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Deskunking! – Advice From the Pros

By Chris Williams on September 15, 2011.

Uh oh! Your dog just had a run-in with a skunk!  What now? Nobody’s happy living with skunk odor.

Deskunking Pets and People –There are all kinds of home remedies and folklore cures for getting rid of skunk odor, everything from bathing in tomato juice to dousing with vinegar. Most of these simply cover up the skunk odor with another odor. Veterinarians and pet supply stores have commercial products for use on pets that do a better job. There is a simple mix that you can make at home that was discovered by a chemist and has been proven to neutralize skunk odor.

skunkTHE  RECIPE:  Mix 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide (you can get this at the drug store), 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap. Apply this to skin, hair, or pet hair and allow to remain for 3-4 minutes before rinsing off. Avoid splashing the mix in eyes or mouth. Use the mixture as soon as it is prepared and do not save it for re-use. A temporary lightening of hair may occur.

Deskunking Surfaces and Furnishings – Some commercial odor-masking products are simply deodorizers that cover up the smell. Look for one that claims to “neutralize” the odor instead. Be careful not to combine deodorizers and cleaning products unless the label allows you to do so. The more porous the surface, the harder it will be to get rid of the odor. Concrete, wallboard, and unpainted wood will likely need more than one treatment. Dilute Neutroleum Alpha can be used to deodorize surfaces, as well as people and pets.

Deskunking Fabrics –Draperies or upholstery covers can often be dry-cleaned, or cleaned in place with cleaning fluids or household bleach (test on an inconspicuous portion of the fabric first).

Clothing should be soaked in dilute liquid laundry bleach and then washed, or dry-cleaned, as appropriate. More than one cleaning may be necessary and if sprayed directly, it’s best to just throw out the clothes. Neutroleum Alpha can also be used in the washing machine to deodorize clothes. Shoes, hats, or other nonwashable items should be hung outdoors in fresh air, or they can be buried for a few days in dry soil (really) or in an absorbent material like kitty litter.

Time is the most important factor is removing skunk odor. It can take a week or two for the smell to dissipate and it can be noticeable again during high humidity (or if the pet gets wet!). You will likely have to do more than one treatment of surfaces.

If the odor doesn’t seem to go away, it’s also possible that the skunk may have resprayed under or near your house. A skunk in a crawlspace or denning anywhere near your home can be a real problem. But one that we can handle. Our nuisance wildlife experts at Colonial are pros at humanely removing and relocating skunks and other unwanted animals from your property. If you have a skunk on your property, but no one has yet been sprayed, then you read this blog just in time! Give Colonial a call today.

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