Home Remedies for Poison Sumac, Natural Sumac Rash Remedy

Poison sumac rash is not a serious health condition even though it makes you uncomfortable, but with the home remedies for poison sumac highlighted in this guide, you can speed up the healing process tremendously.

Poison sumac is the other cousin to poison ivy and poison oak with which they constitute a trio of plants known for triggering an allergic reaction that manifest itself in an itchy rash after people allergic to them comes into contact with them.

Poison sumac rash is caused by an oil known as urushiol which is contained in the blotch-like spots in the leaves of the plant.  On exposure to the oil, an itchy, red rash appears on the skin, usually in a time span of 24 to 72 hours. It is also not uncommon for the rash to progress into blisters.

Home Remedies for Poison Sumac

Over 50 percent of the people in the United States are allergic to poison sumac and its other botanical cousins; poison ivy and poison oak. On a good note however, poison sumac rash subsides within a week or two. It may nevertheless interest you to use the following home remedies for poison sumac rash to speed things up:

Washing and Cold Compresses

According to the American Academy of Dermatology, you should wash your skin with warm, soapy water as soon as possible – preferably within 10 to 15 minutes of exposure to the Poison sumac plant.

Washing helps to remove the urushiol oil. In addition to washing your body, you should also clean all the clothes you were wearing at the time of exposure to poison sumac. This prevents further contact of the urushiol oil with your skin.

Shoes, leashes, pets’ fur, gardening tools, and gold clubs could as well be contaminated, so don’t forget them too.

And if you can get your hands on one of the various Tecnu or Goop products, they are worth the small investment in as far as urushiol removal action is concerned.

Applying cold compresses thereafter on the other hand helps to soothe the skin and reduce the discomfort caused by poison sumac rash. Simply get a clean towel wet by dipping it in cool water and then wring out the excess water, then pat the area of the skin affected with it several times daily.

Calamine Lotion

Known for its soothing, calamine lotion makes for one of the best home remedies for poison sumac itching. Simple apply generous amount of the lotion on the affected area several times daily until the symptoms have cleared.

Baking Soda for Poison Sumac Rash Treatment

Found in most kitchens, baking soda is known for its great itch relieving action which makes it a handy home treatment of poison sumac rash. Here is how to treat poison sumac rash with baking soda:

  1. Fill a bath tub with warm water.
  2. Pour in ½ cup of baking soda
  3. Lie in the bath tub for 10 to 15 minutes. Repeat the remedy as frequently as is necessary to curb itching


  1. Mix 1 teaspoon of tepid water with 3 teaspoons of baking soda
  2. Mix the two thoroughly to form a paste with fine consistency
  3. Apply the paste to the affected area of your skin and rinse it off after 15 minutes
  4. Repeat the process several times every day


Rubbing alcohol on poison sumac affected skin has also been shown to have a soothing and healing effect. Alcohol works by preventing urushiol from penetrating into the skin. Ideally, you should apply the alcohol at the earliest time possible following exposure to poison sumac. Some people even pack rubbing alcohol when going outdoors in places where poison sumac or its other cousins – poison ivy and poison oak – grow.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple cider vinegar has a whole lot of health benefits which makes it a popular home remedies ingredient. It can also be used to relieve the symptoms of poison sumac allergy. To use apple cider vinegar to treat poison sumac rash and related symptoms naturally,

  1. Get a brown paper soaked with apple cider vinegar
  2. Apply the paper to the affected areas of the skin
  3. Remove it after 20 minutes or so.
  4. Repeat several times daily until symptoms of poison sumac allergy have subsided.

NB: While all the above home remedies for poison sumac are proven to alleviate the symptoms, you should seek medical attention if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Rash that covers most parts of your skin
  • Excessive swelling; especially one that causes your eyelids to shut
  • Rash on the face or genitals

Witch Hazel Remedy

With strong astringent and soothing properties, witch hazel works wonders for poison sumac, poison ivy and poison oak allergies. It is particularly effective in reducing the itching associated with this common dermal problem.

Simply dab some witch hazel with a small cotton ball as frequently as is needed to relieve the symptoms until the condition fully heals.

Ocean Water

According to Chris Kilham, an ethnobotany lecturer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, ocean water can cut down poison sumac rash healing time to as low as one or a couple days.

If you live near an ocean, just head down to the beach and take a refreshing swim – hoping that the weather is allowing – or get some ocean water and splash it to the affected area of skin several times per day till the symptoms have subsided.

More Tips to Treat Poison Sumac Rash

In addition to the home remedies for poison sumac rash described above, you will also want to follow the following tips to reduce the discomfort and fasten the healing time:

  • Avoid touching and scratching the affected area of the skin as this can worsen the symptoms or even cause an infection.
  • If you have blisters, leave them alone. Don’t puncture them. If they break on their own, leave the overlying flap of skin intact as it helps to protect the underlying wound from infection.
  • Taking over-the-counter antihistamines such as Cetirizine can help to curb itching. The American Academy of Dermatology however cautions against using antihistamines topically for treatment of poison sumac rash as this can make the condition worse. Follow your pharmacist’s – or label – instructions carefully if you decide to follow this route.
  • Avoid washing poison sumac exposed skin with any form of household bleach. While it may seem like a great urushiol removal intervention, it can actually irritate the skin further and make the rash and pain worse.

Natural Remedies for Poison Sumac

The first intervention measure after exposure to poison sumac is logically to wash the skin with water or apply cool compress. But if it is too late and the worst has already happened – you have developed poison sumac rash and other symptoms such as itching and swelling – then you may benefit from using the following natural remedies for poison sumac:

Banana Peel

Some people will swear to the effectiveness of banana peels in soothing poison sumac, ivy, or oak rash. To use this natural remedy, get a banana peel and rub your skin with its inside surface. It will not only cool the rash but also help to reduce the appearance of the red rash, but also offer relief for itching.

Oatmeal Relief for Itch from Sumac

Oatmeal is an especially fabulous remedy for poison sumac rash that is accompanied by itching. Here is how to treat poison sumac rash naturally with oatmeal:

  1. Get a cup finely ground oatmeal powder, or else grind it in your blender to form fine powder
  2. Transfer the powder into a cheesecloth, clean nylon stocking, or a pantyhose. Next, knot whatever material you have chosen to use and then tie it to the faucet of your bath tub so that it is immersed in the running water.
  3. Fill the bath tub with warm water and relax in it for half an hour.
  4. For small areas, you may simply dip a clean cheesecloth in which oatmeal powder has been wrapped in warm water and then pat the affected area of the skin with it.
  5. Repeat the process several times daily until symptoms have receded.


Cucumber is one of the easiest natural remedies for poison sumac rash. Simply chop a fresh cucumber into thin slices and then cover the affected areas of the skin with them.

Alternatively, mash the cucumber to make a paste and then apply it on the skin. Wash if off after 20 to 30 minutes and you will get relief from the poison sumac rash. Repeat as frequently as needed to soothe the skin.

Aloe vera

The same soothing properties of aloe vera that makes it such a fabulous home remedy for sunburn can also help to aid the healing of poison sumac rash. It also relieves itching.

All you need to do to use aloe vera for poison sumac allergies is to get a fresh leaf of an aloe vera plant and apply the gel it oozes onto the affected area of the skin. An over the counter aloe vera gel also works fine if that is just what you can get your hands on.

Lemon juice

Lemon also makes for a wonderful natural remedy for poison sumac rash. Lemon is touted to inhibit urushiol action by targeting the natural oil from poison sumac.  Lemon juice is particularly effective when applied as soon as you have come into contact with poison sumac to ensure that the urushiol have had little time to get into your sin.

  1. Cut a fresh lemon into two halves. Squeeze out its juice and use it to wash the area of skin that has come into contact with poison sumac oil.
  2. For smaller areas of skin, you can also cut the lemon into thin slices and apply them to the skin.

Tea Tree Oil

This Australian tea tree oil also works wonders to the skin thanks to its strong anti-inflammatory properties and is among the best natural home remedies for poison sumac rash, swelling, itch, and associated symptoms.

Dab a small amount of tea tree oil to the part of the skin exposed to poison sumac using a cotton ball the soonest possible after exposure to the plant and repeat several times a day thereafter until the condition has cleared.

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