6 Spooky Facts About Urushiol

Posted on October 11, 2022 at 3:09 PM by Tom Swegle

urushiol facts from Outdoor Joe poison ivy expert

You may not have heard of urushiol before, but you’ve definitely heard of poison ivy, oak, and sumac. Everyone knows that touching one of these poisonous plants can cause a nasty rash, but not everyone knows why. Urushiol is an oily mixture of several organic compounds and is found in a variety of plants all across the United States. Urushiol oil is what causes a poison ivy rash, as well as poison sumac rashes and poison oak rashes. 

Learn more about the sticky culprit behind poison ivy, oak, and sumac rashes this spooky season with the six spooky facts about urushiol!

1. Urushiol Is Found in More Than Just Poison Ivy Plant Leaves

Urushiol oil can be found in every part of a poison ivy plant, from the leaves to the stems to the roots. This means that even if poison ivy leaves have fallen off or you’ve mowed over the plants in an attempt at poison ivy removal, contact with the plants is still dangerous. This can be especially pesky when the infamous “leaves of three” are not present, making poison ivy harder to spot. 

2. This Sticky Substance Embeds Itself Quickly

Substantial amounts of urushiol can absorb into your skin within just a few minutes, and once it has, soap and water aren't enough to prevent a urushiol rash. Once urushiol is absorbed into the skin, it triggers an immune system response that can cause a painful rash, itching, and even blisters. This makes it hard to stop a poison ivy rash since many people don't know they've been exposed until it's too late or don’t have quick access to soap and water.

3. You Can Be Exposed To Urushiol Without Ever Touching a Single Plant

Urushiol can last up to 5 years on certain surfaces! This means that even if you haven't been around poison ivy in a while, your clothes, shoes, gardening tools, etc. can all give you a nasty poison ivy rash from right inside your home. Urushiol oil can also stick to pets, so if your furry friend went on a walk in the woods, you can develop a reaction after petting them. Check out this blog on more surprising ways you can be exposed to poison ivy!

4. Miniscule Exposure Can Mean Major Consequences 

Even a quick brush with poison ivy or slight second-hand exposure can result in serious allergic reactions. According to the CDC, “When exposed to 50 micrograms of urushiol, an amount that is less than one grain of table salt, 80 to 90 percent of adults will develop a rash.” This fact is especially spooky when you take into account facts #2 and #3! 

5. Some Of Your Favorite Foods Contain Urushiol

Ever wonder why cashews aren't sold in their shells, why pistachio nuts are always roasted, and why you’re supposed to wash a mango before you peel it even though you don't eat the skin? The answer is urushiol! Each of these common foods can often contain urushiol in their shells and skin, potentially causing allergic reactions in some individuals. If you’re extra sensitive to poison ivy, you’ll want to be careful when handling these foods. With Outdoor Joe’s®, you can build up a natural immunity so you can snack stress-free! 

6. Some of Your Household Items May Be Made With Urushiol

Urushiol oil can be made into a lacquer that creates beautiful, extremely durable finishes. The urushiol oil comes from the Japanese lacquer tree and is harvested in Japan and China to make lacquers for a wide variety of objects. When properly cured, the urushiol is no longer harmful and produces stunning finishes on bowls, cabinets, tables, and more!

Scare Away Urushiol For Good 

With Outdoor Joe’s®, you don’t have to worry about avoiding urushiol or figuring out what will neutralize urushiol if you do come into contact with it. Outdoor Joe’s® is the ultimate position ivy prevention that builds up your natural immunity to pesky plants. Urushiol may be what makes poison ivy scary but with Outdoor Joe’s®, you can kiss your fears goodbye!