How do I Remove Skunk Odor?

Dee S.
Dee S.

One of the strongest odors on the planet is that of the skunk. Depending on what or where the skunk has sprayed, there are different methods that may work to remove skunk odor. There is not any single solution that is guaranteed to alleviate the odor entirely on the first application.

A skunk has one of the worst odors on the planet.
A skunk has one of the worst odors on the planet.

Dogs are famous for ignoring the signs that a skunk is getting ready to spray. Consequently, they are the biggest victims of skunk odor – getting sprayed for chasing, sniffing, and provoking the skunk. One of the most well-known concoctions to remove skunk odor from dog’s fur uses the following ingredients:

Washing a dog with dish soap combined with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will help to remove skunk odors it may have picked up.
Washing a dog with dish soap combined with baking soda and hydrogen peroxide will help to remove skunk odors it may have picked up.

1. 3% Hydrogen peroxide – 1 pint (568 mL)
2. Baking soda – ½ cup (120 mL)
3. Dish soap – 2 tablespoons (30 mL)
4. Apple cider vinegar – 1 bottle - approximately 1 pint (568 mL)

Baking soda can be used in a mixture to remove skunk odor.
Baking soda can be used in a mixture to remove skunk odor.

Simply mix the first three ingredients, dissolving the baking soda. Then, apply the mixture to the dog’s fur and let it soak down to the skin, but be careful not to get in near the eyes. Let it sit for about ten minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Repeat process until the smell is nearly gone.

Apple cider vinegar can be used to remove skunk odor.
Apple cider vinegar can be used to remove skunk odor.

Then, saturate the dog’s fur with vinegar. Let it sit for ten minutes. Rinse thoroughly. Wash with a clean smelling shampoo and conditioner, and follow directions as you normally would during the bathing routine. It must be noted that since hydrogen peroxide is used, it can strip the color from fur, hair, or other items.

Another natural way to remove skunk odor is by washing the animal, person, or affected item in tomato juice. Although many people claim that this method of removal is not effective, it has been proven to break down the molecules that cause the odor. Then, when other methods are used after the tomato juice bath, they work better than they would without the tomato juice.

If items such as a building, outdoor furniture, or a car have been sprayed by a skunk, it may work to wash the affected area with a strong solution of bleach and water. It may take several applications of the solution before the smell goes away and can change the color of the item.

If a skunk has sprayed in an enclosed area, such as the crawl space under the house, the area can be wrapped in with a plastic painter’s tarp. Then, a large bag of charcoal can be opened in the space. The charcoal will work to absorb the smell and thereby remove skunk odor.

Lastly, there are many different kinds of commercial sprays that claim to work to remove skunk odor. Many of them can be purchased from veterinarians, especially if they claim to work on dog fur. Others can be purchased at hardware stores or super shopping centers.

There are several commercial sprays that claim to remove skunk odors.
There are several commercial sprays that claim to remove skunk odors.
Dee S.
Dee S.

Dee is a freelance writer based in Colorado. She has a B.A. in English Literature, as well as a law degree. Dee is especially interested in topics relating to medicine, legal issues, and home improvement, which are her specialty when contributing to wiseGEEK.

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Discussion Comments

jk48

We met some people from Australia and they really want to understand how badly a skunk smells. Any idea how to explain or is there a way to get a scratch n sniff to send them. They've been to the US twice and even found a dead one... but no smell left. Thanks

anon188778

I had a friend whose dog was sprayed by a skunk. She bathed the dog in a mixture of sprite and coke and said that it worked great. Work the soda into the fur and then rinse well. Bathe the pet with regular shampoo afterwards. I haven’t tried it myself because luckily, I have not had the misfortune of a run-in with a skunk.

anon159120

My Yorkie got sprayed about 6 months ago and still smells bad whenever he scratches or gets wet. It was so bad around his face he was sick and had diarrhea for a week after.

I tried tomato juice, baking soda and vinegar (all separately) and nothing has worked. I also got some stuff the vet recommended that hunters use to get rid of the human smell - didn't work either.

I'm going to try mixing the stuff on this page and sure hope it works!

anon114229

I've had a small skunk hanging out in my yard eating acorns all day! My neighbors dog just now got sprayed and I went to help him and of course now it's all over me and my sneakers!

It wasn't as strong outside but when I came into the house it's now almost unbearable generally everywhere. So I mixed about half cup of baby powder with half cup baking soda and I've sprinkled it all around which seems to be working a bit! Ugh.

anon110733

We didn't have any hydrogen peroxide so I substituted orange juice. Mixed orange juice, baking soda and dish soap. Rinsed, then soaked him with apple vinegar. Rinsed again and then used regular shampoo. Worked very well.

anon108393

i have a jack Russell terrier that got sprayed very badly by a skunk and we have tried a lot of things but we still can't get rid of the smell and it gets worse after we give him a bath. the smell just won't go away. it's been over a month. any suggestions?

DinoLeash

There is a really good skunk odor remover that my veterinarian recommended called Nature’s Miracle. It is sold at most pet stores.

CarrotIsland

Another method for bathing a sprayed pet is to take 6-8 oranges, put them in a blender and blend until almost pureed. Mix a little soap in with it. Lather the pet good and let it sit for about ten minutes. Rinse well and then bathe with regular shampoo.

PurpleSpark

I had a friend whose dog was sprayed by a skunk. She bathed the dog in a mixture of sprite and coke and said that it worked great. Work the soda into the fur and then rinse well. Bathe the pet with regular shampoo afterwards. I haven’t tried it myself because luckily, I have not had the misfortune of a run-in with a skunk.

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