Sticks & Stems, Finding Poison Ivy in the Winter

Young father and little son with camera in nature.

Many people mistakenly believe poison ivy and oak are solely warm-weather concerns. However, these plants pose a risk even in the dead of winter. This article will guide you through identifying poison ivy in its dormant state and offer practical advice for staying safe while enjoying the outdoors during the colder months. We'll also introduce you to a must-have product for your winter outdoor kit: Tecnu Detox Wipes.

The Persistent Threat of Urushiol

Urushiol, the oil responsible for the rash and irritation caused by poison ivy and oak, remains active on the plants even when they appear dead or dormant. This means that contact with these plants' bare stems and sticks in winter can still lead to an uncomfortable rash. The key to safety is understanding how to identify these plants throughout the seasons.

Identifying Poison Ivy in Winter

During winter, poison ivy loses its notorious leaves of three, but you can still identify it by looking for specific characteristics:

Bare Stems and Vines

Look for the characteristic woody, hair-like vines that climb up trees or structures.


Some poison ivy plants have white berries that persist through the winter.

Leaf Scars

You'll notice small but clear divots on the plant stems at the points where leaves were once attached.

Knowing what to look for is crucial, as a dormant poison ivy plant can easily blend into the surrounding vegetation.

Can You Get Poison Ivy Rash in the Winter?

The answer is yes. Urushiol oil remains potent on the plants and any contaminated gear or clothing, making it essential to clean up properly after outdoor activities.

Winter Time Maintenance and Protection

When cleaning up your garden or hiking in areas where poison ivy may be present, protect yourself by wearing long sleeves and gloves. If you suspect contact with poison ivy:

1. Wash Your Skin

Wash with Tecnu Original or Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Scrub and mild water to clean any areas that may have come into contact with the plant.

2. Clean Your Gear

Remember to clean your gardening tools, clothing, and outdoor gear. Urushiol can remain active on these surfaces for a long time, but utilizing products like Tecnu Original or Tecnu Detox Wipes can remove any residue and prevent the spread of poison ivy.

3. Use Detox Wipes

Tecnu Detox Wipes are specially formulated to remove urushiol from the skin, pets and tools. They're a convenient and effective way to prevent the oil's spread and nip any potential reactions in the bud.

While poison ivy may be out of sight in the winter, it should not be out of mind. By learning to identify the plant in its dormant state and taking the right precautions, you can enjoy the outdoors safely year-round. Remember to keep Tecnu Detox Wipes handy for immediate and effective urushiol removal, ensuring your winter adventures remain rash-free.