How to Remove Poison Ivy

by Barbara Walvoord

(first published in the Lathrop Lamp Post Sept. 9, 2016)

Last week’s column talked about how to walk in the woods or fields and not get poison ivy.  When I am working, rather than just walking, where there may be poison ivy, I use the same precautions that were described last week, except that now I wear canvas work gloves and long sleeves, with no gap between glove and sleeve; when I get home, I spray and rinse not only my boots, but also my tools; and I throw my gloves into the washing machine along with any other clothing that may be contaminated. Then, if poison ivy has gotten on my skin in the process of all this, I have 30 minutes to wash it off, first using rubbing alcohol and then soap, with plenty of cool rinse water.
If I am actually going to pull poison ivy, here’s what I do: I have in my
pocket a few of those plastic bags that newspapers come in, and a
few regular plastic grocery bags. To remove the poison ivy, I slip newspaper plastic bags over both my work gloves, pulling the bags up high on my arm so the top edge does not get contaminated.

 Then I use one plastic-covered hand to pull the poison ivy, as in the photo on the top of this page. I put the poison ivy into the grocery bag, trying not to let it touch the outside of the bag.
When I have pulled all the poison ivy, I use my uncontaminated hand to grasp the very top of the plastic bag that is on my pulling hand. I pull the plastic bag down over my arm and hand, turning the bag inside out as I go.
Now I put the inside-out bag into the grocery bag along with the poison ivy. Then I use my gloved hand to pull the plastic bag from the other arm in the same way, and I put this second inside-out bag into the grocery bag with the poison ivy, close it up, and throw it into the trash. When I get back to the house at the end of my work session, I take the washing precautions described at the beginning of this post

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