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6 Tips For Removing Poison Ivy Plants

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

This is the time of year when just about everything grows. That includes poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and other undesirable plants. Poison ivy is particularly annoying and difficult to remove from your property.

Nearly 85% of the population is allergic to these plants — and the reaction to the plant’s urushiol (the oily substance that causes the rash) can vary. In some cases, highly-sensitive people can get a reaction simply by standing near the plant (a breeze carries it), while others can roll around and be perfectly content. So what can you do? We have some non-chemical solutions. 

Here are some 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.

Do you have a special technique to get rid of poison ivy? Share the tip with us in the comments section, below!

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

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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.

rosiehrose

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.

IncogNita

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.!

Philip

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.

Kathy

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.

Kathy

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

Kathy

Jewel Weed salve will relieve active blisters and itchiness.

Judy

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.

Judy

Pull it up

BirdDog

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

Susan Higgins

Great tip, BirdDog, thanks!

Teress

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 2 months 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!

Corey

#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!!

Bertiebird

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.

Sandy

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

Tommy

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 .

Andrea

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.

Philip

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.

Linda

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

Karen

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.
Thoughts?

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.

gr8ful

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

Renee

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.

Karen

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

MTymoshuk

Didn’t work for me either. Multiplied

mamaboo

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.

GAS

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

Bertiebird

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.

Sandy

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!!!!!!

Bobby

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

Ariel

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.

Cece

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.

Morgaine

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

Dan

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.

Dean B

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

Mollie

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.

Lori

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.

Pat

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.

Tommy

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 1 month ago by Barbara J Schade
Bobby

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 29 days ago by Bobby
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.

MTymoshuk

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

Midwest2

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.

Mamaboo

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.

Chris

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

Daniel

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.

BJ

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.

Jess

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.

Renee

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

Bonnie

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

BJ

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.

Steve

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?

James

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**!

Sue

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

James

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

Karen

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.

Midge

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

John

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

Sharlat

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

Kristi

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

Elizabeth

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 !

Kathy

Thank you!

MTymoshuk

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

Duane

how long do you leave the mixture on

Dave

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.

Jojo

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!

michelle

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.

Dan

You can kill it, but it is still toxic.

Kathy

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?

Sue

Says above that it can’t grow where grass is

Judy

Kathy, How did you remove it?

Ralph Ellery

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

Brandon

Don’t be a d***, Ralph.

Huff

Don’t be a weakling, Brandon.

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

James

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!

iconoclast

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

DC

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?

Chris

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

Carol

How long does the spray need to be on the leaves before rain?

Tanis caras

Thank you! Will try the salt and vinegar. I’m guessing white vinegar, right?

CJ Marriott

I’m trying this too. My manager at work said it worked for them a few years ago and they still don’t have poison ivy… It didn’t return!

Jess

Yes, I’ve been using white vinegar

tanis caras

I’m on my third gallon! Thank you so much!

Meg H

how many sprays does it typically take to kill the PI, also do you need a generous spray on the plant or just to coat the leaves? I am OVER having PI both in my yard and my skin. Between my love of gardening and my dogs love of the yard I’ve gotten it again. Time to go PI!! Thanks all.

Al

Likewise. Just got over a bad case of poison oak. Get a big pump spray can. Mix a gallon of white vinegar with a cup of salt and a generous squeeze of Dawn dish detergent. Make sure salt is disolved. And go for it. I plan to be on patrol every couple of weeks, just to make sure. But a good dowsing of the leaves should kill in one treatment.

Larry Pringle

I dumped wood (hardwood) ashes on the area where poison ivy grew for a couple of seasons. Hardwood ashes tend to be very alkaline. I’m guessing that it changed the pH of the soil.

Olga

I have hardwood pellets which I burned up with my pellet stove. I guess that would do the same thing wouldn’t it? Or should I use a vinegar treatment first and then put the ashes on top is never allergic to poison ivy in my life and for years I’ve never had it then I had Scott’s lawn service come and I got weeds I’ve never seen before and poison ivy and this time I got it.

Pamela Ganzel

How long does it take to kill poison ivy with the vinegar, salt & dawn dish liquid?

Jenny

Hi there! I have chickens and a ton of poison ivy, do you think the salt and vinegar mixture would be safe to use in areas they may end up getting into?

Susan Higgins

Hi Jenny, we checked with a chicken expert who said it’s probably not a good idea, as dish soap and salt aren’t good to eat, but she imagines it would wash away after a few rains if you’ve already applied. Maybe try the goat remedy!

Renee Pundsack

Can I spray now that is winter to get rid of it.

Debra Donovan

Sprayed my poison oak now it is all brown can I knock it down with my weedeater safely now?

Susan Higgins

Hi Debra, we recommend you call a professional. We just can’t be 100% certain.

Kay

No do not weed wack oils remain on the dead leaves you will scatter them and you can breath them in and get it in your mouth ect!

pvel

There’s reference to “liquid dish soap” and “liquid detergent.” It says create the mixture and then add “liquid detergent”. So is that a 4th ingredient? Thanks

Susan Higgins

Hi Pvel, our apologies, we’re referring to liquid dish soap. We have fixed the story to read: 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.

Kathy

I admit for some reason I rarely get poison ivy, I remove it by putting my rubber gloved hand into a plastic bag and slowly pulling out the roots and the rest of the plant. Then I carefully bring the bag around it as you would dog waste. I end by turning the rubber gloves inside out and including them in the bag. Finally dispose of the whole thing.

Paulette A Wolff

Great idea! I have a box of 100 disposable gloves I bought for cleaning fish and more! Perfect for this job with the bag serving as another form of protection. I don’t think I’m allergic to Poison Ivy because when we first moved to Missouri, I had no idea what it was and thought it was a vine growing where I didn’t want it – I used to just pull them up and toss them. Now that I know, I don’t want to take any chances! LOL

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