One of the most desperate questions we get at WDC is how to deodorize a home after a skunk has sprayed. Please read the information below carefully. Skunk deodorizing can be a pain staking process because usually one cannot access the actual spot where the skunk sprayed. Patience and persistence are necessary virtues to get rid of the smell.
Can't see under the deck well, Get the Fiber Optic Tool
For deodorizing other smells click bad smells
For more information on skunks click Skunk Trapping Booklet
Why do skunks spray? Skunks spray for a number of reasons. The primary reason is self defense. Their essence, which is a yellow creamy substance sometimes called mercaptan, can burn the eyes and make another animal reconsider eating them. Many times a skunk will warn its victim before it sprays by pounding the ground with its front feet. If you hear the pitter patter of little feet, it means the skunk is angry and ready to let you have it. Skunks also warn their victims by leaking a little fluid to remind you what it smells like. Fail to heed these two warnings and you could be in for a brand new experience. Remember, like a rattlesnake, skunks dont always warn you that they are about to spray. If they are frightened enough they will spray you immediately.
How far away to do you have to stand to avoid getting hit? Well the answer to that question depends on who you ask and the geographical setting your in. Some biologists contend the skunk can spray up to 18 feet, others say only 12. Personal experience says the skunks spray up to six feet. It is quite an experience watching the spray come towards you. You also have to consider wind direction and whether the skunk is on higher ground when calculating how far they can spray. Another myth says that skunks cant spray if their feet are off the ground. Dont believe it. They can spray quite well even when lifted by their tail.
Is skunk odor dangerous? We are not aware of any long term health dangers associated with the odor. However, we are aware of people with asthma and those sensitive to odors complaining of difficulty breathing and sometimes even throwing up. We do recommend that you expose yourself as little as possible to the smell.
1. Make sure the skunks have abandoned their den under your house etc. You can't get rid of the smell if the skunks are still there. If you want to learn about getting rid of skunks click Skunk Trapping Booklet
2. If the smell lingers at the same strength for over two weeks, then you could have a dead skunk under your house or deck or porch. You will need to look. If not possible then you had better call a professional cleaner to fog underneath your deck, porch or house.
For enclosed space situations such as below trailers, crawl spaces etc., we recommend that you try to ventilate the area as much as possible once the infestation has been removed. Be sure to take care in resecuring the area however, as a new skunk family or other animal may have taken up residence.
3. For generalized skunk smell like that found in a car, room or garage, spray any deodorant you like to smell. Incense candles, carpet fresh, pine-sol, lemon oil, etc. More importantly air out the room as much as possible. Crack windows etc. For example, When you drive, have the hot air blast as much as you can stand and leave the window cracked. Washing floors, furniture can help to alleviate the smell faster. Be prepared for the odor to be reactivated during periods of high humidity. In situations where skunks have sprayed under a trailer home or porch, it can take up to one month or longer to be completely free of the odor.
Don't forget, skunk smell lasts a long time. It is not unusual for it to linger
for several weeks. But the odor should be on a downward slide. However, the
smell is from a dead animal it will actually get worse.
4. The following method works best when you know the exact spot where the skunk sprayed, such as your pet, clothing, walls etc. While potent, skunk spray can be effectively removed with some simple techniques. If your clothing smells, simply wash them using a strong detergent and for yourself take a shower. There is also a product you can mix yourself that has a remarkable ability to counteract skunk smell. It was invented by a chemist and has been used by a problem animal controllers with good success.
The ingredients of the skunk deodorizer are 1 quart of 3% Hydrogen Peroxide; ½ cup of baking soda and 1 tablespoon of liquid dish or laundry detergent. Mix these three items in an open container. Never, Never put them into a container and then close the lid. The escaping gases could build up enough presser to explode the container. Never store this mixture. If you create it, use it. This formula is only effective for deodorizing items that have been directly hit with the spray. It wont deodorize your room. Be careful it may discolor fabrics etc.
"Last night our Whippet bitch got 'skunked'...this year we have a plague of them about...I did the 'old standbys', vinegar, V8 to no avail. My husband did a 'google search' and came up with your site...the recipe worked beautifully. Perhaps we were fortunate to get it on while the spray was fresh (2-3min.) or it's just highly effective...thank you in any case. Chris, Ipswich, MA"
Thanks Chris. As always, let us know about your skunk deodorizing
"we tried that bogus recipe with the (H2O2) peroxide and
worked about as much as tomato juice would.. very little! it did knock it
down a bit, but not much. would have taken 10 washings of the dog."
We have heard of Ionizers which the manufacturer claims that they reduce odors by create an electrostic charge that causes the dust in the room to combine together, become heavy and fall to the floor. The idea is that dust particles are what carry the odor. If you can get the particles to fall out of the air then you can automatically reduce the odor. These products then create Ozone which allegedly oxidize the organic material and get rid of the odor. Others contend that ozone doesn't oxidize the odors but instead reduce our ability to smell. I have heard one person who used one say it worked well. She wasn't sure if it created ozone as well but it was an ionizer. We are waiting for more research.
One visitor wrote: "Came across your site looking for answers to the barn area. The house was unlivable and made a person quite ill. I borrowed an ionizer, Flair makes, and it did work. We were able to stay home. But the smell is still in the barn. Ofcourse I did not hook one up in there. Becca" Thanks Becca. We welcome the experiences of others.