There is a reason that people are leery of skunks. They stink, and they can make you, your pets, and your house smell for weeks. Removing skunk odor is not a fun experience, and getting a skunk smell out of the house can be tricky without the right products and techniques. It's not as simple as using tomato juice.
From your furniture to your clothing to the air that surrounds you, skunk odor will permeate your life if you don't take action. Discover some of the best ways to get skunk smell out of your house and outdoor spaces using vinegar, hydrogen peroxide, and other solutions. Take charge with powerful home remedies to get rid of a lingering skunk smell in your house, yard, and car.
How to Get Skunk Smell Out of the House
It happens to the best of us. You let your dog in the door and realize a little too late that they've brought the pungent aroma of skunk spray with them. You're chasing them around the house, but your couch, clothing, and house now reek of skunk. Don't panic - getting the skunk smell out of the house is possible. You can eliminate skunk odor from your home using several methods.
Start by washing your pet before they can do any more stinky damage (and keep them inside for a while, in case that skunk is still around). Then, get ready to act fast to deodorize your home, inside and out, to remove the unpleasant scent!
Does Tomato Juice Remove Skunk Odors?
You might have heard over and over to try tomato juice for skunk spray. However, the carotenoids and lycopene in the tomato juice aren't enough to take on the thiols in skunk spray. Rather than getting rid of the smell, you'll have an olfactory overload of a skunky tomato juice cocktail. So before you go reaching for the tomato juice, try these more effective techniques, like using peroxide to clean, and remove the skunk odor from your home.
Get the Skunk Smell Out of Your Furniture
That unpleasant stink will have you racing to wash your couch cushions and other indoor furniture. Learn how to get the skunk smell out of furniture by grabbing a rag, and creating an effective peroxide mix. Follow these steps:
- In a bucket, combine:
- 1 quart peroxide
- 4 tablespoons baking soda
- 2 drops dish soap
- 2 quarts of water
- Thoroughly mix the concoction.
- Use a dish rag or old towel to gently wipe down your furniture. For a colored fabric couch or delicate material, try the mixture on a small area first.
- Allow the concoction to sit for about 15 minutes.
- Rinse with water.
- Repeat until the smell is gone.
De-Smelling Your Clothing
In your mad dash to try to detain your dog, he has covered you and your entire family in skunk odor. Don't let the smell linger on your clothing for long, or you may have to throw them out. Just like getting old stains out of clothes, removing a skunk smell from the laundry is a challenge, but you do have options. You'll need:
- 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1 cup baking soda
- 1 tablespoon store-bought or homemade laundry detergent
- Bathtub or basin
Before you do anything, you are going to fill the bathtub with water. You'll then:
- Throw all your laundry in the tub.
- Combine the hydrogen peroxide, laundry soap, and baking soda.
- Pour the solution into the tub.
- Allow the clothing to soak for at least 2-3 hours - overnight is best.
- Wash normally.
- Repeat as needed until the scent is gone.
An alternative to peroxide is using vinegar in your laundry to say goodbye to skunk odors. This can be helpful for delicates that won't do well with the harsher peroxide mixture. Simply mix 1 part vinegar to 4 parts water, soak the garment for about three hours, and hand wash or launder as usual.
Removing Skunk Odor From the Air
As you rush to clean the various surfaces that have been affected, the smell in the air might start to become unbearable. To help remove the skunk smell from the air in your house, it's important to open windows and run some fans as soon as possible to increase ventilation. One of the best ways to get the skunk smell out of the house is by placing bowls of vinegar in front of said fans and windows. Using vinegar for a skunk smell in the house is a popular method that really works, as vinegar is a natural deodorizer. For extra air-deodorizing power, try this trick:
- Combine equal parts white vinegar and water into a saucepan.
- Allow it to boil until the liquid is gone.
Note: Check the boiling pot regularly and don't leave it unattended for long. Refill the mixture as needed to keep it going.
Deodorizing Rugs, Carpet, and Floors
If your pet brings skunk odor into your house, there's a good chance the smell could get on your rugs or carpet. Don't wait to address it - letting it sit could mean the smell sets in for the long haul.
- Small Rugs: If you have a smaller rug that's machine washable, run it on the proper cycle according to the label.
- Large Rugs and Carpet: For larger rugs or carpets, the best option is steam cleaning. Either a commercial steam cleaner or an at-home version is suitable. This cleaning method can help remove the odor from deep in the carpet fibers. Steam cleaning is also an excellent method for removing the odor from curtains or drapes.
- Hard Floors: For many types of hard flooring, such as tile and linoleum, simply fill a spray bottle with a 1:9 mixture of white distilled vinegar and water or bleach and water. Clean the floor with the mixture and allow it to dry.
- Wood Flooring: Do not use vinegar to clean hardwood floors. Just use your standard commercial or a good DIY hardwood floor cleaner to remove the skunk smell, and with time the odor should fade.
Tips for Getting Skunk Smells Out of Your House
If your house still smells even after you've washed your dog, ventilated the air, and washed the floor, don't lose hope. Here are some additional tips for how to remove the skunk smell from the house:
- Wash your pet outdoors, if possible.
- If you were sprayed by a skunk, remove your affected clothing before entering your home, and get straight in the shower.
- Allow sunlight into your home to help oxidize some of the scent by opening windows and blinds.
- Install fresh air filters inside for better air circulation.
- Take affected furniture pieces outside to air them out in the sun and to stop the smell from permeating your home.
How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell Outside Your Home
When a skunk sprays your dog, the stench will likely reach many more surfaces. Your dog may transfer the spray to your patio or deck, patio furniture, your grass, and even your bushes. If you have company coming over or simply can't stand the smell and don't want to wait for it to naturally diminish, try these hacks to get rid of the outside skunk smell.
De-Skunking Your Patio and Outdoor Furniture
To get rid of the skunk smell on your patio and patio furniture, you can use the same peroxide method you would use for indoor furniture. This is typically safe for most outdoor furniture, as well. You can also grab oxygen bleach or Oxiclean as alternatives. To clean your patio furniture after a skunk incident:
- Use the hose to spray down your patio and furniture.
- Mix 1 part oxygen bleach with 9 parts water in a bucket.
- Use a rag or towel to wipe down the patio and furniture.
- Spray the area down with straight water.
- Repeat as you need to.
Note: Test out a small area of your furniture and wood to make sure that the bleach does not cause damage.
Cleaning Grass or Bushes
If your grass and bushes have been sprayed or contacted by your stinky pet, you should know how to remove the skunk smell without killing your plants. Since the hydrogen peroxide mixture is safe for most plants, this is going to be your best bet.
- Add hydrogen peroxide to a yard sprayer that attaches to your hose or a manual spray bottle and spray any plants that smell. You can also pour it carefully from a bucket onto the affected areas.
- Use your hose to rinse the area.
- Allow time for your plants to dry and see if that has helped with the smell.
Getting Skunk Odor Out of Your Car
Maybe you or your pup were skunked while out on a hike, and getting a skunk smell in your car on the ride home was unavoidable. Don't fret - your car won't be stinky forever. When it comes to getting a skunk smell out of your car, start by opening all of your doors. You'll then need to neutralize the odor on the fabric of the seats and the interior. Try this method:
- Homemade peroxide mixture (recipe below)
- Dawn dish soap
Once you have the materials to clean your car, it's time to get to work.
- First, wash the outside of the car to remove any exterior smell that might be seeping into the inside.
- Remove the mats and any other smelly parts and air them out in the sunlight if possible.
- Use the peroxide cleaner to wash down the seats, carpets, etc.
- Mix Dawn dish soap and water to clean the dashboard, doors, armrests, etc.
- Rinse and repeat as needed.
- Keep the windows open for as long as possible to dry and air out.
Simple Homemade Skunk Cleaning Recipe
If the putrid aroma of skunk spray has infiltrated your home, you might wonder if it will ever really go away. Luckily, you don't need an expensive, store-bought product to save the day. You might already have the ingredients you need. By combining the oxygen power of peroxide with odor-neutralizing baking soda, there is a good chance you can get rid of the smell. Try this easy DIY spray to get the skunk smell out of your house.
For a tried-and-true odor-fighting concoction, you'll need:
- Baking soda
- 3% hydrogen peroxide
- Dawn dish soap (if you don't have Dawn on hand others will work, but Dawn is usually the best)
- Spray bottle and bucket
- In a large bucket, mix the following ingredients:
- 1 quart of peroxide
- 4 tablespoons of baking soda
- a few squirts of Dawn
- Add the mixture to a spray bottle
- Spray affected areas and surfaces in your home and rinse as needed, blotting with a cloth afterward.
Note: Since this mixture can become unstable, you'll want to use it right away.
This deodorizer can be used for cleaning your furniture and floors, and it's also safe for your dog and your cat. Try this mix for other surfaces not mentioned in the above directions for specific items or areas of your home or yard.
Commercial Cleaners for Skunk Spray
If a homemade cleaner isn't your cup of tea, there are many products on the market designed to neutralize skunk spray. A few of the top ones include:
- Van Den Heuvel's R86 Industrial Odor Eliminator - Designed to neutralize any odor, this product is safe for use in your home. Just treat the area and wait 15 minutes.
- Nature's Miracle Skunk Odor Remover - This is safe for clothing and carpets and uses bio-enyzmes to stop the stench.
- Skunk-Off Skunk Odor Eliminator - Safe for automobiles, indoor use, and pets, this is a non-enzyme formula. You can use this non-toxic product directly on your pets, too!
Say Goodbye to the Smell of Skunk
There isn't much in this world that smells worse than getting sprayed by a skunk. The key to getting the smell out is to move quickly and don't delay. The longer you wait, the harder it will be to remove the smell. You can trust these techniques to help make your home smell great again, inside and out.