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How to Remove Poison Oak Oil From Shoe Interiors

Submit an Entry: Your Laundry Questions and Answers

By banjo_pickin_girl

My Laundry Question

I think I have oils from poison oak inside my Danners (leather work boots w/ cloth interior) How can I get this out since I can't throw them in the washing machine?

Share a Little Background Info

I don't know how I got the poison oak oil, urushiol, inside of my work boots. The inside of my workboots consequently is material, not leather, but the outside is leather. I probably had poison oak oil on my hands, feet or socks without realizing it as the rash hadn't appeared yet, and wore my work boots and transferred the oil in the process. I need my work boots for work and I need to take care of this quickly. They are too expensive to throw out!!!!!

Lessons Learned

  • I tried just keeping these boots off limits for almost 2 years, but I still got poison oak when I wore them again.

Mary Marlowe Leverette, About.com Laundry & Laundry Rooms, says:

Unfortunately, poison oak, ivy and sumac oils do not evaporate. You're going to have to "wash" the boot's interior to get rid of the oils. Unlace your boots and pull the tongue out as far as possible. Mix a solution of hot water and your regular laundry detergent - about 2 cups of hot water and 1/8 cup of detergent. Wearing rubber gloves - I can't emphasis this enough - use a soft bristle brush to scrub the inside of the boots. Don't get it soaking wet but clean every surface. Then using clear water and a clean white cloth, "rinse" the inside of the boots. Place them in a breezy, cool spot out of direct sunlight or heat and allow them to dry. It should take several days.

If the leather seems to be stiffer after the process, treat it with leather cleaner and you should be ready to go.

Good luck!

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