How to Get Rid Of Skunk Smell

How To Get Rid of Skunk Smell


If you or your pet had a close encounter with a skunk, you’ve probably heard numerous suggestions on how to get rid of skunk smell, many of them impractical. Commercial products are expensive, and dogs always seem to get sprayed shortly after all the drug and pet stores have closed. The old standby, tomato juice, varies in effectiveness. You may be left with residual odor, and it’s not recommended for light-colored pets or clothing because it stains. So what does work? Here’s how to get rid of skunk smell using a simple solution that uses ingredients you probably already have.


How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell

You will want to get started as soon as possible after the incident because the longer the sulfurous skunk oils stay on, the harder they will be to remove. Here’s what you need:

  • A clean plastic bucket and mixing utensil. The solution is affected by metal.

  • Old clothes and latex gloves for yourself if you are bathing a pet.

  • 1 liter of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide. This is commonly sold in 500 mL bottles in the first aid section of your supermarket or drug store; you will need two bottles. Do not use other strengths of hydrogen peroxide. It degrades over time, so a bottle that is years old will be less effective. If you don’t have hydrogen peroxide in an emergency, you can use the same quantity of white vinegar instead. 

  • 1/4 cup of baking soda. Do not substitute baking powder or washing powder. They are NOT the same, and washing powder can cause serious chemical burns. 

  • 1 or 2 teaspoons of liquid hand soap. Dishwashing soap and shampoo contain ingredients that will block the chemical reaction needed to dissolve the skunk oil.

  • Lukewarm water as needed to make enough solution to cover your pet (or yourself). 

Mix thoroughly and work into affected areas. You do not need to wet your pet first. If you’re washing yourself, use liberally everywhere you’ve been sprayed. Avoid contact with eyes, mouth, and any cuts. Leave on for five minutes, rinse, and repeat as necessary until the smell is gone. Do not store unused solution, as it will explode under pressure. It’s safe to pour it down the drain with running water.Hydrogen peroxide has a mild bleaching effect on light colors, so you might notice that your hair or your dog’s fur is a shade paler afterward. It grows out, and it beats the rusty orange you can expect from tomato juice.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell - Peroxide

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell - Hand Soap

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell - Baking Soda

How to get Rid of Skunk Smell Around Your Home

As for how to get rid of skunk smell in and around your home, add white vinegar in place of fabric softener when washing clothes and towels. Use a solution of 10 percent chlorine bleach and 90 percent water to remove the spray from outdoor areas. For places that won’t tolerate bleach, use an environmentally friendly detergent like Simple Green.

Now that you know how to get rid of skunk smell, here’s how to avoid having to use that knowledge. Skunks spray as a last-ditch defensive behavior, so if you see a skunk, don’t act like a predator. Speak softly, move slowly, and try to leave the area without disturbing the skunk. Keep your yard clear of pet food, including bird seed; make sure garbage containers are tightly closed; and seal off crawl spaces, sheds, and wood piles — these places make appealing nests for skunks.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell

The next time somebody asks you how to get rid of skunk smell, direct him or her to the first aid section and the baking supplies and save the tomato juice for a refreshing post-bath beverage.