Anyone who has ever startled a skunk knows the result of this fateful encounter. The result is burning watering eyes, a brain penetrating stench and difficulty breathing, even if it doesn’t get directly on you.
Skunk smell can get into your house by a variety of sources. For instance, you or your pet might be sprayed, or a skunk could spray something else directly outside of your home.
Skunk’s pungent order is meant as a protective measure. Mother Nature gives the skunk that smell to keep predators away. You and a predator can smell skunk spray from miles away if the wind conditions are right.
A skunk’s spray is oily and difficult to remove entirely, and the longer you wait to wash it off, the harder it will be to be free of that nasty odour.
What does a skunk spray smell like?
It smells so bad because it consists of a mixture of chemicals containing sulphursulfur, which are notorious for their pungent and nauseating odour sort of like the smell that rotten eggs. The spray is notorious for its incredibly disgusting odour.
Signs you may have skunks nearby
It is more likely you will smell a skunk than see one. Persistent, faint musk smells under a building or woodpile may suggest that a skunk has taken up residence. You may find small, shallow holes in the lawn, similar to those made by squirrels, which are a result of a skunk foraging for grubs and insect larva.
How long does skunk smell last?
The smell can permeate clothes, skin and fur, making it last for weeks. Research shows that a skunk’s odour will last 14-21 days if left untreated.
Can skunk spray kill you?
No. Skunk spray is not poisonous. It will not kill you or your pets, but a direct hit to the eyes has been known to cause temporary blindness. The spray can cause nausea and vomiting, as well as watery eyes and itching.
If you are the unfortunate recipient of being sprayed by a skunk, here are some remedies to get rid of skunk smell.
- Take a bath or shower immediately. The spray easily soaks into your skin, giving you a body odour no deodorant can tackle. Mix a 1/4 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) 1 teaspoon liquid soap or dish detergent. Mix these and bathe (“shampoo” in or rub down) the spray victim thoroughly. Be sure to use this mixture immediately after it is created since it is unstable.
- Sulfur is neutralized by chlorine bleach. Chlorine is used in small quantities in swimming pools and hot tubs. If you have access to the powder or chlorine tablets that are used in pools or hot tubs, get your bathtub set up with the proper amount of water in the tub and have a bath for a good 15 minutes or so.
*Note: Please don’t think of using the chlorine bleach we use in the laundry. It’s very concentrated, highly alkaline, not to mention NOT SAFE to bathe in, or get on your skin. It will completely dissolve hair. Chlorine bleach is caustic and toxic
- Another mixture that has been passed on from one generation of dog lovers to the next. Mix 1 quart hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon dish-washing liquid.
- To get skunk smell off the skin, you can also try white vinegar or hydrogen peroxide to counteract the natural oil in the skunk. You will probably need something stronger than soapy water to get rid of skunk oils. A solution of vinegar or peroxide will dissolve and remove the potent smelling oils instead of just spreading them around.
Keep a safe distance
Obviously, the best way to avoid a disastrous and smelly encounter with a skunk is to always stay a safe distance away from a suspected hiding place or residence. Live and let live is a good motto to follow when it comes to skunks. If however, you or your pet has been spray by these putrid little creatures, some of these remedies may help to save the day.