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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 eczema, impetigo (school sores), boils, and infected wounds, to help reduce bacteria on the skin and improve the severity of disease.
Household bleach can sometimes cause a stinging or 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.
Can I just use a generic 4% concentration bleach - does it have to be a particular brand?
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 July 2020.
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This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.