laundry and home cleaning tips - Sarni Cleaners Blog

Removing Poison Ivy from Clothing

Millie Kwan - Tuesday, July 03, 2018

Summer in Boston means more time enjoying the outdoors, whether it’s at camp, playing in the back yard, gardening, or hiking. That can mean a brush with poison ivy. Poison ivy produces an oily resin that causes the familiar rash. When clothing comes in contact with poison ivy the oil remains on the fabric. The oil can get transferred to your skin from your clothes. Luckily, it’s simple to take care of poison ivy exposed laundry.

Poison ivy by the road sideBoth dry-cleaning and laundering are acceptable methods for removing poison ivy from clothing. Wear gloves when handling the contaminated items no matter which method you choose.

Laundering is preferred because it provides multiple flushes through the fabric. Lots of hot water, agitation, and washing time are the keys to poison ivy removal.

Wash the contaminated clothing separately at the highest recommended water temperature for the fabric. Use a full scoop of laundry detergent. Use the longest wash cycle and the largest load setting to maximize the amount of water.  More wash water circulating through the fabric helps remove the oil.   Leave plenty of room in the washing machine for the clothes to agitate freely so that all of the oil is exposed and flushed away.  The load should only fill the washer halfway at most.  Divide the clothes into multiple loads if necessary.

Run the empty washer once on a hot self-cleaning cycle to remove any residual oil.

If the clothing is dry clean only, bring them to Sarni Cleaners and be sure to tell the folks at our stores in the North End, South End and Financial District that the clothing has been exposed to poison ivy oils.  Alternatively, you can take advantage of the convenience of our wash dry and fold service or laundry pickup and delivery service. Again, remember to let us know that the laundry had come into contact with poison ivy.


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