Also called sodium bicarbonate, baking soda has been a household staple for years. It’s used for cooking, cleaning, and as a toothpaste. You might even have an open box in the back of your refrigerator to absorb odors.

Eczema is a common, noncontagious group of recurring skin conditions that cause inflamed, itchy, red skin. While there’s no cure for eczema, there are treatments including prescription topical medications and over-the-counter remedies.

Many people with eczema also use alternative and natural treatments such as baking soda.

The primary way that people use baking soda to relieve eczema symptoms is in the bath. Along with soothing qualities, baking soda also has .

The National Eczema Association suggests stirring ¼ cup of baking soda into a full bathtub of warm water and soaking for 10 to 15 minutes.

To maximize your baking soda bath:

  1. Use warm — not hot — water.
  2. Don’t scrub your skin.
  3. After your bath, lightly pat your skin with a soft towel. Leave your skin slightly damp.
  4. After toweling off and within three minutes of exiting the tub, apply a moisturizer liberally all over your body.
  5. After moisturizing, allow the moisturizer to absorb by waiting a few minutes before getting dressed.

You might also consider other bath additives to relieve the symptoms of eczema. Try experimenting with these different baths — suggested by the National Eczema Association — to see if one is effective for your eczema symptoms.

  • Bleach bath. Bleach baths can reduce the amount of bacteria on your skin. Approximately 2 to 3 times a week, soak for 10 minutes in a bath with ½ cup household bleach mixed into a full bathtub of warm water (¼ cup for a half tub).
  • Oatmeal bath. These baths help to relieve itching and maintain skin surface pH. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes in a bath with 1 cup of colloidal oatmeal mixed into a bathtub filled with warm water.
  • Bath oil. Bath oils can be added to help moisturize your skin. Use gentle oils that don’t contain fragrances and avoid bubble bath solutions. Be aware that oils can make your bathtub very slippery. Advocates of natural healing suggest that coconut oil is better than commercial bath oils.
  • Salt bath. Salt baths can help to reduce the sting of bathing when you have a severe flare. Soak for 10 to 15 minutes in a bath with 1 cup of either table salt, sea salt, or Epsom salt mixed into a bathtub filled with warm water.
  • Vinegar bath. Vinegar can be added to a bath to help reduce bacteria. Soak for about 10 minutes in a bath with 1 to 2 cups of vinegar mixed into a bathtub filled with warm water. Many proponents of natural healing suggest using apple cider vinegar.

If your skin is very dry or cracked, you might find any bath to be painful. Talk to your doctor about various types of baths — including baking soda — to see if they have suggestions or additional instructions.

Along with a good skin care routine that includes washing and moisturizing, baking soda might help you relieve some of the itchiness and irritation of eczema and prevent flares.