Oatmeal bath: how to?

My daughter (15-y.o.) has been experiencing some generalized inflammation of her skin lately. We’re trying to get her some relief with a corticosteroid cream and OTC antihistamine (at bedtime), with mixed results. It occurred to me last night that she might find an oatmeal bath soothing. We have a bath tub, and we have lots of rolled oats that she seems disinclined to tuck into at breakfast time.

Problem is, I have no idea how to prepare an oatmeal bath, or how to tell her to use one. Hot, warm, or cold water? How much oats do I put into the bath? How long should I have her stay in?

Do I need to take special precautions to prevent the oatmeal from going down the drain and clogging the pipes when she’s through?

If anyone knows the answers to these questions, I’ll be intensely grateful.

No personal experience, but these might be useful:

I’ve had good results from putting the oatmeal in the middle of a piece of muslin, the kind you use in the kitchen (the word for it escapes me!) - about a tablespoonful, or thereabouts - and tying it up with string. I just run the bath as I usually would, the temperature I like, with the bag of oats tied under the tap (using the ends of the string - leave them long so it ends up dangling in the water sooner rather than later, for maximum oaty goodness). This prevents them going down the drain as they’re completely contained, and provides a satisfyingly slimy bag of oats to squeeze and go “ew”. But I don’t suffer from any condition, just slightly dry skin sometimes, so someone who knows more will doubtless happen along.

Read the links and though unnecessarily complicated (in my opinion) they make a good point - when I say squeeze, I do mean gently!


I’ve no idea about oatmeal baths, but I do know that Aveeno makes what I consider to be an excellent lotion. It’s got “soothing oat essence,” whatever that might be. I love it - it’s super moisturizing and definitely delivers on the 24 hour promise noted on the bottle. (I’d slather some on on Monday, for example, and be good to go until Wednesday.)

Anyway, thought I’d pass it on in case your daughter finds it helpful.

We gave the kids oatmeal baths when they got chicken pox as toddlers. Yeah, the goop can clog up the plumbing. Figure out a way to filter. Use plenty, it does soothe the skin.

And get a large bottle of Vitamin E capsules, or a bottle of pure Vitamin E oil from the drug store. Daughter will want to rub a bit of it into any place that is scarring or that has cracked. Does truly cut down on scarring.

There you go! Now if I could just remember where I put my glasses…

You left them in the bathtub…

OP: aloe plant. Break off a leaf, rub the goo inside onto dry or irritated skin. Always helps me! Cheap, no side effects, all-natural, etc.

How about pulverizing the oatmeal in a food processor until it’s all powder? Then it should go down the drain okay, and it will dissolve better in the bath.

Aveeno also makes a finely powdered oatmeal preparation that’s easy-peasy to just dump right in the bathwater. It makes the water an unappealing cloudy beige color, but it’s very soothing and leaves your skin feeling mildly oily afterwards.

My favorite oatmeal “teabag” is the leg of an old pair of nylons, or a knee high nylon. Plenty permeable yet has a fine filter size, easy to squeeze (cheesecloth will let sharp bits of oatmeal nibble your hands, but nylons don’t seem to) and reusable yet easily replaceable.

As for quantity, I use about 1/2 cup for a large person bath, 1/4 for a small person bath that isn’t filled as high.

I used to get eczema as a child and this is the sort of bath my mother used to put me in. It was in the days pre-pantyhose but the method is the same. Just have the bath a comfortable temperature. We don’t want to scald the young child and hot water seems to make skin irritations worse.

If you use this, be extremely careful getting out of the tub. The oatmeal will make the bathtub very slick.

When I was a kid and my mom did this, it was: Pour oatmeal into a pantyhose sock. Knot it. Tie it to the faucet. Run lukewarm bath over the oatmeal. Take bath. Throw away sock and oatmeal.

I was going to say this. I get similar skin problems sometimes so I have tried oatmeal baths in the past. The bath ended up drying my skin out more than the oatmeal soothed it (if the oatmeal did anything at all.)

If you don’t have pantyhose around, a sealed ziploc bag with holes poked in it by a fork works too. Much cheaper than buying the Aveeno stuff.

I’ve put the oatmeal in a food processor, and it worked great–didn’t clog the plumbing and waaaaay cheaper than the Aveeno stuff. And I didn’t have to sacrifice any hosiery. Make sure you process it until the particles are really fine.