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How to get rid of Skunk odors


Did your dog come running into the house smelling of skunk? Perhaps a family of skunks built themselves a home beneath your porch or sunroom?

Regardless of what happened, your primary concern is probably getting rid of the odor. And what an odor it is too! Skunk is one of the most offensive (and unfortunately persistent) odors the average homeowner is likely to ever encounter.

So, what can you do?

The tomato juice myth

If you ask most people what they would use to get rid of skunk odors, their answer will be tomato juice. While this old-time remedy is commonly believed to be effective against skunk odors, that is unfortunately untrue.

Instead, as you become accustomed to the skunk smell, tomato juice simply becomes more perceptible to you. It’s an example of olfactory fatigue more than anything. Other people that come into the space will be able to smell the skunk odor without any issue.

A home recipe that works

Instead of turning to the tomato juice, here is a home recipe that has been proven effective by many homeowners in the same situation you’re currently in! Best of all, it is safe on people, pets, clothing, and furniture. As always, we recommend spot testing in an inconspicuous area first to ensure that it will not damage or discolor surfaces or finishes.

Mix the following in a large, open container. Do not put a lid on the container, as pressure will build up from oxidation and could cause it to explode.

1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda

1 teaspoon liquid detergent

Once mixed, use immediately for best results. Leftover product can be heavily diluted in water and poured down the drain.

Store bought products

If you’re looking for a store bought product to combat skunk odors, look for products that contain “neutroleum alpha”, an odor neutralizer. This has been proven effective against a variety of odors, including skunk odors.

Address the source

What got the brunt of the skunk spray? Did your dog get sprayed before coming in from his walk? Did a skunk get in through the doggy door and spray your sofa? It’s important to address the source first, so give your dog a thorough bath, try to clean and deodorize the sofa, etc. Until you address the source, the smell will not go away. It’s important to act quickly, as the longer the skunk spray / odor lingers, the harder it will be to get it out of surfaces and materials.

Once you’ve selected an odor neutralizer, go through and clean affected surfaces (your dog, floors, furniture, clothing, etc.) thoroughly. Depending on the intensity of the spray and odor, you may find that you need a second treatment. You should however notice an improvement once you complete your first pass.

After a few passes, if affected fabric items (couches, carpeting, clothing) still holds an odor, it may unfortunately need to be discarded and replaced.

Removing odors from the air

Skunk odor can be quite persistent, and you may find that it is still lingering. One recommendation that we have found works extremely well is to place bowls of white vinegar periodically through the affected area and let them sit for a day or two. White vinegar contains acetic acid, which breaks down biological odors (like skunk!). For faster results, you can also boil white vinegar, but be sure to watch it closely, as it tends to cook off relatively quickly.

Removing odors from wood (decks, wood siding, etc.)

Wood, being porous, tends to hold onto odors easily. As a result, some additional steps may be necessary to eliminate the skunk odor.

In cases where wood is affected and the smell is lingering, try mixing a cup of liquid bleach into a gallon of water and thoroughly scrub all of the surfaces. This will penetrate the wood and should eliminate the skunk odor. Be particularly careful with this method, as the bleach mixture will bleach surfaces and could cause irreparable damage. As always, pretest an inconspicuous area to ensure that it will not discolor or stain.

We’ve had our fair share of experiences with skunks over the year, both professionally and personally, and can completely understand how frustrating and persistent this odor can be. We hope these tips will help you get rid of that horrible skunk smell and put this unfortunate incident behind you!

As always, should you ever have a need for one of our services, please contact your local Disaster Blaster! We’re happy to help!

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