How to get rid of Skunk Smell Easily
Skunks are very smelly animals; we all know this. But while some say that skunks smell like burnt rubber and tear gas, others conclude that skunks smell more like weeds, coffee, or even garlic.
Well… whichever scent it is, we’ll find out in this article. Likewise, we’ll also look at how you can remove and neutralize skunk odor on clothes, dogs, other pets, and cars. Just stick with us to the very end, okay?
Why Do Skunks Release Bad Odor?
You see, skunks are very shy animals. So, they tend to stay far from humans and other animals as well.
In fact, because of this, they prefer to be dormant during the day. So, oftentimes, they set out at night.
However, in some cases, contact is unavoidable. In such a scenario, skunks do their best to wrap things up very fast and leave.
But during this time, they go into defensive mode if they feel threatened. To defend themselves, skunks spray a smelly and yellowish oil from their anus.
This protective oil can fly up to three feet. But once it lands, it vaporizes within seconds.
However, before it vaporizes, the skunk oil acts as a lachrymator on the targeted predator. By that, we mean that it deters and slows down the predator by causing eye irritation, redness, and tears. All these are coupled with a very bad and pungent smell.
What Makes Skunk Odor So Smelly?
As said earlier, skunk oil tends to vaporize very easily. However, its associated smell can linger for days.
This is because skunk oil comprises two particular types of sulfuric compounds named Thiols and Thioacetates.
Thiol and its other derivatives within the skunk oil react together to give the bad scent that we often perceive.
In most cases, many people liken this skunk scent to that of a rotten egg.
However, you won’t notice the smell of thioacetates at first. This is because these compounds often need water or high humidity before any noticeable changes.
But when the conditions are right, the thioacetate smell will erupt and it can last for several days; long after an encounter with a skunk.
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What Does Skunk Odor Spray Smell Like?
No one can say for sure what skunk oil smells like because everybody smells different things every time. From what we know, this can depend on environmental factors like humidity and rainfall.
However, in most cases, people describe skunk oil to smell like rotten eggs or farts. Likewise, it irritates the eye like tear gas.
At other times, some say that skunk oil smells like garlic, weed, coffee, and even burnt rubber. But somehow, all these things are reasonable.
This is because garlic and onions also contain the same kind of sulfur compounds and thiols present in skunk oil. Then again, rubber is usually hardened with sulfur. So, it shouldn’t baffle you if some people interpret the scents this way.
At a farther distance, some even say that Skunk odor smells like coffee and black mud. So, you see why we said earlier that no one knows for sure what skunk odor smells like? Well… join the club!
What are the Natural Skunk odor eliminators or removers out there?
1) Ammonia – To use it, dilute the ammonia with water six times its amount. Dip the affected fabric and equipment inside the mixture. Leave them in for about an hour. Wash as usual with a fragrant detergent. Then, rinse with warm water. But be careful not to use bleach of any kind.
2) Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda – Hydrogen peroxide has enough oxygen that neutralizes the skunk odor. To use it, mix equal amounts of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda. Dilute this cocktail with water six times the amount and stir well. Then, soak the item and wash it appropriately.
3) White Vinegar – Dilute the vinegar and use as directed with ammonia. Although, it works less actively compared with ammonia. So, you need to leave the fabric in for about 4 hours.
How to Make a Skunk Odor Remover Recipe
Sometimes, homemade recipes are the safest and cheapest ways to remove skunk odors. In this article, we’ll show you the easiest way to make the most effective one.
But first, you need the following household agents:
- Hydrogen peroxide – If you don’t have this, visit a nearby chemist store, you should get one at a very cheap price.
- Baking Soda – Most of us use this at home.
- Dish Soaps – Now, who doesn’t wash plates? If you don’t, get baby shampoo instead.
- Boiling Water
Once you have all these ready, follow these steps:
- Wear protective gloves and face masks. If you have a pair of glasses, wear them to keep safe. Safety can’t be underrated.
- Mix baking soda in warm water. This mixture is enough to rinse the affected part of your body. This will clear off the skunk oil residue on your skin.
- For pets, mix 1 tablespoon of dish soap, diluted hydrogen peroxide, and 2 tablespoons of baking soda. You can use it as we will guide you in other sections.
What Are the Steps to Neutralize Skunk Odor?
If you perceive the skunk odor inside your house, these are some of the steps you can follow to neutralize it;
- Open all windows to allow for cross-ventilation. Make sure your fans are running at their full speed. But all in all, ensure that sunlight gets in. The sunlight helps to vaporize the source of the skunk oil and hence, the skunk scent.
- Bath yourself with fragrant soap and your pet with a homemade skunk remover recipe. As said earlier, you make this with a mixture of baking soda, water, dish soaps, and hydrogen peroxide.
De-Skunk all clothes and equipment that are tarnished with skunk oil. You can wash them with the skunk remover recipe we prepared above.
Mop all surfaces and tabletops – You can do this with a small cloth deep in vinegar. You can as well wipe them dry with baking soda.
Use essential oils like lavender or peppermint to re-new the scent of your house. You also replace the filters on your air-conditioners. This will help remove the droplets of thiols trapped in its mesh.
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How to Get Rid of Skunk Smell in Cars.
- Open the car windows and doors. Make sure you allow the sunlight to get inside. This will help vaporize the skunk oil.
- Mix bleach with water that’s nine times that amount. But first, use a small portion of the upholstery to make sure that the fabric isn’t affected.
- Wash the car in its entirety.
- Place charcoal in the back seats for several days.
- At the same time, your car freshener or other commercial skunk removers if the scent persists.
How to Remove Skunk Smell on Carpets and Furniture
- Open all windows and doors. Make sure the sunlight gets inside.
- Brush the smelly region of the carpet or furniture with a solution of ammonia and water, baking soda and hydrogen peroxide, or vinegar and water.
- Vacuum the entire carpet or furniture. Then, replace the vacuum trash bags.
- Use fragrant essential oils or commercial air fresheners to give your house a fresh scent.
FAQs on Skunk Odor.
- How Long Does a Skunk Smell last?
Normally, the skunk spray or skunk oil will last only about a few minutes. Within that minute, the immediate rotten egg scent is due to the smell-inducing thiols present in the oils. After a short while, this scent will fade.
However, because of the thioacetates also present in the oil, the bad smell of skunk oil on any surface (pet fur, human body, or clothes) will re-activate if it comes in contact with water or high humidity.
When that happens, the bad skunk scent so-renewed can linger for up to three weeks.
- Can You Smell Like Skunk Without Being Sprayed?
You see, the thing is; our noses are very sensitive to skunk scents. In fact, with just a small amount, your nose will get saturated with the bad smell.
So, even if you’re not directly rained down by a skunk, the few droplets in the air can land on your skin and your clothes. These tiny drops are enough to make you reek of skunk.
- Are there Skunk Smell Proof-Bags?
Well… absolutely yes. These skunk proof-bags are made with rubber on the inside and nylon on the outside. This way, they keep liquids out and prevent smells from escaping.
After that, a layer of thermal foil that keeps the temperature constant was added. But what really keeps the skunk odor away is the activated carbon layer that was added to the skunk bags. This layer neutralizes the skunk scents molecule by molecule. Interesting!
- What Smells like Skunk But Isn’t Skunk?
Don’t be surprised. This is actually a thing. But many things like rotten eggs in the fridge, dead animals in your attic, a leak from your septic tank, or a skunked pet can be the cause.
Surprisingly, there’s even a plant with a scent just like that of a skunk. According to biologists, this plant called the Skunk cabbage plant does this to attract pollinators like bees. PS though, it is not a poisonous plant at all.
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If you get skunked, the skunk oil will likely irritate your eyes and nose. The oils smell like rotten eggs and act as lachrymators to the eye.
To remove the skunk odor, homemade recipes made out of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soaps can work.
But make sure that any affected surface; be it clothes, skin, car seats, or carpets are exposed to sunlight. This helps to vaporize the skunk oil and remove the scents.