The 7 Best Poison Ivy and Poison Oak Prevention Products of 2020

Use these products to remove toxic oil and prevent poison ivy rash

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Our Top Picks

Dawn Dishwashing Liquid

The first step is to wash immediately after contact with poison oak, ivy, or sumac plants to remove the toxic oil, which bonds quickly to your skin. Dawn dishwashing liquid soap is a powerful grease-cleaning product. It's used to clean oil-contaminated wildlife, and it will help get the nasty toxic oil off your skin. You may want to carry some in a small plastic bottle in your car or backpack to use in case you are exposed to poison ivy or oak. Lather and rinse well with water. It's gentle on fur and feathers for wildlife, so it shouldn't be toxic for you.

PURELL Naturals Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is primarily alcohol, and you should apply alcohol as soon as possible to an area exposed to poison ivy or poison oak. Using hand sanitizer and a tissue is an easy solution. It would also be good to rinse with water afterward. It's one more reason you need to take hand sanitizer with you everywhere you go. If you're lost in the woods, it can also be used as a fire starter. Just don't set fire to any poison oak or ivy, as the smoke will contain the oil that causes the rash.

Alcohol Prep Pads

Webcol Alcohol Prep Pads
Webcol Alcohol Prep Pads. Courtesy of

NIOSH recommends immediately wiping the area of contact with alcohol to remove the toxic oil. Bringing individually packaged alcohol prep pads lets you do that conveniently. It's smart to carry these on longer walks as part of a blister kit. You can use them to clean any cuts or scrapes for first aid. Just be sure you are buying alcohol preps and not alcohol-free wipes, as alcohol is what's needed to remove the toxic oil. Rinse with water afterward. Also, authorities note that alcohol will strip protective oil from your skin and you need to be careful to avoid any more contact with poison plants for the rest of the day.

Tecnu Outdoor Skin Cleanser

Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser
Tecnu Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser. Courtesy of

This is the original skin cleanser from Tecnu, and you can also use it on gear and clothing. The manufacturer recommends washing skin within two hours of exposure, so it would be wise to keep this handy with your walking gear. But you can use it at any time after exposure to minimize the eventual rash. The key is removing the toxic oil from the skin whenever you can.

Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Scrub

Tecnu Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub
Tecnu Extreme Medicated Poison Ivy Scrub. Courtesy of

Tecnu is the pioneer in poison ivy and poison oak scrubs. This preparation is an actual scrub that contains grit to help you remove the toxic oil from the skin. Once the oil is off of the skin, the reaction to it stops and healing can start. You can use this scrub anytime after exposure. The sooner, the better.

All Terrain Poison Ivy/Oak Bar

All Terrain Poison Ivy/Oak Bar
All Terrain Poison Ivy/Oak Bar. Courtesy of

Hard-milled lye soap is the traditional scrub for after exposure to poison ivy or poison oak. All Terrain produces just such a bar, labeled for this use. It even includes a bag to save the soap in for future use. The soap lathers well, enabling it to strip all oils from the skin to get the toxic oil off. But this also dries out your skin, so the package includes moisturizers to help replace your own skin oil.

Fels Naptha Laundry Soap Bar

Fels-Naptha Soap
Fels-Naptha Soap. Courtesy of

Fels Naptha soap is a traditional scrub for the removal of poison ivy/oak oil from skin, clothing, and gear. As with other scrubs, it should be used as soon as possible after exposure to prevent the rash. But it can also be used after the rash develops to remove remaining oil and shorten the rash outbreak. You can treat clothing and gear that has been exposed with the soap. For clothing, dampen the cloth and rub on the soap as a pre-treatment before washing.

A Word From Verywell

As with so many things in life, prevention is the best cure. Learn what these plants look like and be wary of them when you are in areas where they grow. Be prepared to wash immediately if you have any suspected contact with these plants. You may not be able to completely avoid the rash, but you may help limit it.

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Article Sources
Verywell Fit uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Outsmarting Poison Ivy and Other Poisonous Plants. U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Updated August 6, 2016.

  2. Poisonous Plants. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Reviewed June 1, 2018.