How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy

Probably the best thing for you to do is stay away from it.

Poison Ivy: How it Works

Poison ivy causes a rash in 90% of the people who come into contact with it. The rash is caused by an oil on the surface of the leaves, urushiol, coming in contact with any part of the body or even clothing. The same oil is carried by sumac and poison oak (Tips on how to get rid of poison oak). The rash itches like crazy and can be spread by the hands if it has been touched (it cannot be spread by scratching the rash, though scratching can create an open wound that could become infected). It can be spread by coming into contact with shoes or clothing that have brushed against it. In fact, the oil can even become airborne through mowing or burning.

It’s pretty potent stuff. It takes an extraordinarily small amount to create a rash – one billionth of a gram, a nanogram. And it can stick and stay active on any surface for up to five years. Frequent hand washing is a good defense against its spread, and any clothing that is even suspected of contacting it should be laundered immediately.

Is there any defense against it? I once knew a fellow who was attempting to build immunity by ingesting poison ivy leaves, starting with a tiny portion, and working up to bigger amounts in the fashion of homeopathy. I never found out the result, but I do know he lived through it – But don’t you try this!

Poison Ivy Rashes and Treatments

Urushiol oil is an irritant, not really poison. There are no known fatalities from urushiol rashes, though people who are immuno-compromised could develop some form of dermatitis. It is contagious only in the sense that one person who has contacted the urushiol oil can spread it to others through contact. There are no contagions involved.

Poison Ivy Symptoms

As for treatment, the only case of an emergency which requires immediate hospital care is when a person with higher-than-average sensitivity comes into contact with it. These people make up between 10 and 20 percent of the allergic population. They break out in a rash in 4 to 12 hours instead of the normal 24 to 48. Their eyes may swell shut and blisters may erupt on their skin. They are usually given a shot of corticosteroids to bring the swelling down.

Poison Ivy Cures

Rashes can be treated at home through such folk remedies as taking a bath in water to which baking soda or Epsom salts have been added. Poultices made of half oatmeal, half baking soda are also said to be effective. Over-the-counter commercial treatments include Caladryl, Benadryl, Desitin, and good old-fashioned, cheap calamine lotion.

Poison Ivy Pictures: Identification

The only effective defense known to us is to be able to recognize it and stay away from it. Poison ivy is easily identified. It’s low-growing, seldom higher than two feet, and bears branches of three green, shiny leaves:

Click here for more information on how to get rid of poison ivy.

About the author

Nicole Harding


  • A really good home remedy to get rid of poison ivy is just this.
    1 gallon of vinegar
    2 cups of salt
    few drops of laundry detergent

    heat the vinegar and salt in a pan until salt is dissolved, put vinegar and salt water in a spray bottle, add detergent. Shake and spray. Works wonders. I’ve killed a whole bunch that was coming over my privacy fence. If you want you can use one of those bottles you attach to your hose and spray mass amounts over the plants, but this method must be repeated weekly until the plant dies.

    Happy Spraying….

  • To stop poison ivy from itching – use a hair dryer! Turn the hair dryer on hot, hold a few inches from the rash. It will start itching like crazy – BUT just wait – it takes the itch away for several hours.
    It has something to do with the heat pulling the histimines out. No muss, no fuss, no creams or ointments.

  • If you have it .. Put some gas on a rag and rub on it 3 or 4 times a day – It will dry up and stop itching within a few days and stop spreading.

  • I know this might not be the best cure but as a poor college student I used bleach and peroxide and it dried it up within a week without any chemical burns.

  • The best thing for poison ivy rash/itch is to swim in a chlorinated swimming pool. I discovered this by accident one year when invited to a friends pool. It dries it up quickly.

  • ok, i have major poison ivy issues. i am in the 10 to 20% and am pretty paranoid about poison ivy. it gets really gross on me and comes in waves. i get orange goo spilling from the bubbles. i have many nightmares about it. anywhoo, i have had it like millions of times and NOTHING has ever made it dry up quickly but 2 things. swimming in a pool (works somewhat) and steroids! steroids are amazing i swear! go to the dermatologist and they will prescribe it (if your poison ivy is bad enough like mine)!


    it will dry out the poison ivy and heals it faster than
    any other remedy.
    smells, but it’s worth it.
    apply whenever you can. let it dry the poison out.

  • wipe bleech on infected area. leave on for a few minutes and wash off.. make sure you get all the bleech off . not good for skin if left on

  • If you can find good, old fashioned lye soap, scrub the heck out of the affected area. It will burn when you are doing it, but it dries it up faster than anything I have tried.

  • I found out if you use baking soda and water you mix them up and leave it on over night then in morningg take of with a paper towel ea gentley go back and forth.

  • My advice is to skip the home remedies. Trust me, if you have sensitive skin, and have a severe rash, head to the doctor. They gave me hydrocortisone-a not too expensive natural steroid. I am on the mend and SO happy. For days, i have been in hell, trying every home remedy under the sun. The only thing that relieved the itch for me was constantly taking cool showers, and keeping a bucket full of iced water and cloths near me. The anti-itch creams or anything from pharmacy didn’t make a difference. So, if you need a quick recovery, and are in a position to go, GO TO THE DOCTOR!

  • Ok this is a really gross way to get rid of poison but it works. it is from the mountains and my grandparents told me about it and how to do it. when u have the poison ivy/oak/sumac then urinate in a plastic container and put a washrag in it and wash over the affected spot, once applied evenly wait till it dries and then go take a shower and wash over spot really good so you get the urine off. i used to have poison ivy really bad but now that i have tried this method i havent had it in years

  • I’ll tell you what not to do. When you have poison ivy/oak/sumac DO NOT sleep with ice on your face. you will swell up like a balloon. And I agree with Jay urine works :]

  • Itch it in the shower then wash it off IMMEDIATELY. IF you don’t itch it then the rash will swell up with the urushiol and leak. It doesn’t hurt and you dont notice it unless u happen to look at it while it is dripping, but the urushiol will get on your skin and then it will spread. If you itch it in the shower, however, and then wash really good around the area you itched, it will be fine. I do recommend putting on calamine lotion on before you go to bed. It dries out the rash and helps it heal qucker. I found out that gold bond irritates your rash sometimes and makes it itch more after the anti-itch wares off.

  • well ive had poision ivy on my face two times now here are some tips

    1.take a shower after being in the woods if your are highly allegic it take 4 to 12 hour to come in afect if your not really all that alerrig its usally 24 to 48 hours. scrub really good

    2. You might still have the urihsoil on you so at night you will often scratch without noticeing so to prevent that i usally coat up in anti itch creame befroe sleeping the anti itch i think works best on the face is ivarest it is pretty good on arms and legs too expect to be woken up by acidently scratching open scab or some thing like that.

    3. if you have poison ivy all over you should contact a doctor

  • Swimming in a pool helps dry it up so quick, whenever I was younger I’d get it a lot from playing in the woods. It doesn’t burn & you have fun while curing it!

  • Buy a tube of ZANFEL! I have been stricken with poison ivy rashes, blisters, and puss over every area of my body, and, this medicine gets rid of the urihshoil and stops spreading. Use this in every shower you take until it stops spreading. ivy-dry helps the whole process get over quicker.

  • toothpaste works really well. i also have this stuff called “oral-ivy” you put 10 drops of it in 2 ounces of water and it clears it up pretty fast. while using the oral-ivy i coat the rash with some thing i got from CVS. it’s called “maximum strength itch relief” and it works well to cover it and make it leak under the covering and then when you go to apply it again, you peel off the old stuff, and the poison comes off with it. mine is almost cleared up and its only been like 2 days.

  • Make a paste of lemon juice and baking soda, apply to the rash and leave on, repeat this every 4 to 6 hours, my dad did this for me when I was youger, it worked wonders. It burns like fire if you have it bad and scratch it open but it definately dries it up without the risk of gasoline and paint thinners. And it is also safe to use on small children.

  • use rubbing achol. I use it, put it on paper towel and dab the poisoned areas. It dries out skin. Swim in chlorinated pools. Dont shower in hot water, this sperads the pioson. Wear oven mitts or thick socks on your hands to keep from itching. Do not put lotion on. Get over the counter allergey pills. Take before bed. Do not itch. Contact a doctor if it hurts, swells, or ozzes pus. Cover it if it scrapes open and leaves a scab. Keep covered ontil healed. get well soon!! 🙂

  • I’ve had poison Ivy for about a week now. I’ve tried everything to try to get rid of it, but nothing works. I wonder why?

  • ok so right now i have poison ivy and ive found that if you wash with dial soap it doesnt itch as bad and if you have it on hand use some beneadrayl but that doesnt work as good.and sometimes at night you dont notice it but you may itch it so put some anti itch cream so you dont break any scabs or spread the rash.

  • I have poison oak nothing seemed to be working after about 4 days. Then I purchased Coraid it works really well and the spray does burn at fist but gets rid of the itch and drys up the weepy wounds.

  • when you have poison ivy alll you have to do is wait until you have a big puffy blisster, then you cut it off(this may hurt a little, but not much if you do it right) and eat it. trust me. and be careful to not cut anything but the rash off.=]

  • i have poision ivy realllll bad ): i just got rid of it like, 2 weeks ago!! pleasee help me out, tell me anything, ill do it!!! (buttt,no i WILL NOT cut a big puffy blister off and eat it, yuckkk!)
    please give me advice?!? i have it from my neck dowwn. UGHHHH D:

  • FYI, about the height of PI, this article says it only grows 2-3 foot high – that’s only partially correct (at least here in the south) it grows way up into trees and shrubs. It does have “furry” aerial roots;

  • I have it really bad.. but the weird thing is, i was exposed to it almost a month befor i showed any symptoms of it. I have it all over my legs, and what makes is worse is that i have it on the back of my knee.. so every time i bend my leg, it causes it to itch.. So here’s my tip

    Make a Baking Soda and Water Paste, and Wrap your effected areas in SaranWrap..

  • Had a run-in with a property heavily infested with poison ivy. Found Tech-nu works for some people if they wash with it promptly. After the blisters start, tried Ivy Dry but still got large open weeping wounds. Found an article to use Vitamin E. Dried up 90% of the open sore overnight after 4 days of trying Ivy Dry with no results. Vitamin E also takes away the itch and the sooner you put it on, the better the results. Beginning blisters can literally go away after a day or so. Use NAURAL vitamin E. D alpha tocopherol, not DL alpha tocopherol.

  • I have had poison ivy in my eye and on my downstairs.. i uce baking soda in bath water and on my eye i just dont touch it. my eye is completly closed. but all it takes is time

  • I can’t believe you don’t have Tecnu or Tecnu Extreme listed as a cure. It is the most widely used, and proven, treatment for poison oak, ivy and sumac.

  • I can’t believe you don’t have Tecnu or Tecnu Extreme listed as a treatment. It is the most widely used, and proven to work in the field by professionals, treatment for poison oak, ivy and sumac

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