How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell

Skunk spray is pungent and oily. It’s hard to remove and the longer you wait, the harder it is to neutralize. Here’s how to get rid of skunk smell.

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Ever get a whiff of fresh skunk spray? That “skunky” smell wafting through your car vent on a country road can’t compare to the potency of fresh skunk spray — which is overwhelming, to say the least. The smell from skunk spray can linger for two to three weeks, so if you’re the unfortunate recipient you need to act fast. Skunk spray is pungent, oily and hard to remove. The longer you wait, the more difficult it is to neutralize. Here’s how to get rid of skunk smell.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in the Car

Hitting a skunk with your car is not only traumatic, but smelly. Here’s how to get rid of skunk smell in the car ASAP:

  1. Mix one quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a bowl. With a clean cloth, gently scrub (do not saturate) the interior surfaces of your car.
  2. Next, wash your car’s carpet and upholstery with clean water. Push a fresh cloth into the carpet and upholstery to dry them.
  3. Wash the exterior of your car, including the tires, as you would a normal car wash.
  4. Finally, to soak up the remaining stink, place charcoal in a small plastic container. Cut a few small holes in the lid and leave this in your car for a few weeks. The charcoal will absorb lingering odors.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in the House

While it’s rare for a skunk to sneak into a house, its scent may linger if a person or pet who was sprayed comes indoors. In that case, here are some tips to get rid of skunk smell in the house:

  1. Open up windows;
  2. Run house fans if you have them;
  3. Place dishes of vinegar around the house (out of reach of pets and young children);
  4. Heat a pan of vinegar on the stovetop.

Learn more great tricks to eliminating odors in the house.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on a Pet

If a skunk sprayed your dog or cat, don’t fret. Try this solution from The Humane Society of the United States:

  1. Mix one quart of three-percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda and one teaspoon liquid dish soap just before use, not in advance.
  2. Wear rubber gloves when applying and keep the solution away from your pet’s eyes and mouth.
  3. Rinse immediately, then follow up with a pet shampoo. Some pet shampoos are designed to neutralize skunk smells, such as this one.

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on Clothing

Here’s one method:

  1. Soak washable clothing in a solution of one part vinegar and four parts water for several hours.
  2. Rinse with water, then wash in hot water using detergent and 1/2 cup baking soda. Set for repeat rinse.
  3. Hang dry, outdoors if possible. Do not use the clothes dryer.

Skunks aren’t the only animal pest you may have to deal with. Learn how to get rid of raccoons.

If you have other bad smells around your house, these tips will help.

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Luke Miller
Luke Miller is an award-winning garden editor with 25 years' experience in horticultural communications, including editing a national magazine and creating print and online gardening content for a national retailer. He grew up across the street from a park arboretum and has a lifelong passion for gardening in general and trees in particular. In addition to his journalism degree, he has studied horticulture and is a Master Gardener.