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Diluted household bleach has been safely used for many years to help treat skin infections. A small amount of bleach added to the bath is recommended for conditions such as impetigo (school sores) and scabies, to help reduce bacteria on the skin and improve the severity of disease.
Household bleach can sometimes cause a stinging or a burning sensation on the skin. The instructions outlined in this fact sheet are for a very diluted bleach bath, which means there is less risk of stinging happening. The final bleach concentration is lower than a swimming pool, which most people can safely swim in without damage to their skin or hair.
If your child does have stinging or irritation in the diluted bleach bath, rinse them off with plain water. Discuss this with your child's doctor or nurse before giving them another bleach bath.
If your child has eczema, bleach baths can be helpful if the eczema is infected and difficult to control. Bleach baths for eczema also have oil and salt added. See
Formula for an eczema bath.
Can I just use a generic 4% concentration bleach – does it
have to be White King?
No particular brand is better than another, you
can safely use most household bleaches as long as they are non-fragranced (e.g.
lemon scented), but discuss this with your doctor or nurse.
Developed by The Royal Children's Hospital Dermatology department. We acknowledge the input of RCH consumers and carers.
Reviewed May 2018.
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