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Thread: Poison ivy

  1. #11
    Senior Member zukiguy's Avatar
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    Poison Ivy woes

    I get it bad and have had it bad several times. On my last AT hike the stuff was thick but I was already hopped up on antihistamines due to seasonal allergies. I think this was all that kept me from swelling up and itching all over as I'm pretty sure I came in contact with it at least a bit. Without seeing the leaves I don't think you can make much of an ID though.

    I picked up a tube of stuff called Zanfel. It's a cream that's supposed to neutralize the oils and give instant relief. I haven't had a chance to try it out yet though (thank God!!).

    I've read that you either react to the stuff or you don't. Poison Ivy isn't poison in the regular sense. If you're not sensitive you could make a salad out of the stuff and be just fine. I've got a friend I've seen roll in it with no worse reaction than laying in fresh cut grass. I'm so jealous!!

    Even the dead vines though have enough oil to do serious damage. My grandmother got a few lungfuls of the stuff as a kid where my grandpa was burning an old tree they cut down. Must have had a dead vine on there somewhere as she had blisters inside and out. If you're sensitive to it don't play around.

  2. #12
    Senior Member WV's Avatar
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    Back on topic

    I should have realized that my post would spark a bunch of reactions - sorry. Let's get back on topic. The OP asked:
    I've seen recommendations for Technu to clean hammock, tarp and suspension. Other ideas? Is it used full strength or diluted?

  3. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by zukiguy View Post
    I've read that you either react to the stuff or you don't. Poison Ivy isn't poison in the regular sense. If you're not sensitive you could make a salad out of the stuff and be just fine.
    This might be valid. 7 years of summer camp as a kid and a fair amount of bushwhacking this season and I've never broken out. But I know people who get it bad, and it sucks. If you scratch before washing, the oil will stay on your hand. Think cooking with habanero peppers. Then, everything you touch breaks out. EVERYTHING.

  4. #14
    Senior Member Les Rust's Avatar
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    A couple of points--yes, washing with hot water and plenty of soap as quickly as exposed help to dilute the oil and reduce the damage. Technu is good stuff, but you need to use it quickly.
    As to the vines, one of the worst cases I ever got was on my forehead in the middle of winter. I was cutting and handling firewood with a small, dried vine--no leaves at all; indeed the vine was so small that I didn't really pay it any attention. I kept sweating and wiping my brow with my arms where I had been carrying and stacking it--a day or so later and I was red and raw with a full blown case of PI. I know I'm sensitive to the stuff, but be cautious around the vines as well. I agree with OG that you can get it just being in the area if the wind is blowing--or at least I can.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Pipsissewa's Avatar
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    Getting back to the original post, I don't think you need Technu or Zanfel to wash your hammock and straps. Poison ivy (not poisonous, but many people are allergic to it) has the unique property of binding to human skin molecularly. Therefore, it needs the highly specialized solvents in Technu and Zanfel to break that bond.

    However, it washes out of fabric as easily as any other plant oil. Just wash your hammock and straps (if you think they've been in contact with poison ivy) in a bucket with a fairly strong detergent mixture. STIR WITH A STICK! Let soak for a while, stir again and RINSE THOROUGHLY with a hose on the ground. Once the water runs clear, ring everything out so it's not dripping and hang to dry. Good luck!
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  6. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pipsissewa View Post
    Getting back to the original post, I don't think you need Technu or Zanfel to wash your hammock and straps. Poison ivy (not poisonous, but many people are allergic to it) has the unique property of binding to human skin molecularly. Therefore, it needs the highly specialized solvents in Technu and Zanfel to break that bond.

    However, it washes out of fabric as easily as any other plant oil. Just wash your hammock and straps (if you think they've been in contact with poison ivy) in a bucket with a fairly strong detergent mixture. STIR WITH A STICK! Let soak for a while, stir again and RINSE THOROUGHLY with a hose on the ground. Once the water runs clear, ring everything out so it's not dripping and hang to dry. Good luck!
    ^^ this ^^

    Technu was invented to remove radioactive particles from skin by removing ALL oil (which the particles would stick to).

    It was not invented for poison ivy but its properties for cleansing work for the urushiol removal from the skin.

    The quicker the better on exposed skin.

    But fabrics can be washed with detergent and leather shoes cleaned with rubbing alcohol.

    Of course the producers of Technu would love it if everyone used it for hammocks, clothes, tools, etc, etc.

    But it is really only needed for skin.

    And fwiw its efficacy on urushiol removal from skin was tested on Mythbusters. And passed.

  7. #17
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    Thanks all. Too late for my skin, but the gear will get washed.

  8. #18
    Senior Member Clinton's Avatar
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    Another thing, take out that bottle of denatured alc. For your fancy cat stove and pour it on the locations to remove the oils.

  9. #19
    Senior Member PuckerFactor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Pipsissewa View Post
    However, it washes out of fabric as easily as any other plant oil. Just wash your hammock and straps (if you think they've been in contact with poison ivy) in a bucket with a fairly strong detergent mixture. STIR WITH A STICK! Let soak for a while, stir again and RINSE THOROUGHLY with a hose on the ground. Once the water runs clear, ring everything out so it's not dripping and hang to dry. Good luck!
    In my experience with the stuff, plain washing detergent is not sufficient.
    Without going into too much detail, I plopped myself in the back of my calf with a freshly cut and oozing vine at work one day. Huge spot of PI sap on the back of my pants. I knew it was gonna be bad, went home and threw the pants in the wash alone with a big dose of detergent. A little over a month later, once the pustules on my leg had started to scab over (those first few weeks were miserable. looked like I'd wet my pants with all the oozing), I washed the pants again and put them in the closet. Fast forward a couple months, I wore the pants for one day, and the next, noticed a light rash on my leg in the same spot. I immediately made the connection and washed them 2 more times alone. I have now washed them over 7 times with different detergents, and they still irritate my leg in the same spot.
    On the skin treatment side, the only thing that works for me is a sugar pill with a bit of extract of the oil. It's a product called Rhus-Tox 4x You take 2 under the tongue morning and evening for a week, and it makes you immune for a month or so. Knowing how allergic I am to it, I can say without a doubt, it works well. You can also take it post-exposure to hasten the progression and limit the symptoms. Works that way too. This stuff has saved me countless weeks of misery.

    Not affiliated with Rhus-Tox in any way,
    PF
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  10. #20
    Senior Member Chenvre's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Clinton View Post
    Another thing, take out that bottle of denatured alc. For your fancy cat stove and pour it on the locations to remove the oils.
    This here works beautifully. I myself seem to be immune to PI, however the wife isn't. I will pour some gasoline on my exposed areas to clean off the oils. It works very well for not spreading it to others.

    One tip, The alcohol and gas you use to clean the plant oils off you will kill any other living thing it comes into contact with, so don't do it in your backyard on the grass, you'll get a big dead patch!

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