How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell


While skunks might use their spray as a defense mechanism, the odor left behind is more offensive than anything. The extremely foul smell can last for three weeks, and the longer it sits, the harder it is to remove. Acting quickly with the following tips will ensure your success in eliminating skunk odor.

How To Get Rid of Skunk Smell on a Pet

One of the most common reasons someone might be dealing with skunk smell is an encounter between the family dog or cat and a startled skunk. If your pet has just gotten sprayed, make sure their eyes aren’t affected (if they seem uncomfortable and their eyes look irritated, seek a vet’s attention).

Also, make sure the pet touches as few indoor surfaces as possible. Then follow these steps to remove the skunk smell from your dog or cat:

  1. Mix 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1-2 teaspoons dishwashing soap (if you don’t have hydrogen peroxide, any pharmacy and most grocery stores carry it)
  2. Wearing rubber gloves and keeping the solution away from your pet’s eyes, wash their entire body
  3. Rinse your furry friend thoroughly to remove the solution
  4. Follow up with a skunk-odor-eliminating shampoo, if you have one on hand

Keep in mind that you cannot store this solution in a closed container. It will build pressure and eventually explode. It’s best to dilute it with water and pour it down the drain when finished. Also, don’t leave the hydrogen peroxide on your pet for more than five minutes, as it can lighten their fur color.

If your pet’s particularly difficult to wrangle in the bathtub, keeping its collar around its neck might be necessary. Otherwise, take the collar off the pet, remove the tags, and throw it in the wash right away. Simply replacing the collar is also an option.

How To Get Skunk Smell Out of the House

Skunk odor can linger for days or weeks, depending on its intensity. Here are some tips for in-house skunk smell removal.

  • Open all of your windows and let as much sunlight in as possible to oxidize the odor and shorten its lifespan. Also, run the fan in your central heating or AC system to circulate the air.
  • Boil a pot of white vinegar on the stove for an hour, replenishing the vinegar as it evaporates. The house will temporarily smell like vinegar, but it should eliminate the smell of skunk. Do not leave your stove unattended.
  • Place bowls of vinegar in each room for two or three days. Make sure they’re out of reach of inquisitive children and furry friends. You can also pour the vinegar in inexpensive plastic containers and punch holes in the lids. The vinegar will absorb and neutralize the odor.
  • Place any affected clothing, bedding, and other launderable fabrics in a washer set to the hottest setting. Add ½ cup baking soda to the load, along with your regular detergent. Launder and repeat the wash cycle once more. Be sure to air dry your laundry, outside if possible, instead of putting it in the dryer, as the dryer’s intense heat could bake the smell into your clothing.
  • For couches, carpets, mattresses, curtains, and other non-launderable soft surfaces, opt for a thorough steam cleaning.
  • For hard surfaces, a 1:9 mixture of bleach and water will remove the smell. Just be sure to test in a small area to ensure the bleach doesn’t discolor or damage the surface.

When you’re done, be sure to change the air filters in your HVAC system or the odors might hang around.

How To Get Rid of Skunk Smell in the Yard

Skunk spray can travel ten feet and potentially settle into the porous surfaces of wooden decks and play sets or natural stone walkways. But there are ways to deodorize these outdoor structures.

  1. Mix 1 cup of bleach with 1 gallon of water (be sure to test in a small area to when working with bleach)
  2. Working in small areas, use a sponge, cloth, or mop to wash the surface with the solution
  3. Rinse each section with fresh water immediately after scrubbing, making sure not to let the solution sit for more than five minutes, as bleach can discolor the surface.

Do not use this solution in a pressure washer. The overspray can bleach plants or other unintended items.

Launder any affected outdoor fabrics in a washer set to the hottest setting with ½ cup of baking soda and laundry detergent. If items are too large, use a steamer to neutralize the odor.

These tips will help get rid of the skunk smell, but remember to work quickly so the odor has less time to settle in.



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