Farmers Almanac
The Farmers Almanac
Order your copy today!

Natural Cures & Remedies for Poison Ivy

Natural Cures & Remedies for Poison Ivy

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

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.

Stop the pain and itching of poison ivy by rubbing a watermelon rind over the rash. Allow it to dry naturally.

  • 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 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!

Poison Ivy Jewelweed Soap

Price: $6.99

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.

Shop Now »

Disclosure: We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.

Previous / Next Posts


1 Kay { 06.25.19 at 11:17 am }

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

2 Clare Elliott { 06.01.18 at 4:11 pm }

https://www.lehmans.com/product/fels-naptha-laundry-soap/ Fels Naptha Soap, bath with it. It’s cheap and does the trick.

3 Susan Higgins { 05.24.17 at 8:59 am }

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! https://store.farmersalmanac.com/FARM/p-FA___JWSOAP

4 Rob Fultz { 05.21.17 at 5:57 pm }

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

5 Nancy Rose { 05.28.16 at 10:40 pm }

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.

6 Dora { 06.18.16 at 5:03 pm }

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

7 Nancy Rose { 05.28.16 at 10:37 pm }

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.

8 Ari { 09.09.15 at 10:59 am }

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!!!

9 Dora { 06.18.16 at 5:03 pm }

The H in preparation H is of course, Witch Hazel

10 Yvonne { 09.08.15 at 10:22 am }

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.

11 mel { 09.08.15 at 7:19 am }

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.

12 Roger { 08.15.15 at 2:50 pm }

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

13 Bryan B { 08.04.15 at 12:41 am }

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

14 Bryan B { 08.04.15 at 12:31 am }

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

15 Deb young morrison { 08.03.15 at 8:16 am }

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.

16 Yvonne Lake { 07.17.15 at 12:21 am }

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!

17 Karen lively { 07.11.15 at 5:51 pm }

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

18 alyce { 07.11.15 at 10:02 am }

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

19 CARMEN { 07.10.15 at 11:45 am }

home depou pioson ive chimical made by bayer sprai


20 Joze Youngs { 07.10.15 at 11:34 am }

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!

21 Brandon { 07.10.15 at 11:16 am }

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)

22 Betty B { 07.10.15 at 10:45 am }

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.

23 Kelly { 07.10.15 at 10:34 am }

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.

24 Ruth { 07.10.15 at 10:03 am }

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

25 kristen { 07.10.15 at 9:39 am }

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!

26 jim { 07.10.15 at 7:37 am }

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

27 Will { 07.10.15 at 6:54 am }

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

28 Debbie { 06.15.17 at 7:06 pm }

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

29 Amy { 07.10.15 at 6:33 am }

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.

30 Palawonder Menillo { 09.07.14 at 8:47 am }

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

31 Stephen Bradley { 09.02.14 at 11:29 am }

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.

32 Dawn { 09.02.14 at 10:49 am }

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

33 John { 09.02.14 at 6:21 am }

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!

34 Lee { 09.01.14 at 10:56 pm }

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 …

35 Anne D { 09.01.14 at 9:54 pm }

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

36 Jan { 09.01.14 at 7:26 pm }

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

37 And { 09.01.14 at 2:37 pm }

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

38 Al Pelletier { 07.31.14 at 9:50 am }

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.

39 Leliel { 05.29.14 at 10:18 am }

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.

40 Adam { 05.29.14 at 8:22 am }

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!

41 Kathy { 06.12.16 at 10:34 am }

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

42 Carol { 05.29.14 at 8:22 am }

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

43 Betsy { 05.28.14 at 3:27 pm }

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

44 Carly { 05.28.14 at 1:48 pm }

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.

45 Mary { 05.28.14 at 7:28 am }

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.

46 Ed { 05.27.14 at 9:26 pm }

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

47 Shanon { 05.27.14 at 9:25 pm }

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.

48 Tracie C { 05.27.14 at 5:43 pm }

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!

49 Mary { 05.27.14 at 5:21 pm }

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.

50 Cecily { 05.27.14 at 4:39 pm }

Please use natural remedies instead of supporting companies like Bayer who are responsible for the demise of the plant world

51 Steve { 05.27.14 at 3:53 pm }

There is a new product out called ( Domeboro ) made by Bayer that really works well. It comes in a powder form mixed with a few drops of water makes a paste applied you can tell the difference within 24 hrs.

52 Sherry { 05.27.14 at 3:47 pm }

Be sure to put disposable gloves on, then clean the lawnmower that you driove through the stuff – cause it’ll still be there next time to get you!

53 Clark Bunch { 05.27.14 at 2:49 pm }

The Coasters went on the say “You’re gonna need an ocean
of Calamine lotion.” Very clever.

54 debbie { 05.27.14 at 1:54 pm }

boil strong vinegar and pour on the roots can spray cooled vinegar on the vines and leafs.Real vinegar, made from grain alcohol, in 10% or 100 grain concentration, is the proper vinegar to use for killing weeds. It is sprayed straight with no water dilution. For a more powerful product, add 1-2 oz. of orange oil and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap per gallon of vinegar. I use the Bio Wash product as the soap. Vinegar is a non-selective herbicide and especially effective on weeds in cracks and in gravel areas. It will kill broadleaf plants and grasses. If the mix is used, keep it shaken during the spraying.

55 Kevin D { 06.03.13 at 4:21 pm }

I second the question from Linda…I’m not so concerned about curing it…rather, how do we get rid of it in the garden. It seems to return each year with great resolve to conquer the garden and our back yard! I’d prefer not using chemicals but they are the only device that seems to work, aside from clipping and tossing. My wife will be forever grateful for a way to get rid of this stuff for once and for all.

56 Kathy { 06.12.16 at 10:36 am }

20%vinegar on the plant ONLY that you want to kill. Garden center that sells organic products or a feed store should have it.

57 Linda { 05.15.12 at 8:16 pm }

Any tips on eradicating it from our gardens? It is very persistent in my yard.

Leave a Comment

Note: Comments that further the discussion of the above content are likely to be approved. Those comments that are vague or are simply submitted in order to promote a product, service or web site, although not necessarily considered "spam," are generally not approved.

If you notice a hole in the upper left-hand corner of your Farmers' Almanac, don't return it to the store! That hole isn't a defect; it's a part of history. Starting with the first edition of the Farmers' Almanac in 1818, readers used to nail holes into the corners to hang it up in their homes, barns, and outhouses (to provide both reading material and toilet paper). In 1919, the Almanac's publishers began pre-drilling holes in the corners to make it even easier for readers to keep all of that invaluable information (and paper) handy.

Reading Farmers' Almanac on Tablet with Doggie

Don't Miss A Thing!

Subscribe to Our Newsletter and Get a FREE Download!