How to Kill Poison Ivy and Not Use Toxic Chemicals

The world of plants is very diverse. There are a lot of things about plants that benefit us. After all, we survive off of plants. Those of us who are vegetarians owe their existence to plants. They keep us alive. But, within the plant kingdom are some things that are just harmful to use. Poison Ivy is one … and it can be bad.

A typical case of contact with poison ivy will produce an itchy, oozy, rash that will make you want to scratch your skin off.

It is said that 85% of humans are susceptible to the poison ivy rash. If you are within that percentage stay away from poison ivy. Don’t go near it. Stay clear of it. Certainly, don’t touch it.

Here are some things you can do to rid your yard of poison ivy. The most often used remedy is probably a toxic chemical spray like Round Up or one of the other brand names. These work well but of course you are putting heavy duty chemicals into your soil when you use them. I have. They work well. I used it where I never grow anything. It was a spot up against my garage where the vine had taken hold.

Here are some ideas to get rid of poison ivy that are non toxic and will work … meaning they will kill the poison ivy in your yard. They may take a little more diligence. Maybe more than one or two applications. But you will get rid of that poison ivy and not pollute your yard … the ground water or water supply!

If you have the property you can bring in some goats and graze them. The poison ivy won’t hurt the goats and they will eat it all up in no time. Of course this being a very effective method it just isn’t for everyone. As another gardener recently said, “I’ve never heard of Goat rentals”.

Vinegar comes in different strengths and if possible use the most concentrated that you can get a hold of. Some will say to dilute it 50/50 with water, others say to use it full strength. I’ll go with the full strength but be as careful as possible to get it only on the poison ivy plants and not elsewhere is your garden. It can kill other plants as well. Spray the leaves. Soak them. You could spray some around the base where it will soak in to the roots too. Use the stream setting on your spray bottle so you don’t spray it all over, in a mist, that will blow around in the wind and come in contact with other plants in the area. Really soak those leaves and come back in a few minutes and hit them again. This method may take a few applications but it will work. If you do have an issue with acidity in the soil from the use of vinegar you can add some lime to the soil afterwards.

A typical spray bottle is about one quart, give or take some. To mix up enough for one spray bottle fill it half way with water and then add about a 1/2 pound of salt. The salt containers I purchase at my local grocer are just over 1.5 pounds. So use about half of one of those … it should just about fill that bottle. Mix it all up completely, this may take some doing. Starting with hot, or warm, water should help. Once it is completely mixed add a tablespoon to 2 tablespoons of typical dish washing liquid. This is really only used to break the consistency of the water so it will more easily adhere to the leaves of the plant.

Now soak those leaves. Go back a little while later and soak them again. Repeat daily until you see the plant is dying.

Salt and Vinegar
I’ve also seen it said to use the same two recipes above together. Start off with a 50/50 mix of vinegar and water, add salt at a rate of about 3 pounds per gallon of the 50/50 mix. Mix it completely and then add a couple tablespoons of dish soap and mix it up well.

Probably my favorite recipe is to use the vinegar and the salt together, no water. This will kill poison ivy very well and most weeds simply disappear. I have used it on the crack in my driveway and the weeds will disappear there too … but usually not the grasses. You need to go back time and time again to get rid of the grasses. But remember, you are not contaminating the environment with poison when you use these household remedies.

Use the same procedure as above to soak the leaves.

This one was new to me when I read it but shows that there are a lot of things in life that don’t get along well with other things. Here is one such example that comes from thinking out of the box.

The recipe is saw called for 1 oz. of gin, 1 oz. of apple cider vinegar, 1 quart of water and 1 tablespoon of dish washing soap. The author of this recipe claimed it would kill the poison within one day. I’m not quite to optimistic because I am well aware of the fortitude of this plant. Use the same procedure to spray the leaves as the above recipes.

Boiling Water
This works great on those clumps of grass growing in the cracks of your driveway and sidewalk too! Simply boil up some water in your favorite tea kettle. Slowly pour the boiling water over the plants, basically at the roots of the poison ivy. This may take a few days of repeating but it will work. Be super careful that you don’t splash any water back onto yourself. If you do, you’ll probably get poison ivy … that is probably a reason why not to use this method.

Don’t expect a layer of wood chips to kill this plant but if you have found it early in it’s life cycle, and it has not yet begun to grow up a tree or building, cover it with a thick layer of newspaper, cardboard, wood or anything else that will block water and light from reaching the roots of the plant. Cover it and leave it till next summer and you will be rid of the poison ivy (and anything else that you covered).

Pull It
Personally I do not recommend this. Any time you come in contact with poison ivy you risk the possibility of getting it. If you must though, grab it as close to the roots as possible and pull it out. You probably won’t get all the roots and it will grow back. Dig down a foot if you can to get as much of the root as possible. Any piece left behind will grow back into a new an healthy plant.

Be sure to wear protective clothing, gloves, face mask, goggles etc, and you’ll either want to wash these things right away afterward, or throw them out. Remember that any of the poison from poison ivy that gets on your clothes will still give you the poison ivy rash if you come in contact with it.

7 Natural Uses For Baking Soda In The Garden

1. Non-Toxic Fungicide
Mix 4 tsp of baking soda and 1 gallon of water. Use to defend against black spot fungus on roses and to protect grapes and other vine plants upon the first fruits appearing.

2. Spray to Treat and Prevent Powdery Mildew
Combine 1 tbsp baking soda, 1 gallon water, 1 tbsp vegetable oil (any variety), 1 tbsp dish washing liquid. Mix all ingredients and fill a spray bottle the mixture. Spray your at risk plants weekly, being sure to only apply on overcast days or days with no direct Sun to allow the mixture to dry before direct Sunlight returns – or the foliage can become Sun damaged. Powdery mildew typically attacks impatiens, lilacs, cucumbers, squash and zinnias.

3. Discourage Gnats In Soil & Fungus on Leaves
Combine 1 gallon water, 4 tsp baking soda, 1 tsp biodegradable soap. Mix thoroughly, spray infected foliage or soil as needed.

4. Discourage Weeds
Pour or sweep baking soda into cracks in sidewalks and patios. The thicker the amount the better. The baking soda should not only prevent weeds from developing, but it should also kill any small weeds that have already sprouted.

5. Kill Cabbage Worms
Mix equals parts flour and baking soda, then dust your effected plants being attacked by cabbage worms (cabbage, broccoli, kale). They chew the treated leaves and typically die within a day or two. Repeat dusting every couple of days until the cabbage worms are taken care of.

6. Kill Crabgrass
Just wet the crabgrass, pour a heavy dusting of baking soda on the weed. The crabgrass should start dying back in 2 or 3 days. However a word of caution – never apply to grass or other similar plants as it can burn and destroy your normal grass as well.

7. Clean Your Hands
After a day in the garden dirt, clean your hands by rubbing and scrubbing wet hands with baking soda. Rinse thoroughly.


Slugs can be a real problem in the garden, as well as really grossing you out!

Here is a recipe for a slug attractant.

Slug Brew:
1 teaspoon brewers yeast
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Cup of water
1 large shallow dish, I use the lid from a large jar of mayonnaise or peanut butter, or something similar.

Mix it all up together.
Place the lid in your garden near where you are having slug issues.
Fill with Slug Brew.

The idea here is that the slugs will be attracted to the brew, crawl into it at night, which is why the container needs to be shallow. The container can be easily discarded come morning.

If you can set the lid into the garden right at garden level it should help in making it as easy as possible for the slugs to get into the trap.

I have heard that people simply use beer, instead of mixing up the recipe here, but I haven’t tried it. I believe it should work though as it is the yeast, which is in the beer, that will attract the slugs.

Homemade Natural Bug Spray

If you surf around the net much you’ll probably stumble onto a recipe like this one to repel mosquitoes, and other insects. Fact is, there are many oils that can be applied on their own to deter mosquitoes. See the list after the basic recipe included here for more options and other oils to try. This is a recipe but simply rubbing the oil onto your skin is said to be very effective.

1/2 Teaspoon Eucalyptus Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Citronella Oil
1/2 Teaspoon Lemon Grass Oil
3 1/2 oz. of Witch Hazel

Combine all in a suitably sized spray bottle.
Shake before use.

Also try:

Castor Oil
Cedar Oil
Cinnamon Oil
Citronella Oil
Clove Oil
Geranium Oil
Lemon Eucalyptus Oil
Lemongrass Oil
Peppermint Oil
Rosemary Oil

Learn more:

How to Get Rid of Ants

Someone sent this idea in for getting rid of ants. I like that it is basically all things we have around our house anyway … no heavy duty chemicals or things that can hurt my family, or the environment.

You can get Boric Acid at many grocery stores, big box stores and even some pool supply stores. I use it in my pool!

Don’t let the name Boric Acid scare you. Don’t inhale it and eat it or drink the mix … no of course not! Here is what has to say:

Boric acid, also called hydrogen borate, boracic acid, orthoboric acid and acidum boricum, is a weak acid of boron often used as an antiseptic, insecticide, flame retardant, neutron absorber, or precursor to other chemical compounds. It has the chemical formula H3BO3 (sometimes written B(OH)3), and exists in the form of colorless crystals or a white powder that dissolves in water.

Boric acid was first registered in the US as an insecticide in 1948 for control of cockroaches, termites, fire ants, fleas, silverfish, and many other insects. The product is generally considered to be safe to use in household kitchens to control cockroaches and ants.[16] It acts as a stomach poison affecting the insects’ metabolism, and the dry powder is abrasive to the insects’ exoskeletons.

You’ll need:
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons Boric Acid
3 cups warm water

Slowly mix it all together in a suitable container, large enough so you can stir it up and not spill.
Store the mixture in a glass or other suitable jar, sealed tightly.

The person who sent this in used cotton balls pulled apart enough to cover and fill a shallow dish or jar lid. Then poured the solution in to fill the lid, and saturate all of the cotton. Place this lid in the area of the ant hill, or where you are finding the ants.


All Natural Snake Repellent

Snakes, like any other animal, are attracted by a food source. Mice are a common source of food for snakes so you want to rid your property of mice. Start by getting rid of everything that is excess or debris. Basically clean the property up.

Go around your house and block up all the openings to crawl spaces or entrances to your basement. You may still have some openings that are required, sometimes around plumbing, oil fill pipes, electrical etc. Use steel mesh screening to completely block all open spots around these utility entrances. Spraying with a foam sealant is also a good idea, but mice may chew right through that stuff.

This will also keep any curious snake, or one looking for a hiding place, from entering your home. It will keep the mice, as a food source, away as well.

You can also mix up some snake deterrent. Use clove oil and cinnamon oil as a 50/50 mixture and spray everywhere that you want snakes to not be.