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How to Remove Skunk Odor from Your Dog (and Everything Else)

How to Remove Skunk Odor from Your Dog (and Everything Else)

Picture this, one minute, you’re enjoying a hike with your best furry friend, and the next, you’re surrounded by an unpleasant odor. You’ve been the target of a frightened skunk, and now you, your clothes, and your poor pooch can’t get rid of the smell. If your pup smells like a skunk, you probably find yourself longing for the days he smelled like a wet dog. But don’t worry, you can remove the skunk odor from your pup and anywhere else it might be lingering, with a few simple steps and products.

 

How to Stop Your Dog from Smelling Like Skunk


Despite what you might have heard, you don’t need to bathe your pup in a bunch of tomato juice to eliminate the skunk smell. In fact, tomato juice likely doesn’t get rid of the odor so much as to mask it. Therefore, skip the canned goods and go for these basic household products instead: baking soda, hydrogen peroxide, and liquid dish soap.


First things first, if your dog gets sprayed, keep him outside until you’ve had a chance to de-skunk him. Skunk spray can linger and permeate its surroundings. Therefore, if your pooch runs through your house before you can get rid of the smell, you’ll likely end up smelling the scent in your home for a while.


Also, ensure you act quickly, as the longer skunk spray sits, the harder it is to get rid of it. Plus, it can also cause side effects like irritating the eyes and nose and nausea. So, make sure to check your dog’s eyes for any redness and flush his eyes with cool water.


Next, it’s time to mix up the ingredients to create your anti-skunk smell solution. You’ll need:

 

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide

  • ¼-cup of baking soda

  • 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap

  • A pair of rubber gloves

  • An open container


Put on your gloves and mix the solution in an uncovered container. Wash your pup with the mixture, being careful not to get it in his eyes. It’s best to perform this de-skunking bath as soon as possible after the skunk sprays your dog.


Wash your pup thoroughly, but don’t let the mixture sit on the fur for too long. Rinse your pup, making sure to get all of the solution out of his coat. Finally, give your pup a regular bath with dog shampoo and dry him off completely.


Note for discarding the solution: Do NOT cover the solution as it could explode. You cannot store or keep this mix; you must discord of it immediately. Ensure you dilute it heavily first with water, then pour it down the drain.


Products That Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog


Several pet cleaning products on the market are specifically designed to get rid of skunk odor on your pets. Many of these products contain something called neutroleum alpha that targets skunk odor and typically masks the smell. They’re good for a quick fix, but it’s still best to bathe your dog as described above ASAP.


If you’re outdoors with your dog often and enjoy activities like hiking or exploring, it might be worth having one of these products on hand. It’s also worth tossing one of these in with your gear when you go on an outdoor adventure or take a camping trip; you can pack it right next to the dog-poop bags. Plus, you can use many of these types of products on your furniture and other surfaces as well.

 

 

person doing laundry

What If Other Stuff Smells Like Skunk?

 

If you were near your pup when the skunk sprayed him, then you likely got a personal dose of skunk cologne. Lucky you. Also, it’s likely the spray also got on items like your dog’s leash and collar. Skunk spray can reach up to three feet and it quickly absorbs into anything and everything nearby. Plus, if you or your pup, or anything else that smells like skunk, goes inside or sits on a piece of furniture, or has to get in your car to drive home, then that stuff probably smells like skunk, too.


How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell on Yourself


Your first stop should be a hot shower or bath. Use a deodorant soap to wash your entire body. Or, you can even use a dish detergent that targets and cuts through grease. On your hair, use a shampoo made for oily hair to combat the skunk oil. It’s also helpful to soak in a bath that includes two to four cups of baking soda for about 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse thoroughly.


How to Get Skunk Odor Out of Your Furniture and Clothes


For your clothes, often washing them with a regular laundry detergent combined with ½-cup of baking soda in hot water can work. Let your clothes air dry, preferably in the sunshine. Not only will air-drying help conquer the smell, using the dryer could trap any lingering odors in the fabric. If the smelly fabric can’t go in the washing machine, soak it in the baking soda/detergent mixture for about 30 minutes, then rinse and air dry.


You can also try these tips out for cleaning your pet’s belongings that ended up getting “skunky.” Remember, to eliminate the skunk smell, you might need to repeat the wash process a few times. In some cases, certain materials might refuse to let go of the smell, and you’ll, unfortunately, have to toss them.


For items you can’t handwash, like furniture, rugs, and carpet, you can try steam cleaning with a machine or call in professional steam cleaners. There are also commercial products, similar to those mentioned above, for various surfaces you can use to banish the odor.


How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in Your House

 

Unfortunately, skunk odor doesn’t just stick to soft surfaces; it can hang out anywhere. This means it has the ability to take over your whole house. If this happens, try the following:

 

  • Open all the windows to start airing out your house and let in sunlight.

  • If you have an HVAC system, let the fan run continuously to help with ventilation. 

  • Boil vinegar in a pan. Basically, it will replace the skunk odor with vinegar, but eventually, the vinegar smell will dissipate and leave you with fresh-smelling air.

  • Alternatively, you can place a bowl of vinegar in each room of your home for one to two days. However, make sure to place them in a safe place to avoid spills and encounters with curious pets and kids.  

  • You can also use commercial cleaning products to help eliminate the odors. 

  • To get the skunk smell out of hard surfaces, mix up a solution of 90% water and 10% bleach or white vinegar. Spot test an area first, and then use it to clean the surface, wiping it away quickly to avoid issues like discoloration or warping.

  • Once the skunk smell is gone, make sure to change the filter in your A/C and furnace.

 

How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in Your Car


After getting sprayed, if you have to get in your car with your pup, then your vehicle’s going to smell like skunk. Or, perhaps your car was in the line of fire. Either way, act fast and open the windows, letting in the air and sunlight.


Mix up a solution of either 10% bleach and 90% water, or hydrogen peroxide, water, and baby shampoo to wash your car’s interior, both the hard and soft surfaces. (Make sure to do a spot test first to make sure it doesn’t cause any discoloration.) You can also place bowls of vinegar or some charcoal in the front and back seats and leave them for a couple of days. For your vehicle’s exterior, hose it down and wash it as usual.


Some Final Thoughts


Skunks don’t just walk around spraying everyone and everything they come across; most of the time, they prefer to run away. However, if your pup crosses paths with a skunk, and the little animal feels threatened, your poor pooch might end up with a face full of Eau de Skunk. If that happens, it’s essential to act fast, using these tips to get rid of the skunk smell.


For more helpful resources and information, check out the rest of our blog! At Neater Pets, we always add new content geared toward helping you be an amazing pet parent!

 

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  • Fernando Becattini