Do It Yourself » Getting Rid of Poison Ivy for Good

Getting Rid of Poison Ivy for Good

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If only gardens grew as well and effortlessly as Poison Ivy seems to flourish on peoples property… Here is a long-lasting, often permanent solution to the poison ivy plant problem!


How They Get You

You might be wondering, what makes poison ivy (oak and sumac) so poisonous to begin with? The plants contain an oily chemical called urushiol (pronounced “ooh-roo-she-all”) which is found in all parts (roots, leaves, stems) of the poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac plants.

Urushiol oil is highly potent, about two-millionth of two tablespoons (aka 2 micrograms) is all it takes to cause a severe reaction in a person.

When bare skin is exposed to urushiol, the body’s natural inflammatory reaction causes a skin rash called contact dermatitis. It can also be inhaled if a plant is burned, causing the same inflammatory response internally- meaning up inside your nose, in your eyes, down your throat- in your esophagus.

Unfortunately, it can be transferred to people by objects such as lawn and garden tools, clothing and even pets who have wandered through it.

NEVER, EVER, EVER Burn it for any reason.

Please allow me to preface this article with the following note, I am deathly allergic to poison ivy (as well as poison oak, poison sumac, cow itch, etc). I’m probably the only person who has gotten poison ivy in the dead of winter with 4 feet of snow on the ground just by handling her husbands hunting clothing; And Yes, before you ask, the doctor who treated me with emergency steroid shots LAUGHED at me for it and had no idea it was even possible to get poison ivy year round.

How to Permanently Kill Poison Ivy Plants

Now, that being said, here is how I KILL and remove the poison ivy, permanently.


You’ll Need:
Rubber Gloves- good quality rubber gloves. Don’t skimp here folks or you’ll regret it later!
Salt & Vinegar (or Root Killer )
Knife (that you don’t particularly care about)
Heavy Duty Trashbag
IvaRest Foam Wash

Dissolve 1/2 cup of salt in 2 cups of vinegar, (white or apple cider vinegar, whatever you’ve got on hand). The higher the acid level in the vinegar, the better. Transfer this mixture to a container deep enough so you can dip your knife into it.

You can (obviously) choose whatever you’d like to wear, but here’s what I prefer- Rubber boots (like the kind you’d go fishing in), Rubber gloves OVER Long Sleeves, lightweight cotton shirt, long pants- not shorts, not capris, PANTS.

A hat or visor to keep the sun out of your eyes and to prevent you from accidentally wanting to brush hair out of your face.

Now, carefully grasp the poison ivy plant at its base, ensuring that the leaves NEVER Touch you. Dip the knife in the salted vinegar solution and cut the root of the plant.


Carefully stuff the cut plant into the garbage bag. Repeat until ALL of the plants on your property have been eradicated.

Approximately every 15 minutes. Stop what you are doing. Apply the Ivarest foam to the gloves you are wearing, wash as though you were bare-handed, scrubbing your gloves with the foam and COLD WATER ONLY. Then continue working.

The reason why you use cold water is that warm or hot water causes the pores on your skin to OPEN up, giving the urushiol oil the opportunity to slip into the pores and wreak havoc. Even though you are applying this externally to rubber gloves, you don’t want to warm the area causing your pores to open. COLD is best.

Urushiol oil bonds chemically with exposed skin within just five to ten minutes.

When you have completed the poison ivy removal, tie the garbage bag closed, slide it into another garbage bag and slip off the gloves into the 2nd bag, tie that bag closed.


Scrub your hands again with the Ivarest, this time on bare skin, allowing it a couple of minutes to work. Carefully remove your clothing and change. Immediately wash your clothes with a touch of dawn dish soap or Fels Naptha to kill the urushiol oil that might be lingering on them. Please be fully aware that urushiol oil can remain on fabric for UP to 5 years and STILL cause contact dermatitis. So handle the clothing properly. Wash your footwear too, just to be safe.

Generally speaking, this treatment lasts an entire season (sometimes longer if you cut the main root and not just the feeder roots.)

Unfortunately, because the berries are tasty to wildlife, poison ivy has a tendency to return here and there, especially if you have several acres of land.



Do this procedure on a Dry day, not right after a rain. You don’t want damp plants touching you.

Do not cut the root without first holding the plant. Why? Because it will likely snap back and hit you on the arm, in the face, resulting in a nasty rash. etc.

Do Not
Grasp the plant and pull. Why? Because if the roots spider off and happen to snap and the dirt flies up and hits you in the neck or face there is more than enough urushiol oil on that dirt to give you a severe rash that you won’t soon forget, ask me how I know.

In case you’re unsure of whether or not the vine in your yard is poison ivy (or oak or sumac) you can learn more here.

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