Top Home Remedies for Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

Photo credit: bigstock

Photo credit: bigstock

Oh my goodness! Is there anything more irritating than the itching and burning from poison ivy or poison oak! Many people try taking those over the counter antihistamines, but they only help a little. The same with calamine lotion, it stops the itching for a couple hours but before you know it, you are back to that itching, scratching, burning, itching until it bleeds, driving you crazy and you can’t sleep because you can’t stop scratching that itch!

Well, take a look at our top home remedies for that oh so annoying itch. One of these is sure to work for you.


1.  Soap and Hot Water

Poison ivy doesn’t happen immediately, the oil from the plant soaks into your skin gradually. So as soon as you realize you’ve touched the plant, or you begin to see the rash and feel the itch, wash the area immediately with hot water, as hot as you can stand it, and plenty of soap. Don’t scrub hard, you are mostly trying to get the oil off your skin.


2. Witch Hazel and Hydrogen Peroxide

Every few hours, as soon as you start feeling the itch, pour some witch hazel (or rubbing alcohol) on the area. This helps to dissolve the oils which cause the itch. When your skin has dried, dab the area with some hydrogen peroxide to keep it clean and free from infection.


3. Bath Time

Many people swear that this method works. Take a hot bath with about a half cup of Epsom salt, a bit of bleach, and some Aveeno colloidal oatmeal. Soak for about 20 minutes.  If you take your bath before bedtime, you should be able to sleep all night without itching.

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Female hands using antibacterial liquid soap

Photo credit: bigstock

4. Hand Sanitizer

Yes, plain old hand sanitizer. This is great while you are at the office. Rub hand sanitizer on the affected area. It provides instant relief from itching and can reduce the swelling. Read also what you should know about hand sanitizers.


5. Goats Milk

Now this might take a bit longer, but if you want to develop immunity, try drinking goat’s milk, especially raw goat’s milk. Goats eat just about anything, including poison ivy, and they develop a natural immunity to this plant. This immunity should be passed on through their milk and on to you.


6. Tide

This is an old home remedy some people swear by. Take a bit of Tide detergent (powder, not liquid) and add a bit of water to make a paste. Apply this paste to the affected area. It might burn a bit but not for along. Leave it on for about 10 minutes then rinse it off. Works to stop the itching for several hours at least.


7. Baking Soda

Another old remedy from your grandmother. Mix up a paste of baking soda and water and spread it on the affected area. Do this up to three times per day, then put a cup of baking soda in a warm bath and soak before bed.

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Apple Cider Vinegar

Photo credit: bigstock

8. Vinegar Rinse

All sorts of irritation, from bug bites to poison ivy, can be tamed by using a rinse made with vinegar.  Wash the area with soap and water, and rinse well, and then apply the vinegar using a cotton ball. Rub the area gently, let sit for a few minutes, then rinse. Find out all uses of vinegar.


9. Aloe Vera

Traditional folk medicine says that the sap from aloe vera plants can help stop the itch through its anti-inflammatory compounds. Wash and dry the area, then break off a fresh leave and apply the clear gel part to the area. Allow to dry completely, and then wash off. Reapply as needed. Read about aloe vera miracle.


10. Coffee

An old Appalachian folk remedy is to pour a cup of cold, black coffee over the area. Coffee has an anti-inflammatory called chlorogenic acid. Although it’s unknown if this actually works, but it’s a great way to get rid of that cold, left over coffee.

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