6 Tips For Removing Poison Ivy Plants

Editor Peter Geiger shares some natural solutions to send poison ivy packing.

The American Skin Association reports that nearly 50 million people suffer from allergic reactions to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac in the United States each year, making it the most common type in the country. In some cases, highly-sensitive people may get a poison ivy rash simply by standing near the plant — without even touching it! (A breeze may carry the oily irritant, urushiol.) What makes poison ivy even more annoying? It’s particularly difficult to remove from your property. Are you wondering how to get rid of poison ivy or need tips for dealing with a poison ivy rash? Here are some non-chemical solutions and poison ivy treatment tips:

What does poison ivy look like?

The old saying goes: “Leaves of three, let them be.” Poison ivy features three almond-shaped leaflets and may have grayish-white berries. The leaves, which are smooth and shiny, are often red when the plant is young, turning green and then dark green as summer progresses, and reverting to bright red or orange again in the fall.

The leaves are anywhere from 1-5” long, but can, in rare cases, grow to be up to 10” long. Poison ivy vines have no thorns but will feature fine reddish root hairs along the stem.

Poison Ivy thrives along the edges of wooded areas, which makes it especially prominent in suburban communities. For most homeowners, stumbling upon poison ivy is enough to race to the top of their to-do list. This stubborn vine, with its twisting, clinging roots make it particularly annoying and difficult to remove from your property. If left uncontrolled, it will spread and grow. The fastest option for ridding your yard of poison ivy is manually removing it. (We do not recommend synthetic herbicides.)

Non-chemical methods to remove poison ivy from your property:

  1. Remove the entire plant — leaves, stems and root. You have to be sure to get it all. And, wear long pants, long-sleeved shirts and thick gloves—plastic or heavy cotton. Be sure to wash all clothing afterward.
  2. Put the entire plant in a plastic bag and dispose of it.
  3. Make a poison ivy killer spray. Some folks have had luck with this remedy: Combine 1 cup of salt and 1 gallon of vinegar in a pot and heat to dissolve the salt. Allow it to cool, then add and 8 drops of liquid dish soap and put the mixture in a spray bottle. You can spray the poison ivy or pour it directly on the plant. This will kill all vegetation, so be sure to only apply it to the poison ivy. It takes a few applications.
  4. Some have claimed that pouring bleach on the plant will have the same effect, however, this classifies as a chemical method.
  5. If you happen to have a goat or cow handy, they just love to eat it—without any side effects!
  6. Another technique to clear the area of poison ivy is by planting grass seed. Ivy will not grow where there is a lawn. I tried this at my cottage and it worked. The only downside is that it takes time, but, once you have grass, you won’t have poison ivy.

Poison Ivy Treatment

If you believe you have come into contact with poison ivy first wash the area thoroughly with soap and hot water, using a washcloth. Rinse and repeat at least three times to ensure that all the poison is gone. (Urushiol, the substance in poison ivy that makes you itch, is a sticky oil that is hard to wash away.) Make sure to wash all clothes, and anything else that has come into contact with the plant. 

Signs and symptoms of poison ivy include: redness, itching, swelling, blisters, and difficulty breathing (if you’ve inhaled smoke from burning poison ivy). The poison ivy rash or reaction usually develops within 12 to 48 hours after exposure and symptoms will last for 2 to 3 weeks. The severity of symptoms depends on the amount of urushiol that gets on your skin and the individual’s sensitivity. The rash often presents in a straight line due to the way the plant brushed up against your skin.

Is Poison Ivy Contagious?

A poison ivy rash is not contagious, but the oily substance that causes the rash may be transferred from person to person or from pet fur, clothes, and other surfaces. Anyone who comes in contact with the irritant — not just the plant — may be infected. The oil may also last on uncleaned surfaces for years, making re-exposure possible. To avoid recontamination, be sure to thoroughly wash clothes, pets, and outdoor equipment after exposure. 

That said, you can’t “spread” the poison ivy rash on your own body by scratching — though the rash may give the illusion of spreading as different areas of the body may react to the oil at different times.

There is unfortunately no magic cure for ridding of the rash overnight. It is best to avoid scratching blisters and allow them to heal. Breaking them open will increase your risk of infection and scarring.

Tips For Dealing With A Poison Ivy Rash

If the unpleasant rash rears its ugly head, here are natural remedies to help alleviate unpleasant side effects, ease itching, and help dry up oozing blisters:

  • Apply witch hazel to the affected area to soothe itches.
  • Cover your poison ivy rash with a paste made from baking soda and water (a few drops). Apply the mixture for 10 minutes before washing off. (A paste made from water and cornstarch may also work.)
  • Add oatmeal (1 cup) or Epsom salt (2 cups) to a warm bath. Grinding the oatmeal into a powder in a blender beforehand works best. 
  • Rub a banana peel or watermelon rind over the rash. Allow it to dry naturally without rinsing off.
  • Make a paste of equal parts turmeric and lemon or lime juice (about 1 tablespoon) and apply to affected area.
  • Whip a raw potato into a paste in your blender. Spread it onto your skin and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar to two glasses of water. Soak a few gauze pads in the mixture and place them over the rashes. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before washing off.
  • Apply hydrogen peroxide to the affected area to clean off any remaining urushiol oil and help to dry out any blisters. (Use clean gauze or a spray bottle.)
  • Aloe Vera is a soothing burn treatment that can relieve itching and inflammation.
  • Apply a cold compress to soothe the skin and make it less itchy.
  • Essential oils contain organic compounds that may cool or otherwise soothe your skin. Dilute these essential oils in a lotion or oil: peppermint oil, calendula, chamomile, and eucalyptus.
  • If you have access to a jewelweed plant, you can crush the stems to form a paste to apply over the rash. Allow it to dry and then wash off with water.
Poison ivy rash soap with jewelweed.

Poison Ivy Soap

If you happen to stumble into poison ivy, don’t fret. 

Our miraculous soap contains an ancient Native American remedy to stop the itch: jewelweed, plantain, and sweet fern!

Stock up!

It’s worth having some on hand.

  • A mixture of lemon juice and honey can provide relief and increase recovery time. The antibacterial properties of honey and the acidity of lemon can help prevent infection and dry out blisters. Dap mixture onto blisters and wash off once dried. 

Note: If you are having difficulty breathing, develop a fever, or your rash is swollen and severe, and persists or worsens within a few weeks, consult your doctor.

Join The Discussion

Do you have a special technique to get rid of poison ivy?

Share your tips with your community here in the comments below!

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Farmers' Almanac - Weather forecasting
Peter Geiger

Peter Geiger is the Editor of the Farmers' Almanac. Read his full biography.

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We use Dawn dishwashing soap to wash up with after being near poison Ivy. Since it is a grease dissolver it removes any trace oils faster and better than regular soap.


forget natural methods. buy Zanfel at pharmacy and use per directions. itch gone immediately.


I GREW UP IN OHIO AND WAS VERY ALLERGIC TO POISON IVY. i LIVED IN CA FOR 35 YRS NEVER CAME IN CONTACT WITH IT. I MOVED TO OREGON AND LIVE IN THE COUNTRY – SO NOW I KNOW I AM EQUALLY ALLERGIC TO POISON OAK! BACK TO THE HOSPITAL EMPLOYEE, I WAS AT THE HOSPITAL FOR A MEETING AND WAS IN THE CAFETERIA AND THE SUBJECT CAME UP ABOUT POISON OAK SHE SAID YOU MAY NOT BELIEVE THIS BUT IT WORKS AS A PREVENTATIVE AND DURING A REACTION TO POISON OAK. BUY THE PRODUCT CERTO for canning, take two tablespoons before you go out, if you forget and start getting the rash take the same 2Tbs every day until the rash is gone, If you are an unbeliever I understand, but I was so desperate I went out and bought it again take the 2 tablespons before you go out into the woods, if you forget take it when you get home. If the next day you are itching and have the rash take the 2 tablespons then – it will deminish the itching and the rash will start drying up. I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THIS WORKS AND DON’T CARE IT WORKS. There are so many things you can buy but they don’t work like this, I CAN GO OUT AND I AM NOT AFRAID, IF i GET IT I KNOW WHAT TO DO . . A N D . . I T . . W I L L . . W O R K !

Bobby Morton

Yes 3% pure Rex or chlorine bleach dabbed on affected area and let dry will dry up and get rid of of in 3-4 days . Yes it’s stings but it works ! And before everyone jump on me about it being unsafe , me and my family and friends have been using it our entire life and some of us are almost 90 years old and hasn’t hurt any of us . Your chlorine pucks you use in your pool is 67% ??‍♂️. That it , it does work !!!!


I had a friend who was a science teacher give me a tip to help with poise Ivy rash that cost absolutely nothing! I am VERY allergic to PI, I get it every year!( My doctor has a standing order for steroid pack ready for me.) She(teacher)told me to use my hair dryer after I shower, (1) it keeps the towel from spreading it and (2) focus the heat on the rash as long as I could stand it! It makes it itch like crazy for a few minutes and- than, no itch at all!

Sandi Duncan

Ooh we are going to try this… thanks for sharing.


Salt for putting on winter sidewalks kills everything , pile it at the roots of a vine , if you can cut it , then even better , I have cut down live trees , pored a bag of rock salt on the stump and it will never grow back .. Salt kills everything … and at about $5 for a 40 lb bag isn’t bad ! I’m going to pour a nice thick line of salt on my fence line in the spring and get a jump start on it ! I have huge vines I’m salting at the moment …


If I have a layer of leaves covering my poison ivy, will the salt still make its way through?


I have Poison Ivy along about 20’ of fence. It’s intermingled with honeysuckle, I don’t want to harm Bees or Birds in my yard, this sounds good how did it work for you Matt? Does it kill permanently?


I have used the rock salt method myself. It kills everything. Turns that area into a no-growth zone.

Martha M Ousley

And excuse me for last question about small batch. I put my cooking brain on high and quartered the gallon size batch. Lol. Thanks.

Martha M Ousley

How can I mix a small spray bottle amount for just a few random plants?

Linda Wilcox

Do not mix salt and vinegar and heat it until the salt dissolves. The salt will NOT dissolve, but the two makes hydrochloric acid which releases deadly fumes. This is dangerous. The fumes, when I tried it, were making me sick.

Susan Higgins

Linda, this is only partially true. The hydrochloric acid created by combining salt and vinegar (acetic acid) would be very weak (I put salt and vinegar on my french fries all the time) so there’s a chance something else was making you sick. Acetic acid (vinegar) is a very weak solution that is mostly water.


There is very strong vinegar (30%) available in the garden/outdoor sections of Walmart and probably other stores during the summer. I believe this will work much better than the vinegar that you can get in the grocery section, which is normally like 5%.

Peggy seme

I use alcohol or alcohol wipes immediately. Then wash with Dawn and cold water.
We have a lot on the property as it was left and overgrown with weeds. Now just trying to get rid of it.


I seem to get PI bad every year. Finally someone told me the trick to get rid of it. Of course, scrubbing the oils off is best, but if you still get it, run the itchy area of your skin under hot tap water for a minute. It gets rid of the itch every time for me. I don’t want anyone to get burned, so just use hot tap water – no need to add additional heat.


I’ve got THREE different TYPES of PI on my tiny 1/4 acre. One has choked out my big lilac tree so bad its almost hollow inside. Another vine on my maple trees that actually is a brilliant red in the fall, but I still don’t want it, lol. The third is more low ground cover that has infiltrated my hedge & also a wall of English ivy that I share with my neighbor. Last night we put chlorine for the pool into a spray bottle & went to town. We know the English ivy will be fine, but I’m too chicken to try on my trees.!


Poison ivy can be three different styles depending on its location… I’ve seen it vine up a tree 50ft tall. itll readily infest large stretches of guardrail, tree lines,, or stonewalls as a shallow system of short stems (usually connected by a common root which is why its so difficult to remove) and ive seen it bark up and grow as big as a lilac tree… removing it by the roots is perhaps the safest if not most difficult way. And you’ll likely miss some so repeating the process is likely when it comes back… otherwise, a herbicide designed to kill roots by spraying the foliage is pretty easy and safe with some caution.

Laura Adams

We have Virginia Creeper here, which is a 5-leaved green plant in the summer, but turns a beautiful scarlet red in the fall. It climbs trees, and chokes the life out of them. Cut it back if you see it in your trees, or they won’t be around in a year or two!

Last edited 2 years ago by Laura Adams

Poison ivy does grow in grassy areas! I cut grass for a neighbor and I was shocked to see it proudly standing erect! I, of course, mowed right over it but we know that won’t kill the plant. Not 5’ from there is a wooded area which the PI is thriving.


Jewel weed is an excellent healing salve for poison ivy blisters and the rash.


Impatiens that you buy at the store are a domesticated version of jewelweed. Split the fleshy stem and rub the gooey sap on the affected area. My mother (and now I) have done this for many years and it works great.


Jewel Weed salve will relieve active blisters and itchiness.


Wait till after a good, soaking rain and pull it up by the roots. It is very satisfying. I use long cuff gloves and throw them away, and long sleeves tucked into them, and long pants tucked into my socks; get undressed by the washing machine and throw everything in and jump in the shower. Thanks for the info on disposing of it. Wasn’t sure what to do.


Pull it up


I love using Fels Naphta for washing the poison oil off. It works in laundry and on hands!

Susan Higgins

Great tip, BirdDog, thanks!


@BirdDog – where do you buy the Fels Naptha? Someone else told me the same thing but I can’t find it.


I got just a spot on my finger cutting honeysuckle from the fence it started itching I put super glue on it and kept it on for three days that’s when it came off and poison oak was gone but caught it early

Last edited 3 years ago by Teress
Susan Higgins

Hi Teress, when you’re exposed, wash your hands right away with a good grease-cutting soap like Dawn. We don’t recommend superglue but glad you had good luck!


#1 Rule, in my house any “gardening or yard work” clothes get a hot wash with a good amount of Dawn dish soap in the mix!!


I repaired a fence 10 days ago. I saw the PI and had on gloves that were old enough to just throw them away. Just to be safe, after I took the gloves off and tossed them I went inside and washed my hands and up to my elbows.
I still got the itch. 10 days later I’ve got a spot by my ankle, behind my left knee, on the outside of my left knee and on my rt breast. I tried to be careful when showering and putting on and taking off clothes. I’m so tired of the CRAP.


I’m very allergic to it to. So I learned what to do. Shower 1 hour after. If you have any on you wet hand soap every time it itches be gone in about 3 days


I use Zanfel I got at CVS not cheep $47 works great takes the itch away in 15 minutes you can repeat if it still hurts I was all clear in a week . You just can’t sleep with that itch .


Try Zanfel on a small patch of skin first though. I used it last year on my mild PI rash and found out I am massively allergic to the ointment. Was off work for three days, steroids for 10 days, had to bandage my swollen arms for a full week. Never again.


I moved into my home last summer and we spent a good deal of time getting rid of poison ivy in one corner. A couple of weeks ago, we pulled out some old chain link fencing and there must of have some oil on it because rashes. I have a shed, wood fence, and a tree in that corner that were all covered with poison ivy. The plant it gone but the oil is not. How can I get rid of the oil on the shed and fence so that I don’t have to worry about it again for the next 5 years?

Tami Luke

I hate to tell you, but we have poison ivy growing all over our yard in THE GRASS. ITS EVERYWHERE!!! BOUT 5 ACRES OF IT IN OUR YARD.


Seriously I’d spray roundup on the whole lot and replant the grass… infested like that will come back forever without action… keep in mind… with a root system that you likely have, even if you kill it all, you could be exposed if you dig into the roots for years… until they’re decomposed at least. Good luck.

Gary Reid

I have very large leaves of Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.
I’ve used the Vinegar, salt and dish soap. Nothing has worked this far.
I am now going to use bleach to get rid of it.
Once it is dead, I will pull, cut and put in bags.

Gail Me

You have to spray until the plant is WET. We have used this for about 10 years it works but you have to keep it up. It has grown up our house. I spray from the end down. Last week I just dumped a whole gallon in 1 plant it died within hours. I’m highly allergic so I have to be careful, no over the counter drugs work. If I get it I have to go to the doctor for meds.


You put a whole gallon of what?
My husband highly sensitive.


I believe it’s one gallon as described in article. I’m also very allergic and had my infection go systemic 21 yrs ago. I never want to repeat that experience.

Melissa curtis

One gallon of vinegar

Cheryl McNutt

I think she was referring to bleach.

Heather Romano

I feel your pain. I get it every year! This year was one of the worst. I had it all over my arms. I took two rounds of long-taper steroids and it only helped a little. Then I started to break out in hives (secondary reaction to the ivy rash and steroids) that spread to my torso and legs (nightmare).

My dermatologist instructed me to take an allergy pill morning, at lunch and then benedryl at night along with a special cream he prescribed. Also he said you’d be amazed at how soothing a skim milk soaked washcloth feels on any kind of skin rash. (I stopped short there – didn’t want to smell like rotting milk haha). It’s almost gone. (This started May 15th.)

Kathy A

Remember, you can still get PI from the roots. I had it one Christmas; my ex and brother cut down Christmas trees which were growing in it. Guess who got to sell them roadside! I was covered!

Sandi Duncan

Yikes! That stuff sure is hardy!

Gary Reid

I’ve been working with Vinegar salt and dish soap to remove The Poison Ivy and Poison Oak. However the leaves are very large. At this point I feel I should use Bleach on the entire area. After it dies, I should pull it out, cut it out, and put in large lawn bags to take and dispose.
My problem is where to dispose. If the solution kills the plant I believe I can store it somewhere on my property.

Susan Higgins

Gary, you can dispose of it by taking it to the dump. But remember if you use bleach, it will kill everything around it. Be careful.


Bleach is toxic. Shouldn’t be used inside a home either. May as well use round up. UGH!

Roy Jenkins

I wouldn’t use round up to wash my whites and put it on my skin. Bleach is not harmful to the environment. People here are looking for helpful comments. Not to be lectured.

Norma Vincent

The correct disposal of poison ivy: After cutting, immediately PLACE ALL OF THE PLANT, LEAVES, STEMS, ROOTS, ETC. IN LARGE TRASH BAGS, seal/tie tightly! before taking to the landfill. I don’t think our country here is doing anything to help landowners or renters get rid of it. It almost killed me last summer, now it’s back with a vengeance and I had paid someone to finish cutting it , bag it, haul it away. But IT IS COMING UP on the neighbor’s side of the fence, and the neighbors almost never respond to “shared” problems. I’m 82, just moved South two years ago, and tired of being the one having to fixit. Besides, I have no more money, being on a limited income. And I’m told I have to “go through the courts” to set foot on their property to kill the plant that almost killed me last year. It’s 50 feet up her side of the tree already and busy creeping around the trunk of my side on the bottom. Plus I see it ranging afield down the fence line. My dogs brush up against the fence all the time…..plus, I just remembered, in my feeble old age, I went out and brushed my German Shepherd female today, plucked out the shed hair and felt some sticky, gooey stuff on her coat…..then I saw her rubbing up against the invaded, infected fence……………. 5th of May, 2022.


Plastic bag. Tie bag up and put out for garbage man. Take shower as hot as you can stand it using Dawn dish soap. I then blow dry and wipe down good with alcohol that I have in a spray bottle.


I’d just like to say that poison ivy will grow on your lawn. It loves my grass. So I find your comment that poison ivy will not grow where there is grass not to be true.


Yes…birds have obviously spread it in my lawn. Full sun, no sun, doesn’t matter. It has gotten bad and very noticeable after I had an interruption in my lawn service and all weeds got thick. Before mowing now, want to spray wherever i can see it.

William J Ellison

The grass thing doesn’t work


Didn’t work for me either. Multiplied


I find that pouring bleach on the roots and any vine shoots that have taken root is effective and quick. I know bleach is a chemical, but it works fast to kill the whole plant, then you can easily pull it out – but still wear gloves and protective clothing!

Also wash EVERYTHING that touches the plant (tools. Gloves. Boots) with a washcloth, where and dawn dish detergent. The oils will remain active and can cause a rash even a year later!

Make sure and double bag it up – you don’t want to spread to even your town garbagemen!
And NEVER BURN ANY PART OF A POISONOUS PLANT! You can get the poison on your skin from the smoke, and you can inhale the oils and then really be in trouble!

Vinegar, salt and dish detergent may work, but takes a longer time.

Be sure to reapply bleach to the area to thwart any roots you have missed.

I am wondering if epsom salts will work like regular salt?

Susan Higgins

Hi mamaboo, some people do use bleach but it’s not environmentally friendly. We try to offer solutions that don’t harm the soil.


Household bleach begins and ends as salt water in a fully sustainable cycle. … Bleach does not contaminate ground water because it does not survive sewage treatment – either in municipal sewage treatment plants or in septic systems. Thus, there are no harmful effects of bleach in the environment.

c smith

NO, Epson salt does not work like regular salt, as a matter of fact I use Epson salt in my garden for fertilizer


Will Borax work on it? It kills fire ants. I’m going to put boiling water on the roots tomorrow.

Susan Higgins

Hi Bertiebird, we haven’t tried borax, just the remedies we list in the story. Other readers mention using borax but it killed everything, and nothing grew in that soil for a long time, which we can’t get behind. Let us know how you fare with the boiling water.


Jerry Baker said Epson salts good for the roots making them stronger & longer which made your plants bigger & greener.

Clayshia A Willis

Indeed! Never burn!!!!!!


Epsom salt will make it grow it’s great to use on flowers and garden plants also for soaking feet I burnt trash with poison oak in the trash stood near the smoke got it in my blood stream went to Doctor for shots never want to do that again just reading the post is making me itchy


This does not work except on the smallest of leaves. You will find it might wilt them a little, but poison ivy ultimately is relatively untouched by this homemade concoction. I wasted a week waiting for this to do something. It was not helpful and this should be removed.


The concoction most definitely works it is a precise formula that you must follow in order for it to work and like anything else repetition is required.. 1 gallon white vinegar, 1 bag of epson salt (dollar tree) make sure the salt is totally dissolved in the vinegar or it will NOT work, then proceed to add the dish soap (DAWN ultra, dollar tree as well) 4 oz or half small bottle. Also thoroughly mix. Make sure you do your applications on sunny days so the sun can help bake the solution into the leaf. Don’t apply right after a rain fall or just before.


Cece, well done. Very thorough. Now that makes a whole lot of sense. Thank you for expertly detailing important facts. It’s nice to make choices, based on truth. Thank you. Now, I would actually try “your way,” and will be saving your critical details for relief. Do you have the cure once getting it? Because I sit here, 3:35 AM, reapplying Bragg’s Organic, Apple Cider Vinegar, with the Mother, hoping to heal quickly. I had been lying there wondering about Epsom Salts? Here you are. Think I will try your recipe, all the way, on my skin. Why not? Nothing to lose. Thank you much for having done your research, while having the common sense to consider all factors, like I wish I had done clearing the edge of my land. ❤

Paula Alexander

i just got ivy all over me. it has been a week. i have it on my arms, legs, stomach. everything i have tried. alcohol, apply cider vinegar, oatmeal batch, cortisone, and calamine. the only relief is taking a long warm shower and soaps washrag and wash wash wash, once out put apple cider vingar directly on the spots. it burns like fire but its a good burn. it will only help if you do it over and over and over. i am a week in and i am miserable. i finally went this morning and got a steroid shot and steroid pills. it is miserable. i am miserable. if any thing works its the apple cider vinegar, but you must reapply reapply. i work M-F and cant reapply. also take you some Benadryl. this helps alot. i am a tough cookie and gave in to the steroid shot. poison ivy is from the devil. good luck


To all: as a poison ivy veteran, a doctor gave me a tip many years ago that cold water is a necessity. Warm or hot water opens the pores and drives the poison inward. Plus use a shower, not a bath. Also, a poison ivy wash that you use within 30 minutes of contact is helpful. I have a bad rash now and will probably need a steroid.

Michael Brown

Actually, poison ivy is from God. I was intended for the devil, but he just spread it around.

Norma Vincent


Dean B

Please check the other section of this acticle of the Farmers Almanac for cures. Here is hoping you find some relief.


God Bless. Poison Ivy is relentless. Be careful! I got poison ivy for my first time last year. It was a major problem physically and mentally! The only relief even after the dermatologist was ZANFEL?!!! It is pricey BUT worked for me!!! Must follow directions.


Poison Ivy is from the devil! I get it really bad, too. I have found that Sea Breeze for sensitive skin really takes away the itch. I soak cotton balls with it and tape them on the spots with medical tape or whatever you can find. Also, cool to luke warm showers! Hot water can pop the blisters and spread the oil.


I had poison ivy one time in a friend of mine told me when you go home after work take a real hot shower as hot as you can stand it and it worked.


Paula use Zanfel it’s a cream and it works it’s $47 a tube but the pain and itch are gone in 15 minutes all cleated up in one week with no itch if you think you touch it do it right away

Barbara J Schade

Zanfel was a life saver for me. I had been to the doctors twice and had to take steroids. A nurse practitioner actually told me about the stuff. I ordered it from Amazon. It was cheaper than a drug store. Took about 3 days to get rid of a terrible case of the poison ivy.

Last edited 2 years ago by Barbara J Schade

Paula try putting Antiseptic mouthwash on it if the skin is broken do not put on those spots works for Mosquito bites also

Last edited 2 years ago by Bobby

? this is me right now..started on my leg, thought it was bites..10 days later I ended up seeing a dermatologist bc I literally couldn’t handle it any longer + spread to basically my entire body. Started a steroid today ?? how did yours clear up?


Pour isopropyl alcohol on poison ivy , stops the itch nd kills the ivy

Eunice B

I had poison ivy over my rt eye, I immediately closed my eye ran cold water over it, sliced off a piece of lemon and kept reapplying the lemon juice till the itching left. I now tell my children what to do however you must take care immediately !! Or it might not work. Do not apply the lemon after a rash has occurred it if course will burn .



zita vo

Oh boy, I do feel for you……..have been there and now I am obsessed with PI……when I see it I am immedieately on a mission to get rid of it………..and in the process end up with more oil on me ……..finding myself right where you are right now. It is unbelievable how potent this plant oil is! It should be used as a national defence weapon! LOL I will continue to try the various suggested concoctions………………and see if I am ever able to eliminate this nightmare from the garden.

Sharon Fera

I use Tecnu it works wonders for poison ivy. But you basically need to use it pretty much the first sign of getting it. They have a wash and a spray. The spray is fantastic as soon as I feel the slightest itch I spray it on and the itch goes away. Im allergic to it and got it 3x this summer…grr. I have been gradually killing it with Dawn dish soap(1/4 cup),1 gallon of Vinegar and 2 cups of Epson salt its definitely working but its not gone yet! I just want to get rid of it already. Its only on a small spot on the side of my house but Ive had it! My next step is to suit up from head to toe now that the weather is cooler and see if I can start pulling the roots out and getting rid of it!
Good luck!

Dean B

I think the original recipe calls for table salt not Epson salts. As mentioned above, some people use Epson salts as a soil conditioner and fertilizer.
Frankly, I have my doubts about the worth of this home-brewed weed killer. I think it would take something much stronger, like bleach, to kill Poison Ivy. We used Twenty Mule Team Borax one year but it killed everything and nothing would grow in the area we treated with it for a long time.


Epsom salt will not work — correct I use it as a conditioner in my garden.

Mary Smith

If you believe that you have possibly been exposed the perfect way to make sure you do not get it is to take a bleach bath and what I mean by that is poore bleach on a wet washrag wipe down any skin that could have potentially been exposed to the poison ivy while you are in the shower and then wash like normal with regular soap you will not get it! My stepdad was a jerk and once traipse does through poison ivy When we were looking for strawberries he was not allergic to it but the rest of us were in shorts we jumped in the shower washed off with a wet washrag that was soaked in bleach and None of us got it. Recently my boyfriend was clearing poison ivy off of his property he is highly allergic he wore clothing to protect his skin as much as possible and when he was done he took a bleach bath using the method I just described and he did not get poison ivy he used a weed eater he pulled it you name it he was exposed to it and didn’t get it


Do not use Epsom salt. Epsom salt is used in the garden to help GROW plants, such as green peppers. You must use good old REGULAR salt with 5% acid vinegar and Dawn dish soap.

Bob Jones

If you get poison ivy(on your skin), the main thing is to catch the spot(s)/rash on your skin as early as possible, then don’t scratch it, AT ALL. Immediately start taking a max dose of Benadryl all day, every day. Start by using hydrocortisone cream on the rash.
Last, and just as importantly, the rash will start bubbling and making puss, this is when it itches the worst, the puss is what makes it spread. For this phase, get some pepper vinegar(preferably homemade and older), and when the rash starts itching and bubbling, get a paper towel and put the vinegar sauce on the rash — rub the vinegar sauce on the rash till it stops itching, throw the towel in the trash. This helps to scratch the itch, and it keeps the puss from spreading the rash. Do it as much as you want, to ease the itching. It’ll dry it up pretty good.
It’ll take a few to several days, but ya gotta do what you gotta do. Remember, DON’T SCRATCH THE ITCH!
A few other tips, take cool showers, hot showers can make it spread. If you have it real bad, go into the ocean, or a salty body of water. Hang out a little while, salty water helps dry it up.

I used to work outside, and I’d get poison ivy all season, ALL the time. An ole’ country fella told me to try the vinegar, I never really had any trouble dealing with keeping it from spreading after that.


No, the puss will not spread it. That is a secondary infection – bacterial or fungal. The thing you need to do is when you have been in the woods or areas where poison ivy can grow, you need to wash your exposed skin with a wet washcloth and dawn dish detergent asap after exposure. Also wash off boots, shoes, walking sticks and launder your cloths. This will stop the spread of the oils that cause the rash. Many people get a rash from a gardening tool that has the oil on it from previous use! Even lawnmowers and weedwackers will spread the oil. Be smart and educate yourself on what these oily poisonous plants look like at all stages of growth. Remember “leaves of three, let them be.”! Simple washing with dawn and a washcloth will stop the spread. After you already have the rash is when you need to consult a doctor on the care of it. Caladry, oatmeal baths, benadryl will help sooth it, but it will have to go away on its own. If you have open pustules, they need to be kept dry to avoid fungus and other secondary infections.


The puss does not spread the rash. Scratching does not either. Only the oil can cause the rash. Spots that show up later are areas where you were less exposed, and it took longer to develop the rash. Once you have washed your skin and clothes of the oil, it will not spread to any area that wasn’t exposed to the oil.

Thom Too

Scratching and rubbing will spread it to places on your body that were never exposed to the poison ivy
I learned that the hard way


Poison ivy is growing into my grass

Marcus Thompson

The spray doesn’t work. It didn’t even kill the other weeks in my yard.


Thanks for letting us know. Now I won’t go though the hassle of making the homemade stuff. We are covered in poison ivy and are trying to figure out away to make it disappear.

Laurie Sarti

Wash yourself and everything that touched the poison ivy with liquid Dawn dish soap. It works!! Keep a bottle in the shower for when you’ve been working outside. DAWN WORKS and I believe it stopped it from itching.

D McGee

It works for me. It is not instant, and may take a few applications but I have had success with the vinegar/salt spray.


Worked for me! I’ve sprayed it every Day for 5 days now… took about three days for it to start kicking in. Once it started working on my small test area I moved onto the rest.


How many times a day did you spray the poison ivy?


Sorry to say none of the homemade potions worked for us in Northeast Texas. Our place is inundated with it and I’m highly allergic. Will keep trying to find something that’ll work. Looking for goats, but haven’t found any in our area for sale or rent.

Bonnie Harrison Janecek

try boiling water, return to get smaller plants if you don’t get the root


June 10, 2020
Thanks for letting us know. Now I won’t go though the hassle of making the homemade stuff. We are covered in poison ivy and are trying to figure out away to make it disappear.

Goats in CT

Bonnie, I am in Connecticut and a local guy is making a fortune with 20 goats. He rents them to you, comes and sets up an electric fence to keep them safe and in the area you want cleared, puts goats inside and they just start eating. They do their job, the neighbors all love watching them, they are adorable. Only problem is they do trim your trees.They stand on their back legs and pull down branches. I did not expect that but it is done now. I think you have to have them back a few times to actually kill poison ivy, but they are not expensive. Keep looking. Someone will catch on and start renting goats.

B Cotton

We had about 4 goats that we used to keep the vines etc. down in the woods. When they browsed all of the woods clean we would pass them on to someone else so they wouldn’t eat the valuable plants. This went on for years.


Claim #4 is stated to be a chemical method because it uses bleach. Yet claim #3 which uses salt (sodium chloride) and vinegar ( acetic acid in water which is “di-hydrogen oxygen”) is listed as non-chemical even though all three substances are chemicals? Why is “chemical” associated with being bad? Have you ever seen a list of the substances (chemicals) that make up say an orange? Or the list of chemicals, mostly organic, that make up your body?


well, aren’t you just a self-righteous prig! Your comment misses the mark on this article, one that is providing a non Earth destroying man-made chemical approach to killing poison ivy. For that matter Oxygen is a chemical…. as is H2O! Why don’t you pull your head out of your giant A**!


James, do you have any mirrors in your house? Might try looking at it for a picture of what you described in your first sentence.

Thom Too

James Brown nice


please read my comment below. I posted it incorrectly.
It was meant to be in response to yours


We have a shed covered in poison ivy. Neighbors have chickens that enjoy our yard as well as theirs own. Enjoy watching the chickens and want to know if this is safe for the chickens.

Stepehn Lord

Poison ivy does like acid sandy soils. It will also grow in grass and among other plants. My wife has a row of Day Lily planted along a fence and the poison ivy is thriving there.


Poision ivy will grow in grass and in your lawn. It’s the vining species. I have it all over my lawn-1 acre.


When I catch it, I use hand sanitizer and it’s gone in no time…


You can also mix a bit of aloe with it so it does not dry your skin to much.


I have poison ivy growing in my side flower beds where several other plants that I want to keep are. Do I just need to spray the whole thing and start over? Will it keep anything from growing in the soil?

Bonnie Harrison Janecek

Boiling water


Kristi, your best bet is to dress appropriately and pull the ivy out by the roots. Then clean every tool, gloves and clothing and yourself as stated above.

Dewey Hamm

Poison ivy appears to like soils that are deficient in calcium, phosphorus and selenium. A compost of comfrey, horsetail and even seaweed and is applied on a routine basis could bring the nutrient level up in the soil and create an environment where poison ivy can’t survive.

To take another route, in most cases poison ivy likes an acid soil. Test the soil in the area to be sure and then add lime to counteract the acidity.

Lori Matei

Thanks I’ll have to tgg egg y this !


Thank you!


Good info Thank you.

Robin Welch

Please don’t burn it. It will cause sensitive people to break out everywhere if they stand in the smoke from the fire. The oils are carried in the smoke?

Carolyn watson

I’ve had poison ivy twice in the last 3 months on my face and I come up with a concoction of taking oatmeal and water along with coffee and baking soda cold coffee and mixing it all until it’s almost like a paste for your face like a mask add a Get It Burns Burns like all heck but what it’s doing is is drawing that that it from the poison ivy plant out of your skin and you’ll notice when after you put it on there you let it dry and you’ll notice where it’s real heavy where the heavy areas are where you’ve got it real bad you’ll notice it’ll stay wet and that’s because it hasn’t drawn it all out of your face yet or your skin yet you just keep applying it until it’s dry and that means all the ticks out of your skin and but I come up with that concoction and I just love it and works great not to my poison ivy out within 2-3 days and doesn’t leave a scar or anything on my face so give it a try. Awesome just burns like all heck but that just means it’s working it’s like a drawing salve for poison ivy


how long do you leave the mixture on


Your post gave me cancer.

Paula Alexander

oatmeal like the kind you eat out of a container, water and coffee and baking soda. is this correct? can you rewrite it so i get it just perfect. i will try this. i am about 2 hours in of a steroid shot and i am dying a slow death. i will try this for sure.


Once the PI is dead is it safe to touch to discard of it – or this should be treated as it would if alive?

Susan Higgins

Hi Jojo, Even when dead, poison ivy can still give you a rash. All parts of the plants, including the roots and stems, contain rash-causing urushiol. A tiny amount of urushiol can turn into a full-blown reaction to those who are sensitive to the plants, and it does not evaporate after the plants die.

Lori Matei

Thanks for the information!


Treat it as if it were alive. You can never be too cautious. If any of the oils remain or its not fully dead, it could still cause a reaction. I’d use gloves and boots to carefully dig up all of it, roots and all.


You can kill it, but it is still toxic.


We just removed a large amount of poison ivy by our pond..,..what can we put there to inhibit it growing back? Sand? Mulch? We had rocks but they washed away and the ivy grew through anyway. Suggestions?


Says above that it can’t grow where grass is


Kathy, How did you remove it?

Ralph Ellery

Call a professional? Oh my goodness! What has become of today’s farmers? Snowflakes……


Don’t be a d***, Ralph.


Don’t be a weakling, Brandon.


I hate when we fight

Lori Matei
Pauline Durant

I have a big tree that is covered with poison ivy.Will the solution hurt the tree?

Susan Higgins

Hi Pauline, yes, you don’t want to harm a tree. It’s best to call in a professional if you want the poison ivy removed.

Linda Keaton

How would you find a professional at getting rid of it without killing trees?

Susan Higgins

Hi Linda, an arborist would hopefully have the solution.

William Stratemeier

You can do it yourself. Makes sure you are well covered. Rip out the vines and spray the salt vinegar soap solution if any remaining. Turn the soil where the PI was seen and add grass seeds. Keep an eye out for it


Yes Pauline this solution will kill any living plant, including trees, but, not the volume dispensed from a spray bottle. I would suggest that you clip the vine at ground level and yank what you can off the tree. what remains on the tree will eventually die and the leaves will drop…just be mindfull… All parts of poison ivy are poisonous even when dead. dig out what you can at the base and use the solution in a spray bottle to kill the roots . Good luck!


How does an aqueous sodium chloride/acetic acid/sodium dodecyl sulfate (or similar detergent) solution **NOT** qualify as a chemical means of control?


My wife is the sensitive person-crazy rashes on her arms/legs and where the sun doesn’t shine! I can roll around in it with ZERO effects. Completely uprooted a garden area -all the possible ivy plants/roots removed….dug way down! Question is-Do you have to get rid of the soil? Is that contaminated with oil too? Maybe mix the organic salt/vinegar mixture over the garden soil bed to nuke everything?


How do I kill poison ivy by a pet safe dog and cat safe way?

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