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Poison Ivy and Poison Oak— What To Know And What To Do If Disaster Strikes
Posted on Monday, June 20, 2011 by eNature

Knowing how to avoid poison ivy is a good skill—but you should also know what to do if you happen to encounter it.

As we move into the busiest part of the summer, people across the country will celebrate and enjoy it by taking weekend hikes through places scenic and undisturbed. Most of folks will return from their hikes revived, but some will find themselves itchy afterwards.

It’s inevitable. And it’s unfortunate, too, because there are ways to avoid the adverse effects of Poison Ivy and Poison Oak.

Actually, five species of rash-inducing plants flourish in North America: two species of Poison Ivy, two species of Poison Oak, and Poison Sumac. The last is a wetland plant and not nearly as common or commonly encountered as the others.  One or more of these species is pretty common throughout the country, particularly along the edges of woodlands.

And all contain the same essential oil that irritates human skin. 

Urushiol is its name, and it exists in the roots, stems, leaves, and even the berries of these plants. Roughly 85 percent of the population is allergic to Urushiol, which can cause a rash in sensitive people who come into contact with as little as one millionth of a gram of the stuff. And all of these plants are more than willing to share their Urushiol if they are bruised, crushed, or opened up in any way.

Thus it’s important for people to know how to identify these plants. Most field guides, including eNature’s online version, provide concise descriptions and photos. But even the most attentive hiker can inadvertently brush against a Poison Ivy or Poison Oak leaf.

When that happens, there are two ways to rid the skin of Urushiol.

The first involves washing the affected area with great amounts of water. Plain water is best, since soap has no effect on Urushiol and when used with only a little water it can actually spread the offending oil. So use room-temperature water and lots of it.

To be clear, we’re not saying here to avoid using soap!  Just be sure to use lots of water if you do— the object here is to get the oil off, not redistribute to other parts of your skin.

The second way to rid the skin of Urushiol is to swab with rubbing alcohol. The alcohol counteracts the oil and can even draw oil from the skin four or five hours after exposure. Waiting any longer than that, though, is inadvisable.

Whether cleaning with water or alcohol, use care. Don’t scrub violently—it does no good and can actually do harm. Similarly, don’t use very hot water or harsh soaps and chemicals. The point is to remove the oil, not to annihilate it.

There’s no shortage of folk remedies as well— some of which are more effective than others.

Have you had a bad experience with Poison Ivy or its cousins?  How did you handle it?

Learn more about Poison Ivy »

Learn more about Poison Oak »

Our Dangerous and Poisonous Field Guide can help you avoid the annoying plants in your neck of the woods »



I am highly allergic to poison ivy. Once when I did get it I tried a remedy an elderly friend recommended. I broke open some stems of the Jewel Weed plant and rubbed it on the blisters. It really did help it clear up much sooner.

Posted by Itchy on 6/21

Since Dawn dish detergent has been used so effectively in removing oil from wildlife, and since I use just a drop and water to remove garlic and onion oils from my hands, I’m wondering if it might be useful in a poison ivy/oak/sumac exposure?

Posted by Linda J. Beckman on 6/21

I keep crawling around in it while sweating up a storm - thought it was just the leaves so when I cleared or thought I cleared an area for planting - well lets just say I’m a big dope…fells naphtha which is a detergent soap bar for laundry and a 100 year old product still on the market - acts as a drying agent - after a shower I apply it to my skin and let it sit there -

Wash your bedsheets too after you see or feel an outbreak I think the “one millionth of a gram of the stuff” spreads itself around while you toss in your sleep - seems to be my experience - never used to get the stuff - ever - until I started to crawl around in it sweating profusely - think I should stop doing that one of these days - LOL

Posted by Paul Burke - Author Journey Home on 6/21

I am retired from a career of marking timber for the US Forest Service.  I know this:  sensitivity within a person’s lifetime varies.  I got the worst case of poison ivy when I was 15 years old, then for years I seemed immune.  It was a real advantage in my job while it lasted, but the sensitivity returned later.  My personal cure was to defeat the itch mentally.  It didn’t work, but I used to lie about it anyway.  “It doesn’t bother me, it’s just a little itch.”  (Timber beasts are tough and fearless.  It’s a qualification for the job.)

Posted by PrairieDog on 6/21

Mugwart is a natural antidote to poison oak.  They grow together often and the oil on the mugwort separates the oil of the poison oak. There are some makers of mugwort soap too, which is super. Make a lather and let it sit before washing off.

(wash within 8 hours of exposure, max)

And use COLD water not room temperature, the warmer it is the more it spreads the oil.

Posted by walrus on 6/21

I need tips fro getting rid of it.
There is some growing in a very inconvenient nook by my back steps and threatening to take over the steps and deck. What’s the best way to get rid of it, leaves, stems, roots and all?

Should I spray with alcohol or ammonia (both degreasers)? If I wear gloves to pull it out, must I throw the gloves away afteward? If I pullk it out, what should I do with the contaminated brush, roots, and leaves. If I send it to the dump, it will be burned, and the smokeif any could be hard on anyone near by.
I am really stumped.

Posted by Pam S. on 6/21

I have had really awful bouts with poison oak, having had to take steroids the last time I broke out in a rash. Now I use Tecnu, an over the counter soap that I use right after hiking and have not gotten a rash since. I don’t usually endorse brands like this, but it really has been amazing.

Posted by Summer on 6/21

Hi Folks,
There is a product called Tecnu that will take the oils off your skin, clothing, garden tools. Saves me every year. Available on line and I’ve been seeing in CVS, Walgreens the past two years. I use this immediately, even if I only suspect that I’ve run into some. I have old, old p.ivy growth - huge hairy 8” vines growing up 80’ trees. It required chopping the vines. As nature always provides a solution, look also for Jewelweed spray - again, on line or in a local store that carries herbal rememdies. Should you have a spot you missed, apply the tecnu, was off and use the Jewelweed spray. Sure beats prednisone or calamine smile

Posted by Kathy on 6/21

I’ve had to clear alot of Poison Ivy from my property over the past five years. The Tecnu works well. Products with nonoxynol-9 work better. Unfortunately it is expensive. My pharmisist grandfather told me to scrub the area with the old brown soap then put calimine lotion on. I came up with the idea of making the calamine lotion dry faster and tried a hair dryer. The heat and the lotion seem to work because I am usually symptom free for the rest of the day.

Posted by don on 6/22

As a former Environmental Conservation Officer, my exposure to Poison Ivy was the curse of my career.  There are so many remedies and I’ve tried most!  But mom was usually right in her wisdom and you should remember “MOM”.  “MOM” refering to Milk of Magnesia.  Try it.  It works much faster than calamine.  PS: Don’t pet your dog or cat if you suspect it was into a batch of poison ivy.  The Urushiol oil lays on their coats and easily rubs off onto your skin.

Posted by Neil Ross on 6/22

To Neil Ross:  The bane of my career was chiggers -  Poison ivy was just a footnote.  Actually, if I hadn’t been working in the woods I would have been there playing, so I have to say that the joy of being out there more than offset the inconvenience of a few itches.  Prairie Dog, USDA FS RET.

Posted by PrairieDog on 6/22

Chiggers !! - I laughed when I read this. My gosh, first I found the poison ivy, then the ticks and to add insult to injury…chiggers. Well, I can see we all love the land, which is awesome !! I found that Lemon Witch Hazel, applied with a cotton ball to get the allergic reaction out and then the homeopathic ‘Sting Stop’ (Google Search)worked greatly. Regular Witch Hazel seemed to work but not as well - maybe the citrus? I do believe I would take poison ivy and ticks over chiggers. With 3 dogs, 3 cats, 4 llamas and old growth trees I’ve discovered it all, either on my own or through one of the animals. Chickens for ticks smile Sigh, then you have the snakes for the eggs…wasn’t there a nursery rhyme about all the things that affect/cause other things ? LOL !!

Posted by Kathy on 6/22

if you get caught by some ivy try using oatmeal mixed into a paste, it can help reduce the itchiness and sometimes the swelling but if it does start getting worse id consult a doctor.
poison ivy treatment

Posted by buddy on 6/23

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Posted by atmgreetings on 6/23

Like the person a few posts back said Tec-Nu.
It’s the best stuff out there. If I’ve been in it and forget, when the itching starts I wash with it and put on in the infected area. and two days later its almost gone.

Posted by Doug on 6/23

I am, unfortuately, the Poison Ivy Queen. When I get infected - poisoned - I usually end up with prednisone.  I have always used Fells Naphtha soap but am wondering if I need to use more water.  One Millionth of a gram - wow.  I’ve gotten it from the dogs, shoes, etc. 

Any itching can be helped with baking soda in a tepid bath or make a paste.  This works for chicken pox and stings, as well.

Will get some Technu to have on hand. 
Great Article and very timely.  Thanks

Posted by Music Momma on 6/23

Got it really bad this year…had to wait for a drs appt but used a hair dryer in the meantime…worked like a charm!  The itch went away for 2-4 hours.  Be careful but blow the rash until you can’t stand it and then stop.  then go to the doctor and get prednisone:)

Posted by Kathleen Maugeri on 6/23

Getting poision ivy, oak or a reaction to Virginia Creeper every year keeps me looking for remedies and products to kill the vines. I have found that “Brush Be Gone” by Ortho to be effective in killing these plants. It usually takes about 2 weeks. I wash with Feldspar Naptha soap to remove it from my skin. I’ll definitely get some Technu.

Posted by Gil Morrison on 6/23

If only poison ivy were a cash crop, I could be a millionaire! 

To get rid of the plants: I sprayed a big, big growth of it with Ortho (I think) Season-Long (comes in black gallon jugs, ready to spray or concentrate).  It killed it wonderfully!

As for the rash: an old-time doctor said to run hot water - as hot as you can stand it - over the rash for as long as you can stand it.  Do not dry, but sprinkle with table salt.  Let the salt dry naturally.  The hot water will make you itch, but stick with it; the salt pulls the oil out, as it pulls fluid from most anything.  It’s kinda messy, but it really, truly works!

Posted by maerlyn on 6/23

If you had a goat or two you would NOT have poison ivy. They love to eat them and it does not harm them. Go natural. Get a couple of pygmy goats..

Posted by Jan on 6/23

LOL! I have two ponies and panicked years ago when I found one merrily eating the poison ivy!  As with the goats, it evidently did no harm.  Unfortunately, a lot of the poison is where the ponies are not; they’ve eaten what bordered the pasture out of existence.

Posted by maerlyn on 6/23

I’m an elderly gardener who has been plagued by poison ivy all her life.  My mother was very allergic to it but my father could pull it up with his bare hands and not be affected.  After known exposure, in the Midwest I washed with Fels Naptha soap but after moving south I wasn’t able to find it, but Octagon soap works, too.  The only time I had to use prednisone was I dug into the roots in late fall and got it all over me. I’ve gotten it from a cat who walked through it, too.  If you see the plants while little, you can pull them with a plastic grocery bag turned inside out over your hand, wrap another bag over it and put in the garbage.

Posted by Theda - catlady on 6/23

Don’t overlook Brazilian pepper hedge! I was nearly hospitalized from an severe outbreak of rash after clearing this plant whose roots were entwined in a sable palm tree. I found that a mud (facial) masque dried and relieved the painful, seepy rash.

Posted by Barbara on 6/23

I had never noticed an allergy until I spent a week rebuilding a barbed wire pasture fence. It got pretty bad before I saw the Dr.; after that I just had to look at a vine to swell up… The last year I’ve had to work neck-deep in woods & vines to clean up old extreme hurricane damage, with overgrowth, etc. I tried something that sounds a little nuts, but has basically saved my life: When in the woods, wear a small piece of lead so that it touches the skin. I wear one around my neck on a fishing line. I’ve had virtually no problems, but if I forget to wear it am quickly reminded I’m still allergic.

Posted by Steve Webb on 6/23

Tec-Nu is the ticket to relief from a poison ivy exposure. Even after the blisters appear washing the affected area will make the rash disappear. Of course the faster it’s used the better.
Keep some in your backpack, keep some in your car. Keep it handy at home. It’s a miracle in bottle as far as I’m concerned.

Posted by Tim Jones on 6/23

“Leaves of 3 let it be” will help you when looking for thease poison plants.

Posted by Darre Dennis on 6/23

I’m so allergic to the poison ivy/oak, that I look like I’ve got leparsy!!  But, several years ago, I found a poison ivy medicine that you take in the dorment season.  I got it from a pharmacy & it was 3 little vials filled with a green liquid.  You take one vial each week at the same time each week.  You swish the liquid in your mouth for approx. 60 secs.  It really reduced my rashes if I came into contact with the poison ivy/oak.  Just doesn’t seem to hardly bother me anymore.  Just do NOT take the medicine if you suspect there is any chance you have poison ivy.oak or been exposed recently.  Must be a derivitive of it or something. 
Also, if I do get any poison ivy…I run the infected area under the hottest water I can stand…it’s a feel good hurt type of thing, followed up by using aloe vera on the rash. It really helps to dry up the rash & control that horrible itching!!
I found my poison ivy medicine at McCourtney’s pharmacy. Ada, Ok.  580-332-3344.  They only make it around Dec-Febuary, so give them a call around then & they can give info.
Good luck!

Posted by Vicki Thomas on 6/23

I agree with the Technu comments: the stuff’s a wonder! I have at least 7 acres of luxuriant poison ivy. The deer eat it without harm and their scat contains the seeds along with nutrients for more growth.

Using a commercial-grade sprayer filled with bleach was a recommended ‘poison-ivy-killer’ but, after the leaves browned, they came back even tastier: the deer ate the treated plants more readily than those left alone.

Thanks for the tip about the Ortho products.

Posted by Greg Weymann on 6/23

Zanfel. Period.

Posted by roberta levine on 6/23

Grab a Jewelweed by its stalk, crumple it into a mashy ball, and rub it on your skin.  The oil of the Jewelweed helps keep the poison ivy’s oil from entering your pores.  It can also be used as a preventative measure!

Posted by Justin on 6/23

I have had great success with RHUS TOX 30C, a homeopathic remedy. Most good health food stores carry it. You can take it ahead of time to help those people who get poison ivy from just walking near it. I’ve had rashes clear up very quickly and a young man I know who is highly allergic uses it all the time now rather than steroids. I always have it around during the summer months when my cat brings me the oils on his fur.

Posted by Barb on 6/23

Rhuiligel was great for both ivy, oak and red ants…then Bandaid took over.  I was upset when I could not find it, but now Benedryl for kids is the same clear gel….my husband laughed until he tried it on his red ant bites….now it is the only thing we use!  Also…whenever I weed, I keep a bottle of bleach by the hose with a rag….wipe down with bleach and water to cut the oil, then strip at the washer and go to the shower.  That way I don’t re-handle the clothes with the oil on them…. and the gel takes care of what ever I’ve missed! :-D

Posted by ktdougherty on 6/23

Zanfel is the most effective for me.  Technu a poor second.  If Zanfel doesn’t clear it, then off to doctor for the steroids.

Posted by MaeryZ on 6/23

Witch hazel is a natural solvent. First, apply Witch Hazel generously. Slosh and rub over affected area. Allow to stand 5 to 10 minutes. Then wash in the shower so there’s plenty of water to rinse the oil away. The sooner you get to it, the better it works. If hours have passed, follow with a sticky mix of colloidal oatmeal and water. (Aveeno makes an oatmeal rinse.0 You might want to put gauze over the area. Witch hazel works on bites too. It’s inexpensive enough to have a bottle in every room and in the cars too.

Posted by kristin k on 6/23

I am also extremely sensitive to poison ivy and have used Tecnu for many years.  I have found, however, that if I’ve been working in the yard and think I’ve probably run into poison ivy along the way, I use dish-washing liquid like body wash.  I think any brand will do because they’re all designed to cut grease (oils).  Carefully scrub every square inch of your body.  I keep a bottle of Joy in the bathroom all summer and have been close to poison ivy free. 

However, last summer I got a bad case of poison ivy after wandering around a vacant property all afternoon.  I was almost out of Tecnu, so I tried an experiment.  I used the Joy like Tecnu.  I applied it liberally to my dry skin and rubbed it in well.  I let it sit for five minutes or so.  Then I showered it off in as hot water as I could stand without burning myself.  I did this morning and night for about three days and then once a day for about three more.  It worked like magic.  Not only did it never itch, the bumps never spread, and after a week the original bumps were all scabbed over and impotent.  I haven’t needed to try this again (yet!) but it worked like a charm and I will absolutely do the same thing the next time I get poison ivy!

Posted by Carolyn on 6/23

For chiggers put flea collars around the tops of your boots not in contact with your skin. No more chiggers

Posted by Jim Estes on 6/23

Wow! So many good ideas. Prevention is the best advice I can offer! My last bout with poison ivy was just on my ankles—about 29 years ago. But that lasted over 2 weeks. I washed frequently, but diligently avoided scratching. I used prescription cortisone cream and Caladryl, neither of which calmed the itching. I slept with my ankles outside the blankets and aimed a fan at them to numb the itching enough to sleep at night.  Since hiking a wet trail was my downfall, I use hip wader water socks and boots when I have to hike that type of area. I’m careful to use gloves to remove the waders and I wash them with soap and water when I return.

Posted by Cece on 6/23

Even with Tecnu, which helped a little, I still suffered two weeks of misery anytime I got near poison oak. I have now discovered Tea Tree Oil, and the two weeks of misery is now a few days of discomfort.  I am very allergic to it and therefore am very careful, as avoiding it is the best policy.  But I have animals (dogs and horses) and that’s usually where I get it; and I don’t always know when I was exposed.  After washing the area, I just put a few drops on every place whenever it starts to itch.  It will even work after it starts blistering.  Also, remember to either wear fresh pajamas or change bedsheets every day.  Also, there is an herbicide you can get at Home Depot for poison oak and ivy that works very well in eradicating the plants.  Hope this helps.

Posted by K Dowell on 6/23

Clear Vinegar for sunburn, poison oak, skin fungus, etc. The Best!

Posted by Steven Thaw on 6/23

When I have had to deal with the resulting rash I rub backing soda over the effected area. This treatment is very effective against the itching and oozing. It also shortens the recovery period. When I get it on my arms I’ll wrap them with an ace bandage before bed or when out and about to prevent infection.

Posted by R Maher on 6/24

I live on a small suburban lot, so I agree with those who say that being aware of the presence of poison ivy while it is still small is the best preventative, but I have pets too, and can’t always keep them away from the plants and bushes where P.I. is entwined either on my lot or in the parks and on nearby nature trails.  I wonder why there doesn’t seem to have been a campaign to wipe this awful stuff out, sponsored by nature clubs, municipalities, etc., since there doesn’t seem to be a good side (other than birds eating the berries) to P.I.. With one exception, I never use “chemical warfare” on my property, but since I am sensitive to P.I., a well-aimed tiny squirt of the Ortho product made for P.I. directed to any one of the leaves on the plant will slowly kill the whole plant. The product is so potent that it kills many other plants as well, so caution is very important. Then I pull the dead plant out several weeks later, wearing protective clothing and goggles that I remove near my washing mashine, so I can prevent infecting myself through contact with clothing, because every part of a stone-dead plant will still cause a reaction. It goes into a plastic garbage bag, because I understand you should never burn it since smoke carries the particles in the air and it can land on others and cause a reaction.

Posted by Chris R on 6/24

We have been successful in getting rid of poison ivy by spraying the leaves with Roundup for shrubs (not the kind for weeds).  Carefully spray on the leaves on a calm sunny day.  It needs to dry for about half an hour before rain.  It will take about two weeks to work so don’t be discouraged and think it’s not working.  You may find that some will return the following year.  I don’t know whether this is new growth from the roots or new plants beginning from seed.  The Roundup is supposed to kill roots and all.  It took us about 3 seasons to completely get rid of all the ivy that was growing on our bank.  I will occasionally find it popping up in other places so I’m inclined to believe it is spread by seeds.

Posted by Barbara on 6/24


A good article on what to do about exposure to poison ivy/oak.
Pass along to Amy?


Posted by Larry Cox on 6/24

To Jim Estes: Awesome idea for chiggers !! Thank you - I’ll be getting some collars this weekend

Posted by Kathy on 6/24

My husband has gotten poison ivy rashes a couple of times.  Domoboro solution has taken away the itch and eliminated the rash.

Posted by Joyce on 6/25

Only a couple of people, and not the article itself, mentioned tangentially that burning the plants is not a good idea.  But this is a VERY IMPORTANT and often overlooked method of infection.  A camp fire containing only a few peices of wood with dead or live fragments of the vines can cause truly awful reactions in everyone around the fire.  My mother once got a terrible case all up her thighs from the smoke going under her skirt.  This in addition to her face, neck and arms.  She was ill for weeks, had to sleep naked and have someone to soak the sheets off in the morning because the scabs stuck her to them.  I don’t know what they used as I was seven or eight at the time, but it was a terrible ordeal for her.  Doubtless now there would be more effective treatments.  I guess this dates me pretty well—she always wore a dress, even on a camping trip!

Posted by Barbara Bernhardt on 6/25

I had a patch of poison ivy in my yard that I killed with boiling water.  I was canning that year and after I lifted the jars out of a boiling water bath, I carefully carried the canning kettle to the poison ivy and poured it on. Although the poison ivy had started growing up a sycamore tree, the pi was killed and the tree showed no problems.  I did this three or four times and have not seen any there since. This is better than chemical herbicides; it also helps cool the house down by getting the hot water out.

Posted by Martha on 6/26

I i am cutting wood or brush and get into it. I use the gas/oil mix for my saw. It cuts the oil. Both my grandfathers, and my Dad used to us this method, and it seem to work. I also use Turpentine or paint thinner to clean axes, rakes saws shovels. Remember the oil can stay on clothes and tool for a long time. OH just remember do not smoke using this but it does cut the oils

Posted by Larry on 6/26

I agree, Zanfel is the BEST! As I understand it, human skin is the only thing that the oil from poison binds to, which is why animals can eat it or walk through it with no problems. I hate using steroids, they are really not good for you, but I would get poison so bad that sometimes there was no other choice. That is, until I learned about Zanfel. What a miracle that is and even though it’s expensive, it’s worth ~every~ penny. And a tube lasts a long time if you use it sparingly. I think it works like a sticky roller works for hair, it adheres to the oil as you rub it on, activated by water, and then you rinse it off. Voila, gone! Sometimes you have to do it a couple of times if you’ve got a good bit of poison rash, but it is just super, can’t recommend it enough. And no, I don’t sell it, but WalMart and many other stores do! wink Try Zanfel, you won’t be sorry.

Posted by Michelle on 6/27

Based on a recommendation from a family doctor, for years I have cured poison ivy with a 50% solution of water and household bleach.  Simply apply the mixture twice a day to the affected area with a paper towel or cotton ball.  It quickly cuts the oil to keep poison ivy from spreading and dries up the rash.

If you have tender skin, dilute the solution more.  Do not use this mixture on the face or in tender areas.

Posted by Eric B on 6/28

There are actually ways to PREVENT skin exposure to urushiol oil. An over-the-counter product called Ivy-Block has been shown to shield the skin from urushiol oil. The active ingredient in the product is a type of bentonite clay which apparently coats the skin and absorbs the urushiol oil so that it cannot absorb into the skin and cause the immune response that causes the rash. In addition, Dr. Ed Waali, a chemist from the University of Montana found, back in the 1980’s, that treating the skin with aluminum chlorhydrate, a common ingredient in antiperspirants, was not only able to prevent the rash caused by urushiol, but was also capable of relieving symptoms and preventing further spread of the dermatitis. The aluminum chlorhydrate apparently effectively absorbs the urushiol oil. (See US Patent 4663151). Treating you legs and arms with an aluminum chlorhydrate antiperspirant before possible exposure or immediately after exposure seems like a simple fix to the poison ivy problem. Hope this helps.

Posted by Jeff S on 6/28

Sweet fern works amazingly well! I just boil it in the microwave for 2 min. and then take it out and put it on my rash.

Posted by Runs Fast Like a Wolf on 6/29

My mother-in-law’s remedy for chiggers was spray bottle with half water and half Pinesol.  Works great and worth a try for anyone effected.  Luckily have not had exposure to poison ivy to try it on that.

Posted by Sharon Banister on 7/5

I grow Jewelweed or wild impatiens (Impatiens capensis) in my hummingbird garden.  The sap of the plant is also an antidote for poison ivy as well as stinging nettle, bee stings, and many insect bites.  The important thing to remember is everything that has come in contact with the oil from poison ivy can affect you if you come in contact with it.  That includes gardening tools that you may have used to remove it.  So you have to wash off EVERYTHING.  My neighbor has it growing in the dense bushes that border my property so it is an annual battle for me.

Posted by Penny on 7/7

I have had great luck with Dawn Dishsoap.  After hiking or gardening I take a shower with Dawn Dishsoap I have not had a rash since doing this, and I am highly sesitive to Poison Ivy.

Posted by Sarah on 7/7

I grew up back east and I quickly learned I was very sensitive to poison ivy.  My mom had removed a bunch of it that was climbing all over an old shed and weeks later I was planting flowers in a flower bed nearby and got a horrible rash from the roots in the soil! 
I’m a soil scientist and my first job was mapping soils in timber.  There was no way I could avoid it, so I used Technu’s poison ivy block in the morning, which puts a weird thin film on your skin (I think to help prevent the oil from absorbing), washed with the Technu wash before lunch, reapplied the block after lunch and washed again at the end of the work day.  Even though I was in poison ivy every day I never got a rash!  I looked for the Technu block recently though and couldn’t find it.  Does anyone know if they still make it? 
Now I live in Poison Oak country.  Haven’t gotten a rash yet, but I’m always on the look out for it!

Posted by Jaimee on 7/9

Hi Jaimee - go to

Posted by Kathy on 7/9

Yeah, it looks like they don’t make the “Ivy block” anymore.

Posted by Jaimee on 7/9

Jaimee, Please see my post from 6/28. Ivy-block is still available over-the-counter. See

Posted by Jeff Stephens on 7/10

Ahhh…It’s made by someone other than Technu.  That’s why I couldn’t find it.  My memory was fuzzy.  Thank you!!

Posted by Jaimee on 7/11

Tecnu was originally developed to remove radiation from the skin; then it was found very effective in removing urushiol. It works like a detergent to remove the oil. Use it as soon after exposure as possible, try to remove all the oil, and that’s it. Any skin irritation can then begin to heal. No need to re-use; it is not a treatment, just a detergent. We have saved many a ‘sick day’ for the guys that work in the field, with Tecnu.

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Posted by Lily on 9/21

I use Greased Lightning you can buy in most stores.It’s a degreaser.Removes blood and grass stains also in laundry.I use it on my hands also when working outside.And some to the laundry of someone who works in the woods.As it keeps it off other people things.

Posted by sandy on 10/1

Not impressed by Technu. Have got PI BAD…going to try…apple cider vinegar…milk of magnesia…lemon witch hazel…hot water and then salt…Zanfel (one I mised somehow)...clear vinigar and greased lightning.

If none of those work…Look for a bald person…

Posted by Ethel on 6/27
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