How to Kill & Remove Poison Ivy Without an Allergic Reaction


Poison ivy is often considered a nuisance in the landscape, because people can suffer a severe allergic reaction by simply touching the plant. A benign-looking member of the cashew family, poison ivy contains a chemical called urushiol, which can cause a red, itchy, blister-like rash for many individuals sensitive to its harmful effects. Although poison ivy can be difficult to eradicate, with some care and preparation the plant can be killed without suffering an allergic reaction.

Step 1

Apply a topical over-the-counter medication such as bentoquatum to skin before coming in contact with poison ivy. Bentoquatum creates a barrier and blocks urushiol from penetrating skin.

Step 2

Cover as much exposed skin as possible. A long-sleeved shirt, full-length pants and garden gloves will help protect skin from coming in contact with any harmful chemicals in the plants.

Step 3

Trim poison ivy plants to 6 inches or less in length, and then carefully remove the foliage from the area.

Step 4

Spray trimmed poison ivy with glyphosate -- a chemical found in most garden centers and local nurseries -- according to the instructions listed on its container.

Step 5

Remove clothing after working with poison ivy. Prevent the outside of your clothing, which may have come in contact with poison ivy, from touching any part of your skin.

Step 6

Shower immediately. Urushiol is generally absorbed into the skin within three minutes of contact. Washing with soap and water can prevent or lessen a reaction if any of the poison ivy's harmful chemicals accidentally came in contact with skin.

Step 7

Thoroughly wash all contaminated clothing.

Tips and Warnings

  • Burning poison ivy can release urushiol into the air, causing severe skin reactions or possible breathing problems if inhaled.

Things You'll Need

  • Bentoquatum
  • Garden gloves
  • Log-sleeved shirt
  • Full-length pants
  • Garden lopper or garden shears
  • Glyphosate


  • Great Plains Nature Center: Poison Ivy
  • Missouri Department of Conservation: Poison Ivy: How to Identify and Control. Missouri Department of Conservation
  • American Academy of Dermatology: Poison Ivy, Oak and Sumac. American Academy of Dermatology

Who Can Help

  • Mayo Clinic: Bentoquatam
Keywords: kill poison ivy without allergic reaction, kill poison ivy, remove poison ivy

About this Author

Barbara Biehler is a freelance writer who has written articles for and eHow, as well as online specialty courses for She has a B.A. in English from the University of Central Florida, and over 15 years experience in business development, sales, and marketing. An avid gardener, cook, and voracious reader, Barbara resides with her family near Nashville, Tennessee.