About 85 percent of the country's population is allergic to poison ivy, oak or sumac. Poison oak can cause a variety of symptoms, including a rash, blisters and bumps. Poison oak is typically contracted by coming into contact with the plant. However, any clothing or shoes that come into contact with the plant can carry its oil, called urushiol, and infect others as well. Therefore, washing them is extremely important. Removing poison oak from shoes is fairly simple and can prevent further infection.
Things You'll Need
- Strong soap
- Hot water
Remove your shoes before going indoors and leave them outside, away from people. Wearing contaminated shoes inside your home can spread the oils to your floors, which can infect others.
Place gloves on your hands and apply a strong soap to the shoes. Use a brush to rub the soap into the shoe. Pay special attention to areas that you know came in contact with the plant.
Rinse the shoes in hot water. Do this by carrying a bottle filled with hot water outside with you and using its contents to wash the soap off the shoes. Avoid rinsing the shoes in a container filled with water, as the oils can sit in the water and re-infect the shoes upon submersion. Leave the shoes outside to dry.
Wash your hands after you are done handling the shoes.
Tips & Warnings
- If your skin has come in contact with poison oak, wash the affected area with soap and hot water within six hours of exposure. Repeat the process three more times.
- Never burn poison oak as a method for elimination, as breathing in the smoke can cause illness.
- Photo Credit Yagi Studio/Photodisc/Getty Images
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