How to get rid of skunk smell in the house

Being at the receiving end of skunk spray is one of the worst nightmares for most people. Skunk spray is stinky and doesn’t dissipate with ease.

The situation is even worse when the smell makes its way to your house and permeates several surfaces. Unfortunately, many people find themselves living through this nightmare from time to time.

There are several ways skunk odor can enter your house – a skunk may be in your compound or the smell may have been carried from outside by your pets or loved ones. Getting rid of the smell can be an arduous task, but it is possible.

So, what is the best way to get rid of the skunk smell? You can either use homemade remedies, essential oils, or chemicals specifically designed to remove this foul smell. Make sure to apply each method as indicated below for the best results.

Before digging deeper into ways to get rid of the skunk smell, it is crucial to understand its mechanism.

Why is skunk odor so smelly?

Skunk odor is so smelly due to thiols – which are sulfur-based organic compounds contained in the skunk spray.

They produce a putrid and overpowering odor that is similar to that of rotten eggs (due to the sulfur).

How to get rid of skunk smells using natural/homemade remedies

One of the ways to get rid of skunk odor is by the use of home remedies. They might be the only appropriate or easily accessible solutions in some situations, for example, when you want to get rid of the skunk smell in the house at night.

There are several natural remedies that you can use for skunk smell removal. They include:

1. Vinegar

apple cider vinegar

Can you get the smell of skunk out of your house with vinegar? Yes, vinegar is one of the top homemade odor removers. It contains acetate acid that binds with volatile compounds and quickly kills any smell-producing compounds.

To kill the smell, dilute the vinegar with water (about 1-part vinegar with four parts water) and spray affected surfaces. You can also use vinegar to wash any clothing or fabrics that have come into contact with the skunk odor.

Note: The vinegar smell can be a bit overpowering, but it dissipates quickly. And once it does, so will the skunk odor.

2. Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide is another top remedy against skunk odor. It is a powerful oxidizing agent that quickly breaks down the compounds in skunk smell.

However, it is pretty harsh, especially on fabrics and skin. Therefore, you should dilute it (about 1-part hydrogen peroxide to 6 parts water) before use.

Aside from these remedies, there are several other household products you can use, such as:

  • Baking soda: a good odor remover that can help absorb the skunk smell
  • Household bleach and cleaning products: These are effective against greasy compounds and can therefore eliminate the odor. Just make sure not to mix bleach with any other cleaning agents.

How to get rid of skunk smells using essential oils

Essential oils offer a host of benefits, from improving sleep, relieving stress, alleviate headaches, among others. Another top service provided by some of these oils is removing odors.

The pleasant scent can neutralize or musk foul odors, making them an excellent solution for use against skunk smell.

Top essential oils to get rid of skunk smell in the house include:

  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Tangerine
  • Lavender
  • Sandalwood
  • Peppermint
  • Patchouli, and more.

To use these oils, apply a few drops on the affected surfaces. Alternatively, you can use an essential oil diffuser to spread their pleasant scent in the house.

Note: Essential oils will only neutralize the odor, not the source. As a result, they are only effective if combined with other remedies. For example, thoroughly cleaning the affected surface.

Getting rid of skunk smell using commercial odor removers

Skunks outside a house
Image: Karel Bock

Natural/homemade remedies and essential oils can be good odor removers, but the skunk smell is very stubborn and it might overpower them.

Therefore, you might need several tries to get rid of the smell, and even then, there is a huge possibility that it won’t disappear entirely.

If you need an instant solution, go for the store-bought skunk odor removers. They contain active agents that can neutralize the odor source and the smell – making them the best solution against skunk odor.

But not all odor eliminators are effective against skunk odors. So, what is the best skunk odor remover? We recommend these products:

1. Nature’s Miracle skunk odor-neutralizing formula

This product from Nature’s Miracle is one of the top skunk odor removers. It comes with a bio-enzymatic formula that disintegrates the oils in skunk spray.

You can use it to wash sprayed pets, clothes and fabrics, and even surfaces in your home.

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2. No Scent odor eliminator

The No Scent odor eliminator is a pet grooming product for anal glands secretions and skunk odor. It uses a safe, plant-based surfactant that traps and neutralizes the odor source.

Despite its intended use, you can use the odor remover to fight skunk smells on other surfaces.

For example, you can clean clothes, fabrics, and even upholstered furniture affected by the odor. Since it uses a natural active ingredient, it is pretty safe to use.

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3. Unique Natural Products skunk odor eliminator

The skunk odor remover features a blend of naturally existing enzymes and bacteria, which break down and decompose the skunk spray compounds. It is a safe formula that you can use on pets, surfaces, fabrics, and even your unlucky family members.

Note: Unique Natural is a concentrated product. Therefore, follow the diluting instructions, then spray on the affected surfaces, persons, or pets.

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4. Zero Odor household odor eliminator

Zero Odor Household Odor Eliminator is a multi-purpose household cleaning product that is effective against various smells.

It contains a blend of odor-neutralizing ingredients that bond with the smell molecules and morph them into odorless particles. Since it neutralizes both the smell and smell source, it is a great product to use against skunk sprays.

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5. De-Skunk odor-destroying shampoo

De-Skunk is a grooming shampoo designed to eliminate skunk smells from sprayed pets.

However, you can also use it on other things that have made contact with the foul odor – carpets, clothes, fabrics, furniture, floors, walls, among others. De-Skunk comes with a blend of degreasing ingredients, which decompose the skunk spray’s oils.

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FAQs about skunk odor removal

Here are some quick facts about skunk odor:

1. How long does it take for skunk smell to get out of your house?

Untreated, skunk smell can last days, weeks, or possibly a month. There are two reasons for this, the first being the initial spray of thiols – which are oily and problematic to eliminate.

The spray also contains another compound – thioacetates, which decompose at a slow rate. Over time, they transform into thiols, particularly when they contact moisture.

Therefore, even after the initial smell dissipates – which can take days – the thioacetates will continue producing the odor long after.

2. Is skunk smell dangerous?

The odor itself is not harmful, but its stinky smell can make you sick – nausea, irritated eyes, throat, etc.

However, being sprayed directly is another thing – the experience is like getting teargassed. It can cause potentially fatal health issues in very high concentrations – burning eyes, chest pains, temporary blindness, etc.

3. Can you get rid of the skunk smell using tomato juice?

One of the top urban legends is that bathing in tomato juice eliminates skunk odor. However, it is just a myth – with only a little truth.

Tomato juice has a scent that can mask the skunk smell. The act of bathing in the stuff can also wash away some of the skunk sprays.

However, it does not react in any way with the skunk spray compounds. Therefore, even if it masks the smell, the odor source will still be present – and might return even stronger than before.

Conclusion

Has your pet or family member been skunked? Has the foul odor made its way into the house?

Worry not! The above are some of the top solutions for fighting the pungent smell. From store-bought products to essential oils and homemade remedies, there are many options.

Note that skunk odor is stubborn. Therefore, even the best remedies might not work the first time or take some time to act.

Consequently, you need to be persistent and keep trying until the odor dissipates from your house.

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