How long does Poison Ivy stay on clothes?

We all know how problematic poison ivies can be for humans. Going outside, especially in the mountains or forests, becomes incredibly cumbersome as you risk encountering a Poison Ivy.

If anyone even accidentally bumps into it or steps on it, its toxic oil can stick to the clothes or shoes, and they can come home with a source of a nasty infection. The rashes can last more than two weeks and is an annoying and painful experience.

Thus, everyone needs to know precisely how long poison ivy oil stays on clothes. 

How long does Poison Ivy stay on clothes?

The poison ivy plant is not poisonous; instead, it is the toxic resin it creates that causes skin infection. The oil is called urushiol, which is present in every part of the plant.

The oil lasts on the lifeless body of the poison ivy plant for almost two to three years, meaning you can contract this infection also with a dead plant.

Urushiol can even linger on unwashed clothes for more than two years. So it is a must for everyone to wash their belongings and clothes after coming in contact with poison ivy.

What to do after you come in contact with Poison Ivy?

1. Wash the Clothes

If you are lucky enough to let poison ivy brush only against your clothes, wear a glove and remove the clothes carefully. Ensure you do not rub your hands against your eyes, nose, or mouth. Always use protective gear while handling things and clothes with urushiol oil.

After that, wash everything in a strong detergent at the highest temperature. Try to do it more than once and ensure you clean all your clothes separately for better cleaning. 

2. Clean Yourself

After cleaning the clothes, bathing thoroughly comes next. You can accidentally get in touch with the oil while washing your clothes, so it is better to take a bath immediately. Use strong soap, detergents, or even rubbing alcohol. 

You may not be infected if you can wash the oil off within 15 minutes of contact. But this heavily depends on skin sensitivity, which varies from person to person.

3. Clean The Shoes

Shoes are also easily contaminated as they have the highest chance of coming in direct contact with poison ivy without you knowing. You can use a washing machine if the shoes are machine washable. 

But for those that need hand washing, use laundry soap and a sponge to clean it properly. Again do not forget to use gloves.

Check how long Poison Ivy lasts on the skin.

Wrapping It Up

Following these steps, one can avoid being infected if they somehow manage to prevent urushiol from touching their body. But if you did touch urushiol, you can apply home remedies to keep the infection at bay or consult a doctor for better results. 

Other than that, poison ivy is not known to be deadly, so there is no need to worry about that. 

Featured Img Src: FamartinCC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.