Colloidal oatmeal baths: relaxing soak or POOL OF POISON?

My girlfriend, label reader that she is, had a look at the packet of colloidal oatmeal I used for one of my baths.

"Did you see this? Look here … KEEP AWAY FROM CHILDREN … IF INGESTED, CALL POISON CONTROL … you want that on your body?

Huh? Plain old colloidal oatmeal bath powder is poisonous? Despite the warning label – yes, a warning label – I can’t believe it. Googling around revealed nothing. I mean, c’mon … it’s oatmeal, not potassium. What’s the Straight Dope on oatmeal baths?

Can I ask for a brand and/or ingredients listing? If the stuff contains salt, epsom salts, preservatives, etc. then I can see the need for a warning. If it’s just oatmeal, I dunno; maybe it’s not food-grade, or it’s not processed in food-certified facilities, or something.


JR might be on to something. Some people are idiots and might think that this oatmeal soak can double as a nutritious breakfast. They focus on the word “oatmeal” and neglect to think about what else might be in it?

Sorry I can’t find a more definitive cite, but this site quotes a “safety health expert” as saying:

*1. Table salt: A little as half a teaspoon to an infant or a tablespoon to a toddler can cause damage to his central nervous system. *

If this soak contains salt, as many soothing bath soaks do, it would be a very good idea to call poison control if a young child ate some.

It’s a standard disclaimer in case a toddler decides to consume some laxative oatmeal-flavored epsom salts.

100% colloidal oatmeal. That’s all.

What is “colloidal” oatmeal?

Fifty-cent word for powdered oatmeal. I didn’t know that, either.

It almost certainly won’t do anything bad to you if you eat it. However, things that are made to be eaten are made to a different standard than those that aren’t. There is a chance, however unlikely, that something like industrial cleaner or whatnot made it into your bath oatmeal. In reality though, these warnings are just legal CYA for the company. Its ground up oats, not rat poison.

Good lord - does she wear cosmetics? Are those good to eat? No? Then why would she put them on her face? What about nail polish? Shampoo? Soap? Would she eat her bra? No? But she puts it on her body!!!


My sister used to make do her own colloidal oatmeal for her daughter with severe eczema. Take ordinary Quaker Oats, run through blender. Of course, that was food-grade to start with. The “dire warning” on the commercially available stuff is either due to additives or it’s a CYA thing.


Just found this question searching it. The warning is purely for those who are allergic or sensitive for any reason. For example, many are allergic to gluten. Gluten is not present in oatmeal but it may be a contaminant due to cross contamination at the factory. So, this is really one of those generic disclaimers, like the warnings about eating something that’s been produced where they also produce nuts.

It’s also a very fine powder, so there might be the danger of inhaling it like any other powder. Otherwise, it’s just oatmeal.

You want to see scary, look at the warnings on a box of baking soda in case you take it as an antacid.

Make your own colloidal oatmeal at home.


It’s just grocery store oatmeal you grind up using a blender, a food processor, a coffee grinder, mortar and pestle, etc. One can infer the branded colloidal oatmeal has extra ingredients to justify the exorbitant price to gouge the masses and claim additional, alleged medicinal properties.

Dry oatmeal expands a lot when a lot of water is added. Also, if just a little water is added, it can become like thick paste.

Neither scenario is good for a child eating it dry.

It’s very good for relieving horrible itchiness and good for skin. Colloidal oatmeal is not edible.

Everything is edible at least once.

Everything is air-droppable at least once.

That includes zombies.

“Colloidal” is another one of those words that make things seem like magic to the ignorant. All a colloid is is a suspension of particles in a liquid, and such particles are sufficiently small in size where they don’t settle to the bottom of the liquid.

“Colloidal oatmeal.” What a crock.

This is it. It’s probably just oatmeal, but not manufactured and packaged under the strict standards needed for food products.

Not a crock, according to NIH.

Doesn’t shed any light on the warning label, though.