How-To-Guide: Washing Poison Ivy off Your Clothes

Wet clothes hanging on a line to dry.

If you've ever been a victim of poison ivy, you know it's no fun. Almost 85% of the population in the U.S is allergic to poison ivy. The poison ivy rash is caused by urushiol, found in all parts of poison ivy. Urushiol bonds to the skin and can stay on surfaces for years, so it's essential to wash your clothes and skin if you think you've touched the plant. But, throwing your clothes into the washer without taking the proper precautions can contaminate other clothes or worsen the rash.

Though many people's best advice for poison ivy is not to touch it and avoid it, we all know this is easier said than done. Especially if you live in North America where poison ivy is mainly found. And if you love the outdoors and spend a lot of time in wooded areas, there's a good chance you will run into some poison ivy.

Washing clothes after contact with poison ivy is essential; that's a given. The question is, how? Do you need to throw away all your clothes? Do you need to wash them in hot water?

If you're unlucky to have poison ivy on your clothes and need to get rid of it, try these steps to wash clothes with Tecnu Original to effectively remove poison ivy.

1. Check for colorfastness on a concealed corner of the fabric.

Colorfastness refers to a fabric's ability to resist color changes when it comes into contact with other substances like Tecnu Original. This can be particularly important for materials that will be washed or exposed to chemicals.

To test the color fastness of a garment you wish to wash, take a small portion of fabric that will not be visible when worn. Place it in an inconspicuous area (such as under the collar).

Colorfastness is essential when using Tecnu Original for washing clothes with urushiol. If you are not careful while cleaning, then the entire batch of laundry can become damaged without any idea of how or why.

2. Soak contaminated clothing in Tecnu Original for several minutes after placing it in a bucket or dishpan.

In this stage, you have to make sure that all parts of the contaminated clothes are damp. This is necessary because you need to get rid of all the urushiol present on clothes. Soak clothing for several minutes before washing them.

3. Launder clothing by itself with your usual, laundry detergent in the hottest water it will tolerate.

This will ensure that you remove any oils and resin from your clothes after contact with poison ivy. Using heavy-duty settings ensures that there will be enough agitation to work into the fabric and loosen any stubborn bits of plant.

4. Enjoy your clothes free of poison ivy, oak and sumac oil!

What should I do if I can't wash my clothes immediately after contacting poison ivy?

There are several reasons why you might not be able to wash your clothes immediately after coming into contact with poison ivy plants. For example, you might have performed a physical activity when brushing against the plants. Or you're camping in a remote area with no access to running water for washing clothes.

It is important to change clothing so your body isn’t continuing to be in contact with the urushiol oil. Pack the affected items separately from your other clothing; a plastic bag works great for this. Any skin that is in contact with the affected clothing should be wiped down with Tecnu Original and then wiped off with a clean cloth or towel to removed any transferred oil. Another option is to use waterless Tecnu Detox Wipes. Upon returning home,wash the poison ivy oil off of your clothes by using Tecnu Original Cleanser as stated above.

There's no absolute reason to throw out your clothes if you get poison ivy on them. As with other kinds of clothing stains, the sooner you treat your clothes after contact, the better your chances of eradicating the oil. With this simple guide, you should be able to save your clothes that have been in contact with poison ivy and wear them again.

Staying safe and healthy while outdoors is important, but there's a lot more to it than avoiding poison ivy. Be sure to prepare yourself whenever you're exploring a new place by bringing first aid for relief from outdoor itches. To know more about how you protect yourself from itchy rashes, visit TecLabs now!