Bleach bath instructions

Bleach bath instructions

Antiseptic baths 2 times a week can help prevent infection and improve eczema. Bleaches come in different strengths - see the instructions for how much to use.

Key points to remember about bleach baths

  • bleach (sodium hypochlorite) baths decrease bacteria (bugs) on the skin
  • this can help improve active eczema and prevent skin infection
  • use bleach baths 2 times a week when your child's skin is dry, red, itchy or infected
  • see your doctor or nurse if the bleach bath irritates your child's skin, or if infection occurs

When should I give my child a bleach bath?

Give your child a bleach bath twice a week when their skin is dry, red, and itchy or infected (active eczema).

What sort of bleach should I use?

Make sure you store the bleach where children cannot reach it.

You can find bleach in the cleaning aisle at your supermarket. Choose one that is plain and has no added fragrance or detergent. 

Bleaches come in different strengths.

Bleach gets weaker over time, so you may need to replace it with a fresh bottle. Make sure you store the bleach where children cannot reach it.

Value Extra Strength Bleach

Buy at: New World, Pak'n Save, Four Square

Strength: 4.2% bleach

Extra strength bleach bottle


Buy at: New World, Pak'n Save, Four Square

Strength: 3.1% bleach

Clor-o-gene bottle

Necessities Bleach

Buy at: The Warehouse

Strength: 2.1% bleach

Necessities bleach bottle

Bleach baths - step by step

Fill your bath or tub with warm water

  • a full-sized bath filled 10cm deep holds about 80 litres of water
  • a baby's bath holds around 15 litres of water
  • you can work out how much water is in your bath by filling it to a mark using a bucket or large bottle

Add bleach and mix well

Commercial bleach products can change so please see your doctor if you are not sure or have any concerns.

  • for a 4.2% product, add 1 ml for every litre of water
  • for a 3.1% product, add 1.3 mls for every litre of water
  • for a 2.1% product, add 2 mls for every litre of water

Soak in the bath for 10 - 15 minutes then wash with non-soap cream

  • rinse off with tap water
  • pat skin dry with a towel - do not share towels
  • apply steroid and moisturiser creams

When should I see my doctor or nurse?

See your doctor or nurse if your child's skin is irritated by the bath, or if infection occurs.

Want a print version of this page?

You might like to print out the handout Bleach bath instructions (PDF, 743KB)

Reproduced from the Eczema Clinical Network of the Paediatric Society of New Zealand's Bleach baths for eczema (PDF, 743KB).

This page last reviewed 08 March 2019.
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