You’re searching for an effective poison ivy (or, oak) cleanser to remove the rash-causing oil found on poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac plants (urushiol) from your skin and you’ve stumbled upon Tecnu! BUT, you realize there are two cleansing options, Tecnu® Original Outdoor Skin Cleanser, and Tecnu Extreme® Poison Ivy Scrub and you don’t know which product to choose! To make your decision easier we’ve broken down each product below.

Tecnu Original

Tecnu Original, also known as just “Tecnu” is a liquid cleanser (or poison ivy soap as some like to call it) that can be used to remove urushiol from your skin with or without water. If you do not have access to water (you are out on the trail, in backcountry, etc.), you can simply wipe away the product with a towel or cloth. See the label for detailed directions for both scenarios.

What sets Tecnu Original apart from Tecnu Extreme is its versatility. Tecnu Original is often called the “everything” cleanser, because it not only removes urushiol from your skin, it can also be used to remove the rash-causing oil from clothing, tools, even your pets! Tecnu can even remove sap, pitch, and grass stains; BUT, the best trick in Tecnu’s bag is its ability to remove skunk spray! That’s right, Tecnu can remove the pungent odor of skunk spray. This is primarily useful if you have a pet that is sprayed by a skunk; simply give your pet a Tecnu bath and smell the magic for yourself!

Tecnu Extreme

Tecnu Extreme Poison Ivy Scrub was developed later, using silica (derived from sand) to gently, yet effectively, scrub away contaminants from the skin. Simply mix the product with a small amount of water and apply to affected areas. While Tecnu Extreme does not have the variety of applications that Tecnu Original does, it is an excellent option for an all-over body scrub. We recommend keeping a tube in the shower and washing thoroughly after exposure or suspected exposure to poison ivy, oak, and sumac.

Tecnu Tips

  • For both products, we recommend washing as soon as possible after exposure to urushiol. This allows the products to remove the rash-causing oil before it has a chance to bond with your skin and cause a rash.
  • When washing with Tecnu or Tecnu Extreme to remove urushiol, it is best to take a shower rather than a bath. Once removed from the skin, urushiol can settle on the top of the bath water, potentially allowing it to spread to other areas of the body.