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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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  • 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.

  • 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.
    Thoughts?

    • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

    • 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.

  • 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.

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