9 Natural Poison Ivy Remedies

Over the Counter

Posted by Naturalmom (Minnetonka, Mn, Usa) on 09/23/2011

We finally figured out that my husband has poison ivy. It was difficult to discern because the moment the rash appeared I had him soaking it in a bath mixture of oatmeal, baking soda, lavender and tea tree oil, then covering it with a calendula ointment (by Hylands). It really made the rash look better than it felt because my husband couldn't sleep for several nights due to the severe itch. We finally read about the Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Remedy, called Walgreens and they had ONE bottle left ($15... Yikes) but immediately after using it my husband finally stopped itching and slept perfectly last night. The rash appears to look so much better now. We will continue to use it. I should note we put some aloe vera plant on it last night and this morning which is also very soothing.

Posted by Pamela G (Springvale, Me) on 08/03/2009
1 out of 5 stars

I tried using some invisible band-aid from the Dollar Tree and it has made me so much worse. It is causing my rash to weep profusely- so much so that I soak through a facecloth every hour....I cannot get the stuff off without using nail polish remover or the like, and I am not ready for that STING. I would have been better off just letting my body handle this issue with my trying to "help".

Posted by G (Wooster, Ohio) on 06/25/2009
1 out of 5 stars

From what I have been reading online tonight, you do not develop immunity to poison ivy; rather, you become more sensitive with each exposure. I did watch a youtube video of a man who eats poison ivy and claims to have built up some immunity, but not entirely. No, he wasn't Uhle Gibbons, but an accredited write for a local newspaper.

In my own experiences I feel I am becoming more sensitive to the urushiol (you-ROO-shee-ol). I never broke out in my youth and spent alot of time camping and hiking in the same places I continue to revisit (45yr young now). I contract the rash about 48hr after exposures, and have experienced outbreaks twice this season, spring-summer June 25th 2009.

Technu seems to make it irritated and caldryl seems to help with the itching. Tonight I tried dish soap and rubbing alcohol, this morning zit creams. This is the 5th day after exposure. The zit creams used this morning got mixed reactions somehow. I used two, one clear and one white paste. To my surprise not all zit creams are created equal. 10% benzoil peroxide did very little for me, on the morning of day 5 after exposure. The clear maximum strength 2% salicylic, acid 28% alcohol seemed to make visible decrease in the small area on my arm where I used the treatment. 10% benzoil peroxide product was used on my fingers and did nothing I can detect.

Rubbing alcohol was used to a good sized area on my left leg. It feels good going on, doesn't reduce the itch, and made the rash appear more evident. This was attempted just moments before writing this. After making the rash look worse, I tried the dish soap degreaser (green stuff, tough on grease, soft on hands :) Applied moments after the alcohol treatment, the itch is gone. I applied a minute amount of the soap on the end of my finger and rubbed it in until dry.

If I find a miracle, I will write again :) Until then, you know all I know.

Replied by Sandy
Evans, Co
5 out of 5 stars

When I had poison ivy the first time, it was ongoing for at least 2 weeks and I had tried several home remedies and 2 RX before I stumbled into a pharmacy where they recommended technu. It is a product developed to clean your hands in the field if you are using radioactive products, and will remove the oil which causes the rash. It came with a calagel to use to soothe the itch. It helped alot, even after the long time before I found it. The next time I contracted poison ivy, I was able to get the technu on is probably 30 minutes or so (as soon as I became aware a rash was appearing), and generously applied the calagel as soon as the technu dried. The rash lasted just a day or less. I had 2 more rounds before we moved to another state and had equal success each time. I had nearly 100 different poison ivy and possibly poison oak plants on our half acre, so was so glad to find something that worked for me.

Replied by Leslie
St Louis, Mo

Zanfel is an expensive, but highly effective, over the counter remedy for poison ivy! It's available at Walgreens, but here in St. Louis, it's cheaper at the Dierberg's Pharmacy. This product helped me get over my fear of going into the woods because of my severe allergies. Try it, you won't be sorry!!

Posted by Leslie (bowling green, ky) on 11/20/2008
5 out of 5 stars

NewSkin, brand name of liquid band-aid, when applied to patches of poison ivy, takes the incredible itch away and seems to dry up the rash. I use just a couple of brush strokes on the rash every time I get PI. I've never used any other brand of liquid band-aid b/c I don't want to take a chance that it doesn't work.

Posted by Linda (Erlanger, Ky) on 06/03/2008
5 out of 5 stars

I recently came into contact with some poison ivy in our flower bed at home. About a week later, here came the rash. I was using the Tecnu which is a good product but was taking forever to see any results. A co worker suggested a product called Ivy Dry so I found it in spray form at Walgreens and it is awesome! It dries up the red patches very quickly and takes care of the itch also. I highly recomend this stuff!

EC: Yes, we've tried the product and agree. It takes the itch away fast, that's for sure.

Replied by Gina
Lewisberry, Pa

I have also tried Ivy Dry and our pharmacy did not have but found on Amazon. Very helpful. Just ordered today for another bout with poison ivy.... I hate it!

Replied by Elizabeth
Charlotte, NC
0 out of 5 stars

I have used Ivy Dry on myself and my son. It did help stop the itching temporarily. However, after repeated use on one rash (mine on the shin and his on his forearm where the skin is closest to the bone) I noticed a problem. The poison ivy rash eventually went away, but another scab was always there that itched--even several months afterwards. In fact, for my son, he had itchy scabs in that area for over a year.

One of the active ingredients in Ivy Dry is benzyl alcohol, which is made from benzene. Benzene is known to cause cancer, including leukemia. The CDC says this (among other things) about benzene, "Direct exposure of the eyes, skin, or lungs to benzene can cause tissue injury and irritation."

So I refused to use the product and properly disposed of it. (I am a healthy, mid thirties, female.)

Posted by Joyce (Joelton, Tn.) on 05/20/2008
5 out of 5 stars

Maybe now would be a good time to suggest that readers who have a local Dollar Tree Store go and see if they can find a product put out by "Fruit of the Earth" - I have had my share of poison ivy/oak as far back as I can remember - have used a little bit of everything on it including bleach, alcohol, steroid cream, steroid shots - you name it & I've probably tried it to find it didn't work very well to hasten healing or allay the itching. They will find it in the hand lotion - shampoos area - the one I am praising is Vitamin E with Naturals gel (yellow gel) - it also comes in Aloe Vera with Naturals gel, which is green and probably will work the same. It can probably be found in places like Wild Oats or health food stores but it will probably be closer to $4 or $5 else where. If you dig herbals you'll recognize the naturals of burcock root & calendulas in them. I find it also helps itching from other problems also. I have about 10 bottles stashed and check for more every time I pass a Dollar Tree.

Of course that the alkaline oils from the plant can also be neutralized with vinegar to prevent the rash if you know you have been exposed to it. The thing I have used to use to hasten poison ivy's drying & healing was ACV and epsom salts - but if you have the problem get a bottle of this stuff and try it. It not only stops the itching, but starts drying it up after the rash is started.

Posted by Mylu (California, Missouri) on 04/15/2008
5 out of 5 stars

re: poison ivy,oak or sumac. I broke out a week ago. I tried all the remedys ,they helped some. Went to my phamas. yesterday and he told me about a new wash. It's called ZANFEL ,it really works. The ingre. bind with the oil and washs it away.You can use this on the actual rash-bisters. I could tell a difference in 30-45 minuets. Good luck and GOD BLESS

Replied by Kathy
St. Louis, Missouri
1 out of 5 stars

I've been using Zanfel for 3 days. Temporary relief, but the poison oak rash is spreading... back to the ACV!

Replied by Juju
Frankfort, Il, Usa
1 out of 5 stars

I just got my first PI rash....did not know a thing about pi. While I am learning since I have a terrible rash on hands, arms, face and neck, I tried most of the things listed except thoses that looked dangerous. I also tried Zanfel, using it as directed but it not only didnt work, but it seems it has damaged my skin. Just because it is sold in a drugstore does not make it safe. I would advise anyone not to try it especially since there are others things that seem to actually do a much better job.

Replied by Shannon
Conway, Arkansas
5 out of 5 stars

I got a poison ivy rash all over my arms about 2 years ago when pulling weeds out of my backyard. It was horrible. It took almost a month to get rid of it. I had huge blisters all over my forearms and even strangers would ask me what kind of "accident" I had been in. I went to the doctor 3 days in a row to get steroid shots and he prescribed loratidine (allergy med) and some kind of ointment that didn't help with the itching, an antibiotic to prevent a staph infection, and prednisone (steroid). I had already gone through a bottle of calamine but it never really helped. The only thing that brought me any relief was scalding hot water and zanfel. I would put it on in the shower and afterwards my blisters/rash would look worse because the blisters would swell and drain but the relief from the itching would last about 8 hours which was awesome.

For the person that said that their rash seemed to be spreading after using it, mine did too. But it wasn't from using zanfel. My doctor told me that as bad as I had it, it's in my bloodstream now and could pop up anywhere. I had a small rash show up on my shoulder, thigh, and midsection a week after seeing him.

I'm sorry for those of you that have it as bad as I did. I don't wish that misery on anybody. I highly recommend the zanfel for itch relief. Good luck=)

Posted by Deirdre (Atlanta, GA) on 03/27/2007
5 out of 5 stars

Technu Extreme poison ivy scrub: This is my suggestion for poison ivy after having a very bad case of poison ivy last fall and trying every remedy (except the jewel weed -- I couldn't locate it) on the poison ivy page of Earth Clinic to no avail. I bought this stuff at the local pharmacy out of desparation and because it looked potent. Didn't realize it at the time I purchased it, but Technu is a homeopathic formula. Be forewarned -- it is quite expensive at $13.00 a bottle. However, it started to work within hours. It took 2 days of using this product to clear up a 2 week old rash over my entire body ( a total nightmare). I used the product again as soon as a poison ivy postule appeared on my arm last week and it never spread.

Replied by DK
St. Paul, MN

A hairdryer on Poison Ivy rash will feel great and will dry up the rash. You should only need to use this method a couple times per occassion. Also, your body will build up a temporary immunity to poisin Ivy if you get it enough in 1 season, and then every new season, purposely expose part of your body to it to keep the immunity going for the rest of that season. Eventually, in a couple years of this repeasted process, you will no longer get rashes at all. ( Unless you're not exposed to it for a number of years)

Replied by Deirdre
Atlanta, GA

I just got another bad case of poison ivy from the dogs wandering around the woods at the local park! What is very helpful is the OTC to wash away the oil from the blisters and then after drying, to paint liquid bandaid on the affected areas. My neighbor told me this in passing a couple of weeks ago except that she said she uses clear nail polish to heal up poison ivy in 2 days. Liquid bandaid has the same effect of sealing up the skin and frankly, I'd rather use that than nail polish! Looking like another season of poison ivy outbreaks. Sigh. I am going to search for homeopathic remedies to take internally and will update the site.

Preparation H

Posted by John (Solon, Ohio) on 11/29/2006
5 out of 5 stars

how to cure poison ivy fast: Use the red tube of Preperation H your poison ivy will disappear in 24 hrs. You want to buy the cream Preperation H which really works great on all sorts of stuff besides poison ivy.

Replied by Kat
Mooresville, NC, USA
5 out of 5 stars

To John: I tried your remedy first because it was supposed to work in one day. You weren't lying! I am really impressed, but I couldn't find one with red on the tube so I bought the Wal-Mart brand max strength. People this worked for me.

Reishi Mushrooms

Posted by Matie (Westport, Ct) on 07/16/2015
5 out of 5 stars

After clearing large vines and patches of poison ivy, I wasn't prepared for the extreme reaction I would experience. I had covered my body well for the yard clearing process, and afterwards, washed my arms with soap, wiped them with tea tree oil wipes, and finally with rubbing alcohol. Two days later, when severe rashes and blisters began appearing I used Tecnu, IvyRest, All Terrain Poison Ivy Cream (a great choice! ), baking soda paste, and witch hazel. Despite my efforts, I was in complete misery, my neck and arms bandaged mummy style in gauze. The blisters and oozing wouldn't stop. And it all just kept spreading! I was doing 4 loads of wash a day to make sure my bedding and clothes weren't the continued source of the problem. Any one who looked at me would feel the need to start itching or run. I got very little sleep and would begin each day feeling like it had all spread to more parts of my body. I was experiencing nausea, headaches, and a fever. At a certain point, I decided there was nothing more topically that I could do, and started to focus on internal treatments. I began drinking 1.5 liters of water each day, and used Herb Pharm Immune Defense tincture, Amla capsules (ayurvedic vitamin C), turmeric capsules, and Hyland's Poison Ivy tablets. This provided some relief, but new blisters continued to appear all over. I searched online and began to learn about systemic poison ivy. When rashes start appearing in places that had no contact with the ivy, and begin spreading all over, the ivy's urushiol oil has penetrated the skin to bond with white blood cells called Langerhan's cells. Now, I had some idea of why my reaction was unrelenting. The primary option at this stage is to go with steroid injections, antihistamines and over-the-counter medications. That isn't my strategy of choice, so I researched further into alternative treatments for systemic poison ivy. I found a few references to the virtues of Reishi mushrooms for treating inflammations experienced thru poison ivy. I bought Herb Pharm Reishi tincture and New Chapter Reishi capsules. I took the daily recommended dose of each 4X/day!!! Immediately I began experiencing relief and the a healing of the blisters. My neck (at 2-1/2 weeks of rash) looked like I had been impaled and was crusted over and bleeding from from the continued re-blistering. It felt like it was on fire and looked like charred embers.

I am writing this post to share the miraculous benefits of reishi mushroom in healing the brutal effects of systemic poison ivy. Within 3 days of taking my reishi supplements, all the blistering had stopped and had begun disappearing. This above photo is 2-1/2 weeks into treating poison ivy before beginning treatment with reishi supplements. I put vitamin E on the scabs to keep them moist and to encourage healing. By day 4 of the reishi and topical vitamin E, my neck was clear of the scabs and healing greatly!!!

Remove Oil with Towels

Posted by Mama To Many (Tennessee, Usa) on 09/14/2015

This summer, someone told me that it was better to rub the oil of poison ivy off of your skin with towels than to wash the oil off with soap and water. Having heard to use soap and water for years and years and years, I was skeptical. He said that soap and water just spread it around and made it harder to get off than rubbing it off with paper towels.

Today I was making some salves and was having to clean oil out of jars. I used paper towels to get as much oil as possible off of the jars before using soap and water. I realized it was much easier to clean the jars if I used the paper towels. I also realized that when my hands were covered with oil, paper towels got it off much better than hot water and soapy water. Hmmm....

So I think I believe him. Next time we are exposed to poison ivy, I will try it. Maybe it is best to do both. One handy thing is that if you are exposed to poison ivy and are not near soap and water, you may be able to rub the area with your clothes, or an extra towel or garment in your car.

I think regular towels will work as well, but I like to minimize how much oil I am expecting my washing machine to get out of cloth. I have never been quite sure I was getting all of the poison ivy out of the clothes in the washer.

Has anyone else ever heard of this or tried it?

~Mama to Many~

Replied by Timh
2109 posts

M: Back in my days of working and exploring the wilds of rural Ky, if ever by accident had a minor or major exposure to poison ivy, a quick trip and swim in the creek did the job for the exposed skin in particular, maybe even with the exposed clothes on as well, given a hot summer day and enough time for drying. Recently, I have found spraying rubbing alcohol on the affected area, as quickly as possible, quite successful.

Also, as a warning, the roots & vines are also saturated with the poison. My last severe exposure was from cutting thick vines off trees and I didn't recognize the bark of p.i. vine grazed my arms ... until ... too late.

Rubbing Alcohol

Posted by Debbie (Pensacola, USA) on 03/29/2008
5 out of 5 stars

A cotton ball or Q-tip saturated in rubbing alcohol will get rid of poison ivy. The alcohol is a solvent that will dissolve the waxy substance left on the skin by the poison ivy vine. Apply as needed. From personal experience, I can truly say that this feels really, really good on that itchy skin and works in just a couple of days.

Replied by Tina
Fort Worth, Tx
1 out of 5 stars

I've been using rubbing alcohol for a few days now. Although it soothes the itch for an hour or so, it is not clearing up my poison ivy. I've had it for about a month now and it's getting worse. I'm about to give up and go to the doctor for more useless medications.

Replied by Ben
Bremerton Wa

It sounds like you might be getting continuously reinfected with the allergens . Do you have a dog that might be brushing up against poison ivy then bringing it home to you? as little as 1 billionth of a gram can affect some people who are very sensitive . This amount can easily be carried on wind currents without even being touched. In addition an old pair of shoes or even your carpet etc once contaminated can be a source of trouble for many years.

I am severely allergic to poison oak and I have found that if after scrubbing well and I still itch then I tried dmso and it immediately stopped the allergic reaction in my case.

If you try the dmso be cautious and only apply to a tiny area in case you may have a reaction to it.

After using dmso for a few years when I get in contact with poison oak I now have far less reaction than I used to, however bear in mind this may or may not work well for everyone.

Rubbing Alcohol, L-Lysine

Posted by Sherry (Saginaw, Michigan) on 07/23/2009
5 out of 5 stars

Just recently, while clearing some brush and trimming some overgrown city property,I developed a case of poison ivy. I picked up some Hydrocortisone cream with 1% aloe. That worked very well, but I really don't like to use creams, so I sprayed some rubbing alcohol on the infected areas. Instant relief. The blue ribbon goes to the L-Lysine tablet taken every morning for a week. The blisters, sores, and itching quickly disappeared!


Posted by Tammy (Wellston, Oklahoma) on 11/09/2006
5 out of 5 stars

Salt cures Spider/Insect bites, poison ivy. Last year I had a spider bite on my inner thigh. At first it was just a small red bump, but then it grew into what looked like a ring worm. A week later it was the size of a tennis ball and the center of it was a infectious white and itchyyyy as poison ivy. I showed it to my family in India via web cam, she knew immediately what to do. Said just wet it, pour table salt on it and let it sit for at least 20 min. After about one minute it began to burn some, nothing unbearable, although i only let it stand for about 5 min as I'm a big baby. It WORKED!! Dried it up in a matter of days. Since then, I have done this remedy for a number different insect bites, even have done on poison ivy and same result. A few days of doing this once at night cleared it. You can literally feel the salt drawing out the poisons.

Replied by Wraiththirteen
North Augusta, South Carolina
5 out of 5 stars

I had poison ivy all the way up both of my arms, it was so bad my hands were swollen open. I had gotten all the over the counter products at walmart that said that they helped stopped the swelling and nothing even helped the itching. When I found this site I went through all the cures and came to this one, and since the only thing that I had was salt and I had a lot of it I put it on my arms and hands. By a few minutes I had relief, heck it flatly felt good. I could feel it drawing the poison out, and within two days it was all pretty much gone. although I have a warning to go with this. The salt will make a mess. but it is well worth it.

Replied by Walt
Warminster, Pa. Usa

Got poison ivy from our cat who is usually always outdoors (by choice). Tried several otc "cures" and NOTHING helped. On a whim, I went to the local pet supply store and bought the smallest package of "Instant Ocean" Marine (salt water) aquarium salt they had. Mixed according to package directions in an empty gallon jug. Mixed thoroughly and poured over the rash on my arms. Air dried & was itch free for about six hours after the initial application. Applied as needed. Cured within Three days.

Stick Deodorant

Posted by Debbie (Arkansas, US) on 06/15/2014
5 out of 5 stars

I always use a stick deodorant/antiperspirant for poison ivy. It dries the rash and takes out the itch for a while. Easy to apply even at work or in the middle of the night! After trying all the home remedies for years this has been my go to for the last 4 years. I start using it as soon as I itch, see 1 bump or a line of bumps. Best to keep clothing off rash/keep air circulating around the rash or use hair dryer, bentonite clay also helps with the drying but the deodorant is great to use immediately, because it is handy.