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 the 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 a 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 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.

First, take care of your skin.

If you have been exposed to poison ivy, poison oak, or poison sumac, thoroughly wash the affected region to eliminate any urushiol left on the plant. Once urushiol has linked with your skin, it changes chemical properties and will no longer trigger an allergic reaction.

Unbonded urushiol, particularly that found on gear and clothing such as hiking boots, can still induce an allergic reaction; however, this is less common because a casual touch across poison ivy is unlikely to leave a large enough deposit to trigger a major allergic reaction.

However, before you can clean your shoes and other clothing, you must first wash your skin to avoid the urushiol from spreading and producing a greater rash. There are numerous products available on the market to treat skin that has come into contact with poison ivy or other sumac plants.

Fels-Naptha is an excellent product made specifically to remove urushiol from the skin. Naptha was a key element in the product before it was eliminated due to health concerns, but the soap is still effective at removing urushiol.

The easiest technique to remove urushiol oil from your skin is to scrub the affected region with soap in tepid water and a customized product like Fels-Naptha. Hot water will open your pores, allowing the oil to move deeper.

Taking a particularly hot shower after the oil has been removed from your skin will help relieve the itching rash caused by urushiol, but it’s better not to use too hot water to rinse the oil off your skin at first. To reduce swelling, use a topical lotion or an antihistamine.

Seek medical assistance as soon as possible if the response is severe or spreads to sensitive places such as the genitals.

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 the 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 be more pre-requisite than that.
  • Bristle Brush. You’d need a brush to clean the inside and the outside of your shoe.

Also, after loading the garments into the machine, clean the laundry basket or hamper that held them by scrubbing it with detergent and hot water. If you are fortunate enough to have someone else assist you with laundry, make sure to inform them that the items may have been exposed to poison ivy.

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 follow 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 a 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 in 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 afterward.

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.

Leather vs. Poison Ivy Oil

Worse, when poison ivy oil comes into touch with materials such as leather, it retains 100 percent of its power for several years.

This is due to the fact that leather is a porous material that easily absorbs whatever it comes into contact with.

Poison ivy oils can stay in leather boots, shoes, jackets, and gloves and transfer their venom to your skin. As a result, it is critical that you treat your leather items that have come into contact with poison ivy plants properly so that your skin does not come into contact with it and your leather is not ruined.

How to get poison ivy out of leather

Now that we’ve established the need to remove poison ivy oil from leather let’s go through my step-by-step guide on how to do so.

1. Use specially formulated products like Tecnu

Using properly developed leather care solutions to remove poison ivy oils from leather shoes, boots, furniture, purses, coats, and other items is unquestionably an effective and safe method.

These specifically developed treatments are typically tough on stains and oils while being mild and safe on leather. This is related to the pH suitability of the formulation used in these goods.

Any leather product used on leather must have a pH balance. On a pH scale of 1 to 10, a pH neutral (5) is ideal for the product you use on your leather items.

Tecnu is an example of one of the most successful treatments for removing poison ivy oil or urushiol from leather and textiles.
Pro Tip: Using specifically developed products to remove poison ivy oil from leather is one of the most efficient ways to deal with this issue. It’s also worth noting that there are several sorts of leather with a variety of surface treatments.

So, before applying a specific product to leather, test it on an inconspicuous section of the leather item before applying it to the entire leather.

Here’s how to remove poison ivy oils from leather using specially developed treatments like Tecnu.

What You’ll Need:

  • Warm Water
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Tecnu
  • Lint-free cloth or rag
  • Pair of vinyl or cotton gloves


  1. Before you begin, put on your vinyl or cotton gloves.
  2. Put the thing through its paces. When utilizing remedies to remove stains like poison ivy oil, one of the first things you should do is test the strength of the product in an inconspicuous area of the leather.
  3. This will let you know if the product has any negative effects on the look or structure of the leather and, more significantly, if the product actually works. You should give it around 2-3 minutes to see how it works.
  4. If you’re happy with how the product responds or does not react with the leather, you can proceed by wetting a rag or lint-free cloth with a few drops of undiluted (for full-strength effect) Tecnu.
  5. Apply the Tecnu to the leather’s surface. Make certain that the leather is completely covered.
  6. Allow the Tecnu to sit on the leather surface for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Dampen another rag or lint-free rag with warm water and use it to wipe the leather item’s surface.
  8. You’d want to do it as thoroughly as possible without leaving any residue on the leather.
  9. Allow the leather to air dry. You can dry the leather in direct sunlight for around 5-10 minutes. You can also let the leather dry naturally.
  10. After fully drying the leather, condition it with a suitable leather conditioner.

Because treatments like Tecnu are quite potent, you should use a leather conditioner to restore the leather’s sheen and any natural oils that were lost during the poison ivy oil removal process.

I’m not implying that you can only use Tecnu to remove poison ivy oils from leather things. That is the product that my father and I have always used because we both enjoy being outside.

However, there are several leather cleaners on the market that you can use instead of Tecnu.

2. Using dish soap and rubbing alcohol

The rubbing alcohol and dish soap approach is a home remedy that uses common household products. This procedure requires goods that can be found in your first aid kit and kitchen.

Dish soap is very effective at removing and cutting through thick oil stains from leather and other household items, whilst alcohol is effective at killing a wide range of irritants.

So here’s how you may use these two items to properly remove poison ivy oils from leather items like bags, shoes, coats, boots, and shoes.

What You’ll Need:

  • Gloves made of vinyl or cotton
  • Warm water
  • dish soap
  • 2 or 3 lint-free rags or cloths
  • Rubbing with alcohol
  • Leather conditioner


  1. Before you begin, put on your vinyl or cotton gloves. This cannot be overstated.
  2. Make a soap solution by lathering 2-3 drops of dish soap in a cup of warm water.
  3. Wring out your lint-free rag or cloth after dampening it with the solution.
  4. Begin scrubbing the leather with a moistened rag. You should press or use your elbow to help remove any ivy oils that may have absorbed into the pores of the leather.
  5. Repeat this 2-3 times, making careful to wring out the rag between scrubs.
  6. After you’ve finished step 3, you can use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the leather’s surface.
  7. Apply a sufficient amount of rubbing alcohol to a clean, dry cloth and begin wiping down the cleaned leather’s surface.
  8. You should be as gentle as possible because pushing too hard on the leather with the alcohol-soaked towel will remove the polish or dyes.
  9. You can also spritz the alcohol so that you don’t risk destroying the leather finish by wiping it down too much.
  10. Using alcohol at this point will help to destroy the oils that transport the poison ivy irritants.
  11. What you will see at this time is that the alcohol, along with any leftover poison ivy oils, will swiftly disappear. Give it a minute or two, then move on to the next stage.
  12. To keep the dish soap and alcohol from drying out your leather, treat it with a leather conditioner.
  13. Depending on the type of leather, you can also use coconut oil or baby oil to keep the leather from drying out as a result of the washing and alcohol.
  14. Allow the leather to air dry. Done!

If you’re on a tight budget and don’t want to spend money on expensive solutions to remove poison ivy oil from leather, another efficient option is to use dish soap and rubbing alcohol.

This procedure should work nicely in most cases, and your leather items should be clear of any poison ivy oils that may have found their way onto them.

3. Laundry detergent technique

Laundry detergent is also an effective approach for eliminating poison ivy oil, particularly from synthetic leather.

This approach is perfect for fake leather because the surface is primarily formed of synthetic materials, the most popular of which are vinyl and PVC.

Here’s how to use washing detergent to get rid of poison ivy oil.

What You’ll Need:

  • Laundry detergent in liquid form
  • gloves made of vinyl or thick cotton
  • Brush with a soft bristle
  • Leather conditioner can be applied with a rag or an old towel.


  1. Before you begin, put on your vinyl or cotton gloves.
  2. Make a solution of liquid laundry detergent and hot water by combining 2 tablespoons of liquid laundry detergent and 2 cups of hot water.
  3. Dip your brush into the solution and use it to thoroughly scrub the leather.
  4. Scrub the leather’s surface two or three times.
  5. Dampen your rag with clean water and begin wiping the leather item’s surface.
  6. Cleaning and rinse until all soap residue is gone.
  7. Wipe away any excess water from the leather using a fully dry cloth.
  8. Allow the leather to dry naturally.

4. Method using white vinegar

White vinegar is a popular household ingredient that can be used for a variety of cleaning tasks on various substrates. White vinegar’s cleansing abilities are simply amazing, and it can also assist in eliminating unwanted odors and aromas.

White vinegar is mostly natural, inexpensive, and quite effective. Acetic acid is its main active component. These acids can aid in neutralizing alkaline substances and destroy irritants such as poison ivy oils.

Here’s how to remove poison ivy oil from leather with white vinegar.

What You’ll Need:

  • Water White Vinegar
  • Lint-free towel or cloth
  • Leather Conditioner
  • Vinyl or cotton gloves


  1. Before you begin, put on a pair of vinyl or cotton gloves.
  2. Mix one part white vinegar to one part water in a 1:1 ratio.
  3. Using a lint-free rag or cloth, dampen it with the white vinegar solution.
  4. Wipe the damp cloth over the entire surface of the leather. This procedure can be repeated 2-3 times.
  5. Allow the leather to sit for around 5 minutes.
  6. Wipe off the surface of the leather with a clean rag dampened with plain water.
  7. Allow the leather to dry and condition naturally.
  8. Allow the conditioned leather to dry completely.

This is one of the easiest but most efficient methods for removing moderate poison ivy oils from leather.

The only catch is that you’d have to cope with the vinegar’s first odor. The strong vinegar scent, on the other hand, will fade in a few days, if not hours.

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, if 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.

More tips:

  • Poison ivy oils can remain active on leather for up to 5 years.
  • When cleaning poison ivy oil from leather, always wear gloves.
  • To protect yourself when cleaning up poison ivy oil or Urushiol from your leather, wear heavy cotton gloves or vinyl gloves.
  • Rubber gloves, such as regular latex gloves, will not keep poison ivy oils away from your hands.
  • When you’re done removing poison ivy oils from your leather products, always wash your gloves. Because vinyl gloves are frequently used, they can be washed in hot water with regular dish soap.
  • If you use cotton gloves, you can wash them in the washing machine with regular detergent at the highest temperature.
  • When cleaning or removing poison ivy oils from leather, you should use the proper soaps. Detergents are often effective at removing urushiol or poison ivy oil from clothes and synthetic leathers, whereas dish soaps and saddle soaps are ideal for leather.
  • When using soap to remove poison ivy oil from leather, you should let the soap solution lie on the leather for a few seconds or minutes before scrubbing or rubbing it in.
  • If you opt to go the professional way, be sure to tell them about the type of contamination on your leather item.


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 or inquiries, please feel free to write them down in the comments section.