How to Kill Poison Ivy

How to kill poison ivy

Every once in awhile one of my readers will email me a great tip.  I love it because it’s so fun learning new tips and trick for taking care of my home!

I’m not sure if you’re aware of my hatred of ivy, I think it’s pretty, but not when it has taken over an entire backyard!  You may have seen my post from last year of my backyard progress, if you did then you understand why I dislike ivy so much.  It’s for this reason that I loved this tip from Barbara for how to kill poison ivy!

Here’s what you’ll need:

* Combine 1 gallon white vinegar with 1 cup salt and 2 TBSP blue dawn dish soap.

* Once all the ingredients have been mixed well pour mixture into a spray bottle.

* Spray poison ivy.  Be careful not to get it on your other plants because this mixture will kill anything you spray it on!

There you have it, the simple solution for how to kill poison ivy!  If you want to have the greatest {deadly} effect it is best to spray the ivy during the dry seasons so it doesn’t get washed off by the rain.


Disclaimer – I have included a few affiliate links to the products I used in this project, if you buy through the link I get a small commission but you don’t pay a cent more than you normally would. Thank you for supporting Ask Anna!

About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. Thanks for posting this. We’re being taken over by poison ivy, and I swear if my husband even LOOKS at poison ivy he breaks out in a horrible, itchy rash. We’ll give this a try!

  2. You say it will kill other plants too? I might want to do that!!! I have mint in over 90% of my flowerbeds. A little is good….a lot is not. The corner of the yard has a nice patch of poison ivy so we’ll be trying this soon. Thanks!

  3. Anne Marie says:

    Wow this is a great tip – thanks for sharing.

  4. I think this will work fairly well as a general herbicide, but I’d hesitate to use it as a final cure for poison ivy. The reason is that the plant still has to be removed. Even when dead, it still has the poisonous sap that causes the itching. The herbicide won’t neutralize the “poison.” You need to remove the entire plant, roots and all, and dispose of it carefully. The best way is to cover yourself carefully with long pants and long sleeves, perhaps even a clay type blocking lotion if you’re very sensitive, or there are many plants. You can do this work after a heavy rain, or use a hose to saturate the ground where the roots are. Then slowly and carefully pull the plant out by its roots. Throw it into a trash bag, seal the bag and throw it in the trash. You can also cover your hand and arm with a bread bag, newspaper bag, or some other trash bag as though it were a glove, and use it to pull the plant up. Then carefully turn the bag inside out, sealing the plan inside. If you get any of the sap on your skin or any tools, wash it off with just cold water. Wash you clothes, too. It can remain potent for a long time; be aware of what it might have touched.

  5. I definitely need to try this!

  6. MaryLynn P says:

    I’m going to be using this, this spring. It’ll be much cheaper than Round Up. Thanks!

  7. MaryLynn P says:

    And safer too.

  8. MaryLynn P says:

    My mom even broke out after washing her clothes in the washer after she had washed my dad’s work clothes with the poison ivey sap on them. Clean your washer after if you’re very allergic..

    • Jackie O. says:

      Use quite a bit of Dawn (blue) in the washer with detergent to cut the oil. Rinse one or more times after your washer gets done.

  9. Regarding erradication of ivy: Are there any negative residual effects to subsequent plantings in the area treated with the vinegar/salt/blue Dawn dish soap? I want to replant with crape myrtles. Thanks.

    • I’ve never had a problem, but I cant’ speak for all situations.

    • Midge Dosher says:

      Andrea, If you can waite for a year and let the ground rest then plant your crape myrtles. This will also insure you got all of the poisen ivy. It would be a shame to have poisen oak come up in your newley planted crape mertles.

  10. Hi Anna,
    A word of caution about poison ivy. The urishol oil in poison ivy can stay active for FIVE YEARS after the poison ivy dies. So, even though you have killed it, you can still catch poison ivy by touching the stems or roots. Be sure you are protected with gloves, etc. Also, Jewelweed is the natural antidote for poison ivy. It usually grows near where poison ivy grows. Crush the stems and apply the juice over the affected areas and it neutralizes the urishol oil.

    • Jackie O. says:

      In a woody area, I would not know how to identify jewelweed. Tried looking for it before.

      We have a lot of poison ivy that grows against one fence of our three. Weird. Why would the birds drop the seed all along one side of a long fence? And it does not grow on the other side of the fence, one inch away. The people that live next door are vindictive and have had a seance or two. So sometimes I wonder.

      • It might be something as simple as the amount of sunlight that reaches that side of the fence. We have a similar situation. Poison Ivy does not like full shade and does not grow on the shady side of our fence, but we sure do fight it on the side that gets sun in the afternoon.

  11. My ivy is on the trees, will this solution kill my trees?

  12. I have found that friends with goats is the best way to rid oneself of poison ivy. Goats will eat anything green and find poison ivy a nice treat. But i will try this out too.

    • So funny you mention that. My son was watching curious george one day before school and there was an episode that used goats to get rid of the ivy. :)

  13. George Dudin says:

    Anybody .tried this? If yes – what was the result? I don’t have that much of ivy in the backyard but once in a while my kids get it picking the balls from the areas close to the fences

  14. Hi Anna,

    Question: Do you spray it exclusively on the leaves or at the base of the plant?

  15. Do u have to use the blue dawn dish soap or can u use any dish soap lik fairy or something

  16. I saw this for killing poison ivy. We have poison Ivy climbing up our house. Will this help with that? I just dug up poison ivy that was in the rocks by our driveway where my neighbors kid and my kid play. We live in a town home and I want to be sure this is safe for the kids as well. I’m hoping this will kill the ivy enough for me to get in there and dig it up by the roots to prevent it from coming back.

  17. you have such helpful ideas. i was wondeirng if you know how to kill poison oak? its in my yard
    and i would love to get rid of it.

    thanks alot

    • I’m sorry, I don’t. Poison oak is evil stuff, we have it all over the place where we live. We’ve tried a lot of different things but never had great success. :/

  18. gema ahern says:

    can you tell me where to spray the solution? on the leaves like the round up poison? i do not want to use round up the vine is up the tree and i cannot reach them

  19. Stephanie Spain says:

    Great advice. Now, the next question is how do you treat and get rid of poison oak/ivy once you have it on you. Mot of the over the counter stuff does not work very well. My husband is highly allergic and easily infected by these plants.



    • The best remedy we have found for poison ivy is Bert’s Bees Poison Ivy Soap. If you cannot find it in stores, you can purchase it online at the Bert’s Bees website. My husband and I are both extremely allergic and have tried prescription shots from the doctor and other very expensive over the counter treatments. The soap works best for us.

    • apple cider vinegar. helps dry it out and keeps it from itching.
      i just got some all over both my arms. i tried everything. i would soak a rag in the vinegar and wipe the spots and it help it dry out and bust open.

  20. Ed Laucks says:

    The absolute only way to get rid of poison ivy is remove all the roots. You kill it off above ground but it remains alive underground.

  21. What is the mixture for killing fleas? I have 4 dogs

  22. Does this work for poison oak too?
    And how much & where do you spray it?
    Leaves, root?

  23. I just used that last week and it DOES in fact kill poison ivy, bindweed and cinqfiol (another climbing weed)!

    • I did mix everything you said and it actually worked very well.!! You saved me a great deal of money. Your advice is the best. If you have any plumbing questions email me. I am a third generation plumber retired.

      Thank you very much,

      • Beth I’d love to know how to kill and dissolve roots from trees in the sewer line that runs from my laundry room to the main sewer. How often do I need to do this? The sewer runs beneath an addition to our home.

      • mreynolds says:

        Anna is unsure how to roots in the sewer line. Our best suggestion is to call your local septic/sewer company and ask their opinion. They woud have more expertise than us! Sorry we could not have been more help :(

        -Monique (Ask Anna Assistant)

  24. Kaylynne says:

    I’ve tried this and Round-up….it will come back! Maybe not until next year but it will. The only way I have ever gotten rid of poison ivy is to dig it up, along with all the finger side roots that I have seen travel up to 4 feet before. I wear gloves and still use plastic grocery bags to pick them up with and then put all into trash bags and secure well in the trash can….not the yard recycling cans. This method works very well but if you miss one root or one breaks off without you noticing….it will come back.

  25. Marilyn says:

    How do you get the salt to dissolve or melt for the poison ivy killer? I tried heating and that didn’t work.

  26. How long does it take for this stuff to DIE! :)

    • I’m wondering too! I sprayed poison ivy in my yard in couple of days ago but it still looks healthy. I diluted the vinegar by accident so this could be a problem. I’m so allergic but it is spreading, and I’m considering pulling it up.

  27. Do you think that it will kill honeysuckle? I’ve got honeysuckle out the wa-zooo. It smells great but boy does it squeeze the life out of everything.

  28. Chuck D says:

    What ever you do, don’t burn the poison ivy, It could make you very sick, or even deadly if you inhale the smoke.

  29. Hi Anna,

    That looks like a good “organic’ recipe (a viable alternative to Roundup)!
    How long does it take to kill Poison Ivy?
    Do you think it works well for greens that grow in sidewalk crevices too?

    Thank you!

    • I’m not sure how long it takes, I think it’s a process to really kill all the roots. I’ve never thought to try it on greens on a sidewalk but if it can kill ivy, I’m sure it would kill those! :)

    • I pour boiling water on weeds in driveway and sidewalk cracks. After I make a cup of tea I just take the kettle outside and pour the leftover water on anything that’s trying to sprout. I did it a few times at the beginning of the summer and have not had to do it again for many weeks. No poison–and very cheap!

  30. You can also just use straight bleach in a spray bottle.

  31. Duane Remus says:

    I tried this recipe on the poison ivy in my back yard and unfortunately it did not work as everyone thinks it should. I even sprayed it twice, although a couple of the leaves did die but not the whole plant.


  32. Yeah, I agree with some of the others. Best way is to pull it. I wear dish gloves for outside use, cover the plant with an open plastic grocery bag, pull it by the root, tie the bag, and throw it away.

  33. Will the poision IV solution with the saLt and the blue dawn and the vinegar will that harm or kill trees…..

  34. Shirley Kirkpatrick says:

    Hi Anna, I can not thank you enough for that recipe. My mom has it in her back yard. I have dug up as much as I could. I did not get all the roots. We also have some in the neighbor’s yard against the fence. We have dogs, and they rub against the fence. So this is the perfect solution. I can hardly thank you enough.


  35. melanie ann childers says:

    thanks so much im in great need to ideas to kill poison ivy and poison oak, we live in a heavy wooded area but the posion ivy and oak are taking over trees and yard, i cant work in it i look at it and im covered, ive taken several dawn baths with the vinegar and salt myself. thanks thanks thanks, do you have something that will take out cayron on the truck seat?????

    • Bethany Davis says:

      Hi, I’m Anna’s assistant, Bethany. Thank you for the question. In order to give you the best answer, can you please tell me what type of upholstery you have? Also, is it melted in to the seat, or just drawn on to the seat? Thanks, and we look forward to helping you!

  36. Teresa Townsell says:

    Hi! Thanks for the information on your blog. Getting to the reason for my comment . . .wondering why you say you are the mom of a five-year-old (from my womb) and of a 16-year-old adopted child? Is the word “adopted” so important to include in an introduction? No insult meant, but admit to a raised eyebrow! :) With kindness . . .

    • No worries. I say that because it’s a part of our story. I’ve written a few posts about it, you can search my blog for “Gabriella” to read them.

  37. Hi Anna whr cn I find it pls hlp me thnx

  38. Thank you very much, this does work!

  39. Roundup also kills poison ivy.