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Old 07-30-2015, 02:16 PM
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How long does poison ivy residue remain toxic on gloves and clothing?

I have a bunch of poison ivy growing out back that I need to get rid off. I'll be well covered up, but my clothes and gloves will be in contact with the plants. I'm concerned that the poison ivy residue on my clothing will continue to be active for a while and that I could still get a rash by touching it later on. Does the residue on the clothing and gloves eventually degrade or should I throw them away when I'm done?
Old 07-30-2015, 02:25 PM
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Years. They've found active urushiol on museum samples 50 years old. Now, light does break it down some, so I wouldn't go planning any really long term pranks with your gloves, but gloves and clothing should be considered active sites of poison ivy spread until laundered. Tools and shoes can be cleaned of it by a good cleaning with alcohol - but remember to wear gloves while you're doing it!

Honestly, this is why I by cheap gloves. I don't trust the laundry to get at all the nooks and crannies; I just throw them out if I think they've come in contact with poison ivy.

Last edited by WhyNot; 07-30-2015 at 02:25 PM.
Old 07-30-2015, 02:28 PM
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Does laundering the clothes break down the poison or just release it from the clothes? Is there any chance of contaminating the rest of the clothes in the laundry?
Old 07-30-2015, 02:31 PM
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I wash it separately, and if I'm certain it's been in contact (like if I'm cleaning out poison ivy), I wash that load twice. Which is probably overkill. Most people tell you to wash it once and you're fine, but I don't trust poison ivy one bit. It's worth the extra dollar for me to keep my peace of mind.
Old 07-30-2015, 02:36 PM
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According to this site, wash with normal laundry detergent at highest allowable heat. If it were me, I'd then run a separate load of whites with bleach just to nuke the site from orbit.

Family historical note: Do not use poison oak branches as hot dog sticks.

Last edited by Ethilrist; 07-30-2015 at 02:36 PM. Reason: I like string
Old 07-30-2015, 03:03 PM
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Think chemicals ...
Old 07-30-2015, 03:08 PM
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You can use brush killer on it first. It will dry out and shrivel up and there will be less cleanup to do, if any is needed at all. Make sure what you get says specifically that it will kill poison ivy, regular weed killers won't work at all.

Last edited by TriPolar; 07-30-2015 at 03:09 PM.
Old 07-30-2015, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
You can use brush killer on it first. It will dry out and shrivel up and there will be less cleanup to do, if any is needed at all. Make sure what you get says specifically that it will kill poison ivy, regular weed killers won't work at all.
This. I'd definitely spray first and wait until the vines shrivel up and die. If you don't, and just pull them out while still alive, you risk leaving some parts of the roots still in the ground. In my experience, it only takes a tiny shred of living root and the plant will be back and good as new before you know it. If you spray it first and kill the plant, then you don't have to be as concerned with getting all the roots out (although you still have to worry about the oil).
Old 07-30-2015, 03:51 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
You can use brush killer on it first. It will dry out and shrivel up and there will be less cleanup to do, if any is needed at all. Make sure what you get says specifically that it will kill poison ivy, regular weed killers won't work at all.
I thought we'd eliminated poison ivy from the yard that we mow/trim. But, after weed whacking barefoot earlier this season (I'm a genius) I had it pretty bad on my feet/ankles.

Anecdotally, I can tell you that aggressive treatment with medical marihuana yielded both palliative and curative effects!
Old 07-30-2015, 04:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Kiber View Post
This. I'd definitely spray first and wait until the vines shrivel up and die. If you don't, and just pull them out while still alive, you risk leaving some parts of the roots still in the ground. In my experience, it only takes a tiny shred of living root and the plant will be back and good as new before you know it. If you spray it first and kill the plant, then you don't have to be as concerned with getting all the roots out (although you still have to worry about the oil).
On the other hand, if you're concerned with dumping toxic chemicals on your ground, organic friends of mine found that if you carefully pull it out so you get as much root as possible, each time it grows back it's got less oomph behind it and eventually it gives up and dies. Works for dandelions, too.

Then again, that was for poison oak, which may be a whole different kettle of fish.

Old 07-30-2015, 04:22 PM
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If it were me, I'd wear a disposable painter's Tyvek coverall while messing with the plants.

--Mark
Old 07-30-2015, 05:02 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
According to this site, wash with normal laundry detergent at highest allowable heat. If it were me, I'd then run a separate load of whites with bleach just to nuke the site from orbit.

Family historical note: Do not use poison oak branches as hot dog sticks.
I wonder if the oil will spread to the inside of the clothes washer, and then later contaminate another, non-poisoned load?

Also, when you wash it off in the shower, if you rub a bar of soap over the area, will the soap then spread the oil to the next shower user (assuming you share a bar of soap with someone)?

How about pets? How long does it last on pet fur?
Old 07-30-2015, 05:52 PM
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It's an oil, and soap makes it dissolve into water, like other oils. (Dissolve isn't exactly the right word, but close enough.)

When I have to mess with it, I wear disposable gloves, strip directly into the washing machine, wash my hands and arms, run the wash, shower, and dress in clean clothes. If I thought I got much my clothes, I would then run the wash again. Oh, and I try really hard to keep it off my shoes in the first place.

People do sometimes get it from petting animals, but unless the animal went crashing through a mess of it, the dose you'd get off your pet is likely to be small.
Old 07-30-2015, 07:45 PM
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I find that a liberal slathering with alcohol or hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol before washing with soap and water does a really excellent job of removing it from skin. It's soluble in alcohol, whereas soap merely weakens the oily bond that holds it onto skin. Do both, and it's done gone.

Have to get to it pretty quickly, though. Within a few hours, the urushiol has chemically bonded to proteins in your skin and converted to something else and then your reaction is set. At that point, it won't spread any further, but it still is gonna suck for a few days until your body deals with it.
Old 07-30-2015, 07:49 PM
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If you get it on your skin the first thing to do is rinse it off with cold water. Then use detergent or soap to clean further, but don't use hot water at any point, that will cause the oil to spread and open your pores.
Old 07-30-2015, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by markn+ View Post
If it were me, I'd wear a disposable painter's Tyvek coverall while messing with the plants.

--Mark
I wish I'd known this the last time I messed with the stuff. Tucked the few branches under my arm til I could get to the garbage can. Soaked through the shirt and undershirt. Mister Torso was not pleased.
Old 07-30-2015, 08:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Ethilrist View Post
Family historical note: Do not use poison oak branches as hot dog sticks.
Also, do not use it as firewood. ALSO also, do not, after collecting said firewood, scratch you genitals....let's just say the next few weeks were...LESS than comfortable...
Old 08-01-2015, 01:58 PM
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Originally Posted by TriPolar View Post
Then use detergent or soap to clean further
I have found that dishwashing liquid works for me*.
Back when I lived in horrible poison ivy country, (fortunately, many years ago, and haven't seen it since!)-- I would take a shower with dishwashing liquid from the kitchen sink.





*(my theory: dishwashing liquid is designed to remove fat and vegetable oils, and poison ivy is like an oil)
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