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Tips to Get Rid of Skunk Spray Odor

  • Synopsis: Published: 2014-06-05 (Revised/Updated 2015-01-23) - Information on how to get rid of skunk spray odor from pets, buildings, and furnishing. For further information pertaining to this article contact: Ian Langtree at Disabled World.

Main Document

Quote: "Skunk smell can cause skin irritation and even temporary blindness - and is sufficiently powerful to be detected by a human nose up to a mile downwind."

Skunks (occasionally called polecats in the U.S.) are mammals best known for their ability to secrete a liquid with a strong, foul odor.

The most notorious feature of skunks is their anal scent glands, which they can use as a defensive weapon. They are similar to, though much more developed than, the glands found in species of the Mustelidae family. Skunks have two glands, one on each side of the anus. These glands produce a mixture of sulfur-containing chemicals such as methyl and butyl thiols traditionally called mercaptans, which have a highly offensive smell that can be described as a combination of the odors of rotten eggs, garlic and burnt rubber. The odor of the fluid is strong enough to ward off bears and other potential attackers and can be difficult to remove from clothing. Muscles located next to the scent glands allow them to spray with a high degree of accuracy.

Skunk Facts:

  • You can smell a skunk even if it hasn't sprayed.
  • A skunk can spray accurately anywhere from 6 to 15 feet away.
  • The average skunk can spray no more than 5 times over a 10 day period.
  • Skunk species vary in size from about 15.6 to 37 inches (40 to 94 cm) and in weight from about 1.1 pounds (0.50 kg) (spotted skunks) to 18 pounds (8.2 kg) (hog-nosed skunks).
  • Skunk smell can cause skin irritation and even temporary blindness - and is sufficiently powerful to be detected by a human nose up to a mile downwind.
  • Skunk spray is composed mainly of three low molecular weight thiol compounds, (E)-2-butene-1-thiol, 3-methyl-1-butanethiol, and 2-quinolinemethanethiol, as well as acetate thioesters of these. These compounds are detectable by the human nose at concentrations of only 10 parts per billion.

Skunk Spray - Odor Removal Tips:

Commercial Products;

  • Odor-Away, either liquid (use few drops) or aerosol.
  • Rexall C-D Deodorant aerosol, can can be used to get rid of skunk odor off furnishings, drapes, etc.
  • The product "Skunk Off" is a highly effective spray designed specifically for treating skunk sprayed pets.
  • Products like Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover have been known to work, but may be hard to find in a pinch.
  • Nil-Odor made by Dow Chemical, follow directions and put couple drops in water, and put on furnace filter to circulate air, it can also be used on sprayed dogs if used as directed.
  • Room shocker is designed specifically to get rid of any problem odors, including skunk odor. It gets rid of the odor by sanitizing the entire room, including the furniture, drapes carpets ceiling etc. It's not expensive, easy-to-use, and is an eco-friendly product.

Household Products;

  • Hydrogen Peroxide - In an episode of the TV program MythBusters, the hydrogen peroxide mix was also found to be the most effective skunk smell removal agent. You will need; One quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide, one quarter cup of baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid hand soap (not detergent). Bathe your pet in this solution and rinse with warm tap water. The soap breaks up the oils in the skunk spray, allowing the other ingredients to do their work. (See video clip on the right for a demonstration on using this method) NOTE: there is no way to store this mixture because if you put the ingredients in a bottle it will explode.
  • Tomato Juice - Add several cans of tomato juice or tomato paste to the dog's bath, or your own and scrub well. Note: Tomato juice no longer contains the acid needed to remove the skunk smell.
  • Household Cleaning Sprays and Products - Febreze or Simple Green can be effective against skunk smell on fabrics and furniture.
  • Bleach - You can use bleach to clean skunk spray and odor from outdoor structures. Use a mixture of 10% bleach and 90% water to clean sprayed areas that aren't in danger in staining from the bleach.

Related Information:

  1. Getting Rid of Stubborn Odors in Clothes and Fabrics - Ian Langtree - (Mar 29, 2014)
  2. How to Eliminate Smelly Kitty Litter Box Odor - Ian Langtree - (Apr 17, 2014)
  3. Removing Outside Urine and Stool Smells - Ian Langtree - (May 26, 2014)

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