, to anyone reeling in shock or horror at how any Doctor could recommend the bleach bath treatment or how any sufferer or parent of a child sufferer could actually use it, or perhaps your stunned by the recommendation to bathe in a “toxic” chemical.

    DO SOME RESEARCH!! Don’t just jump on the ill-informed/mis-informed band-wagon.

    Read up on what eczema is, read up on what Staphylococcus is & why it’s related to eczema (nudge nudge all you people questioning why antibiotics are often prescribed). Go & find the study by Amy Paller & Co. & read it as well.

    When you’re done & you finally have an understanding about the issue & the treatment under discussion feel free to give yourself an upper-cut for making such stupid comments on this page.

  106. Why on earth would I get medical advice from a blogger! You can have your opinion but really should stop trying to give medical advice.

  107. I’ve had eczema for years and have had to take bleach baths several times. The bleach isn’t meant to stop the itching (in fact it can make it a bit worse because it dries your skin out and burns like hell if you have any spots that have been scratched bloody).
    The purpose of the bleach is to kill the bacteria living on your skin, especially staph, so that you don’t keep getting weeping infections from severe flare ups. If you’ve never had eczema then you don’t know how hard it is not to scratch your skin off. It is referred to by many as “the ITCH that rashes” because the skin-crawling itch can make you insane. You WILL scratch and if steroid creams, seaweed baths, ice packs, socks on your hands, and witch hazel don’t work and you end up scratching your skin bloody and you WILL get weeping, sticky, incredibly painful skin infections that then require antibiotics.
    So, yes, bleach is incredibly toxic and not something you want to bathe in. I think everyone knows this by now. It’s not fun to bathe in it. It reeks and burns enough to bring a grown woman to tears. But it is the lesser of two evils, especially when treating children with severe flare ups because as many parents find out with chickenpox it is impossible to completely prevent a child from scratching. Just wanted to give you the input of someone who wouldn’t dream of cleaning the house or doing laundry with the cancer-in-a-bottle that is bleach but will bathe in it when needed because I know the alternative is worse.

  108. This seems kind of scary to me and something I would think of doing unless I knew it would be safe! However, on days when my eczema is going crazy, I would probably try it. Thanks for the informative post!

  109. Barry,

    Use common sense when trying this and talk to your dermatologist for a recommendation. Our dermatologist said 1-2 capuls in a tub. Seems right. Just a bit stronger than pool water. Doesn’t ruin clothes or hurt eyes and skin.

  110. If you are that worried about bleach bath of 1/4 cup of bleach in bath water, don`t ever send your child to a pool full of chlorine. Send your child to take swimming lessons at the lake. It`s polluted, but it has no bleach and no chlorine.

    Come on! Have some comon sense! Where do you think athletes swim? In pools full of chlorine. I know. I have been swimming in those pools 7 days a week until the age of 20 years old. I was a swimming instructor. Bleach and clorine have similar properties. They both can help disinfect the skin, and prevent and kill, skin infections. And guess what. We used to use amonia for disinfection purpose also. That was then. Now things have changed. they foud Ecoli in public pools water, from analysis.
    What is next as an objection? Ohhh but someone could drink water with chlorine.
    You idiot! If you think like that it`s not the bleach we have to lock up in the cupboard, it`s you! dum dum.
    As time goes by, the human race is becoming more and more stupid.
    Your parents , your grand-parents had less schooling, but more comon sense, and apparently were more knoledgable. They knew what to do, How to get things done, had various skills and did not nead to run to the doctor for the most comon and simple illness. And they were not afraid of bleach, chlorine and soap.


  1. […] The New York Times recently reported that a study was just published in the Journal of Pediatrics showing the children who took a bath in a half a cup of bleach per full standard tub were relieved of their eczema related itching. … More Eczema Tips […]

  2. […] by Jennifer Lance on October 30, 2012 Hello there! If you are new here, you might want to subscribe to the RSS feed for updates on this topic.Both of my children had little bouts of eczema as babies.  My daughter’s was a small pouch by her mouth; my son got a skin reaction to anything containing sodium lauryl/laureth sulfate.  I have seen babies and children that have suffered miserably from eczema, and some doctors go so far as to recommend bleach baths as a remedy. […]

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