How to Clean Poison Ivy Off of Tools

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Washing tools properly removes poison ivy oils to prevent an allergic reaction.
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If you have a poison ivy problem in your garden or yard, figuring out how to clean poison ivy off of tools is important. Many gardeners and hikers know the itchy implications of coming in contact with poison ivy and do their best to avoid touching the vines. Removing poison ivy from a garden is necessary to keep all who enter the garden safe from the rash.


Some gardeners use garden tools to rip poison ivy out of the ground. While removing poison ivy, they wear protective clothing thinking they are safe from the effects of poison ivy since they never touched the vine only to discover the telltale blisters. Unfortunately, urushiol, the itch-causing substance, remains on tool surfaces, menacingly awaiting the next touch. Proper cleaning can help keep you from getting poison ivy.

Things You'll Need

How to Clean Poison Ivy Off Tools

Step 1: Prepare a Cleaning Solution

Fill a large plastic tub, trashcan or bucket with hot water. Add grease-fighting detergent according to the manufacturer's directions based on the amount of wash water. Emulsifying detergents act to break down the poison ivy oils.


Step 2: Put on Protection

Put on tight-fitting rubber gloves, eye protection, long pants, long-sleeve shirt and a mask. Slather a commercially available poison ivy protective lotion on all exposed areas of the skin. This protective gear reduces the risk of coming into contact with the substance that causes the reaction.

Step 3: Soak Non-Power Tools

Place the poison ivy-infected tools in the soapy wash water, unless they are power tools. Use care so as not to allow the tools to touch any clothing other than the rubber gloves. Let the tools soak in the hot water for 10 to 15 minutes. Scrub all tool surfaces with a rag to scrub away the poison ivy. Do not touch the tools bare-handed until you clean them.


Step 4: Wipe Power Tools

Dip a rag in the soapy water and wipe all surfaces with the rag when cleaning power tools. Disconnect the power from tools before washing them. Be careful to keep the water and moisture away from the motor.

Step 5: Rinse the Tools

Rinse the tools with a garden hose to remove the soapy residue. Dry the tools with a clean, dry rag to remove moisture that can cause rust.

Step 6: Wipe Tools With Isopropyl Alcohol

Soak a rag with isopropyl alcohol and wipe down all tools surfaces. Isopropyl alcohol helps to disinfect poison ivy-affected surfaces. Use isopropyl alcohol that's at least 70 percent.


Step 7: Apply Linseed Oil

Apply a light coat of linseed oil to protect your tools from rust after heavy water exposure. Dip a clean cloth into the linseed oil and wipe a thin layer on the tools.

Step 8: Wash Your Protective Gear

Wash all clothing and footwear you wore while cleaning the tools in hot water and detergent to remove poison ivy. Run an empty washing machine through one to two cycles with grease-fighting detergent before washing other clothing. Wash the eye protection with hot water and grease-fighting detergent in case of accidental poison ivy exposure. Discard the rubber gloves.



Sal Marco

Sal Marco began writing professionally in 2009. He has written many online home improvement articles based on his more than 20 years of experience in the home improvement and building industries. He has worked as both part of a team and as a site supervisor. Marco has a Bachelor of Science in management science from Kean University.