Hygiene Tips: Removing Skunk Odor

What to do if you're sprayed by a skunk: Simple, cheap homemade solutions for removing skunk smell from your body, your clothes, furniture, walls, carpet or your pets.

Is there any odor worse than skunk? As anyone who's crossed one of these stinky animals can attest, the smell gets in everywhere and doesn't seem to be removed easily. If you're having a skunk emergency, don't fret. There are simple solutions for removing this offensive odor.

The spray from a skunk is actually an oily compound. Since oil and water don't mix, straight water won't take the smell out. Just like cleaning any other oil out of clothing or fur, the skunk odor will need to be broken down and dissolved.

If a skunk has sprayed you or a pet, act as quickly as possible. If you can, wipe or clean off as much of the spray as possible before it dries. Even if this doesn't completely remove the smell, at least it won't be as strong or long lasting.

Below are some steps you can take to remove the odor of skunk:

-Tomato juice will neutralize the skunk odor if it's in your hair or a pet's fur. Soak hair with tomato juice for at least an hour and then rinse and shampoo as usual. It's important that you don't use the tomato juice on contaminated clothing, however, as this will only cause staining.

-One part bleach with two parts of water will remove the smell of skunk from clothing (light colored) or walls. You may want to test on a hidden area first to make sure the bleach won't cause any further damage to the item.

-Dry cleaning fluid will remove skunk odor from clothes, towels, rugs, furniture and other textile product.

-If your clothing has been contaminated, bury it in dirt. The dirt particles will absorb the oil particles. Sand and kitty litter also work much in the same manner. You can also rub dirt into a dog's fur.

-Soaps and dish soaps specifically formulated for removing oil and grease should remove the oil from the skunk's spray and neutralize the odor.

-For smelly hair or pet fur, dissolve one pound of baking soda in one to two gallons of warm water. Work into the fur or hair and let sit for a couple of hours before rinsing out. Shampoo and condition hair as usual.

-A cola bath will also remove the skunk smell from hair or pet fur. Pour cola onto hair and let sit for an hour so before shampooing as usual. Keep in mind though; the cola may bleach pet fur. Use this only for dark haired pets.

-Vinegar, that cure-all household staple, also removes the smell of skunk from pets, humans, clothes, walls and furniture. Use full strength and rinse with warm water.

-A mixture of ten parts hydrogen peroxide to one part baking soda also works well. Mix and massage into affected areas.

-Mix a solution of one quart of hydrogen peroxide, one cup of baking soda, one teaspoon dish soap. Rinse with warm water. This works for humans, pets and walls. Keep in mind that if you'll be using this formula for clothes, furniture or rugs, it may cause discoloration due to the bleach in the peroxide.

-An over-the-counter douche product will also remove the smell of skunk from pets, hair, clothes, walls and furniture.

-There are plenty of professional products on the market specifically for this purpose. Pet stores sell products for removing the odor from animals, and your veterinarian will have recommendations as well. You can contact your dry cleaner for recommendations for removing the smell from clothing and the hairdresser will have suggestions for getting the smell out of your hair.

If you find yourself on the wrong end of a skunk, don't worry. The smell should come out easily if you act quickly. In fact, most of the products for neutralizing skunk odor can be found in your own home.

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