Bleach is not effective at killing poison ivy because it does not kill plants down to the root. If you spray bleach on poison ivy, the leaves may shrivel and fall off but the vine will sprout back from the roots. In order to kill poison ivy permanently, treat it with a systemic herbicide or dig it up from the roots. Additionally, you should never use bleach to treat a poison ivy rash. While bleach can clean poison ivy resin off surfaces, it is not a safe skin treatment.
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Why Doesn’t Bleach Kill Poison Ivy Permanently?
Bleach will not kill poison ivy plants permanently because, like vinegar, it won’t kill the roots of the plant. Bleach dries out and shrivels plant leaves and stems, so you may think the poison ivy is dead at first, but poison ivy is extremely resilient. A poison ivy root system extends 8 inches (20 cm) underground. Any bleach sprayed or poured onto the plant won’t penetrate deeply enough to damage the roots. So, the poison ivy will begin to grow back in a few weeks.
- Bleach dries out parts of the poison ivy plant it is sprayed on but won’t penetrate soil to kill roots.
- If you kill poison ivy leaves and stems with bleach, it will grow back from the roots.
- Do not use a bleach weed killer with salt—salt will remain in the soil for years and kill nearby plants.
Some homemade bleach weed killer recipes include salt. Do not use one of these recipes. Salt will kill the poison ivy but it will also remain in the soil for years, preventing any other grass or plants from growing there. To make matters worse, rain and other water will spread the salt through the soil. You may pour a salt mixture in a small area but it will gradually spread, creating a growing dead zone in your lawn or garden.
What Should You Use to Kill Poison Ivy Plants?
Instead of bleach, use a method that will kill poison ivy without killing other plants or grass. One of the best choices is a systemic herbicide that will kill poison ivy without attacking grass. Crossbow is a herbicide that combines Triclopyr and 2,4-D herbicide to kill extremely tough brush. Because it contains systemic herbicide, Crossbow is absorbed by the poison ivy leaves and carried through the plant’s vascular system. This means it kills the plant entirely, including the roots, but won’t harm your grass. Bleach simply doesn’t have this killing power.
- This Crossbow herbicide will kill poison ivy down to the roots.
- A systemic herbicide that is absorbed by plant leaves is far more effective at killing tough poisonous plants than bleach.
- For a herbicide-free approach, cut poison ivy back to the ground and dig up the roots.
- Wear long sleeves, pants, gloves, and goggles whenever you are removing poison ivy.
- Proper protective clothing prevents allergic reactions and skin rash from contact with poison ivy.
If you’d like to use a chemical-free method to kill poison ivy, uproot it. Begin by using long-handled loppers to cut the poison ivy close to the ground. Then, use a shovel to dig up and uproot the entire plant. Wear gloves, goggles, and protective clothing when removing poisonous plants. Contact with poison ivy can cause a serious poison ivy rash. If you develop a rash after removing poison ivy, contact your doctor and consult these guidelines from poison control.
- Size: 1 Quart
- Controls most unwanted trees and brush.
- Use on rangeland, grass pastures, non-crop areas.
How Do You Use Bleach to Get Rid of Poison Ivy?
Bleach should only be used to remove poison ivy resin from surfaces. Poison ivy resins, also called urushiol oils, are the poisonous secretions of the poison ivy plant. They are also found in poison oak and poison sumac. These oils can easily cling to tools, clothes, and other items that have come in contact with poison ivy. If an item that has urushiol oil on it comes in contact with your skin, it can cause a poison ivy rash. Scrubbing the surface with bleach will help remove these toxins.
- Bleach can be used to clean poison ivy oils off surfaces.
- The urushiol oil found in poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac will cling to surfaces and tools.
- Scrub tools with a solution made of bleach and hot water to remove poisonous oils.
Bleach is a powerful cleaner that works well for cutting through plant oils. If you have just finished cutting poison ivy or uprooting it, scrub all your tools with a bleach solution to remove the urushiol oils and make the tools safe to handle again. Bleach is not useful for killing poison ivy plants or treating a skin rash, but it can still be used to clean surfaces and to get rid of poison ivy residue.
Can You Put Bleach On Your Skin to Kill Poison Ivy?
Never treat a poison ivy skin rash with bleach. This is dangerous and potentially harmful to your skin. Bleach can dry out your skin and worsen the redness and itching of a poison ivy rash. Poison control recommends treating a poison ivy skin rash with cool water showers, calamine lotion, and antihistamines among other options. If your rash persists or worsens, contact a doctor.
Can You Use Bleach to Kill Poison Ivy?
Bleach is a very poor choice for killing poison ivy and other poisonous plants. Here’s why:
- Bleach doesn’t kill poison ivy down to the roots.
- Poison ivy vines damaged by bleach will grow back from the roots.
- Use a systemic herbicide to kill poison ivy permanently.
- You can dig up poison ivy roots to kill plants permanently.
- Bleach is useful for cleaning poisonous urushiol oils from poison ivy off tools and surfaces.
- Never use bleach to treat an itchy rash caused by poison ivy.
By following these quick rules you’ll kill poison ivy permanently, keep your family safe, and avoid the hassle of invasive plants in your lawn and garden.