Bleach & Poison Ivy

XeramatheumMay 12, 2005

A few days ago I did a search of the Weeds Forum to see if there were any good ideas for getting rid of poison ivy. I kept seeing the bleach method and tried it. It works. I used that ultra bleach, undiluted. Seeing it worked so well I went and bought cheap rotgut bleach. Probably will work even better.

This picture was taken 10 minutes after I sprayed it with bleach. It already looks kind of sick. And it rained that night.

This picture was taken today, 2 days later.

The nice thing about bleach is that it become inert or harmless after it dries.

I am going to try it on other weeds.


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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

I wonder if you wouldn't want to research a little more before adding too much...It wouldn't be good for an area where you'd like to replant acid loving or salt sensitive plants like azaleas and rhododendrons, heathers.

We don't have poison ivy so I haven't had reason to use it...I have sparingly used powdered bleach alternative (generic Clorox II) on moss in paths with good results.

Here is a link that might be useful: Colorado State, bleach as herbicide

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 12:42AM
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Way to go, X! Sorry, but I've been a sufferer of poison oak rashes one too many times, so I celebrate the death of the ivy, too. :D

Did you plan on planting any acid-loving plants there in the future?


    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 11:11AM
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I'm not to worried about alkalinity since there are pine needles everywhere. When I spray, I'm as careful as I can be concerning other plants. I tend to think it would take gallons to alter the soil significantly even after reading the link Mor posted. Besides, it's easily correctible.

I like the instant results I got with the bleach.Those leaves were curling up and cringing 4 hours after application! I noticed there was little damage on the other plants that surrounded the ivy, which makes me think that poison ivy may be particularly susceptible to it.


    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 12:01PM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

And that's the problem-the instant results you see probably will not do the job. Like vinegar, it's obviously a contact killer and not absorbed into the roots that need to be killed as well.
It may take many, many sprays to do the job. For all that time you might be better off buying some nitrile gloves, safety glasses and and a product designed for brush control that can be applied on the cut portion of the stem. It will do the job quicker and more effeciently.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 12:22PM
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morz8(Washington Coast Z8b)

Rosa, that was a very good point. I occasionally use Finale (rather than Roundup) for some toughies like horsetail and blackberry, and it seems to take longer to work - but will really kill the offending plants - when slightly diluted from the container directions. Although I think most people would think stronger is better - it's not better long term.

    Bookmark   May 13, 2005 at 6:59PM
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johnpeter(10b LongBeachCA)

Yeah, I'm fighting an epic battle with field bindweed, with roots from Hell. "Slow death" is the proper prescription. Gotta get the herbicide into the ROOTS. Burning or chopping the tops is counterproductive.
I don't know anything about erradicating poison ivy. Does it have a substantial root mass? Looks like it would, based on the mass of greenery I see in the picture.

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 9:22AM
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Rosa(4ish CO Rockie)

Yeah-burning or chopping the tops of many invasive weeds like this just makes them madder than h#!!-they tend to resprout more vigorously from root buds afterwards. Vinegar doesn't work on Canada thistle either unless you count double the number you started with as some kind of a bonus...grrrrr.

And sorry to hear about you bindweed probs john. Are the Aceria mites available in your area as a biological control option?

    Bookmark   May 14, 2005 at 1:35PM
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Furthermore, burning any plant containing urushiol (poison ivy, oak, or sumac all do) will result in airborne urushiol floating in the smoke. This can cause severe reactions in anyone downwind. My husband was playing in his backyard when he was 12 years old and grabbed some dead poison ivy and threw it into the garbage fire. He awoke the next morning with pain in his lungs and throat and his head was swollen. He could not open his eyes. I'm not sure how long it took this condition to clear up but you can be sure he learned his lesson about burning poison ivy! (He also happens to be one of those people who has more severe reactions than the average so he really does his best to steer clear of it in any form. Last year he mowed his father's lawn and although he didn't see any poison ivy on the fence when he mowed next to it, he got a severe rash on his right leg which caused pain right through the muscle and took about 5 months to completely clear up. He still has a slight pink discoloration on that area of his leg.)

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 6:26PM
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just_curious(7b/8a Canada)

I'm going to be trying Bry84's solution to these long rooted plants this year, 'put them into a bucket of low solution roundup and let them grow'.
I believe this has a lot of potential.

    Bookmark   May 16, 2005 at 10:02PM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

I totally agree that the highly satisfying damage to the poison ivy leaves is just cosmetic and not permanent.

Another factor to consider is the soil contamination. Contrary to belief, pine needles are only very mildly acidic in reaction with the soil and don't have much of an effect at all. I sure wouldn't let too much of the run off get into the soil.

Has anyone tried any of the de-sensitizing remedies for poison ivy prevention? I quite a few outdoor workers who swear by it and get themselves 'fixed up' every spring.

    Bookmark   May 18, 2005 at 12:40PM
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You might try using Clear Out (it is like Round Up) which is sold at Rural King and probably other farm stores. My husband uses it on his fields. I think it might be a nitros solution. Just be sure not to use it on your other plants. My husband has said NOT to spray it on ground where corn has been planted but, it can be sprayed on ground where soybeans have been planted.
Hope this helps you some!

    Bookmark   May 19, 2005 at 2:44AM
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ericasj(6B-7 NJ)

You might want to try something with the active ingredient triclopyr. I've been buying it as Ortho's Brush B Gone spray. Good on all kinds of woody weeds like poison ivy, and it is supposed to get the roots. Last time I checked the recommendations in our local Cooperative Extension booklet, triclopyr was what they recommended as an herbicide for poison ivy.

It's far from "safe and organic", though.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 12:05PM
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Triclopyr in that form does work well on woody vines as you state. The primary safety issue with this particular active ingredient is corrosivity, and precautions should be taken to protect the eyes of the applicator, as the label should state.

    Bookmark   May 21, 2005 at 1:04PM
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I heard that after coming in contact with this poison ivory bleach will prevent you from getting a rash

    Bookmark   November 5, 2006 at 1:56PM
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I seriously doubt that using bleach, even though it is very alkaline, to kill weeds of any kind would change the soils pH much. It would take many gallons to make any significant change. However, since bleach is a very effective bacteria stat it will kill off your soil bacteria rendering your soil sterile, probably for a long time and for that reason should not be used for weed control.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 5:21PM
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I am looking for something that will kill everything, then make the ground sterile so that nothing will grow back.

    Bookmark   August 4, 2009 at 3:08PM
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I think anything that could prople the oil apart would work? I am thinking maybe stuff used for cat/dog urine since that attacks protein. Is oil a protein base concept? Poision Ivy from what I read is saturated in its oil, so disrupt the oil then you cut the plant. I saw a receipe for 2 cups of bleach, 1/2? cup of hydrogen peroxide (?) and 1 cup of salt? I thought the Hydrogen would react to the bleach? Oh well.

Benadryl cream works well on the skin (:))

Hum. Makes me wonder if Dawn would kill these things internally since it disrupts the oil. Dawn and warm water? Who knows. What about vinegar and Dawn? That should wreck havoc on the system--and safer on the soil than bleach, probably will not linger as long either?

Look what I found:

    Bookmark   May 3, 2011 at 10:35PM
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i cutted leaves from my fence nd when i was done my face felt swollen nd it was kinda red..!! are these symptoms of posipn ivy.!! i washd my hands asap took clothes off nd showr asap ..!!! redness nd swelling went down nd icthyness kinda went down..! does posion ivy spread through out your body..!!?????

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 12:14PM
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Tiffany, purpleinopp GardenWeb, Z8b Opp, AL

Poison ivy does not grow because it has oils, it has oils because it grows.

No, Kate, poison ivy is not systemic, it is a contact dermatitis and can't be spread further once the oil (urishiol) is gone.

Although the original post is about 6 years old, anyone still reading should know that 2 days is not enough time to know if one has killed poison ivy.

For more information about what poison ivy looks like, how to kill it, how the urishiol works to cause a rash, etc... please use the internet which you have used to find this discussion and consult reputable sources, such as universities and county extension services, to educate yourself. Old wives' tales are fun but poison ivy should be taken more seriously.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 3:01PM
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