10 Poison Ivy Home Remedies

Like cough home remedies and home remedies for headaches, these natural poison ivy home remedies can provide relief without getting into the medicine cabinet.

By Alyssa Jung
  • Loading

    Cucumber calms the rash.

    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" and apply to the skin for soothing relief.

    Banana peel cools the itch.

    Rubbing the inside of a banana peel on poison ivy-affected skin is an old wives tale that could provide relief because of the peel's cooling qualities. Watermelon rinds are another food some swear by.

    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 a powerful poison ivy home remedy. One way to apply it is to soak a brown paper bag in apple cider vinegar, then place it on the rash to draw out the toxins.


    Baking soda speeds up recovery.

    A paste of baking soda smeared on your skin might help draw toxins to the surface, which is why the alkaline powder also is known as a natural pimple treatment. To soothe a 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, providing at least temporary relief. Another poison ivy home remedy is to soak in a cool bath with 1 cup of baking soda mixed in.

    You can also use baking soda to treat oozing blisters caused by the rash. 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. Note: Do not apply on or near your eyes.

    Oatmeal bath soothes the itch.

    If you're covered in an itchy red rash, save yourself some scratching by soaking in an oatmeal bath. Simply grind 1 cup oatmeal in your blender until it is a fine powder, then pour it into a piece of cheesecloth, the foot section of a clean nylon stocking, or the leg of an old pantyhose. 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 additional relief by applying the oatmeal pouch directly to the rash or pox.


    Aloe vera beats the burn.

    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 remedy.

    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. Apply it to the affected areas immediately after contact to slow down and minimize the discomfort; this poison ivy home remedy prevents urushiol, the chemical responsible for the rash, from fully penetrating your skin.

    Lemon juice eliminates oil.

    The acid in lemon juice is like a natural astringent, eliminating oil for myriad home and beauty uses. However, some people swear by lemon juice 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.

    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. Hot water can open pores and allow more toxic oils to seep in to your skin. You can also take a bath, with or without salt, to draw excess body moisture to the surface.

    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 effect to reduce the rash, too. Pat on a small amount directly, or with cotton balls. If you need to dry a weepy poison ivy rash, try strongly brewed tea. Simply dip a cotton ball into the tea, dab it on the affected area, and let it air-dry. Repeat as needed.


    Want to stay smart and healthy?

    Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

    Sending Message
    how we use your e-mail

    Your Comments

    • Blanca Ramirez

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

    • JON

      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.

    • ARShams_Reflection

      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).

    • Lee

      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?

      • Dr.Jack

        she is allergic to something in her yard

    • Jsjm

      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

      • shannon

        u just put the dawn soap directly o the ivy?

    • Cayce58

      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.