It sounds an alarming prospect, putting tiny children in bleach baths in order to manage their eczema: how can it possibly be safe?!
But the amount of the bleach used in bleach baths for eczema is tiny; it’s more like the levels of chlorine (another chemical that’s very dangerous when used undiluted) added to public swimming pools to kill off germs, than the strength of household bleach used to disinfect your kitchen sink!
Why are bleach baths used to manage eczema?
Bleach baths are a way of preventing infections on eczematous skin, which can be prone to bacterial infections. If your child is getting frequent infections which are making their eczema worse, then regular weak bleach baths can keep them under control.
How to make sure bleach baths are safe for babies with eczema:
- Discuss it with your baby’s dermatology nurse or GP first
- Never use undiluted bleach directly on the skin.
- Use regular strength household bleach (4-6% sodium hypochlorite), not concentrated
- Dilute 2ml bleach for every litre of water in a baby bath
- Avoid getting the bleach water in your baby’s eyes.
- Do not let your baby swallow the bleach bath water.
- Add bleach to a run bath and stir thoroughly before your baby gets in.
- Moisturise thoroughly with an appropriate emollient immediately after the bath.
- Soak for 5 -10 mins only
- Ventilate the bathroom so that you and your baby aren’t breathing in the bleach fumes
- Throw away or drain any unused bleach or bleach water right after use.
- Keep bleach bottle out of reach of children.
- Adding bleach can make your bathtub slippery, so be extra careful to keep your child from falling.
- Stop the baths if it is making your baby’s skin worse: some people have a strong reaction to the bleach that worsens rather than improves their eczema.
- Stop the baths if your baby also has asthma and the fumes of the bleach baths affect their breathing.
- Stop the baths if your baby’s skin is very cracked or sore and the baths are hurting them.
Balmonds Bath & Body Oil for all-over ‘soak and seal’ moisturising as soon as you get out of the bath. See our Top Tips For Bathing With Eczema for more information!
If you require medical advice we recommend you always contact your healthcare professional.
If you or someone you are caring for seems very unwell, is getting worse or you think there's something seriously wrong, call for emergency services straight away. For general medical advice, please contact your healthcare professional, this article does not contain or replace medical advice.
Do not delay getting help if you're worried. Trust your instincts.