How to Remove Skunk Smell: Home, Clothing, People, and Pets

Dealing with skunk odor can be incredibly frustrating. Whether a skunk has sprayed your home, clothing, pets or even you, the pungent smell can linger for weeks if not treated properly. Fortunately, there are several effective methods for removing skunk smell from various surfaces. With the right combination of ingredients and techniques, you can banish even the worst skunk stench.

Supplies Needed to Remove Skunk Smell

Before diving into the specific methods, there are some key supplies that are helpful to have on hand when removing skunk odor. Here are some recommended items to gather:

  • Household vinegar – The acidic properties of vinegar help neutralize skunk smell. White vinegar works best.
  • Baking soda – Helps absorb oils that contain skunk odor. Often used with vinegar.
  • Hydrogen peroxide – Breaks down the thiols in skunk spray that cause the smell.
  • Liquid laundry detergent – Used as a degreasing agent on fabrics. Look for ones with enzymatic ingredients.
  • Rubber gloves & old rags – Protect your hands and clean up messes.
  • Plastic or glass spray bottles – For applying cleaning solutions to affected areas. Avoid metal containers.
  • Air purifier – Helps remove skunk smell from the air. Activated charcoal filters work best.

Having these supplies ready will make tackling that skunk stench much easier! Now let’s get into the specific methods.

Removing Skunk Smell from Your Home

If a skunk has sprayed the outside of your home, garage or under your porch, the odor can seep inside and linger for a long time. Here are some tips for removing skunk smell from your house:

Locate Source of Smell

  • Inspect the exterior of your home and look for evidence of skunk spraying like wetness or stains. This can help pinpoint the source.
  • Check under decks/porches, near foundation walls, and around entryways where skunks may spray.
  • Follow your nose! The strongest odor is likely nearest the spray site.

Clean Sprayed Areas

  • Mix 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1⁄4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap.
  • Use a spray bottle to liberally apply this solution to skunk-sprayed areas. Allow it to sit for 5-10 minutes.
  • Use a hose to rinse away the mixture. This should help neutralize the musky skunk smell.
  • Repeat as needed until odor dissipates.

Eliminate Lingering Smells Indoors

  • Set bowls of white vinegar around affected rooms to help absorb residual odors.
  • Keep windows open as much as possible to ventilate the house.
  • Run fans pointed outwards to air out the house and keep air circulating.
  • Run an air purifier with an activated charcoal filter 24/7 to filter the air.
  • Place open boxes of baking soda near problem areas to help soak up skunk smells. Replace frequently.
  • Wash any fabrics, curtains or upholstery that absorbed the skunk smell.
  • Be patient! It can take weeks for skunk odor to completely vanish.

Removing Skunk Smell from Clothing & Fabrics

Skunk spray can really embed itself into clothing, towels, curtains and other fabrics. To remove skunk odor from fabrics:

Act Quickly

  • Bring smelly items inside and pre-treat any stained areas ASAP. The sooner you treat, the better!

Pre-Treat Stained Areas

  • Mix 1-part hydrogen peroxide, 1-part baking soda, and 1-part dish soap.
  • Apply this paste to any spray stains and let sit for at least 15 minutes.

Wash Items

  • Hand wash smaller smelly items in the sink with laundry detergent, vinegar and hot water.
  • For larger loads, machine wash with laundry detergent and 2 cups of vinegar. Run on hot water setting.
  • Add used dryer sheets to the wash. These can help absorb odors.
  • Air dry items if possible, rather than machine drying, to avoid setting in smell.

Repeat as Needed

  • You may need to wash items 2-3 times to fully remove the skunk smell.
  • Avoid drying clothes between washings so smell doesn’t set in.

Helpful Tips

  • Wash anything that the smelly clothes touched like hampers and laundry baskets.
  • Run washing machine with vinegar afterwards to clear residual odors.
  • Rub hands on stainless steel to remove smell after handling clothes.

Removing Skunk Smell from Pets

Dogs and cats who have been sprayed directly or have rolled in skunk residue can stink for a long time if not bathed properly. Here are tips for de-skunking pets:

Create a Deodorizing Bath

  • Mix 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 tsp. liquid dish soap in a bucket.
  • Dilute with 1-2 gallons of warm water depending on pet’s size.

Bathe Pet Outdoors

  • Bring smelly pet and mixture outside. Avoid bathing indoors!
  • Drape a thick towel over the pet to keep the mixture on their fur.
  • Use a sponge to gently apply the solution. Avoid eyes and ears.
  • Let sit for 5-10 minutes. This gives the solution time to neutralize odor.

Rinse Thoroughly

  • Use a hose or pitcher to rinse the mixture off completely.
  • Apply pet shampoo and wash fur as normal. Rinse again.
  • Towel dry thoroughly. Air drying is ideal if possible.

Repeat if Needed

  • It may take several baths over a few weeks to fully remove skunk odor from pets.

Helpful Tips

  • Wear gloves! The thiols in skunk spray can absorb into your skin.
  • Give your pet a hydrogen peroxide mouth rinse if they got sprayed in the face.
  • Vacuum upholstery your pet touches to prevent smell transfer.

With some work, you can get even the worst skunk-sprayed home, clothing or pet back to odor-free. Just remember to always combine hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, act quickly, repeat treatments as needed, and be very thorough. With time and a lot of ventilation, you’ll be skunk smell-free.

Frequently Asked Questions About Removing Skunk Odor

How long does skunk smell last?

Skunk odor can last anywhere from a few days to a few weeks if not properly treated. Factors like the amount of spray, ventilation and materials sprayed affect duration. Quick treatment is key to faster smell removal.

Why does skunk spray smell so bad?

Skunk spray contains thiols – organic compounds containing sulfur. Thiols have strong, difficult to remove odors that our noses are highly sensitive to. Even a tiny amount creates a major stink!

Does vinegar neutralize skunk smell?

Yes, vinegar can help neutralize skunk odor because its acidity helps break down thiols. For best results, use white vinegar along with hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Vinegar alone may not eliminate the smell entirely.

Does tomato juice get rid of skunk smell?

Contrary to popular belief, tomato juice is not very effective for removing skunk odor. It may temporarily override the smell, but does not neutralize the thiols in skunk spray. Stick to remedies like hydrogen peroxide instead.

How do you remove skunk smell from a dog?

Bathe dogs sprayed by skunks with a mixture of 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap diluted in 1-2 gallons of warm water. Let sit for 5-10 minutes before thoroughly rinsing. Repeat baths as needed over several weeks.

Does skunk spray smell go away?

Yes, skunk smell will eventually go away on its own. However, this can take weeks or longer if sprayed areas are not properly treated. Using remedies like hydrogen peroxide speeds up the odor removal process significantly. Vigorous washing and ventilation helps too.


As unpleasant as skunk odor is, the smell will disappear over time if you take the right steps to treat affected items and areas. Whether it’s your home interior, clothing, pets or even you that got sprayed, be sure to use hydrogen peroxide and baking soda mixtures promptly to help neutralize those thiol compounds. With repeated washings, plenty of ventilation and patience, even the worst skunk smells can become a distant memory. Don’t lose hope – you’ll be odor-free soon with the right techniques.