Home Remedies for Poison Ivy

10 Unusual Home Remedies for Poison Ivy That Actually Work


Nasty, irritating, uncomfortable. Poison ivy is the worst, but you can find relief right at home.

You've been out scouting, turkey hunting, or just for a relaxing walk in the woods. The next day, you wake up with an unforgiving itch. Yep, you have poison ivy.  It happens to almost everyone. In fact. even if you are "immune" to the plant oil from poison ivy, there's still a chance of developing an allergic reaction later in life. Trust us, we know people who have had it happen.

Unfortunately, a poison ivy rash is one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world, like a bad sunburn you cannot itch less you spread it to other parts of your body causing blisters and even oozing in extreme cases.

Urushiol, the nasty oil on these poisonous plants, is what causes the reaction. The oil can remain active for up to a year, but resist the urge to burn your clothes. Just wash everything. Sometimes you may not have access to an  over-the-counter anti-inflammatory poison ivy treatment like calamine lotion, an antihistamine cream, or oral antihistamines like benadryl. These wellness remedies should work not just on rashes from a poison ivy plant, but for poison oak and poison sumac ones too.

1.  Baking Soda

baking soda (Sodium bicarbonate) on a wooden spoon


Baking Soda works great on many itchy rashes and is one of the best-known home remedies for poison ivy as well. It can be used in two forms: a paste or a bath. You can make a baking soda paste using a 3-to-1 mix of baking soda and cool water. Apply the paste directly to the affected area and let it dry. When it starts to flake off, gently wash off the rest. To make a bath, add half a cup of baking soda to the tub and soak your itchy skin.

2. Oatmeal Paste

Another great line of defense is cooking a small amount of colloidal oatmeal and applying it while it's still warm (but not so hot that it burns). As an option, you can also add baking soda to ease the itch. Make the oatmeal thick, so it sticks when applied, and allow it to cool while on the skin. The heat from the paste will soothe the skin while the oatmeal dries up the rash. We know an oatmeal bath sounds really weird, but this is a topical treatment and is recommended by many dermatologists. Trust us, it works. 

3. Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar is a well-known treatment for toxins. It has the ability to suck poison out of your skin and help prevent the spread and duration of the rash. Apply the vinegar directly to the skin or make a warm compress from a towel and apply as needed.

4. Banana Peel



This one's new to me (and one of the weirdest home remedies for poison ivy I've seen), but if it works, it works. Keep the peel of a banana, and rub the inside of it on the affected area. It provides a cooling effect and relieves the itch.

5. Cucumber

Cool as a cucumber on poison ivy... all right, bad joke, but for some instant relief, you can cut a cucumber into slices and place them on the rash to alleviate the effects. Leave it on until it dries. You can also blend the cucumber into a paste and apply it to the skin.

6. Watermelon Rind

Watermelon will also cool skin and ease the symptoms. Apply the inside of the rind to the skin to reduce itching: the juice neutralizes the toxins in the skin.

Everyone is different, and your results may vary. Ultimately, if your symptoms are too strong or the rash spreads too much, go see a doctor. But while you're waiting it out, hopefully these home remedies for poison ivy can provide you with some relief.


7. Wet compresses

Sometimes you may be in the backcountry, and you may not have access to other remedies right away. A simple solution comes from the Mayo Clinic. Simply apply a wet compress made with a cloth or washcloth and cold water to the area affected by itchiness. This may be the simplest of natural remedies, but it will do in a pinch. Keep the cool compresses on the area for 15 to 30 minutes and repeat a few times a day for best results.

8. Witch hazel

Another odd one, but it works extremely well for most people. Mostly because witch hazel has astringent properties to it that makes it work as well as those expensive hydrocortisone creams at the store. Soak a little of it in a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area and it will bring quick relief.

9. Rubbing alcohol

This solution is perfect for when you realize you just brushed a poison ivy plant. I keep small, single use rubbing alcohol wipes in my vehicle and gear for just such an occasion. Often, you can quickly wipe the oils away before they have a chance to create those awful itching and burning sensations. Follow it up with quick cold compresses to clean the area and you may avoid itching altogether.

10. Aloe vera

You have probably used aloe vera on a sunburn before for instant relief. Well, it can work extremely well on poison ivy too. Simply apply it directly to the affected area and you should start feeling the relief.


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