Bleach on Ringworm: Does it Kill It? (On Skin & Surfaces)

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Ringworm is a common fungal infection that anyone is likely to experience at some point in their lives.

The good news is that various treatments available for ringworms are very effective. However, people with weak immune systems are more at risk for such infections and may take longer to treat ringworm and heal.

Then, you may be wondering like I did, does bleach kill ringworm and speed up the process? We did hours of research, just to answer this question.

Quick Answer

Despite the long list of OTC ointments and ringworm medications, many people resort to home remedies to treat ringworms. Bleach is one such home remedy that effectively kills ringworm spores quickly…on surfaces. There aren’t many studies on it being used on skin, which could make it a dangerous home remedy to try since it’s a known skin irritant.

If you want to kill ringworm fungal spores on surfaces, go right ahead. It’s an effective solution.

But if you want to use it on skin, there may be a few safety considerations that you need to take before deciding to use this form of treatment.

This article will look at bleach as a treatment for ringworm, how it works, how to do it, and its side effects.

Can You Put Bleach on Your Skin to Kill Ringworm?

There isn’t enough evidence to suggest that your household bleach is effective in killing ringworm, as there are for surfaces.

Because the chemicals in bleach are strong, they can damage the area where you are applying the bleach to treat your infection.

However, people have claimed success with this home treatment, and claim to dilute bleach in water in various ratios.

Some do a 1:100 bleach to water ratio, others do 1:10, we’ve even seen some people even attempt a 1:1 equal parts solution or a straight bleach solution! Brave.

You can see a thread on reddit from people who have tried this method HERE

Whether bleach will help get rid of your ringworm fast or not, it also makes the skin more sensitive due to:

  • irritation
  • potential chemical burns
  • making the area more susceptible to future infections

The best way to get rid of ringworm infection is to use prescribed medication like anti-fungal or OTC ointments to get rid of such infections.

This approach will not damage the skin barrier like bleach or chlorine can, nor will it affect your skin’s susceptibility to reinfection.

Get rid of what you cannot clean and do a thorough clean-up using bleach, steaming, vacuuming, and other procedures to prevent reinfection.

Does Bleach Kill Ringworm on Fabric and Surfaces?

You can use bleach to clean surfaces and fabrics to get rid of ringworm.

Once you start taking care of the infection on your skin, you must immediately start cleaning the areas in the house which you think are harboring the fungal infections.

Before disinfecting your house:

  • Start cleaning the surfaces to eliminate dust, dirt, and grime. Once the surface is clean, you can start the disinfection process.
  • Dilute equal parts bleach and water and spray it onto the surface.
  • Let it sit for a while before you wipe it down.

You can run your washing machine twice for your laundry with a mixture of bleach and detergent.

You can also use warm water or the hottest recommended washing temperature for the fabric.

Make sure that you are separating the whites and colors as recommended. Only bleach-resistant colored clothes can be washed with bleach.

How to Kill Ringworm With Bleach Safely (Step by Step)

Disclaimer: We do not recommend this protocol and are not a doctor or veterinarian. It is ALWAYS best to consult a dermatologist, doctor or veterinarian for diagnosis, disease control, prevention and cure.

We definitely don’t recommend using it for specific types of ringworm like jock itch in your sensitive groin area and for athlete’s foot which is in an area of sensitive skin between the toes.

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Step One:

Get a bottle of liquid bleach and pour it into a safe container, preferably glass.

Step Two:

Dilute the bleach with equal parts water and mix

Step Three:

Get a clean cotton swab or ball and dip it into the solution. Be careful with your bare hands, as they can become irritated. It is best to wear gloves when handling such chemicals.

Step Four:

Dab the cotton onto the ringworm-infected area directly. Try not to spill the solution outside of the infected area. You might feel a slight stinging sensation.

Step Five:

Wait for the solution to dry naturally on your skin.

Don’t rub the solution in or rinse it under water.

If you feel unbearable discomfort when you apply the solution, rinse it off and visit a doctor for medical attention.

Step Six:

Wait till the next day to wash the area with soap and warm water.

And get the skin dry and ready for another round of bleach treatment.

Depending on the severity of your infection, it will take at least 3-4 treatments until your ringworm is fully gone.

If the problem persists even after multiple treatments, seek a medical professional, and get an expert opinion on it.

How Long Does It Take Bleach to Kill Ringworm?

For all surfaces safe for bleach, start cleaning the surface with soap and drying it before you go in with the bleach solution.

If you are applying the bleach solution on a surface, you should allow it to stay wet with bleach for at least 10 minutes or even more.

If you’re applying it on your skin, you don’t need to apply it as much, but allow the solution to dry naturally on your skin’s surface.

We’ve seen the time recommended vary from 3 to 10 minutes.

Does Bleach Kill Ringworm Instantly?

No, it’s fast but not instant. Bleach is one of the many treatments for ringworm that kills the fungal infection pretty quickly.

People who have tested this remedy on their skin report that they have seen visible changes within 2-3 days of starting the treatment.

To know for sure, purchase a cheap LED blacklight to check for any remaining ringworm spores after you’ve treated yourself.

Remaining forms of ringworm should be exposed by a glow on your skin, hairs or scalp.

The only problem with this treatment is that bleach contains many harsh chemicals that can burn your skin and scar it for life.

It also makes your skin more sensitive as it burns most of the barriers, so you will be left with a tender patch of skin that might even attract reinfection if you don’t take proper preventive measures.

If you are still unable to see changes after the initial 3-4 days, go to a doctor and get your infection checked out (you should do this anyway).

It will go away with prescribed anti-fungal medication.

Bleach on Ringworm: FAQs

Can I Put Clorox on Ringworm?

Yes, you can use Clorox bleach on ringworm to kill it quickly on surfaces and fabrics. (2)

Their recommendation is below:

clorox to kill ringworm recommendations

But it shouldn’t be your go-to treatment for ringworm infected skin. Since bleach is quite toxic, it can cause chemical burns on your skin, leading to scarring.

How Long Should You Leave Bleach on Ringworm?

Those who applied bleach on their ringworm with a cotton swab recommend leaving it on until it completely dries.

This should take anywhere from 3 to 5 minutes, with some even suggesting up to 10 minutes.

Remember not to wash off the solution after it dries.

Repeat the process for the next 2 to 3 days, and you should start seeing results. Some even claim symptoms can be relieved in 24 hours.

However, this doesn’t mean the fungus is gone and you should stay away from public hotbeds of fungi like locker rooms to prevent spreading of this highly contagious disease.

If you still don’t see any improvements, visit a doctor, get a diagnosis and get medication. This should always be your first port of call either way.

Summary – Ringworm Treatment with Bleach Solution: A Good or Bad Idea?

Bleach works well for killing ringworm on surfaces and can stop further spread, but can be hazardous to your health, as well as your pet or other animals. This includes the skin on your body, so we can’t recommend it.

Even though there is anecdotal evidence of people healing themselves and being cured from their itchy ringworm, there are no scientific studies showing its efficacy on skin.

It causes chemical burns that are unsuitable for your skin and may result in permanent scarring.

This method is also not approved by medical professionals.

However, it is definitely effective in removing ringworm fungus from surfaces, but whether it is for killing ringworm infections on your skin or hair is up for debate.

There is nothing much in the way of studies to confirm this, besides mice studies which shows a weak dilute won’t harm skin. (3)

So, if you must use bleach to treat your infection, make sure that you follow the proper procedure and visit the doctor if the remedy does not work within 3 days of trialing it.

They can prescribe you an oral, cream, shampoos or other tried and tested medications for your ailment.