More than likely, we’ve all had a scare once or twice involving poison ivy. If you are an outdoor enthusiast, being educated about poison ivy and how to deal with its effects is important. Learn how to get rid of poison ivy plants from around your house, so you can enjoy spending time outdoors.
There are certain identifiers to be aware of to help you steer clear of coming in contact with poison ivy when out and about in the woods.
If you do happen to brush up against it or find yourself in a patch of poison ivy, it’s important to take the proper steps immediately to help you get rid of it. See below how to take care of yourself once you got poison ivy.
What Is Poison Ivy?
Poison ivy can be found in every state located throughout the US, in all varying types of climates. The plant is identifiable as having three leaves, and the “poison” of the plant actually comes from an oil called urushiol that is excreted throughout the stems, roots, and leaves of the plant.
Poison ivy oil can spread quickly and easily (just like poison oak does). It can spread from clothes, skin contact or any other item that it came in contact with.
How To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy Plants
What You'll Be Needing:
If you see poison ivy in your backyard, don’t wait: spring into action immediately, or it will spread really fast. Here are just a few ways to remove poison ivy from your property.
1. Pull it
Pulling poison ivy plants will help get rid of it.
Make sure you are dressed properly to protect yourself. Wear long pants and long sleeves, and throw them straight into the wash when you’re done.
Cover your hands well too. Wear some plastic or nitrile gloves, and a pair of cheap gardening gloves you can throw away when you’re done.
The smoke from burning poison ivy will get into your lungs and will do to your insides what it does to your skin. Burning poison ivy is a very bad idea.
2. Get a goat or two
Goats LOVE to eat poison ivy and will decimate in no time.
If getting your own goat is not an option, borrow one. We have friends that raise goats and did this in the beginning when the poison ivy was overtaking our entire backyard.
You might need to follow up with some other method if you borrow the goats, but it’s a good way to get rid of huge poison ivy vines.
3. Hire a neighbor who isn’t allergic to poison ivy
Not everyone is allergic to poison ivy. And if you are, it’s worth paying someone else to pull it out of your yard.
My daughter got it and struggled with it for months. It would disappear in all but one place, and then she’d scratch and spread it all over again.
4. Spray it with vinegar
This might take a bit longer, but spray it with concentrated industrial vinegar.
It will also kill anything else that’s nearby and touched by your spray. So this method only works if you don’t have poison ivy between your pretty flowers or in your veggie patch. But if it’s hanging on your fence, or by a tree, this can work.
5. Pour hot water on it
Hot water will kill it, but, of course, it will kill anything else in its vicinity.
Nonetheless, it’s an option in certain cases.
What If You Touched Poison Ivy?
If you think you might have touched poison ivy, there are a few things you need to do right away:
- change your clothes and wash all of them in hot water
- if poison ivy grows on your property, it’s a smart idea to have a salve ready in your home (this jewelweed and myrrh sales works really well)
- scrub your skin with a washcloth and tecnu soap. It’s a good idea to have some in your house, especially if you have kids. If you don’t have the tecnu soap, use Dawn liquid dish-washing soap. Just make sure you scrub well.
Here’s a video that will show you how to clean yourself properly after touching poison ivy.
How To Get Rid Of Poison Ivy Rash
Once you start to show signs of poison ivy, it is imperative to take action so it won’t continue to spread. There are several ways that you can help rid it before it starts to ooze and blister.
Apply a steroid cream
Finding a good steroid cream and applying it to the poison ivy rash can be a good way to help clear it up quickly. Talk to your local pharmacist and see what the best option would be for you or your child to ensure the quickest and safest options.
You can make a concentrated jewelweed tea and add it to your bath water to calm your poison ivy rash.
Some people make jewelweed tea ice cubes to soothe the itch and pain of the rash.
Or you can buy a salve made with jewelweed and have it ready in your medicine cabinet.
Leave it be and don’t scratch it!
Easier said than done, right? The more you scratch, the more you’ll want to keep doing it. your skin will get irritated and take a lot longer to heal.
If the itching is driving you insane, you can try a couple of options to help. Create an oatmeal bath to help the itching, or even one with Epson salt to try to dry it out.
We also tried a vinegar spray with a few drops of peppermint and tea tree oils. It stung like crazy, but it dried it up and helped a lot!
If you can’t stop yourself from itching no matter what, put gloves or socks on your hands so that you won’t be digging into your skin!
Know what the poison ivy plant looks like
Before heading out to explore nature, educate yourself and your family members on how to identify a poison ivy plant.
The safest and quickest way to not get poison ivy is to know what you are looking for! Pull up videos or pictures online to show your family so they are aware of what to avoid.
Above all, if you do feel as though you’ve come in contact with poison ivy, wash that area with soap and water as soon as possible!