You’re enjoying a nice walk in your camping trip when you accidentally step into a poison ivy vine. And yours wouldn’t be a rare case, at some point in time, you might come across same situation.

Poison ivy oil can cause an allergic skin reaction, causing blisters, bruises, swelling and rashes. Poison ivy, poison oak and poison sumac all contain the same substance (toxicodendrol or urushiol) that causes blister, itchy rash that occurs 12 to 72 hours after direct contact with these plants.

It may not come into contact with your skin if you wear long pants and shoes, but you still need to wash this hazardous oil from your shoes to avoid contamination.

Fortunately, though, it’s pretty simple to get rid of poison ivy from your shoes. In this article, we’ll show you how to clear poison ivy from your shoes. A few minutes of following these tips and measures can save you days, weeks, or even months of discomfort. Read on along with a list of other camping tips and tricks!

Any shoes that come into contact with poison ivy that spread oil or urushiol to others. Wash them is very necessary, therefore. But before you continue with the washing process, you need to separate your shoes and gather all the necessary materials.

Why poison ivy causes so much reaction?

poison ivy

Poison ivy contains a kind of resin called urushiol. This oily, sticky, clear resin can trigger an immune system response that results in rashes and other reactions that require treatment with a physician or over the counter drugs.

Urushiol can be present in every part of the plant throughout the year and remains active even in dried and dead plants for 2-5 years. Here’s some more detail about this stuff.

Unwashed clothing may still deliver active urushiol a year or two later. If your shoes are exposed to poison ivy, never brush against other things or clothes, and never touch it your bare skin.

If you use gloves to remove poison ivy, never allow the exposed area to come into contact with your eyes or skin until it is cleaned.

The preparations

Once you wash poison ivy away from your clothes, you need to remove your shoes and leave them outside and away from people. You don’t want to contaminate the inside of your home and spread oil to your floor.

If shoes come into contact with poison ivy, the oil that causes skin irritation can stay on the surface of the shoes for a very long time. The oil should be extracted before it can create more problems and contaminate more surfaces. You would need the following materials to do this:

  • Laundry detergent. To extract urushiol oils and clean your shoes from them, you would need to brush daily and wash them with a laundry detergent with the maximum water temperature recommended for shoes.
  • Rubber gloves. The value of wearing gloves can not be stressed enough. You need to protect your skin from oil while you’re washing it. Nothing could bemore pre-requisite than that.
  • Bristle Brush. You’d need a brush to clean the inside and the outside of your shoe.

Washing the poison ivy from shoes

Removing poison ivy from your shoes is simple and can help prevent contamination. Until continuing with this point, make sure that you followed the tips in the first segment. Once all the materials have been collected and set up, the entire process can be done in four steps:

  • Preparing the shoes for washing
  • Start Scrubbing
  • Rinsing
  • Drying

Preparing the shoes

When removing the poison ivy from your feet, you need to do this by hand washing the inside and the outside of your shoes to absorb the oils.

Take off the laces. The trick is to mix a standard laundry detergent–at least 1/8 cup of detergent and 2 cups of hot water.

Start scrubbing

Use a soft brush to clean the inside and the outside of the shoe. Clean all the surfaces, but don’t get them dirty. You need to do this step quickly and thoroughly, as the oil residue will stick to the corners and seams.

Don’t forget to brush the laces as well, as they may have come into contact with the plant as well. Still, be vigilant even when washing your laces, because even a small amount of olive oil can still irritate your skin.


Then, using clean white cloth and clear water, rinse the inside and outside of the feet. Again, you need to do this step quickly and thoroughly, as the residue of the oil may still be left behind even after it has been cleaned.


Put them on a cool, breezy spot away from direct exposure to heat or sunlight and let them dry. It may be a few days before the shoes get dry. If it seems stiff, treat the leather with a leather conditioner.

Is there a natural way to kill poison ivy?

White vinegar is going to kill poison ivy, although it might take a few days to remember. … If you want, you can use calcite lime to neutralize some vinegar in the soil afterwards. Salt, water and a spray of natural soap. Mix 1 gallon of water with 3 lbs of salt until well absorbed, add 1/4 cup of natural soap.

Additional tips and warnings

poison ivy

If you’ve got someone to help you with your laundry, don’t forget to remind them that you ran into poison ivy with your shoes.

Teach them the tips listed here and remind them never to forget to use gloves while doing the washing procedure. They’re going to appreciate your concern!

If your shoes come into contact with poison ivy, however you believe that they are already expendable, it’s best to throw them away instead of running the risk of washing them and doing an imperfect job. Any amount of residue left on your shoes may still irritate your skin.

Wash your shoes as soon as possible. The longer you leave the oil unwashed, the more difficult it will be to clean it. Don’t just put your shoes in store somewhere hoping that the oil will quickly decay. The oil will not decay without washing for years to come.

Don’t put your shoes in the washing machine with the other sheets. There is a chance that urushiol will remain in the water and that other clothes will be contaminated before the rest of them are flushed away.


As a typical experience with poison ivy oil may be, you now know how to deal with this poisonous pest and avoid direct physical contact when removing it from your feet. Now you can go on your camping trips and think less about these dangerous plants.

Again, if you happen to step upon a poison ivy plant:

  • Wash your feet immediately with liquid detergent mixed with hot water. Do not forget to use rubber gloves in the process, as urushiol will not be easily contaminated when in contact with the cleaning mixture.
  • To prevent any contamination, wash the shoes separately from other products and the rest of the household.

We hope you’ve learned a lot from this message. If you have questions and inquiries, please feel free to write them down in the comments section.