How can something so incredibly cute looking smell so incredibly foul? That remarkably awful odor is a skunk’s main weapon of defense and it sure works!
If you, your property or your pet has ever been hit with a dose of skunk spray, you know all too well that it is remarkably unpleasant and a distressing experience. Thankfully, there are some effective steps you can take to both prevent the problem and eliminate the awful stench that comes along with it.
1. De-skunk your property.
You can be proactive and make your area skunk free by removing the pieces that caused the little critters to come by in the first place. Like many animals, skunks are always on the lookout for food, so check that your trash cans are tightly sealed and remove any scattered pet or bird food lying around.
Run a general inspection of your building to make sure that there are no holes larger than 3 or 4 inches where the animals can enter. They also do not like the smell of ammonia-soaked cloth and moth balls, so try placing these at various points outside.
Skunks are great at digging, but not climbing. Fencing off affected spots works well to keep them out of your yard altogether. Make sure the fence goes down at least a foot or so into the ground so that they can’t dig under it.
Skunks are also nocturnal and hate bright light. Keeping your property illuminated at night is an effective, but rather costly choice. Motion activated sprinklers also make the area a less enticing place to visit.
2. Stay off their turf.
Skunks can often be found in brushes, abandoned underground dens, woodpiles or hollow logs. Overly curious dogs often run afoul of skunks while exploring wooded areas, so do your best to keep them from prowling around off-leash or being too curious.
Skunks also like to take up residence under porches and other human structures, but hate bright light. If you need to crawl under your home to do some maintenance, shine a light around under there first before you end up nose to nose with trouble.
3. Hydrogen peroxide.
Beloved by bottle blondes everywhere, Hydrogen Peroxide actually has many other uses and can aid you in this fight. If a skunk has doused you or a pet, mix 1 liter of 3% HP solution with ¼ cup of baking soda, and 5ml of liquid detergent.
Scrub the affected areas with this mixture, but be sure to avoid areas like the mouth or eyes. Wait five minutes and then rinse the mix off with water. Repeat the procedure if needed, but do not use this on clothes or furniture.
4. Vinegar and baking soda.
This mixture is an alternative choice for objects that would be damaged by Hydrogen Peroxide. Mix ¾ cup of baking soda with 1 quart of vinegar. Scrub the fluid produced into your clothes or furniture using a sponge or cloth; let sit for 5 minutes and then rinse in water, repeating as needed. Tackle durable objects like deck furniture that are less resistant to damage using a mixture that is 10% water and 90% bleach.
5. Cleaning agents.
There are a number of commercially available products designed to get that wretched stench out of your life. Ideally, the product you choose should neutralize the smell by breaking down the oils that cause it.
There are some that simply mask the odor instead of eliminating it; you want this menace gone from your life, so do some research and choose the product that attacks the problem and defeats it.
If you wish to try something else, your best bet is shampoos with essential oils as these tackle the problem with similar effectiveness.
6. Trap them.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can try trapping the creatures. There are various skunk traps on the market that entice the animal inside using a form of bait. It is recommended that you try something sweet, since it’s more likely to attract a skunk and less likely to attract animals you do not want to catch.
The best ones are designed in such a way as to prevent you from being sprayed when you transport the animal to its new location far away from yours.
7. Call a professional.
While skunks are generally harmless, we don’t blame anyone for wanting to stay far away form them. If you are one of those people, call in a team of professionals to take care of the problem. They will most likely use similar traps to snare the skunk(s) and move them to another area.
Having the pros do it also ensures that you do not risk getting bitten: in addition to that trauma, skunks can carry rabies. Now that we have covered how to get rid of skunk smell effectively, here are some methods widely used in the past that really don’t work at all.
8. Tomato juice.
Well known for years as the go-to solution for wiping out skunk stench, bathing in tomato juice simply does not work. It will certainly not hurt you in any way (though it will do a number on light colored fabrics), it simply masks the smell and is really not even too effective at that.
Whoever came up with this plan was most likely looking for an excuse to spice up their next backyard party. Or maybe they took the phrase “Skunky Beer” a little too literally. As with tomato juice, bathing in beer barely does anything for the smell and less than nothing to get rid of it.
Skunk odor is something we encounter in both urban and rural areas. If you’re unlucky enough to have experienced it up close, you will need to do some work to breathe easily once more. Thankfully, that incredibly noxious smell can be completely wiped out at a relatively low cost. Whichever method you use, tackle the problem as soon as possible. The longer the smell stays on the person, animal or object, the tougher you will have to work to get it out.