How to rid garden tools of Poison Ivy oil?

ellenr22September 26, 2006

hi, everyone,

Do you think bleach would work?

I get PI every time I go to my garden. Even tho I can see the stuff, I am never in contact with it. Maybe the oil is spread by animals or other peoples' feet to where I am. I finally realized (duh!) it is probably all over my gloves and tools. Gloves I can replace, but not my tools.

any ideas?



BTW- does anyone know - can PI spread thru the air? I can't figure out for sure how I'm getting it.

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I've just done some research, and read that soap and water will wash it off tools.
Stilll interested to hear any other responses.


    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:40AM
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Poison ivy is not necessarily the culprit. A number of plants and other things can cause unpleasant reactions. PI is a very likely suspect however and I am not suggesting that you rule it out yet.
Poison ivy vines or roots are often underground or under leaf cover, etc. in places where they are not so visible or obvious above ground and sometimes those parts are not so leafy and, thus, harder to notice or to identify. I have inadvertently unearthed PI roots and vines several times when weeding and digging in areas that seemed completely free of PI. Any part of the plant can give you the rash so the underground portions are certainly a problem. I've never heard of poison ivy spewing the poising into the air on its own but if it is burned the smoke is a very serious problem and is one of the many dangers for firefighters in wooded areas. Also, since any part of the plant can be trouble (even after dead) little bits and pieces of it that are not really noticeable can still cause problems.
Soap and water should work for cleaning the tools. The trick is being thorough since even a tiny amount of the oil can cause the rash. I would first give a good blast of cold water to the tools before applying soap.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 6:35PM
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joy4me(z6 NY)

Bob is right about it spreading when burning. I had a neighbor have to go to the hospital from inhaling it.

I would suggest you pick up a bottle of poison Ivy cleanser. It's sold in the same area where allergy and PI products are sold. Put gloves on your hands when cleaning the tools and doing gardening if you can. Then follow up with a good washing right after with the cleanser. Put your clothing separately from other items until you can launder them. PI oil does stay on pets fur and you can get it that way or even from your clothes if you were walking through a patch.

    Bookmark   September 26, 2006 at 10:40PM
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Thanks for the info!
The gardenweb internet community comes thru again.
I have learned more about PI in the last 2 days than I knew there was to know.
Altho it is a small annoyance to me (I know it can be serious to some) I am going out today and do the washing, and feel confident I can eliminate or reduce this one annoyance in my life.!


    Bookmark   September 27, 2006 at 10:31AM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

Try Palmolive dish soap (the green soap) diluted in hot water. Regular hand soap doesn't work, it often just spreads PI oil around. The next person using the bar of soap could pick up the poison ivy oils.

A co-worker got oozing PI rash on her face and limbs. She showered with Palmolive mixed with water and the rash stopped spreading, and was gone very quickly. Palmolive, diluted, is very easy on the skin.

I keep a bottle on hand for when I work around PI. I always clean up with Palmolive and have had great luck so far.

I would wash the tools in a bucket made with the same proportions as if you were washing dishes. Do not use the straight soap. Dish soaps are designed to be diluted and do not work properly unless they are mixed with water.

Use a brush to wash the tools, rinse and air dry. If the tools are prone to rust, oil them when dry. I have started using unrefined safflower oil to treat my saw blades after washing. I wipe off the excess oil with a cloth or paper towel. They are looking great and don't seem to have any residue buildup.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2006 at 11:10PM
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Flowerkitty(Z6 or Z5 SE MI)

Correctiion. I checked the oil I used on my tools.It is Expeller Pressed High Heat Safflower oil, refined for high heat. I buy it in the organic section at Krogers supermarket. I store it in the refrigerator.

This is the second season I have used it in my pole trimmer instead of petroleum based oil and it is working well. (This is something I would never have tried, but my brother gave me the trimmer as a gift, and he loaded it with this oil. I wouldn't mix it with petroleum based oils, but this was a new trimmer)

Since I had the bottle, I have been using it on tools too.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2006 at 10:17PM
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