How to Get Rid of a Skunk Smell in Your Home or Clothes

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A skunk's spray, which the animal uses to defend against predators and danger, can be spread accurately as far as 15 feet away. The oily mixture of sulfurous chemicals adheres to where it is sprayed, and the strong smell can last several days. The spray not only stinks but can burn your skin or even cause temporary blindness if it gets into your eyes. To most effectively get rid of a skunk smell in your home or clothes, you must neutralize it within a few hours of the spraying.

  • Open up your house immediately after the skunk smell hits. Turn on all bathroom, hall, ceiling, attic and portable fans to let air circulate and help minimize the smell. Burn incense or scented candles. Sprinkle baking soda on carpeting, boil vinegar in a pan on the stove and/or place bowls of vinegar around the house to help absorb the odor.

  • Destroy any clothing that was directly sprayed. If your clothing only came in contact with a dog or other animal that was sprayed, you should be able to remove the stench through laundering. Wash all affected clothes separately, as soon as possible, for the best chance of getting rid of the skunk smell. Use regular laundry detergent, but treat the material with a pre-laundry cleaner to help eliminate the smell. Take items that cannot be laundered to a dry cleaner.

  • Use a hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar solution to help dissolve the odor-causing oils left on sprayed items. Mix one quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide or white vinegar, one-quarter cup baking soda and one teaspoon dish detergent. Wash the affected areas and rinse with tap water. Repeat if necessary. Use white vinegar if you are worried about damaging fabrics or other materials; it is not as effective as peroxide at eliminating odor but is less likely to cause fading. If you're concerned about fading, test the solution by applying it to a small area first.

  • Use commercial sprays designed to deodorize and neutralize smells. Household cleaning sprays such as Febreze or Simple Green can be effective against skunk smell on fabrics and furniture. However, if your pet was sprayed and rubbed his body on the carpet, you should have the carpeting professionally deep-cleaned.

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