Poison Ivy and I are not friends. Half of the time, I don’t even see it. I think the oil lurks in my wood mulch or I touch it hidden among my plants. Every year–especially when it gets hot and humid, I get those obvious bumps and familiar itch. With 10 year of gardening under my belt, and countless rashes, here’s what poison ivy remedies works for me to reduce my misery.
My Favorite Poison Ivy Remedies
Tecnu–my #1 choice!
Tecnu may not be a green product but I use it every time I come in from the garden. It helps with poison ivy and other oils from plants that can cause dermatitis. I am highly sensitive to thistle, pumpkin vines, etc.
The key to success with this product is you must use it within two hours of contact. Wash for 2 minutes and then rinse with cool water.
The Company lists a window of 2 to 8 hours but I haven’t been that lucky.
How does it work? The product remove the poison ivy’s urushiol oil before the rash starts.
If you do get those unsightly and completely bothersome rash, you can still use the product to lessen the duration.
I tend to use it with caladryl or clay when I get a rash. (See below.)
Before gardening season, buy a bottle (or now) and keep it under your sink. Be sure to wash anything that touches plants (arms, legs, and hands) each time you come in from the garden. You will thank me later.
Always wash your clothes, shoes, gloves and tools too. I throw my work clothes and gloves in hot water. You can use tecnu for your tools too.
Prior to using this product, I used caladryl and slathered it on hoping it would dry up the rash. For me, caladrly doesn’t stop the itching but it does dry up the rash.
But recently Hubs told me about benetonite clay. I wasn’t surprised it work since I used wet dirt in the garden and put it on the rash. Surprisingly that works. (More about dirt later.)
I simply make a slurry which is similar to pancake batter and put it on the rash. In about 15 minutes, the itch is gone and the clay hardens. I am now on day four and the rash scabbed over.
(I use this one.)
Plain Old Dirt
I am serious.
One time I had the rashes everywhere and just wanted to have a scratch fest. Now I understand why dogs roll in the grass.
You know what I am talking about if you ever had poison ivy.
I simply wet dirt from one of my vegetable beds, and applied it.
It stopped itching. I was blown away.
The problem is dirt doesn’t stay on your skin as well as clay does so it is a temporary measure.
But if you need something, grab some dirt.
I use the store bought of all of the above out of desperation. However if you want to make your own, use this recipe. (Notice the recipe has benetonite clay in it.)
It does help to dry up the rash.
Dress for success:
If you know you will be around poison ivy, wear long pants, gloves, and long sleeve shirt. Strip outside and throw your clothes and gloves in a bag. Wash them immediately.
Remember my 2 hour rule? Be sure to clean yourself up after exposure.
What hasn’t worked for me:
I am a sucker for all natural solutions but they don’t always work for me. I have tried the following poison ivy remedies without success:
- banana peels
- apple cider vinegar . It helped to dry up the rash but didn’t stop the itching.
- Baking soda
- oatmeal. (It helps for a little bit but not the itching.)
- Jewelweed soap after I got the rash. (It is now growing among my raspberries!)
- Rubbing alcohol
- Hot showers
- one percent hydro-cortisone (the over the counter product)
Interesting Perceptive on Friction:
I haven’t tried this yet but thought it was really interesting. This YouTube video explains that simply using a wash cloth with soap removes the oil. The key to its removal is friction and to be sure you wash everywhere you could have possibly touch.
(Um, your face…)
Yes. I have taken steroids for poison ivy. It spread all over my body a couple to times so you can imagine how fast I run to my Tecnu when I think I touched it.
If it spreads or gets infected, please see a doctor.
Join the Conversation:
What poison ivy remedies have worked for you?
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