Natural Cures and Remedies for Poison Ivy

If you are unlucky enough to come in contact with poison ivy, here are some natural remedies to help reduce the itching and pain, plus tricks to prevent the nasty rash.

Measles make you bumpy
And mumps’ll make you lumpy
And chicken pox’ll make you jump and twitch
A common cold’ll fool ya
And whooping cough can cool ya
But poison ivy, Lord’ll make you itch!

-The Coasters

If you are one of the approximately 85% of the population who are allergic to poison ivy, then you’re probably already familiar with the intense discomfort it can cause from severely itchy, painful, oozy blisters and rashes.

How to Identify Poison Ivy

Poison ivy grows throughout most of North America, including most Canadian provinces and all U.S. states except Alaska, Hawaii and California. It thrives along the edges of wooded areas, which makes it especially prominent in suburban communities.

Poison ivy plant

A poison ivy plant 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 light green and then dark green as summer progresses, and reverting to bright red or orange again in the fall. The leaves are generally anywhere from 1” to 5” long, but can, in rare cases, grow to be up to 10” long. Poison ivy vines have no thorns, but will often feature fine reddish root hairs along the stem.

Want to Avoid Poison Ivy? Try Rhyming!

Here are a few mnemonics people have used over the years to help them avoid poison ivy:

Leaves of three, let it be.
Hairy vine, no friend of mine.
Berries white, run in fright or Berries white, danger in sight.
Red leaflets in the spring, it’s a dangerous thing.
Side leaflets like mittens will itch like the dickens.
If butterflies land there, don’t put your hand there.

Natural Remedies for Poison Ivy

watermelon rind isolated on white

Here are some natural remedies for poison ivy—if you are unlucky enough to come in contact with it—that will help reduce the itching and pain. Before trying any of these remedies, be sure to first wash the area thoroughly with soap and hot water, using a washcloth. Rinse and repeat at least three times to ensure that all of the poison is gone. Urushiol, the substance in poison ivy that makes you itchy, is a sticky oil that is hard to wash away. Make certain to wash all clothes, and anything else that came into contact with the plant, too.

  • Witch hazel applied to the affected area can soothe the itching.
  • Cover the rash with a paste made from cold coffee and baking soda. A paste made from water and cornstarch will also work.
  • Take a warm bath with oatmeal or Epsom salt. Use about one cup of oatmeal or two cups of Epsom salt in a full bathtub.
  • Rub a banana peel or a watermelon rind over the rash and don’t rinse it off. Allow it to dry naturally.
  • Make a paste from one tablespoon of turmeric with equal parts of lime or lemon juice and apply to the affected area.
  • Whip a raw potato into a paste in your blender. Spread it onto your skin and cover loosely with plastic wrap.
  • Make a paste from one tablespoon of salt, 1/8 teaspoon of peppermint essential oil, 1 to 2 cups green clay, and a little water (just enough to give it a pasty texture). Apply liberally and leave in place for approximately 30 minutes. Rinse. Apply 2-3 times daily.
  • Rub dishwashing liquid onto the skin area with a washcloth and allow it to dry. Reapply as needed.
  • Apply tea made from burdock root or peach tree leaves. Allow it to dry on the skin, and reapply as often as desired.
  • 3% hydrogen peroxide in a spray bottle and spray the affected areas and allow to air dry. Helps to treat symptoms as well as to dry the rash.

Not-So-Fun Fact: Urushiol remains active for up to 5 years. So even a dead poison ivy plant can cause a rash!

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Farmers' Almanac - Itch
Jaime McLeod

Jaime McLeod is a longtime journalist who has written for a wide variety of newspapers, magazines, and websites, including She enjoys the outdoors, growing and eating organic food, and is interested in all aspects of natural wellness.

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Kara K

I’ve had 3+ weeks to learn about this vicious poison, which took a week to “blossom” (from a quick grab of loose leaves, blown in from elsewhere) on our yard edge, and then 2 weeks to finally/truly turn around (thanks, presumably, to major prednisone [60 to 40 to 20 mg/day for 15 days] + topical steroid cream for 3 weeks + HYDROGEN PEROXIDE [wish I had tried that in week 1!] + VITAMIN E squeezed on from capsules [finally got my overly reactive/immune-wacky skin to start healing]). Since I had no idea I had touched a bit of poison ivy, and didn’t wash my forearm that first night, it transferred to both my thighs and then my other forearm that first night, but didn’t seriously worry me [sending me to Urgent Care] until a week later. Some websites say that you have just 1 hour to get those oils off of you, but I get the tough scrubs will do it after 1 hr. Apple cider didn’t help me, or the collodial oatmeal baths, etc. But sensing that a rash or itchiness is a bad thing the first day of this exposure, and washing WELL as soon as possible, would have saved me. It has been 3.5 weeks since exposure, and my skin remains discolored all over. I can finally sleep through the night again (had to take lots of meds to try to not go nuts at 2 am, jumping out of my skin). The plastic bags shrouding my steroid cream limbs didn’t help. But being in the sun for 30 min & then jumping in a cold pool did seem to move things in a positive direction. Really hope everyone can do those things in week 1, long before I had to start experimenting.

James L Scudder

I found that if you take a few leaves of live forever plant, crush them up until the sap comes out of them and rub that on poison ivy. It will dry it up over night. Really works great.


I just used this plant and it took the itch right away. Thank you!


What plant is this?


Can you POST A PICTURE of what this plant looks like, please?


Peroxide works really well at drying the poison ivy, oak and sumac rash. I will use it first if I get it again!!

Carol Darbyshire

Awesome! Thank you for all the remedies. I don’t use herbicides so I have poison ivy in all my hedgerows. I wonder if your remedies will work against the chigger bite itch. Betcha some will.


Hi. I use essential oils like cedarwood or tea tree oil or citronella. Keeps chiggers ticks mosquitoes away and they usually love me. I am suffering with this poison ivey/oak though


My friend Uses clear nail polish on chigger bites


We use a product called Rhus Tox aka Outdoor Joe’s. Works wonders on building an immunity to poison ivy. Also Dawn dish soap after any contact.

Carl S Bagwell

I can even walk by it and almost catch it because I’m very allergic to poison ivy and oak!


I guess that I am one of the few that is not allergic to poison ivy. My son and husband just looks at it and they got it. I pull it up all the time, my property has lots of it!


I know this isnold. But heads up for all of us “immune” to urishol. That immunity can disappear. Been pulling ivy for years no problem. Until last week when I helped a friend and ended up with black spot poison ivy rash.


Apply apple cider compress for five minutes. Then apply Tea Tree Oil and let dry. Dries up and gone in a couple days.

Janis Jenkins

Love Tea Tree oil, but it kept me up.


I THINK I burned my skin, with my Tea Tree Oil. I have a big, nasty, round, yellow-watery oozing wound, now…and I immediately, washed off the isuroil oil (Aka the poison ivy sap,) dried it, with sterile gauze and applied Tea Tree Oil with a Q-tip, to the area and covering it, when done, with a sterile, big, rectangular bandaid. I think I may have scratched it, OR my pet cat had it on her (maybe?) and I got some type of bacterial infection. I use Tea Tree Oil on ALL of my wounds and never have a problem. This time, though, it blistered (the size of my pinky finger!) and like I said, now, I have a big, round, yellow skinned, circle that is oozing a yellow, watery fluid. I, also, popped the big blister, before reading, I shouldn’t have. So, I’m not so sure about using Tea Tree Oil on poison ivy.

Clare Elliott Fels Naptha Soap, bath with it. It’s cheap and does the trick.

Rob Fultz

Has anyone tried sulphur? Soap for the oil/itch….granulated to kill the plant….?

Susan Higgins

Hi Rob Fultz, You can purchase soaps that get rid of the urushiol, the oil that causes the blisters, milled specifically as poison ivy soap. Works great!

Nancy Rose

It seems to us that the poison ivy/poison oak is much worse this year than ever before. Has anyone else noticed this? We live in the Arkansas country side.

Nancy Rose

It seems to us that the poison ivy/poison oak is much worse this year than ever before.. Has anyone else noticed this? We live in the Arkansas country side.


Yes it is..! I thought i was just imagining things…

Debbie Wise

Yes Nancy, I’ve noticed. I’m dealing with rash, blisters and itch. I’ve lived in Arkansas most of my life, this is the first time it has affected me.


It is looking pretty prolific this year. UGH!


It’s bad, in Florida, FOR SURE!


BACTINE is amazing!!! It is anesthetic and antiseptic so it numbs the skin so it doesn’t itch (which is beyond amazing) and it also heals it up as well. Nothing beats it!!!


Sounds crazy but, apply Preparation H cream. Who would have thought but, the itching stopped within a couple of minutes. I did this a couple of times during the day and at bedtime. Healed in no time at all. This remedy came from an old country doctor in the Ozarks.


The H in preparation H is of course, Witch Hazel


Ah, I didn’t know the “H” in “Preparation H,” was Witch Hazel! Fascinating!

Yes, cool compresses of water, work well for itching, as do Witch Hazel, chilled Black Tea, and Apple Cider Vinegar, dabbed on to the affected skin with a cotton ball, or washcloth.
Apple Cider Vinegar has anti-septic, anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties that help relieve dry skin, and itching. For best results, use Raw, Organic, Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar.

Another homemade, Poison Ivy Compress, can be made using White Vinegar. Use a pint size container, and pour half a cup of White Vinegar into it. Fill the rest of the way, (to the pint mark,) with water. The Vinegar Compress dries out the poison ivy rash, and soothes the itching.

Soaking in a tub of warm water, with oatmeal, and/or 1/2 to 1 cup of Baking soda, will provide relief, too. Soak for 30 minutes.

You can make your own poultice, too. Mix 3 teaspoons of Baking Soda to/with 1 teaspoon of water, and apply the paste to the rash. It should flake off, naturally.

*IF you have money to spend, and can get to the grocery store, Calamine Lotion is AMAZING! It dries out the rash AND stops the itching, for hours. Benadryl works really well, too. Plus, it’ll make you drowsy, which will allow you to sleep at night, (rather than itching like crazy.)


Hemeroid cream , It was shown the shark oil in it has healing properties. People have used it under their eye’s to help reduce bagginess. It works on burns as well.

Sandi Duncan

Haven’t heard that one for poison ivy but will test it out.


I’ve used goldenrod, a common plant along the roads up here in Canada. boil down the flowered tops to a bright yellow liquid or a salve,. keep in fridge, cold helps too. Used to dry it right up as a kid.


Can you take a picture of the Goldenrod, PLEASE, AND POST THE PICTURE, so we know what it looks like? Thank you SO MUCH!


When I was 16 picking tomatoes it itched so bad I scratched it open (on my arms first) on a tomatoe stake and cut a green tomatoe open and rubbed over entire arm. It burns like bleach but isn’t toxic and have used it every time I get it for the last 30 years

Bryan B

Hydrogen Peroxide has and does cure poison Ivy! Ive had many issues with poison ivy and everytime was cured with peroxide! Its 3% liquid Oxygen in water and kills it immediately. You need to spray it on and scrape the bubbles to get it to foam up and die, then wash with water. Always worked and itch is gone and done the next day. Ive helped many others with this remedy, but you may have a couple spots to get the next day, but keep getting those and youll be done in no time. You may get little scabs from the blisters but they heal quickly. Quit using all those toxic chemicals and stupid remedies that are too much work and dont work. Trust me on this one

Bryan B

This is hilarious with all these bad toxic chemical remedies. There is a cure-all thats cheap and easy.I discovered when I was a child about 10 yrs old when I had poison oak all over my body. I used Hydrogen peroxide

Deb young morrison

Domeboro is not a new product has been around for years.. I am allergic to it and just had it. I used bleach on it over the weekend then went to the dr for a shot. We sprayed it on the fence line and it is dying now.


I really hope you used the Bleach on the fence line, and not on your skin! People should know NEVER to put bleach on your skin, let alone open skin!!

In addition, just FYI, Chlorine Bleach is a very light (and TOXIC) element.
It floats up to the Ozone layer and pops Ozone, creating an even bigger Ozone Hole.

Then, we (nor the plants and animals) have NO protection from the Sun’s Cancer-causing radiation, and UVA/UVB rays. NOT GOOD!

It’s an illusion, that it makes your laundry whiter, too. It attaches to the laundry and, merely, reflects light, making the laundry APPEAR whiter. ITS NOT REALLY ANY CLEANER, OR WHITER.

It DOES NOT kill mold, either. I hate that toxic crap! It’ll be the end of us all.

Ask your phone, for “a non-toxic way to kill poison ivy,” and it will give it to you. It involves salt, and I, unfortunately, can’t remember what else. I saw it, in my research for Poison Ivy remedies, though. It’s there, and was cheap, easy and non-life threatening.


salt, dishsoap and vinegar…


Sounds like you may have other issues than an allergic reaction. Try paranoia? Btw, bleach does kill mold. It kills a lot of bacteria and mold is one them. It’s good to try non-toxic things on everything (especially in skin), but anyone can tell you, they don’t always work…

Yvonne Lake

When my former husband lived on a farm as a child, they had a small herd of goats, which ate all the poison ivy. So long as the family drank the goats milk (from the goats who had eaten the p/i), nobody got poison ivy. Once the family got rid of the goats, they forgot just why they’d had immunity! Then, they were no longer “immune,” and they all were covered with p/i rash!

Karen lively

i have found that the plant (plankton )grows all over in my yard,,crush the leaves and boil them ,strain the juice off and refrigate to keep it cold ,and apply to p/I ,and it stops the itch and dries up the blisters ,I don’t get p/I but my Granddayghter dies and I use this to help her through


What does it look like?

People talk about a plant but, don’t enclose a picture OR tell you where to get it.


Brush it open throw the brush away,pour amonia on it. Its gone


home depou pioson ive chimical made by bayer sprai



If you can’t eat, or drink it, (OR WOULDN’T GIVE IT TO YOUR KIDS,) don’t buy it.

We are all ONE.

THAT POISON, you buy, (like Round-Up, Herbicides, Pesticides, Fungicides, etc.) gets into our aquifers, and we, EVENTUALLY, ingest it! Our Water is finite, and is the Life Blood of Our Planet.

A helpful analogy is this one:

Say you have a full gallon of Water, and you pour it all out, until THE VERY LAST DROP.
That very LAST DROP of Water, is ALL of the POTABLE Water on Our entire Planet! (Potable means safe, drinking Water.)


It’s not Rocket Science.

Last edited 2 years ago by J.Muir
Joze Youngs

This is old, but it works…..scrub infected area (if possible) with firm bristled brush.(this feels good) Now…scatter a good powdered detergent on the area (i like Sunlight) leave on until you can no longer stand the discomfort , rinse. Dry with a clean towel. Put towel in laundry.Repeat if needed. I used the cream from the doctors office, it took for ever and there was sooo much discomfort, this slightly out of the ordinary method was amazing.
To murder in your yard…1 gallon vinegar,2 cups epsom salt, 1/4 cup Dawn dish liquid (blue). Spray after the dew has disappeared. Sunny day of course.Walk away. gone the next day…this kills everything!


I will try this tomorrow to kill the pi in my way back yard I pray it works and thank you!


I saw another way to kill the Poison Ivy Plant, that was Non-Toxic on the Internet, last night. IT involved salt, though.

I hope this recipe, listed above, worked for you, though!

It’s refreshing to see mindful, good people protecting Our Fragile, and Precious, Planet.

We only have ONE Planet.

Plus, I don’t want to live in an aluminum box! I LOVE IT HERE!


In the shower use hottest water you can stand and wash rather hard with an original plain bar of soap. After out of the shower pat dry and use medicated powder over rash and reapply quite often. This is the cheapest and rather quickest way to dry out the poison ivy. (Average about 2 days) if done often. Or if you go to doctor ask about prednisone. Low profile steroid that works quick too. (2-3 days)

Betty B

The reason it doesn’t grow in the grass is because you mow it. It’s there just not visible after mowing. It is so much worse because of our air quality changes. Had poison oak so bad once I went through to prescriptions of Cortizone. Have poison ivy problems where I live now. Gave up on the vinegar and am pulling it out now. Much easier when ground is wet.


Thanks for not killing the Planet!

Blessed Be!


My Dr. told me to hold a hairdryer up to the poison ivy on low speed and NOT super hot that you burn yourself, use common sense, but this helps relive the itch! Works great.


Frankincense oil applied to the rash will relieve the itch an dry up the rash.


My 3 year old just got several bad patches of ivy rash and was in agony until I broke out a bar of jewelweed soap (I ordered a bar online from Mountain Mama of Maine). It was quick and effective. The itch stopped after a 20 minute bath, the rash began drying up, and a large painful, hot, swollen spot on his back looked almost normal. Jewelweed soap! Awesome and natural!


Yay! Thanks for the natural, mindful remedy!

What agony to see a child suffering from this awful allergen! Ugh! How horrible!


I run hot water, as hot as you can stand, takes itch away


Many years ago While Backpacking along Lake Superior I got Poison Ivory. Really allergic to it. Got to the point certain are were becoming pretty raw from rubbing while hiking. I told my companions I was going to have to stop. I had used all my options with little help or comfort. One of the guys said go jump in the lake. As it was the spring of the year and Superior was very cold. He said just wade out there wash with the cold water. I did and instant relief. Next day did it again wash in the very cold water, it was gone… Very cold water dose not spread the oils and large volume of it wash’s it away. It
works…. 🙂 Will


Yes, cold compresses work way better, than hot. It’s VERY easy to burn the skin.

Poison Ivy Oil lasts up to 5 years!


Not sure you comment about poison ivy won’t grown where there is grass. I have at least eight major plants growing around our property. At least in four or five areas there is tiny sprouts of poison ivy within the lawn. I don’t heat the vinegar and salt mixture either. I use one cup Epsom salt, one gallon vinegar and healthy squirt (not 8 drops) of Dawn. I found this works on small poison ivy plants and ones I can soak down. The larger plants I can’t always reach the tops of, nor the roots because of several other vine plants.


If I had that many poison ivy plants in my yard, I wouldn’t worry about other vine plants. I’d want to make sure I killed the PI plant

Palawonder Menillo

just discovered natural and effective antidote for Ivy Poison Rash…Cashew Extract..proven and tested

Stephen Bradley

In the past, I would sport a poison ivy rash all summer long from general brush clearing on the farm. Now, I might have a little rash here and there, but I’ve greatly reduced the amount since starting to wash with Fast Orange (the de-greaser soap that mechanics use). I wash with this stuff after suspected exposure then follow by wash with regular soap. If the rash has already started, this still works to shorten the healing and kill the itching.


We use homemade lye soap to bath in after exposure or breaking out. It gets rid of it in a hurry.


I got poison ivy really bad two months ago, and I didn’t even know how I got exposed to it! It didn’t use to bother me, but the reaction this time was much worse! I tried washing the area, using TechNu, washing my clothes and bedding, and all the usual remedies, but nothing worked! Had to go to the doctor twice. Topical prescriptions did not work. It kept spreading, which has never happened to me before! They had to put me on high doses of Prednisone!


Tecnu no longer works for me. I used to swear by it. Now I need a prescription otherwise it just keeps spreading. I believed I washed with Tecnu 2x’s a day for a few days and it just kept spreading. I washed with it *before* any breakout. I can feel the itch before the day it shows any kind of rash… it can be like an allergic reaction to bee stings, or peanuts. Your allergic reaction can get worse as the years go on. Mine has. Nothing topical worked either. Ivarest, Calamine, Rhulicreme, Benadryl .. nothing. I got a steroid cream an it stopped itching …

Anne D

Got p/I so bad once used GoJo hand cleaner like what mechanics use for grease on their hands. .cleared up fast and stopped the itch. Also pumice soap such as lava soap.once the blisters are broken they dry up faster


I have no problem with PI..never had..


Boy are YOU lucky! OMG! It’s a NIGHTMARE!


Pasture pro. From orschlens mix it slightly heavy and it seems to get it killed as long as generous with coating the nasty plant.

Al Pelletier

Here in Maine, we’ve been applying a tea made with SWEET FERN leaves on poison ivy, oak and sumac rashes for over 300 years. It stops the itching on contact and dries up the rash in a few days. A web search of “SWEET FERN” gives lots of information about finding sweet fern in the wild or on line.


2nd on the Tecnu soap. Note that it’s not a remedy-it’s just to help get the PI oils off your skin *before* you start to react, and it does so much better than regular soap.
Be sure to also diligently remove PI (using Mary’s bag method above) from areas your pets may play. They won’t react to it, but the oils will stay on their fur so when you pet them you come into contact with it.


The Tecnu poison ivy wash is very effective. It’s mainly deodorized mineral spirits, so it breaks down (rather than spreads) the oil. I used it last summer when removing an old fence and tree in an infested area of the yard. Used on my skin, boots, tools, jeans. I decant some into a smaller container for hikes and camping. It is stocked at our group very store, but I’d ordered it from Amazon before I realized that.

Evidently the oil stays active on surfaces (e.g. your shovel handle) from r years. Also, the roots contain the oil as well, and even after killing the plant, they can cause a reaction (some sources claimed it stays active for decades). Even brushing by a plant in winter can cause a reaction. Don’t mess around with PI!


look for a homeopathic product: rhus tox … you can take it preventively or as a remedy. 🙂


Is this a Hyland product? All of their homeopathic products work!


THANK YOU. I use Boron Homeopathic remedies, and love them!


I don’t understand how to put rock salt ” on the roots”. How?


Ok, Says to “wash the area thoroughly with soap and hot water”. NO WAY!!! Have just discovered that spreads it. Was confirmed by the doctor. That opens your pores yes and brings the oil to the surface but only to spread it on across your body. I have tried the bleach etc etc etc. Shot from the Dr usually followed by a week long dose pack is the only thing that does the trick for me. Seems that once you get a good dose of it every time after seems worse. Obviously I am an extreme case, I have scars from it, but every case is different and what seems to work for someone doesn’t always work for others.


I am looking for a way to get rid of it, too, but I think being on the edge of the woods, I will always have some because the animals spread it. When I do get a rash, I spread tooth paste on it and it takes the itch away and dries it up so fast! It has to be paste, not gel.


Whatever you do, DON’T BURN IT!You run the risk of inhaling the smoke!


I actually take a “prevenative” orally starting in spring right through the last mow of fall. The one I use is called Oral Ivy, but there are others. I may get a “dot or two” in the spring when I start taking it, but it’s not a real case of PI, and is usually gone in 2-4 days. Then, no more PI all summer. I haven’t had a real case of PI in 2+ yrs. This is my 3rd summer living in the country…and I get it when the wind blows poison Ivy pollen or if the mowed debris touches me. I’ve even gotten it from touching WASHED AND DRIED (on high heat) clothing . Best thing since tegu discontinued the poison Ivy vaccine.

Tracie C

Thanks very much for this article! After moving to this rural property almost 2 years ago and being told to “watch out for it, it’s everywhere!” we have been fortunate not to have come into contact with it (yet). We’ve both dealt with it as kids and never knew of these remedies, the doctor sent me home with steroids and that was over 40 years ago!


The only sure-fire way I have found to absolutely rid it is to pour bleach and/or rock salt on the roots. If you use rock salt, nothing will grow there for a while. If you’d rather pull it, put your hand way down into the bottom of an empty garbage bag, pull the ivy with the bagged hand. Once you have a handful of ivy in your bagged hand pull the bag down over your bagged hand of ivy, essentially turning the bag inside out, and the ivy will now be inside the bag.

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