How To Remove Poison Ivy from Clothes? (Step-by-Step Guide)

In some cases, people tend to get poison ivy on their clothes, and it can leave such a nasty stain on the fabric. Also, Urushiol can be hazardous and difficult to remove, so be cautious in removing it. Find out how to get poison ivy out of clothes in this article.

how to wash poison ivy clothes

How to Remove Poison Ivy from Washable Clothes

This section will teach you how to remove poison ivy from washable clothes. Start the process by preparing the items listed below.

Things to Prepare

  • Vinyl or Rubber Gloves
  • Hot water
  • Laundry detergent
  • Urushiol removal product


  1. Wear Gloves

Before you do anything that involves holding a poison ivy-infected cloth, wear a pair of gloves to protect your hands. Poison ivy can be very harmful when it contacts your skin. Go for thicker gloves made from rubber or vinyl.

  1. Separate the Stained Clothing

The first thing to do is ensure that the infected clothes are separated from your non-infected clothes. This step will help prevent contamination from spreading. You may keep it in a plastic bag or put it straight inside an empty washing machine.

  1. Pre-treat the Clothing

You can pre-treat the clothes with a store-bought urushiol removal product to make the poison ivy easier to remove. There are many kinds of products that you can buy for this, such as Zanfel, which is a well-known product that’s used to remove poison ivy.

  1. Prepare the Washing Machine

The next thing to do is to prepare the washing machine. Start by adjusting its settings to the heavy load cycle. Next, put the right amount of hot water into the washing machine and ensure that the temperature’s just suitable for the fabric. Finally, add a massive scoop of laundry detergent to the machine and close it.

  1. Let it Run

Once you’ve done everything, let the cycle run. Once the first cycle is done, let it run again with another scoop of laundry detergent. It takes more than one cycle to get the job done, and if you’re still unsure if there is urushiol left on the clothes, you may let it run for the third time.

  1. Let it Dry

Most of the time, two or three cycle runs can effectively remove urushiol from clothes. But there are times when traces could still be on the clothes, so play it safe by letting it air dry. You can contaminate the dryer if you use it.

How to Remove Poison Ivy from Non-Washable Clothes

poison ivy on clothes

One of the worst things that could happen is if poison ivy infects a non-washable cloth, meaning you can’t put it straight into the washing machine and let it run. It takes a lot of patience and time to get rid of it, and if the worst comes to worst, you may need to bring it to a professional dry cleaner. Check out the process below to know how to handle poison ivy in non-washable clothes.

Things to Prepare

  • Rubber or Vinyl Gloves
  • Dish soap
  • Hot water
  • Sponge or dry cloth
  • Urushiol removal product


  1. Create a Solution

First up, you need to create a cleaning solution to remove the poison ivy from the clothes gently. You can do this by mixing two cups of hot water and two tablespoons of dish soap or laundry detergent. Mix them well and get rid of any bubbles to have a clean process ahead.

  1. Apply the Solution to the Stained Area

Use a sponge to apply the cleaning solution to the stained area. Soak the sponge and gently brush it to the fabric with poison ivy. Repeat until the poison ivy stain is lessened. Next, rinse the area with clean water using a clean white cloth.

  1. Use a Reliable Removal Product

If the cleaning solution does not entirely remove the poison ivy stain, you can use a reliable urushiol removal product to get rid of the poison ivy. Gently apply it to the stained area using a clean white cloth and continue doing it until poison ivy is transferred to the cloth.

  1. Take it to a Dry Cleaner

If the two mentioned steps are not enough to remove the poison ivy stain or the infected area is too big, you need to bring the clothing to a professional dry cleaner. Remember to point out the stained area to the cleaners to know how to treat it.

How to Remove Poison Ivy from Shoes

how long does poison ivy last on clothes

Now that you know how to remove poison ivy from clothes, you may also be wondering how to remove poison ivy from shoes. It’s an easy process with a few straightforward steps so you can get rid of poison ivy in no time. Check the process below.

Things to Prepare

  • Rubber or vinyl gloves
  • Hot water
  • Laundry detergent
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Clean white cloth


  1. Prepare everything

The first step in this process is to prepare the necessary things. Start by wearing protective gloves on both of your hands to protect them from the harmful poison ivy. Next, prepare the shoes by unlacing them and pulling the tongue out as far as you can. Finally, check if the insoles can be removed and do so.

  1. Make a Cleaning Solution

After preparing the shoes for cleaning, you need to prepare the cleaning solution. You can do this by mixing two tablespoons of laundry detergent and two cups of hot water. If you feel like it won’t be enough or have more than one pair of shoes, just add one tablespoon of laundry detergent for every cup of hot water.

  1. Apply and Rinse

Take the soft-bristled brush and gently apply the solution to the inside and outside of your shoes. Ensure that you can reach everything, including the insoles you removed.

Do not overwet the shoes but make sure that all areas are covered. After that, wet the clean white cloth with water and gently rinse off the solution.

  1. Let it Dry

The last step in removing poison ivy from shoes is to let it air dry. This involves leaving your shoes in an open area without direct heat or sunlight. This step may take more than a couple of days but just leave it be to make sure that it’s dry throughout.

How to Prevent Contamination from Spreading

how long does poison ivy oil last on clothes

When working with hazardous material such as poison ivy, you need to be careful since it may contaminate other materials such as fabrics. To prevent the spread of contamination, there are some precautionary measures that you need to follow. Here are some of the things to take note of to prevent contamination with poison ivy.

  1. Keep away the stained clothing.

The moment you find a poison ivy stain on your clothes, keep them away immediately. If you are wearing it, take it off and put it in clean plastic, sealed away from other fabrics. You can directly keep other clothes in a plastic bag and make sure that all affected clothing is inside. Isolating the stained clothes will help prevent contamination from spreading.

  1. Always wear gloves

Whenever you are working on any stain, it’s better to take protective measures and wear gloves on your hands. Take note that urushiol can penetrate latex material, so choose other gloves such as rubber or vinyl. Wearing gloves will help prevent the hazardous material from contacting your bare hands and causing harm. Always be cautious when working on poison ivy stains.

  1. Double clean the materials used after

Once you are done removing poison ivy stains from your clothes, make sure that there is none left on the fabric. If you use a washing machine to get rid of the stain, make sure to clean it twice or thrice to make sure that all hazardous materials are removed from it.

To ensure that there’s no urushiol left on the washing machine, run it for one cycle while it’s empty with one cup of hot water and bleach. Drain it right after to ensure that the machine doesn’t have any poison ivy left. If you use a basin to wash the clothes, clean it with a solution made of a tablespoon of dish soap and a cup of hot water. Rubbing alcohol can be used as a substitute for dish soap.

Helpful Tips in Handling Poison Ivy

washing clothes contaminated with poison ivy

Handling poison ivy needs a lot of preventive and safety measures. It may be overwhelming for the regular person who doesn’t get too much in contact with this hazardous plant. To help make your life easier, here are some tips on how you should handle poison ivy. You may also check this video below on removing poison ivy from clothes.

  • Wear protective gear

When handling poison ivy, you always need to be cautious of it since it can be very harmful, especially if it gets in contact with your skin. To prevent any damage, you need to wear protective gear to protect your skin. Wear gloves on your hand. Make sure that it’s not thin latex gloves. If possible, wear long-sleeved clothes and pants to keep your skin protected throughout.

  • Do not rub the stained area to bare skin.

Since poison ivy spreads fast, make sure that any stained clothing is separated from other clothes. Do not rub it with other fabrics or to your bare skin. Since you’ll be wearing gloves to get rid of it, make sure to clean the gloves immediately after use to prevent the poison ivy from spreading to other materials. Do not let it go in contact with your eyes or bare skin, or any other material where it can transfer the poison ivy to.

  • Do not overload the washing machine

If you’re planning to use a washing machine to get rid of the poison ivy on the clothes, make sure to do them in batches if there’s a lot. The machine shouldn’t have more than half its capacity load since the clothes won’t be thoroughly washed to remove the poison ivy.

Another essential thing to do is to isolate infected clothes from non-infected ones. The washing machine should only have infected clothes inside it, even if it’s a single piece of clothing. It’s essential to have them separated from non-infected clothes to prevent the spread of contamination.


Now that you know how to get poison ivy out of clothes, it’s time to put your knowledge to use and remove any hazardous poison ivy stain from the fabric. We hope that this article gave you all the information you need to handle poison ivy.

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