House Cleaning Tips > Odor Removal > The Best Way to Get Rid of Skunk Smell

white-stripped-skunk

 

 
 

How To Survive Stinking Like A Skunk!

The odor a skunk gives off is absolutely repulsive.

If you are one of the few who have yet to be sprayed by these pesky animals, consider yourself lucky because I wouldn't wish getting sprayed by a skunk on my worst enemy.

Let me explain why.

I was visiting my grandma who lives out in the country a few years back and decided to go adventuring. Out of nowhere, I saw a skunk. I stopped dead in my tracks because I knew this animal was just as startled as I was.

Then, in a matter of seconds, I went from an explorer to a bumbling fool.

The skunk had sprayed me.

My eyes started watering...it hurt to breathe...I definitely wanted to vomit...and I was scared to high heavens.

Once I regained my composure, I made it back to my grandma's house and she knew exactly what to do. Being from the country, my grandma had encountered her fair share of skunks. Thankfully, she knew the best way to neutralize the odor and get rid of the skunk smell.

I'll share the best deodorizing tips to removing smelly odor from being sprayed by a skunk

Why Do Skunks Smell?

Skunks themselves do not smell.

The foul odor associated with these furry creatures comes from two glands near their anus. Each of these glands contain about a teaspoon of liquid that they spray on unsuspecting victims.

This spray is a mixture of sulfurous chemicals – methyl and butyl thiols to be exact, which will bring even the manliest man to his knees in an instant. All creatures, actually - except for the great horned owl - which is the only known predator of this smelly creature.

Now, whenever skunks feel threatened, they spray their musk in the direction of the perceived threat. In fact, skunks can actually adjust their spray to be either a mist or stream...and don't think that just because the skunk is distance away, it won't get you. Skunks are very impressive when it comes to targeting, and can even hit you from twenty feet away.

You may be thinking, "I know that skunk spray smells, but why do I smell - even after taking a shower?"

Long answer short, skunk spray is oily so it will stick to anything and everything that has the ability to hold a stink.

So, what’s The Deal with Tomato Juice?

Many people think that tomato juice is the best way to remove skunk odor. In fact, many experts have tested this home remedy and found that tomato juice did not remove skunk odor.

People thought that tomato juice was a quick fix for skunk odor, when in reality the smell of the tomato was so strong that it masked the odor. Once the smell of the tomatoes wore off, the skunky smell returned.

The Best Way to Get Rid Of the Smell:

The sooner that you take action, the more success you will have getting rid of the odor.

Allowing the skunk's oily chemicals to stay on you, your pet, your clothes or your furniture will allow them to soak in, making the removal even more difficult.

If you are unfortunate enough to encounter one of these furry creatures just like I did, then use these tried and true deodorizing tips that have been passed down from generation to generation:

Deodorizing You, Your Pets and Your Clothes:

This solution loses effectiveness almost immediately, so it cannot be stored and you will need to make a fresh batch whenever the skunks attack.

Store a sealed bottle of hydrogen peroxide and a small container of baking soda (separately) up in your cupboard so you'll be ready in case of an emergency.

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (from drug store)
  • 1/4 cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1 teaspoon of liquid detergent

Mix together the vinegar, baking soda and a few drops of dishwashing liquid. This is extremely effective at removing skunk smell and is actually recommended by chemists and proven to be highly effective. The vinegar and baking soda work together to neutralize the odor, while the degreasing action of the dishwashing liquid help to remove the oily substance that contains the odor causing chemicals.

  • Remove clothes immediately and wash them in the hottest water possible. Use the strongest laundry soap you have. It may take a while, but the smell will go away.
  • If you are the victim, hop in the shower and cover yourself liberally with the homemade skunk odor recipe above.
  • Wash pets right away using the same recipe. It's safe for everyone.
  • Rinse completely.

Deodorizing Outdoor Items:

Skunks don't just spray people and pets, they spray your outdoor items, too. Skunks like to mark their territory, just like many other animals do. Favorites can include tires, corners of a home, a tree...it doesn't really matter where it is because if you can smell it, it is definitely an issue.

A skunk enjoyed spraying my grandma's station wagon over and over (as well as her bench, patio set, and underneath the deck...), so she was an expert at getting rid of the stench. She discovered that bleach was the best method for deodorizing outdoor items that had been sprayed, so just create this solution and start scrubbing away:

  • One part bleach
  • Nine parts water

Make sure to rinse the area thoroughly with water after scrubbing because bleach is caustic and will damage or disintegrate that it is left on over time. For this reason, I wouldn't recommend using bleach on paint (grandma didn't care about the paint on her old beater), but it works well on anything else outdoors that needs deodorized.

Do NOT use bleach to clean a person or a pet as it could have harmful effects.

Still Smell like A Stinky Skunk?

If none of my deodorizing tips have worked for you (but they absolutely should work), it might be time to call the professionals.

There are people who specialize in removing skunk odor from pets, furniture and other items...as well as specialized products that can mask and deodorize the smell.

So - if your best efforts are unsuccessful - call in professionals, because no one deserves to smell like a skunk!

Image courtesy of vladeb, CC BY-ND Flickr.


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Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, Mrs Clean (Corina Wilson) is not only the owner of the company, but a very busy mother of 3 children.

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Mrs Clean realized long ago, that a clean home is a necessity, not a luxury when we are struggling to find the time in our day to cover the very basic levels of work and/or family obligations. The battle seems to never end... (but that's why we're here to help!)

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