Efficacy of bleach baths in reducing severity of atopic dermatitis: A systematic review and meta-analysis

Ann Allergy Asthma Immunol. 2017 Nov;119(5):435-440. doi: 10.1016/j.anai.2017.08.289.


Background: Bleach baths have been proposed as a treatment for decreasing the severity of atopic dermatitis (AD). However, conflicting results have been found regarding their efficacy.

Objective: To determine the efficacy of bleach vs water baths at decreasing AD severity.

Methods: We performed a systematic review of all studies evaluating the efficacy of bleach baths for AD. Cochrane, EMBASE, GREAT, LILACS, MEDLINE, and Scopus were searched. Two authors independently performed study selection and data extraction.

Results: Five studies were included in the review. Four studies reported significantly decreased AD severity in patients treated with bleach on at least 1 time point. However, of 4 studies comparing bleach with water baths, only 2 found significantly greater decreases in AD severity with bleach baths, 1 found greater decreases with water baths, and 1 found no significant differences. In pooled analyses, there were no significant differences observed between bleach vs water baths at 4 weeks vs baseline for the Eczema Area and Severity Index (I2 = 98%; random effect regression model, P = .16) or body surface area (I2 = 96%; P = .36).

Conclusion: Although bleach baths are effective in decreasing AD severity, they do not appear to be more effective than water baths alone. Future larger-scale, well-designed randomized controlled trials are needed.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Balneology / methods*
  • Bleaching Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Dermatitis, Atopic / therapy*
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Bleaching Agents