How to Get Rid of Poison Ivy


"Leaves of three, let them be" is a saying used to help identify poison ivy. It's a plant that grows wild in most parts of the United States. Those who come in contact with poison ivy often have an allergic itchy reaction within 24 to 48 hours. It's the plant's oily resin sap that causes the problem, and it is easily spread once it gets on clothing, gardening gloves or gardening tools. Since poison ivy can't be mowed or burned, it will need to be manually removed.

Step 1

Schedule the removal of poison ivy for late fall or early winter, when the plants have dried out.

Step 2

Arrange to remove the plants during a time of day that the soil is moist. Dry soil will cause the roots to break off and the plants to return.

Step 3

Dress in protective clothing and gloves. Completely cover your arms, legs, feet and hands.

Step 4

Place a large plastic bag over one of your hands. This is the hand that you will use to pull out the poison ivy.

Step 5

Pull out each plant, grabbing at the soil line to get all of the roots. Keep the plastic bag between the plant and your glove. Place each plant in a plastic leaf bag.

Step 6

Throw the plastic bag (covering your hand) in the leaf bag when you are finished.

Step 7

Seal the bag for disposal, taping the bag shut. All parts of the plant are toxic, so avoid touching any part of the plant.

Step 8

Tape a label on the bag to identify its contents, so someone doesn't open the bag after it's disposed.

Step 9

Wash your clothing, shoes and gloves in hot water and soap. Avoid touching anything that has come into direct contact with the poison ivy.

Tips and Warnings

  • Never burn poison ivy, as breathing the fumes is toxic and can result in an entire body rash. Never mow poison ivy, as it will spread the seeds.

Things You'll Need

  • Protective clothing
  • Gardening gloves
  • Plastic bag
  • Plastic leaf bag
  • Tape
  • Label


  • UW-Madison Department of Horticulture: Poison Ivy
  • Poison Control: Poison Ivy Fact Sheet
Keywords: removing poison ivy, poison ivy removal, poison ivy

About this Author

Ann Johnson was the editor of a community magazine in Southern California for more than 10 years and was an active real estate agent, specializing in commercial and residential properties. She has a Bachelors of Art degree in communications from California State University of Fullerton. Today she is a freelance writer and photographer, and part owner of an Arizona real estate company.