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Effect of Hypochlorite Bleaching on Diaper Bacteria and Irritation

H.S. Whitehouse, PhD; E.A. Bannan, MS; N.W. Ryan, MD
Am J Dis Child. 1967;113(2):225-228. doi:10.1001/archpedi.1967.02090170089008.
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A NUMBER of investigators have reported that fabrics can contain numerous residual bacteria after home laundering.4 One might expect this contamination to be appreciable in the case of diapers since the level of bacteria in human feces is 25% to 30% by dry weight.5 It is generally believed that the elimination of this contamination is beneficial in the management of diaper dermatitis.

Since Koch first reported the germicidal activity of hypochlorites in 1881, chlorinereleasing compounds have been used extensively as disinfectants. At the present time, hypochlorite solutions are widely used in home laundering for bleaching fabrics such as diapers. Some physicians, however, have the impression that bleaching of diapers is contraindicated, feeling that bleached diapers are irritating to the skin of infants.6 To our knowledge, a controlled study to determine the effect of bleaching on the bacterial contamination of home-laundered diapers or on the infant's skin has


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