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How To Get Rid Of Skunk Odor

Updated on March 31, 2016
Country-Sunshine profile image

Country Sunshine lives on a small farm in rural Texas, and enjoys sharing tips and stories about her experiences in the country.

Skunk with raised tail
Skunk with raised tail | Source

Oh No! Do I Smell A Skunk?

It was a warm, pleasant evening. A slight breeze wafted across the yard, and the stars were shining brightly. The crickets were chirping, letting me know it was time to head for bed. I was looking forward to getting a good nights' sleep.

The dogs waited at the back door, wanting to go out one last time before retiring. I opened the door, and they headed out into the back yard. I walked down the hall to the bathroom to brush my teeth, knowing the dogs would come in when they were ready.

Normally, I close the door while they are out, and wait for them to let me know when they are ready to come back in. This one time, I decided to leave it open. After all, how long does it take to brush your teeth?

Yes, they did come back in, with the heavy scent of skunk odor all over! My youngest dog proceeded to jump up on the couch and rub her head on the cushions. She then smeared the scent on the carpet and recliners. What a horrible stench!

Immediately, I shooed them back outside, grabbed the flashlight, and proceeded to look for the offender. The skunk had escaped, but left its scent behind.


Skunk Scent Glands & Their Spray

Skunks have two scent glands underneath their tails that contain the spray. When the skunk encounters an animal - or human - that it perceives as a threat, it will lift it's tail and spray the scent up to 10 feet. This is quite an effective maneuver, as not only is the odor terrible, but the spray can cause a burning sensation and temporary blindness. If you come across a skunk - such as in this video - stay as far away as possible!

First Things First

The scent was overwhelming inside the house. After opening all the windows, I took immediate action to remove the odor from the dogs and the house. I wish I could say I this is the first time I've encountered skunk spray, but there are many skunks out here in the country!

1. I removed all the cushions from the couch, and laid them outside on the picnic table to air out.

2. I made a "skunk odor removal" solution, and sponged off the dogs. They were none too pleased about it! It took two applications to remove most of the smell.

3. I called a friend, and begged a night on the couch! The smell inside the house was so overwhelming that my eyes were burning.

Removing Skunk Odor From Your Pets

My Skunk Odor Removal Solution

This is a simple recipe using ingredients you should have in your kitchen cabinets. I always make certain to have these on hand for emergencies such as this.

Ingredients

  • Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)
  • Baking Soda
  • Liquid Dishwashing Soap
  • Rubber or Latex gloves

Instructions

  1. In a bowl or bucket, combine 1 quart of peroxide with 1/4 cup of baking soda. Mix thoroughly.
  2. Add 2 teaspoons of dish washing soap to the mixture. I prefer Dawn, but just about any brand will work. However, DO NOT use one with bleach!
  3. Put on gloves to keep your hands from absorbing the skunk smell. Dip a rag or sponge into the mixture, then wipe it onto your pet's fur, starting with the face. Be careful not to get the mixture in its eyes. Continue cleaning its coat from head to tail. Thoroughly coat the fur until wet.
  4. Let the mixture stay on your pet for 5-10 minutes, then rinse.
  5. ** If the smell still lingers, go through the steps again as needed**
2.5 stars from 2 ratings of Removing Skunk Odor From Your Pets

Next Steps

The next morning I returned to find the house still reeked of skunk. I started a load of laundry, and while it was washing, I began cleaning the carpets and recliners. I used my sister's Bissell carpet cleaner, and it took only a few minutes to remove the odor.

Next came the sofa cushions. Using the upholstery tool on the carpet cleaner was a great help! It simply sprays a cleaning solution, then sucks it back up. The dirty water smelled almost as bad as the skunk itself, but it was easy to dump down the drain.

While the carpets & cushions dried, I began cleaning the furniture and floors with Murphy’s soap. Although it didn't remove all the smell, it made a big difference!

Most of the smell was gone at this point, but I could still smell it on my clothes. I ended up washing all the clothing in my closets and drawers, and the sheets on all the beds. What scent was left faded as the days passed by.

Removing Skunk Stink From Your House

Depending on the strength of the odor and what came into contact with the spray, you'll need to deodorize almost everything in your house. Following are some tips:

  • Open all the windows as soon as possible. Depending on the amount of the odor, you can get sick from breathing it into your lungs.
  • Take all furniture, cushions and movable objects outside to air out. It is best to let them sit in the sun and fresh air for 12-24 hours, if possible.
  • Spray extra strength Febreeze on the drapes and furniture.
  • Wash your clothing using soapy water and white vinegar.
  • Change the air filter in your air-conditioner, and add a dryer sheet to the outflow vent.
  • If you have wood or laminate floors, mop them with Murphy’s Wood Soap.
  • Carpets should be steam-cleaned, either by yourself, or a professional carpet cleaner
  • Set small bowls of apple cider or white vinegar in each room of your house to absorb the odors. Bowls of activated charcoal will also help to rid the scent in your home.


I've heard that tomato juice is a great way to get rid of skunk odor. It is not an item I keep in my house, so I have not tried this method.

Best Carpet Cleaner to Get Rid of the Stench!

I used this Bissell ProHeat Carpet Cleaner on my carpets, couch and recliners. It is difficult to rid your carpets and furniture of the skunk odor. Since it is an oily spray, it seems to cling to fabric fibers. However, this rug cleaner not only got rid of the smell, but also got rid of ground-in dirt!

It is easy to use - just add water and the cleaning solution, and you're ready to go!

BISSELL ProHeat 2X Healthy Home Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 66Q4
BISSELL ProHeat 2X Healthy Home Full Sized Carpet Cleaner, 66Q4

One of the best features of this particular Bissell cleaner is the upholstery tool. It is easy to apply the cleaning formula exactly where it is needed, then has enough suction to remove all of the water.

If you're in need of a good carpet cleaner that is easy to use, does a great job, and is affordable, this is the one I recommend.

 

Crazy Skunk

After you spend time and money getting rid of the skunk stink, the last thing you’ll want is another skunk around your house! However, this is a cute video of a pet skunk playing with a cat, and might just bring back a smile to your face after all of that cleaning!.

© 2014 Country Sunshine

Have you ever encountered a skunk? Do you have tips or suggestions on other products to get rid of a skunk's smell?

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    • Jeannieinabottle profile image

      Jeannie InABottle 2 years ago from Baltimore, MD

      This is good advice. I worry one day this will happen to my dog since he likes to provoke other animals in the yard. So far, he keeps annoying the squirrels. Hopefully the skunks will stay away.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image
      Author

      Country Sunshine 2 years ago from Texas

      @Pawpawwrites - I imagine they did send your uncle home from school! Skunk spray isn't so terrible when it's in the distance, but I can only imagine how horrible it would be to have it on my person!

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      Very useful information. This reminded me of a story my dad used to tell about his brother getting sprayed before school once. They sent him home.

    • profile image

      jimporsche86 2 years ago

      I'll have to remember this. I do security and on a patrol one night I thought I was going to get it one night, I had one walk out in front of me about 5 feet in front of me with it's tail up.

    • Country-Sunshine profile image
      Author

      Country Sunshine 3 years ago from Texas

      @ladyguitarpicker - That is a horrible, yet funny story about getting skunked! I can only imagine what your boss & coworkers thought! It does take awhile for the odor to wear off. Sorry you had to deal with it!

    • ladyguitarpicker profile image

      stella vadakin 3 years ago from 3460NW 50 St Bell, Fl32619

      I had to go to work one morning and open the door to let the dog out and we both got skunked. I called my boss and told him I don't think I can come today. He told me that was a lame excuse and to come anyway. I did and he told me to get out and gave me a case of tomato juice. I stayed home for three days.

    • ologsinquito2 profile image

      ologsinquito2 3 years ago

      This information is extremely useful, especially this time of year.

    • profile image

      angelatvs 3 years ago

      Had one trapped in the garage. Thank goodness it didn't spray!

    • Charito1962 profile image

      Charito Maranan-Montecillo 3 years ago from Manila, Philippines

      I've never encountered a skunk, but I've heard much of its foul odor!

    • Merrci profile image

      Merry Citarella 3 years ago from Oregon's Southern Coast

      Once, and that was plenty. I had one container of tomato juice (who keeps that much on hand!?), tried it but it was not enough. Tried showering the dog for about an hour, but that wasn't enough either. Seems like the smelled lingered for a couple of weeks! Great lens with such great tips. Very glad to have your recipe!!!

    • Country-Sunshine profile image
      Author

      Country Sunshine 3 years ago from Texas

      @shoputopian: I'm having to laugh at the thought of bathing the cat! I know my cats wouldn't have liked that! It took the smell almost a week to go away at my house.. I hope it didn't take that long for your cat!

    • MJ Martin profile image

      MJ Martin aka Ruby H Rose 3 years ago from Washington State

      Outside it has happened, even that smelled up the place for days. Thanks for some good strategy here and hopefully the smells are gone now from your place.

    • profile image

      shoputopian 3 years ago

      I too have heard that tomato juice works, but haven't tried it even the day my cat had an encounter with a baby skunk. We just basically let it wear off itself and thank goodness it was a baby skunk I just couldn't picture myself bathing my cat in tomato juice he would of went crazy.

    • Zeross4 profile image

      Renee Dixon 3 years ago from Kentucky

      I've heard that taking a bath in tomato juice worked too but not sure how fun that would be or if it really works. May just be an old wives tale! Hope I never need to use this recipe, but I'm sure those who do will greatly appreciate it!

    • profile image

      tonyleather 3 years ago

      Never come across one and would not want to!

    • Faye Rutledge profile image

      Faye Rutledge 3 years ago from Concord VA

      My daughter's dogs have gotten skunked, and I think she bought a bottle of something made for removing the odor from pets. Not a pleasant task. Thanks for the advice and recipe.