The defensive spray that is secreted by skunks can be pervasive and persistent. It is very difficult to completely get rid of the smell because of the chemical makeup of the secretion. The only way to effectively remove skunk smell from animals, people, clothing, cars, and homes is to find a way to break down the chemicals that cause the smell in the first place. Since skunks are found in almost every type of environment, it is a good idea to learn how to get rid of skunk smell.
Isolate the Contaminated Source
The first step is to find out where the smell is concentrated. If your family dog or cat was sprayed by a skunk, don’t allow the animal into the house or car until the scent is completely gone. Skunk smell spreads easily from one person or animal to other surfaces, especially cloth. Get the person, animal, or clothing that was sprayed by the skunk out of the house and out into the open air so that the smell is not contained in a small space where it can become more concentrated.
Vinegar and Tomato Sauce
Once you have isolated the offensive odor, it is time to begin treatments to get rid of it. The chemicals that cause skunk smell are broken down most easily by products that contain high amounts of natural acid. Vinegar and tomato treatments can be the most effective way to wash the scent from skin, hair, and clothing. Wash the area thoroughly with highly concentrated amounts of vinegar or tomato sauce. Leave the treatment on for about five minutes, then rinse it thoroughly out. You should notice an improvement in the smell right away. If the skunk smell is still prevalent you may need to resort to a chemical based treatment.
Peroxide and Baking Soda
Some skunk smells are too intense for natural methods to completely work. If the vinegar or tomato don’t completely eradicate the smell, you can use diluted peroxide and baking soda as a second treatment for the offensive odor. Mix one part peroxide with one part baking soda and one part water for the best results. These chemicals are safe to use on pets and humans and generally soak up the remaining scent from the skunk. Once these treatments are finished, you can wash using normal soap or shampoo to get rid of the smell of the vinegar, tomato, and peroxide.
Replace Your Home’s Air Filters
If the skunk smell has invaded your home it can linger for months before it is completely gone. There are a few things you can do to speed up the removal process, however. Skunk smell has a tendency to cling to every particle in the air. Make sure that you completely replace all of your air conditioner and heater filters as soon as possible after a skunk smell has come into your home. If you don’t replace the filters, the skunk smell will be blowing through your vents for months before it goes away.
Shampoo Carpets and Upholstery
The carpet and furniture in a room that has been pervaded by skunk smell must also be treated as soon as possible. Use an anti-bacterial shampoo to steam clean your carpets thoroughly. Steam cleaners can also be used on most types of cloth furniture and curtains. Remember that the smell can reach every part of the room and will attach itself to all of the fabric covered surfaces. If you want to completely remove the skunk smell permanently you will have to wash every surface in a room that has been exposed to skunk smell.