Removal of Skunk Odor/Printable version

Removal of Skunk Odor

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Removing Odor

This chapter lists methods for removing skunk odor.

Hydrogen peroxide method


You can forget about tomato juice, it only covers up the stench. In an episode of the television program MythBusters, chemist Paul Krebaum's peroxide-and-baking-soda formula[1] was found to be the most effective. It was first published by K.M. Reese in the "Newscripts" section of "Chemical and Engineering News," Oct. 18, 1993[2] [3]. You can also find it in Popular Science's August 2007 issue.

Here is his recipe:

  • One quart (1 lt.) of 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • One quarter cup of baking soda
  • one teaspoon of liquid hand soap (not detergent)

Bathe your pet in this solution and rinse with warm tap water. This solution could irritate a pet's eyes and should be used carefully. Krebaum warned that there is no way to store this potion. "If you put the ingredients in a bottle, the whole thing would explode.

The thiols that are responsible for the odor are not water soluble, even with soap, but the baking soda catalyzes the oxidative ability of the peroxide, which oxidizes the thiols into highly water-soluble, non-foul smelling sulfonates.

Paul Krebaum recommends oxygen bleach for fabrics that are color-safe to it, on his website. For use on clothing, furniture, and anything of fabric, use the solution Nature's Cure usually found at large animal stores. Nature's Miracle, however, should also be used with caution. One of the active ingredients, alcohol, can create dry skin and cause degradation of the dog's coat quality. In the worst cases, the alcohol can result in permanent injuries to the cornea.


  1. Paul Krebaum's page: The Skunk Remedy Homepage
  2. Chemical and Engineerng News Archives:
  3. Paul Krebaum "About the Author" [1]

Discouraging Skunks

This chapter describes how to keep skunks out of homes or other areas.

Basic precautions


As a skunk's odor is generally considered to be offensive, people living in areas known to be inhabited by skunks are advised to take certain precautions to prevent skunks from taking up residence where they are not wanted. As skunks commonly make their dens in wood or junk piles, it is recommended that these be kept to a minimum. Skunks are scavengers and frequently go after garbage. Garbage should be stored in tightly sealed cans.

Skunks are reported to feed on insects found in the ground, and are less found if there is no such food to be found. Use a general purpose pesticide on the grounds to reduce the occurrence of the insects will act on skunks feed. This method has its weak points though. By aiming at skunks indirectly the impact on the above mentioned grounds and their insect population is huge. It only works before the damage has started. It has long term effect on the insect population and ground specs, like pollution of water, polenisation, etc. Also, insecticids should be use with care, as most insecticides are heavily toxic.

Skunk infestations


A fence extending one or two feet into the ground is sufficient to prevent skunks from making a den underneath a house or other structure. If a skunk should take up residence under the building, bags filled with mothballs or washcloths drenched with ammonia can be used to encourage skunks to leave. Securing a rope to the bag or cloth will make removal easy later on. Flour or other non-toxic white powder can be sprinkled around the den entrance to track foot prints. One should check for fresh foot prints from the skunk leading out, but not going back in. It is better to check in the morning as the skunks will be more likely to be active at night.

After all the skunks have left, one should then block up any entrances that the skunk may have used along with the entrance to the skunk's den. If it is suspected that there are more skunks living in the den, a door should be constructed at the den's entrance that is hinged at the top, and extends approximately six inches (15 cm) beyond the entrance. It should be placed at a right angle to the direction of travel and should not be air tight. This can be an effective technique as it allows the skunks to exit their den, but makes it difficult for them to get back in.