Poison Ivy and Poison Oak, Cheap Home Remedy

Let the Poison Ivy Battle Begin

As a long time outdoor enthusiast I have been battling poison ivy and poison oak for decades. I have tried it all, and I will say that there are some great products out there that do work. The problem is most of those products carry a hefty price tag.

Through trail and error I have come up with a method that works in most cases. Of course, I am not a medical professional, and this article is only intended for entertainment. If you have a bad case of poison ivy or poison oak, you better go on to the doctor. This home remedy is for small rashes, typical of someone who is not severely allergic to poison ivy or poison oak.

The great thing about this remedy is that you probably already have the two main ingredients. If not, both ingredients are cheap and easy to obtain.

Poisonous Plants Grow Everywhere

Poison oak hiding in the bushes.
Poison oak hiding in the bushes.
Watch out for these types of three leaf plants.
Watch out for these types of three leaf plants.

Poison Ivy Home Cure Items

Cure for poison ivy or poison oak.
Cure for poison ivy or poison oak.

Items You Will Need

Make sure everything is ready before you get started. Gather the following items and have them on standby near the sink:

Clean, disposable cloth rags

Rubbing alcohol

Baking Soda

Clean, disposable cup or bowl


What is Your Count?

How many times have you had a poison ivy or poison oak rash?

  • This is the first time, and it itches like crazy!
  • A few, and it still itches like crazy!
  • More than five, but less than ten....and it still itches like crazy!
  • More than ten, and I now realize I will never get used to the itching.
  • Never, I am just lucky I guess.
See results without voting

Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Home Remedy

First, you will scrub the poison ivy or oak rash areas with a warm rag. A washcloth may be used, but I recommend putting it straight in the washing machine afterwards. Your best bet is to find a few clean, disposable rags. Maybe you have an old shirt in the closet that has one too many holes in it to wear again.

Wet a rag with hot water and scrub the rash hard. Do not scrub areas that appear bloody or scabbed, as these blisters are already open. You are trying to rub the tops off of the blisters and get the oil out of them. Use common sense on this first step, try not to scrub so hard that the rash bleeds. You do need to scrub hard, however, and this is usually not a problem. The rash will be itching so bad, the scrubbing will feel quite pleasant.

Try to fold your scrubbing rag so that you use a fresh area each time you scrub. The rag will have the poison ivy oil on it, and you don't want to spread the rash. If you have a lot of scrubbing to do, change out to a new rag often.

After scrubbing, bathe each freshly scrubbed rash area with rubbing alcohol. You should gently rub the alcohol on the rash. Rubbing too hard with alcohol will cause a secondary rash on top of your poison ivy or poison oak rash! The idea is that you have dislodged the oil in the rash, now you are using the alcohol to mop it all up. Let all rash areas dry, then rub them all down a second time with rubbing alcohol. If any areas are still itching, those require another scrub and alcohol bath. Scrub them again unless the blisters look bright red or bloody. Once an area of rash has bloody tops or scabs on the blisters, it requires no further scrubbing.

Finally, take a small amount of baking soda and mix it with a little cool water to make a thick paste. Mixing the paste in a disposable cup works well for this step. Use your fingers and spread the paste over all the rash areas. The paste should be applied thick enough that you cannot see through it. Over the next few minutes the paste will dry and crumble off, this is normal. A white film will be left behind to help draw more oil out of the blisters. You can keep the left over paste to use again for the next treatment in the refrigerator. You may have to add a little more water, but that cold paste feels great going on a poison ivy rash.

Once an area of your poison ivy or poison oak rash begins to itch again, or shows lots of fluid in the baking soda, you should repeat the scrubbing portion of the treatment. On the repeat scrub, only scrub areas of the rash that are not scabbed or bloody. For areas that are bloody or scabbed, skip the scrubbing and go straight to the alcohol rub step, then the paste.

Repeat treatments as needed to control itching and spreading of your poison ivy rash. If the rash is not greatly improved in two or three days, seek medical attention.

Small Poison Ivy Rash

Small patch of poison ivy or oak on my arm.
Small patch of poison ivy or oak on my arm.

Poison Ivy Remedy, Short Version

1. Scrub all rash areas hard with a wet cloth.

2. Gently rub down all rash areas twice with rubbing alcohol.

3. Cover all rash areas with a baking soda paste and allow to dry.

4. Repeat as needed until all rash areas have dried up.

Lose The Poison Ivy Itch

This treatment will work as long as you keep repeating the steps as described above. If an area becomes damp from weeping blisters or begins to itch again, repeat the steps. As the rash begins to subside, try to focus on areas that still itch. Areas that are still itching are still contaminated with the poison ivy or poison oak oil. This oil has to be removed to stop the itching and dry up the rash.

Once the itching stops, in my opinion, you have won the battle. A poison ivy rash that is not itching anymore is all but cured. Be sure and continue the alcohol rub and baking soda paste until the rash and surrounding area appear almost clear. The rash should no longer be red and all the blisters should be gone or almost healed.

Baking Soda Paste on Poison Ivy Rash

Baking soda paste on poison ivy rash.
Baking soda paste on poison ivy rash.

Tips to Avoid a Poison Ivy or Poison Oak Rash

- Try to avoid areas of overgrown weeds.

- Wear long pants and tall socks when you know you may be exposed to poison ivy or oak.

- Additionally, wear long sleeves and gloves if upper body exposure may occur.

- If you think you may have been exposed to poison ivy or oak, wash all possibly exposed areas with a dish washing detergent.



How to Identify Poison Ivy

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4 comments

DDE profile image

DDE 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

Wow! Poison Ivy is such a problem and you summed up all information to the point.


mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia Author

Thanks DDE, poison ivy can be very frustrating to get rid of. The expensive creams do work, but so does my inexpensive method.


weezyschannel profile image

weezyschannel 2 years ago from Central USA

Wish I would've read this article 2 weeks ago when my husband had poison ivy!


mgeorge1050 profile image

mgeorge1050 2 years ago from West Georgia Author

Well the next time your husband gets poison ivy, try out this method. It has worked well for me time and time again. Thanks for reading!

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