If there’s one summertime thing worth dreading even more than a sunburn, it just has to be poison ivy. The pernicious plant is one we all try to avoid, and yet it keeps creeping back, at the perimeters of our backyards, the edges of hiking paths, and even along city sidewalks. Worst of all, it always seems like contact comes at the most inopportune moments, when we can’t get to a store for treatment. Thankfully, the best remdies for poison ivy are also the tried-and-true ones, and best of all, you probably have at least one in your pantry. Here are our NINE go-to treatments.
Soap and a Washcloth
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The best way to treat poison ivy is stopping it before it starts! For that, you need to remove all traces of urushiol, the oily allergen in poison ivy that causes rashes, and the best way to do so is to wash thoroughly with basic soap – Dawn Dishwashing Liquid works great – and lots of friction, courtesty of a washcloth or loofah. Soap up and wash three times, scrubbing vigorously each time!
Got a rash despite your best efforts? Howcast recommends treating immediately with a multistep process of rubbing alcohol, cool water, soap, hydrocortisone cream, calamine lotion, menthol cream and cool compresses. It can also help prevent an outbreak in the first place!
If your poison ivy rash starts “weeping,” a cotton ball soaked in green tea can help soak it up and heal it gently.
- Turmeric and Lemon Juice
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Make a thick paste out of 1 tablespoon of turmeric and equal parts lemon juice. It might sting and/or stain a little, but the ivy will dry up super quickly. Lime juice works as well!
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The same cooling properties that make cucumber slices such a great skin treatment mean they’re also super-soothing to poison ivy rashes. You can also mash them up into a paste, if you prefer.
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This one’s a classic DIY treatment that’s been passed down through generations. It can help draw out the poisonous serum and offer soothing relief. You can either pour some directly into a bath, or use the oatmeal to make a healing compress.
Apple Cider Vinegar
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It wouldn’t be a list of home remedies without this superstar. Apple cider vinegar will not only help to draw out the poison, but actually kill it while it does so. Soak a paper bag in the vinegar, then apply to bag to the rash to put this remedy in action.
Buttermilk is super-soothing, and it contains a protein that can help drain the fluid from blisters. You can either wash the rash with a mix of buttermilk and warm water, or make a mixture out of equal amounts of buttermilk, vinegar, and salt.
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It soothes every other burn and rash, so naturally aloe vera is a great help for poison ivy. Simply apply the gel – or, if you prefer, the leaves – directly to the rash to start the healing.
Such a relief to know that we have so many of these remedies already in our pantries. Which ones do you rely on? Check out these guides from Remedy Daily and Reader’s Digest for even more ideas, and tell us about your go-to poison ivy treatments in the comments!