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What You Need To Know About Skunk Smell And How To Get Rid Of It

Everyone knows when a skunk is near. If they have sprayed or unfortunately become roadkill the scent of their spray is very easily recognizable. No one enjoys the smell of skunk spray and they certainly do not want to deal with being sprayed themselves, however, it does happen and if this is the case you’ll want to know how to get rid of it.

Why Does Skunk Spray Smell

Typically, skunks use their anal scent glands as a defensive weapon. Two glands on each side of the anus produce the skunk’s spray which is a mixture of sulfur based organic compounds called thiols. These compounds put off the highly offensive and for some, nauseating odor that has become this critters signature mark. Skunks are nocturnal mammals from North and South America belonging to the family Mephitidae. They are closely related to the weasel family and polecats but their closest relatives are the stink badgers. Because they roam during the night it is common for them to come across predators which is why they are known to spray during the evening hours but this isn’t to say they will not spray during the day. If you come into close contact with a skunk it is still possible that you can be sprayed if they perceive you as a threat. Normally, skunks sleep during the daytime but if you smell the scent of skunk you can be sure there is one nearby and it is best if you keep your distance. To give you a gage, humans can smell skunk spray up to almost 4 miles away.

Can You Avoid Being Sprayed By A Skunk

If a skunk perceives you as a threat then they will most likely choose to spray you or at least try but there are some things that skunks avoid which could be useful if you know you’ll be within the vicinity of skunks. Skunks do not like bright lights. Having a high beam flashlight on hand if you are wandering wooded areas will not only help you navigate through the dark but also be a deterrent for skunks. Skunks also hate the smell of citrus, predator urine, cayenne pepper, ammonia and mothballs. Now, you may not want to walk around with the smell of predator urine on hand but then again it may be a better alternative rather than having to soak in tomato juice all night. Citrus is a more pleasant scent that can easily be worn while camping, walking in the woods or even spraying around your garden if you find these critters hiding around in there. Sprinkling cayenne pepper over your garden is also a great way to keep them out. Mothballs or cotton balls soaked in ammonia can also be carried in a backpack but both of these should be kept out of the reach of small children. Having deterrents on hand will not 100% ensure you can avoid being sprayed by a skunk but it can definitely lessen the odds.

How To Get Rid Of Skunk Smell

Tomato juice is not really a remedy to getting rid of skunk smell. The reason this myth came about is because tomato juice stimulates the olfactory nerve which is responsible for smell making the brain think that it no longer notices the stench of skunk spray. The best way to get rid of skunk smell is to wash everything as soon as you can with detergent, baking soda and hot water. Often this has to be repeated a few times to get the smell completely out. The other thing to note is that you will want to hang dry all clothing and/or materials as the hot dryer can set in the skunk smell if the wash cycle does not get everything completely out. If you have delicate materials you will want to soak these for at least 30 minutes and then try a delicate cycle along with hang drying. Using hydrogen peroxide is also known to help eliminate the smell. There are commercial products out there that can be purchased but if those are not already on hand the quickest solution is to wash clothing as you will want to deal with the smell right away. As far as washing your body you will want to wash with lots of soap and warm water until the smell begins to dissipate. Adding baking soda into your body wash or using it along with your bar of soap will also help get rid of the smell.

Skunk smell is not necessarily something that you can easily get rid of but you should be able to conquer the smell after a few rounds of washing. If you like to camp or go hiking it may be a good idea to pack an extra outfit in case you do come face to face with these smelly critters. A bar of soap may come in handy as well!

If a skunk has made its way into your home or business, we suggest using humane solutions for evicting them. We share some tips in the video below. 

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