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6 Tips For Removing Poison Ivy Plants

6 Tips For Removing Poison Ivy Plants

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.

    Goats love poison ivy, with no ill effects!

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

Poison Ivy Soap

Price: $6.99

Poison ivy itch relief in a soap! Our mild Poison Ivy Jewelweed Soap contains the juices from jewelweed, along with soothing coconut, olive and palm oils, to effectively remove the nasty urushiol (the invisible plant oil) that causes the itching, burning rash of poison ivy. Use in bath or shower or rub onto areas that have been exposed. Made in Maine and ready for the spring gardening/weeding season.

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  • Andrea says:

    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 says:

    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.

  • Gary Reid says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

  • Gary Reid says:

    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 says:

      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.

  • Renee says:

    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.

    • Sandra says:

      I agree with that.. my poison ivy grows in the grass too … maybe a certain type of grass🤷‍♀️It doesn’t grow… but my thin grass has it

  • William J Ellison says:

    The grass thing doesn’t work

  • mamaboo says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

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

  • Ariel says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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.

    • Sharon Fera says:

      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!

  • Bob Jones says:

    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 says:

      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.

    • Ray says:

      The dawn dish soap doesnt work for me. Ive tried on multiple occassions. And i will wash 2 or 3 times in it to no effect. Maybe because i am hyper sensitive to it.

    • Byron Law says:

      I have seen it explained that the urushiol is similar to a grease and unless you are scrubbing with friction from a rag or loofah like you would to remove axle grease, you will not remove the poison ivy toxin. Check out YouTube for a video called “How to never have a serious poison ivy rash again” for a good explanation.

    • Jennifer says:

      If you’re hyper sensitive to it then it may also be the timing of when you wash as to how effective your cleansing your skin is. I’m suspecting I too am highly sensitive to it as well and I’ve determined that I can not wait near as long as the YouTube video (how to never have poison ivy again) mentioned- in fact I believe I have less than 30 minutes before it binds to the proteins of my skin.
      I began taking wet wipes soaked in isopropyl alcohol with me when I know I will be around it. That way I don’t have to wait to wipe my skin down. I’ve seen I have a much better chance of not getting it when I do this.

    • Chris says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

    Poison ivy is growing into my grass

  • Marcus Thompson says:

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

    • BJ says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

      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 says:

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

    • Ray says:

      Not sure what you did. But i iluse 1 gallon of vinegar, 1 cup of kosher salt (all i had) and 1 table spoon of dish soap. I put it in my sprayer on a hot sunny day. By that evening every plant growing in the cracks od my sidewalk were nearly dead. Havent tried on poison ivy yet. But remember, salt will kill anything and prevent anything from growing for years. Historically, armies would salt the fields of their enemies to prevent food from growing.

    • uba says:

      Ray, I have tried and tried to dissolve the salt to no effect. What am I doing wrong?

  • Bonnie says:

    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 says:

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

    • BJ says:

      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 says:

      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.

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