10 Poison Ivy Home Remedies

Get relief from the rash without resorting to drug-store treatments with these natural poison ivy home remedies.

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Cucumber calms the rash.

Cucumber calms the rash.iStock/Thinkstock

It's not exactly a day at the spa, but cucumber slices are one of the simplest poison ivy home remedies. Either place slices of this cooling veggie on the affected area, or mash it up to make a cucumber "paste" that you apply to the rash for soothing relief.

Banana peel cools the itch.

Banana peel cools the itch.

Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on poison ivy-affected skin is an old wives tale that may have some truth to it; the peel's cooling qualities could provide itch relief. An application of watermelon rind is another treatment some people swear by.

Apple cider vinegar kills the poison.

Apple cider vinegar kills the poison.

With its many medicinal qualities, it's no surprise that apple cider vinegar has also been shown to be an effective poison ivy home remedy. Try soaking a brown paper bag in apple cider vinegar, then place the bag on the rash to draw out the toxins.

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Baking soda speeds up recovery.

Baking soda speeds up recovery.iStock/Thinkstock

To make a treatment for poison ivy rash, especially one red with blisters, mix 3 teaspoons baking soda and 1 teaspoon water and apply the paste to the affected areas. When it dries, the baking soda will flake off. If the blisters are oozing, mix 2 teaspoons baking soda in 1 quart (or 1 liter) water and use it to saturate a few sterile gauze pads. Cover the blisters with the wet pads for 10 minutes, four times a day. Do not apply on or near your eyes.

(A less potentially messy way to get relief: Soak in a cool bath with 1 cup of baking soda mixed in.)

Oatmeal bath soothes the itch.

Oatmeal bath soothes the itch.

A soak in an oatmeal bath is a classic poison ivy home remedy. Grind 1 cup oatmeal in your blender until it's a fine powder, then pour it into a piece of cheesecloth or the foot section of a clean, old nylon stocking. Knot the material, and tie it around the faucet of your bathtub so the bag is suspended under the running water. Fill the tub with lukewarm water and soak in it for 30 minutes. You may find that applying the oatmeal pouch directly to the rash gives you even more relief.

Aloe vera beats the burn.

Aloe vera beats the burn.iStock/Thinkstock

Just like it soothes a nasty sunburn, the gel from an aloe vera plant can work wonders on a poison ivy rash. Apply the gel directly to the skin from the leaf or use a store-bought product for a quicker treatment.

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Rubbing alcohol prevents spreading.

Rubbing alcohol prevents spreading.

If you're going to be in areas where there might be poison ivy, it's a good idea to carry rubbing alcohol with you. Swiping it on your skin immediately after contact can slow down and minimize the discomfort by preventing urushiol, the chemical responsible for the rash, from fully penetrating your skin.

Lemon juice eliminates oil.

Lemon juice eliminates oil.

Some people swear by lemon juice, a natural astringent, as a poison ivy home remedy, explaining that it cuts through toxic oils. Apply it soon after contact with the irritating leaf, before the plant's oil has time to fully get into your skin.

Running water lessens severity.

Running water lessens severity.

Washing the affected body parts in cool running water (and soap if it's handy) immediately after contact can help minimize the size and severity of the developing rash. Avoid hot water, which can irritate the skin. 

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Cold compresses reduce rash.

Cold compresses reduce rash.

Apply cold compresses whenever the rash acts up, to tame the itchiness and prevent you from scratching; remember, sharp nails can open blisters to infection. Witch hazel can have a similar rash-reduction effects; soak a cotton ball and pat it on. If you need relief from a weepy poison ivy rash, try strongly brewed tea. Dip a cotton ball into the tea, dab it on the affected area, and let it air-dry. Repeat as needed.

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29 thoughts on “10 Poison Ivy Home Remedies

  1. i uses apple cider and it works very good you soak a brown bag in the apple cider

  2. Just a note about the alcohol remedy. This only works when you first contact poison ivy. Do not use it after it has already taken hold in your skin. It removes too much moisture from the skin and makes things worse.

  3. When I was just a child I usually saw my grand-mother to apply co-cumber slices or its paste on burnt spot etc. of anyone of us or did else more with this useful vegetable besides presenting it with various kinds of salads. Later my mother did almost exactly the similar. Now my wife does that proudly that she learnt from her maternal grand-mother and later from her mother (my mother-in-law).

  4. My sister keeps having spots crop up on her body more than a weak after exposure to poison ivy. She showers and washes her clothes after gardening and does so before sitting anywhere in her home. Any ideas about why this keeps happening?

  5. I have gotten poison ivy 15 times and dawn dish washing detergent always help. I was on steroids and finals a pharmacist told me to try dawn. It works try it

  6. I mash up Jewelweed and wipe the affected area. In severe case I bandage the pulp onto the affected area. Poison ivy always meant a trip to the doctor for my wife until I read about Jewelweed in a Tom Brown Jr. book. Native Am. called it the poison ivy plant. People I know swear by Dawn dish soap or bleach. Scrub blisters until they break. Bleach is an oxidant and perhaps destroys the active element. Dawn…I don’t know but it does have different chemicals than other soaps.

  7. I’ve been using stridex pads and clearasil in a tube to help w/itch and drying. I think I will try the cider vinegar compresses as well as the cucumber remedy next. I want this stuff gone!!!!!

  8. I had it all over both arms & work in the heat all day. After 2-days of no relief from cortizone & other over the counter cleansers, I took (2) 1″ chlorine tablets & crushed them, filled the jetted tub as full as possible & turned it on. After soaking in the chlorinated water for 30 minutes, I finally had relief. Still had to get a steroid perscription to heal but the itch was GONE! I imagine a good long swim in a private pool with chlorine might do the same.

  9. WOW I just realized why i keep getting more infected areas wash your clothes, SHOES, bed sheet and pillow cases. I had showered and soaped pretty well ( I thought) and until I did all of the above still had random area outbreaks.

  10. I had a bad case of ivy so I tried this and it actually worked. I chopped up the cucumber and wrapped in a wet paper towel them applied it to the ivy foe 30 minutes. The next morning the spots we about 70% gone. Thanks for the advice.

  11. Rubbing alcohol to dry it then put calomine lotion on it and you will be great.

  12. The only thing I’ve tried that has relieved the itch is, surprisingly, liquid hand soap. I have sprays and creams that don’t work. I put a bit of soap on the area and it stops the itch for a few hours. It even helps dry out the rash and helps it heal.

  13. This works! OMG! So what I didn’t after a few attempts and making a ginormous mess. So take a cucumber stick it in a blender and blend it until its really fine. I then poured it in a strainer to get some of the juice out. Then I took a good quality paper towel and put the cucumber on that. Placed that paper towel on the rash and the wrapped it. I let sit for an hour. You will notice NO itch almost immediately! . For me my ankles where swollen with a rash! When I removed after fist treatment it was about 70% better! I was shocked! I had just gotten done trying 6 other home remedies with no help! I waited about 2 hours did the same again. Now today is day 3 and rash is 90% gone. I was able to get back to work with almost no discomfort! Every other encounter took 2 weeks to clear up. Pass this info on to everyone u know.

  14. Although not a home remedy, Cortizone 10 Poison Ivy Relief Pads are
    the #1 doctor recommended, fast-acting, anti-itch medicine that will help
    reduce the itching and scratching from poison ivy. The pads are formulated to provide fast relief
    from exposure to poison ivy, oak and sumac with a combination of aloe,
    botanicals and oat extract while cooling and soothing the skin on contact.
    These pads can be found across the U.S in most major retailers.

    1. worthless for me either. Cortizone done nothing on me. For me lemon juce calm down itching. Next time I will try cucumber.

  15. I used #1 the cucumber method and kept the cucumber slices on my skin for 30 minutes. Relief was almost immediate and the pain was down by 70% after 30 minutes. I repeated about 8 hours later and now the sting & itching is totally gone. I used really fresh cucumber from my garden (this probably makes a difference).

      1. Omigod! Thank you! I just put on the cucumbers and I.N.T.S.T.A.N.T. relief! Works like heaven! Lasts a little while though, but feels so good! Thanks LMR

  16. The best remedy that worked for me that I did not find on Internet for itch relief was to fill a tub very hot water and soake with Epsom salt. I would apply Epsom salt directly

    1. To the rash area and wait a 20 seconds them rinse off with bath water. After bathing 10-15 mins dry off and apply anti

      1. Itch medicine to all areas and you will be comfortable till late morning

    2. Interesting, the only thing that worked for me is ice cold showers.

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