Naturally Treat Poison Ivy and Poison Oak

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Use lavender essential oil in your paste or bath to treat poison ivy rashes.

Natural Solutions for Cleaning & Wellness: Health Remedies and Green Cleaning Solutions Without Toxins or Chemicals by Halle Cottis (Page Street Publishing Co., 2017) is a comprehensive guide to natural and nontoxic cleaning and wellness solutions that you can make at home. If you get a rash from poison ivy or poison oak, this excerpt helps you create a natrual remedy, which you can apply as a paste or add to a bath.

Poison ivy and poison oak are Asian and North American plants that, when touched, can cause a red itchy rash. One can get poison ivy or oak from touching any part of either plant, even if the plant is dead. Burning poison ivy or oak in a camp fire can also cause irritation. Not everyone is allergic to poison ivy or poison oak, but most people will notice some itching and skin irritation within 24 to 48 hours of contact. Bumps and blisters can appear and ooze liquid. The rash can last anywhere from 5 to 12 days. The rash from poison ivy or poison oak is not contagious. Urushiol, the oily allergen found in poison ivy and poison oak, is what is contagious. When you brush against poison ivy, it is the urushiol that causes the rash. If it remains on your skin or on the clothes that you are wearing, it can spread to others. Always wash your clothing and skin after you come in contact with poison ivy or poison oak to prevent it from spreading to other parts of your body or to another person. Wash clothing (shoes included) in hot water with a detergent that cuts through grease.


Yield: paste: about 1 1/2 tbsp (23 g), bath: varies
• 1 cup (206 g) + 2 tbsp (26 g) baking soda (divided)
• Water
• Apple cider vinegar
• 2 or 3 drops lavender essential oil (optional)


1. Mix 1 cup (206 g) of baking soda into a warm bath and soak for 20–30 minutes. Dry completely.

2. In a small bowl, add 2 tablespoons (26 g [or more if you have a large outbreak]) of baking soda and add enough apple cider vinegar to create a paste similar to a thick pancake batter. The mixture will bubble up; this is normal. Stir in lavender if desired.

3.Spread the paste over the poison ivy or oak and allow it to dry completely. It will eventually flake. Try to keep it on as long as you can. Once it starts to flake, you can brush it off. It is still working even though you have brushed off the flakes. Repeat as needed.

Safety Note: Seek medical attention immediately if you experience difficulty breathing, fever, nausea, trouble swallowing, swelling of the face or hands, headache or nausea. If the rash covers more than 25% of your body, see a doctor.

Reprinted with permission from Natural Solutions for Cleaning and Wellness by Halle Cottis and published by Page Street Publishing Co., 2017.