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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.

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: 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.
  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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  • Jenny says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

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

  • Debra Donovan says:

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

  • pvel says:

    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 says:

      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 says:

    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.

  • Matt says:

    Boiling water will create vapors that if breathed in could really send you down the rabbit hole.

  • Bonnie says:

    Hi I have a time of poison ivy very far off in my backyard and I also have it growing around a very large tree and up it’s bark . What can I do to get rid of it that won’t kill the tree or other plants around it and that’s also natural. TIA

  • charles thompson says:

    Use only 10% concentration vinegar, salt and Blue Dawn Detergent for it to work effectively.

  • Donnsna says:

    Thank you for all the PI help. I, too, have it going through hydrangea shrubs & way up very tall oak trees. Must the dish detergent be Dawn Dish only?
    Also, I have a bluestone Step & cement sidewalk in my front yard. I believe it may be lichen growing in both, roundish, Flat & green. I thinking it’s a living thing, how do I get rid of it? Thank you in advance!

  • DebbiE Schewe says:


  • June says:

    I found that spraying the top and bottom of the leaves with white vinegar removes all the shiny stuff that irritates your skin and will eventually kill the poison ivy. I wore gloves and pulled out the plant. It may take time, but it is a safe way to remove this awful plant.

  • Linda Myrick says:

    Do these suggestions also apply to getting rid of poison oak?

  • Anna says:

    Will this solution kill my trees?

  • Martha says:

    I will try the sprayer formulation as described above. Should I apply in dry conditions? We are expecting a couple days of rain and I would like to know if this will impact the killing of the ivy.

  • Cheryl says:

    I am new to this area and new to poison ivy. We never had any where we lived before. I have a large patch by the drive. I recently cut down some nasty rose bushes that are also there. When I spray it I thought I would also spray the left over stumps of the rose bushes to eliminate them. How long before I’ll be able to plant there again? Also one side of my house is wooded and there is much poison ivy there. Will the spray hurt the trees?

  • Lisa says:

    I’ve sprayed the poison ivy with a vinegar/water solution. It has all died. Do I need to remove the dead plants?

  • Susan says:

    I have PI around my back porch and under my porch. If I use the vinegar, salt and dish detergent and spray it every other or every third day will this be enough to kill it, roots and all? I cannot access the area under the porch to dig it up. Just hoping if I kept spraying it it would eventually kill the roots.

    • Susan Higgins says:

      Hi Susan, yes, the solution will kill the plant, roots and all. We caution about getting the solution in contact with other plants, but since there’s nothing growing under the porch, you should be OK.

  • Lisa says:

    My poison ivy is between my house n concrete drive slab. We have a handicap ramp n thats where my dog lays so now he has it and digs at it with hair loss on his back side. I need it gone.

  • Bill Adams says:

    I rake up the roots and let the plants dry out and decompose. Cover up if you do this though because sap droplets can spray if you snap a root off. On trees I cut the base of the vine with a pole saw and let the vine dry up.

  • Susan S says:

    I have found the suggested weed killer to be effective. But don’t use it where you want anything to grow! If you spray a weed in your lawn the weed will die but you may have a hard time getting anything (like more grass) to grow in that spot. It is a great formula for weeds that grow between bricks in a sidewalk.

  • Kat says:

    Salt will kill all the plants in the area so it is better to pull it out than try to spray it.

  • Emmett says:

    Lynn, I had the same problem with established P.I. growing up trees. Use a machete or hatchet and cut about a three foot section out of the vine growing up the tree. Remove this section by prying it off the tree and get rid of it. Then pour weed killer, bleach or the vinegar,salt dish soap on the lower vine coming out of the ground after cutting at ground level. The tree top level vines can be pulled out of the tree after they are good and dead or just left there.

  • jen says:

    We had a very large area of poison ivy in our backyard. In a spray container I dissolved 1/2 c of salt in 1/4 Gallon of water then added 1t of dawn soap and Vinegar to top off. I sprayed the Poison Ivy. After the second spray it started to shrivel and brown. That’s when the deer came and ate it all. Perfect!

  • Tommy Kline says:

    Can you use the poison ivy vinegar mixture under the drip line of trees, particularly pine

  • Sharon says:

    We have lots of poison ivy in the wooded areas around our house. I find it growing in our front lawn all the time and it is very well kept so I have to disagree with the notion that it doesn’t grown in grass.
    When i dig it up I use a plastic bag that newspapers come in to put over my gloved hand so as I dig I can also pull. You can then just pull the bag right off over the poison ivy and tie it closed without coming in contact with it.

  • mike h says:

    Is any particular kind of salt, vinegar, or detergent required? I see they sell horticultural vinegar for $35 a gallon. I figure walmart vinegar, salt, and detergent are worth a try…

  • Mackenzie says:

    Funny because I have a few random poison ivy shoots up in the middle of my grass! Going to try the vinegar mixture as all I have to do is look at the PI and I get a reaction.

  • Lynn says:

    I have some well established poison ivy plants growing up some pine trees. They have giant root things on them. How do I get rid of that? I have 2 trees like this. The vines growing up the tree are about 6 to 8″ in diameter.

    • Jeff heinz says:

      Cut the stalk and fold paper towel and lay on cut. Pour concentrated poisson ivey killer on towel. Cover with sandwich bay and wrap rubber band to hold bag closed. Check in a few days and reapply killer as needed. Next season, no ivey. DO NOT CUT AND NOT FOLLOW WITH TREATMENT. This will kill all roots.

  • Mary Jo Anzel says:

    My poison ivy is in between / and wrapped around several small bushes i.e. hydrangeas and spirea. Will this treatment hurt the these shrubs?

    Thank you

    • Jaime McLeod says:

      Hi Mary Jo,
      It’s probably best to just continually pull up the poison ivy if you want to be sure to keep your other plants safe.

      Wear heavy duty gloves, keep your forearms and legs covered, and change clothes immediately.

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