How to Treat Skunk Odor

Dealing with skunk scent can be quite alarming.
Dealing with skunk scent can be quite alarming. (Image: Thinkstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

Skunks present a rather odiferous problem to humans and animals alike. When threatened, they defend themselves by spraying horrible smelling oil on the attacker. The disorienting effect of the stench generally gives the skunk a chance to get away. The problem gets worse if you are the perceived predator. Getting skunk smell out of your clothes or even your furniture if the skunk gets loose inside the house, can be a difficult process if you do not know what to do.

Things You'll Need

  • Three percent hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Dish soap
  • Tomato juice
  • Vinegar
  • Soap
  • Peppermint or spearmint oil
  • Air freshener

Use a combination of ingredients that, according to chemist Paul Krebaum, actually neutralizes skunk odor. Combine 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide from a fresh bottle, ¼ cup of baking soda and 1-2 teaspoons of dish soap. You can wash your skin with this solution, as well as bathe a pet or wash your hair to remove the smell. Leave it in on hair or fur for about five minutes before rinsing it out.

Air out fabric that cannot be washed or dry-cleaned, such as silk clothes or some types of shoes. Hang them outside, in a place where they cannot be re-exposed to skunk scent. This will take time, but the smell will eventually dissipate.

Use home remedies to get rid of the smell. These include scrubbing the affected person or animal in tomato juice or a combination of 50 percent each of vinegar and water. Simple remedies like soap and water can also help to remove the odor. Be aware that tomato juice can stain the fur of a lightly colored dog.

Use peppermint or spearmint oil to combat the odor. Place it on a cotton swab, apply it to the skin or mix it with water and pour the mixture into a spray bottle for larger areas.

Tips & Warnings

  • Air freshener is another option to help cover the smell until you are successful at eliminating it. It will also help to open all the doors and windows if the smell gets in your house. You should also change your air filter to keep the smell from flowing back through your house.
  • Avoid getting any of these solutions in the affected person's or pet's eyes.
  • When using the peroxide mixture, avoid mixing it in advance. Storing this solution in a sealed container could cause an explosion.

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