How to Make Your Own Oatmeal Bath

A few simple ingredients is all it takes to soothe your child's skin

Oatmeal on a spoon.
Oatmeal on a spoon. Adrienne Bresnahan/Getty Images

Giving your infant an oatmeal bath is a simple, effective and inexpensive solution for a variety of pediatric skin conditions—from soothing a sore bottom from diaper rash to hydrating dry skin and offering relief from eczema.

If your doctor or other health provider recommends you give your baby an oatmeal bath, you are opting to buy a commercially prepared product; it will typically cost $6 for eight single-use packets.

Or, you can make your own at home for around $1—and you'll likely already have most of the ingredients you need right in your kitchen!

Ingredients You'll Need to Make an Oatmeal Bath

  • Blender, food processor or coffee grinder
  • 1 cup of oatmeal; 1/3 cup for babies (Instant oatmeal (unflavored), quick oats or slow cooking oats all work equally.)
  • Warm water

Simply blend or process the oats on the highest setting until you have a very fine, consistent powder. To test the colloid property (absorption) of the oatmeal, stir one tablespoon of the ground oats into a glass of warm water. If the oats readily absorb in the water, turning the liquid into a milky-looking substance with a silky feel, you've blended long enough.

How to Give an Oatmeal Bath

Pour your homemade oatmeal into a tub of running warm water and stir the water with your hand several times to ensure even distribution. Feel along the bottom of the tub for clumps and break up any you find.

Allow your child to soak in the tub for 15 to 20 minutes. You may even want to gently rub some of the oatmeal directly on the skin.

Be careful transporting your little one in and out the bath, however. Oatmeal will make the tub even more slippery than usual. Pat your child's skin dry with a soft towel.

An oatmeal bath can be given once or twice a day, or more frequently if your pediatrician advises doing so.

Skin Conditions That Crave Oatmeal

Parents and doctors alike have been turning to the skin-soothing powers of oatmeal for centuries! It's not surprising, then, that you'll find finely powdered ("colloidal") oatmeal listed among the ingredients in a slew of body soaks, moisturizers and soaps (for kids and adults). Oatmeal is a natural way to lock in the body's moisture, protect the skin and soothe any irritation or itching.

Here are just a few of common pediatric skin conditions that can be treated with an oatmeal bath.

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