The first, most important, step to killing poison ivy is to correctly identify it. If you have been lucky enough to avoid a blistery rash so far, there are a few ways to tell if the vine on your property is poison ivy. Poison ivy has three divided leaves growing on alternating sides of a stem: two on the sides of the stalk that are lower down than the center leaf growing from the center of the stalk. Poison ivy often has white, waxy berries growing along its stem, and it may be growing as an erect shrub or a climbing vine. Once you correctly identify poison ivy as your culprit, you can easily kill it with a simple home remedy of boiling water.
Cut down climbing poison ivy to about 6 inches of ground height. Remove the foliage and dispose of it.
Boil a pot of water, put on your oven mitts, and take the pot straight from the stove to the base of the poison ivy plant. Pour a pot of boiling water slowly around the roots of the poison ivy plant. Take care not to cover any nearby plants with boiling water--it will kill any vegetation that it comes into contact with.
Re-treat the poison ivy plant if it has not visibly withered within two days.
Use a shovel to dig up the poison ivy plant's dead roots and dispose of them.
Things You Will Need
- Oven mitts
- Dust mask
- Lopping shears
- If you can wash off the poison ivy's oil within five minutes of contact, you may not develop a rash.
- Wear a long-sleeved shirt, long pants, closed shoes and a dust mask when you pour boiling water on the plant. If there is a lot of poison ivy foliage around, the steam may release some of the poison ivy plant's irritating oil. Change and wash your clothes immediately after you come into contact with poison ivy. The oil is persistent, and you might re-expose yourself.
- Do not burn poison ivy plants. The smoke can transmit the irritating oil.