Introduction: Cleaning Skunk Spray Off Your Animal or You for $3

Picture of Cleaning Skunk Spray Off Your Animal or You for $3

It's one thing to drive by a smell of skunk wafting through the window, and a totally other thing to have it up front and personal. There is a moment of instant panic from the strength of the rubber tire smell that's 10Xs worse. Here is a simple, inexpensive solution to de-skunkifying your pet.

Step 1: Been "skunked?!?!"

Picture of Been "skunked?!?!"

My dog chased a seemingly dark cat one night, and after a yelp, she came running to me smelling STRONGLY of rubber tires and worse. She'd been skunked. Right in the face, too. UGH. Images of a red-soaked dog resembling a zombie horror movie flashed in my mind.

So, the first thing I did was quarantine her - and NOT inside the house. She was banished to the garage and outdoors, where nothing would pick up the odor, and she stayed until we got a solution. It's a good thing she's a small dog - a 9-pounder soaking wet!

Then it was a trip to the grocery store at 10 pm since the only thing I thought I could do was a tomato juice bath for Pepper (and, of course, I'd JUST gotten home). Picking up the tomato juice bottle - a whopping $7.99 for a quart - I called my daughter to have her find another solution online while I shopped. This is the simple and inexpensive solution she gave me! And it's scale-able for any size dog or animal.

Step 2: The Recipe and What to Do With It

Picture of The Recipe and What to Do With It

1 bottle of hydrogen peroxide (~$2.99 for a quart vs $7.99 for a quart of tomato juice!)

1/4 cup of baking soda

1 tsp dish soap

Mix together, and pour all over dog.

If you're super nice about all this, you can heat up the hydrogen peroxide a bit before mixing, so it's not such a SHOCK to the dog! The smell is taken care of by the hydrogen peroxide and baking soda, and the soap helps distribute it via suds. The recipe amount above easily covered our small 9-pound dog. For a larger dog, scale up the recipe. I haven't tried it, but I suspect that the solution can be diluted with a bit of water if your dog is large and extra furry. The water will help distribute the baking soda and hydrogen peroxide.

Step 3: Now, Wash the Dog

Picture of Now, Wash the Dog

After rinsing, be sure to give your dog a regular bath. We did and that's when we discovered we'd missed a spot on her nose, which still had an aroma of eau de Pepe Le Pew.

Redo as necessary in spots. We just mixed a quarter of the amount and it worked great!

Step 4: For Less Than $3

Picture of For Less Than $3

We were able to fully clean our dog from skunking!

Versus, $7.99 for a quart of tomato juice at the local Safeway (except for the online $65 juice shown above) - which would have looked like a blood bath, a HUGE mess for everyone, and would have cost more than twice the amount.

Happy, happy clean dog!


Phyrewynd (author)2016-10-02

I have to say this really worked for my dog. I just used it. She is a 50 lb Husky / Pit bull mix, she looks like a shaved Husky, lots of fur. I doubled all the ingredients and rubbed it into her coat. Then added a little warm water and work it into a lather.The hardest part was her face, I had to use a cloth for that. I let it sit for about 10 minutes, rinsed it all off and reapplied the solution. I worked into a lather, putting a little more on her face, chest and front legs (that's where the smell was the strongest). I only waited a few minutes and rinsed it off. I then gave her a bath with her usual shampoo. She smells great! She's not totally dry yet, it's 3 am, I'm not drying her any more tonight. She hates the dryer. Thanks for the info!

jeanniel1 (author)Phyrewynd2016-10-03

Oh, wow! A 3 am bath for a large furry animal - and a skunked one! I'm sure you were thrilled. Glad that worked, and you didn't go the tomato juice route. That would have REALLY made your night!

Good idea on adding the warm water - sure makes it more palatable for the poor dog! I didn't and Pepper almost jumped out of her skin.

HHP3 (author)2016-04-24

As we live in the country, my dog was getting skunked on a regular basis, like 5-6 times a year, for all but the last two years of his life (he died of cancer at the age of 14). I've tried EVERYTHING, even the commercial de-skunk products. The hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, dish soap solution works best, as recommended by my vet, but make sure the dish soap is Dawn - it attacks the oils in the skunk spray on the fur better. Also, dab petroleum jelly around the dog's eyes to better protect them from the bath solution. I also added some oxyclean to the solution to give it a better odor-fighting "kick." Last, but most importantly, I found lathering up my dog and letting the solution sit for 5 minutes, rinse, and repeating that process 5 times in one bathing session provided the best results. By the time the bath was over, I could stand to be near my dog again when he was dry. However, for a few days after, whenever he got wet, there was still a slight skunky ordor that lingered until he dried off. After the bath, spritzing his fur with a little apple cider vinegar made his coat soft and shiny again, and kept the mosquitoes, fleas, ticks and biting horseflies at bay, too.

Kinnishian (author)HHP32016-04-29

Oxyclean is a peroxide type cleaner. Essentially you increased the strength of the peroxide. If you have oxiclean on hand you can probably actually skip the peroxide!

jeanniel1 (author)HHP32016-04-24

Wow, your dog is WAY bigger than my "barely a dog" Pepper (9 lbs soaking wet). Sounds like you have the process down! Thanks for the share!

HHP3 (author)jeanniel12016-04-25

I should have mentioned, my dog was a cocker-beagle-lab mix that weighed 39 pounds. His coat was very thick, like a lab, and curly when wet, like a cocker.

drtatro (author)2016-04-25

Fun fact -- my nephew, who is an expert outdoorsman, catches skunks and drains their scent glands, then sells it to perfumers. Your expensive perfumes that linger stick around because of a minute amount of skunk. Thanks for this great solution!

jeanniel1 (author)drtatro2016-04-26

OMG! Ha ha! And I still get a kick that skunks think moth balls smell bad! Thanks for sharing!

JetMechanic (author)2016-04-25

Hydrogen Peroxide can damage the cornea of the eye, even in a 1% concentration. Keep it away from the head and face.

dragonbrn (author)2016-04-25

Another note: let the solution sit on the dog a good 10-15 minutes before rinsing. It helps. And, skunks almost always target the eyes and face (how do dogs greet each other? Think about it.) Concentrate on the head, neck and front of the dog. Unless your pet has grabbed the skunk and thrashed it around like a rag toy, or locked onto its neck and gone rolling downhill with it (I've known both to happen), these are the areas most likely to be affected.

dragonbrn (author)2016-04-25

I am a professional dog groomer, and this is the solution we use to help our (usually) panicked clients when Fluffy just can resist playing with the black and white striped kitty. A note: put a drop of mineral oil (food grade) in each eye before using this stuff. It can do damage to eyes. Better yet, get a small tube of artificial tear ointment from your vet (NOT expensive), just to keep on hand for emergencies.

valkgurl (author)2016-04-25

This is a good solution===we have used it often---but for something to ALWAYS have on hand for almost instant use go to AMAZON and get something called ODOR-MUTE. This is an enzyme powder and you mix what you need with warm water; get the dog/clothing/human SOAKED with it; and rinse off and let dry naturally (no heat). It lasts forever and is not spendy. I buy it by the pound because we have dogs who seem to live to be skunked. You can even use it in your washer. This ALSO works on almost all household/car areas; we had a skunk come on our porch and sprayed the metal front door; we wiped it down with Dawn which pretty much got the smell off but the rubber gaskets on the window glass and weather stripping needed ODOR MUTE treatment. You can use it on almost ANY nasty smell as long as you saturate and blot and then LET DRY NATURALLY---no heat--a fan pointed on it is OK. Rugs; flooring; door mats; shower curtains; towels etc. Other uses are diaper pails; anything that got mildewed---we used it on cage flooring when we did wild animal re-hab.

For any one washing an animal--or who gets skunked themselves---jewelry has been known to absorb the sulfur stink ==we discovered that a weak solution of acid using in jewelry making will clear that off--you might have to call around for it I think it is a weak hydrochloric but check with some one who knows their chem better than me!

Mark 42 (author)2016-04-25

Just cover the dog in baking soda (powder).
Then give it a bath, and re-aply the powder after the dog dries out.

SherpaDoug (author)2016-04-24

We had a momma skunk and several kits take up residence in the crawl space under our deck. I encouraged them to leave by pushing a lawn sprinkler under the deck within range, and from a safe distance dousing them with water every few hours. After a day or so they left.

jeanniel1 (author)SherpaDoug2016-04-24

Ah, we had a skunk who thought our house that was being remodeled was his perfect home. He moved in one night, the demo guys scared him in the day, and he sprayed them out of the house immediately.

Animal Refuge service recommended two things: peanut butter and moth balls. Not together. Peanut butter at the exit, and toss as many moth balls in the direction of the skunk. Worked like a charm. I wrote an Instructable on this, too.

Michael B.W (author)jeanniel12016-04-25

Be careful using moth balls. My brother peppered the crawl space under his house to prevent the return of a skunk. Several weeks later he was at the doctor's office and was diagnosed as anemic. However they could not figure out why he was sick until my brother mentioned the moth balls. The vapor had seeped up into the house and long term exposure had affected his blood cells.

Lavoz24 (author)2016-04-25

I'm glad you found a cheaper, way better solution for your pet. $8 for a can of tomato juice is ridiculous. I've never paid more than $3 at most.

I had pet skunks a few years back,4 siblings. Their mom was run over by a car so i became their surrogate. Long story short, I never got sprayed the whole time I had them(6 months), why? I learned skunks don't like to be surprised. So I would always be where they could see me so no surprises. I also think it's because I had them from about 4-6weeks old so they saw me as a parent figure. I gave them up to animal control because my one neighbors' cat and other neighbors' K9's got sprayed, BAD, so they called and I had to give them up. I was sad but ok because they went to teach kids about skunks.

wobbler (author)2016-04-25

I have a pet skunk. Will this de-skunk the skunk?

RidwaanE (author)wobbler2016-04-25

No it wont, in order to de-skunk the skunk you have to turn off your internet router and wait for a couple of years.

wobbler (author)RidwaanE2016-04-25

OK Ridwaane, thanks for the advice. I try it and get back to you in 2018 to let you know if it works or whether my skunk still stunk.

jeanniel1 (author)RidwaanE2016-04-25

Ha ha ha! Fighting fire with fire, eh?

lazemaple (author)2016-04-24

I keep 4 bottles of peroxide on hand at all times for emergency use a la Pepe La Pew!

lazemaple (author)2016-04-24

Works really well, we had a Jack Russell who had many encounters with skunks. Perhaps the inventor's name should be mentioned - chemist Paul Krebaum employed by Molex, Inc. of Lisle, Illinois. He originally developed the formula in 1993 for cleaning his lab of smells of the thiols he was studying. While widely circulated on the Internet and often sold for as high as $25, Krebaum has never charged nor received any money from his formula. I'm surprised it hasn't been claimed and sold by some dog product company yet! That would be SO wrong!

jeanniel1 (author)lazemaple2016-04-24

Wow, thanks for the background! It IS amazing how it isn't marketed. Maybe for just the lazy unsuspecting skunked owners ... If I go into business selling the solution, I'd make sure Paul's name is somehow associated - give credit where it's due.

lazemaple (author)jeanniel12016-04-24

Krebaum found the packaging for market too problematic, too expensive because the peroxide and soda. Peroxide would probably require Hazmat shipping which costs more than double.

VirginiaJ5 (author)lazemaple2016-04-24

You can't really sell it because of the hydrogen peroxide. Strong and effective as it is, it breaks down and is only good for a relatively short while. It would not make any money. But this is great to know for those unfortunate and surprising times!

jeanniel1 (author)VirginiaJ52016-04-24

Ah, well, that's prob the reason it's not available in the stores! Maybe a De-Skunk-It kit? Ha ha! Expiration dates and all

baileysuchacek (author)2016-04-24

This works good, but to really give it a kick, you need to get a stronger hydrogen peroxide than the one sold at drug stores. Try a beauty supply store.

jeanniel1 (author)baileysuchacek2016-04-24

Mine worked from the typical one from the drug store / Safeway store - 1% solution was fine. The beauty store one WOULD likely bleach the hairs - but that's an entirely different Instructable for another day ... 'C)

13thetigger13 (author)2016-04-24

Don't even try tomato juice from the grocery store. The o gradients that used to work on it have been removed from commercial tomato juice, tomato paste, tomato sauce, etc. the peroxide solution is the only way to rid the smell

jeanniel1 (author)13thetigger132016-04-24

Yes, and it prevents a messier clean up after the tub looks like a massacre occurred there!

Ingredients....stupid auto correct

jeanenyc (author)2016-04-24

Works well BUT if you have a black dog it will come out mottled grey !

jeanniel1 (author)jeanenyc2016-04-24

The hydrogen peroxide didn't change the color of my dog's hair, but then, she's a wire-haired dachshund / terrier mix, so who's to say! My daughter was thinking of adding some neon dye to her whiter parts for effect!

GaryC6 (author)2016-04-24

Tomato juice doesn't work. Makes them smell like skunk + tomato juice. Worse change. Peroxide formula is the best there is. Keep it out of their eyes Peroxide is a bleach. I think it lightened my dogs hair recently no problem though. This also works when they roll in something dead or deer poop.

jeanniel1 (author)GaryC62016-04-24

Oh, another good use of this solution! Marvelous!

sniffydogs (author)2016-04-24

I rescue Bloodhounds and they LOVE skunks! I use hair conditioner. Pantene Pro-V works really well, but any kind will work. Just take conditioner and slather your dog with it. Let it sit for about 10 minutes, rinse. Slather again, wait 10 minutes and rinse. For some reason, this works.

RodL13 (author)2016-04-24

Tomato Juice always works for my dog. Trust me, she got skunked 4xs in one year. I always have a full liter bottle from Walmart for less than $3. You need to bathe them right away. The longer you wait the more the oils from the skunk pee attaches itself to the hairs and pores of the animal.

HairyHorsefeathers (author)2016-04-24

Had the same problem a few years ago with my long haired Australian sheppard. The problem was I had taken her out to the country for a romp after having just done some shopping at the supermarket, and yes, she chased down a skunk and lost. The smell was beyond gruesome and worst yet I could not put her in the car smelling like that to take her home and wash her down. There was so stream or access to any kind of water, and all I had after going through the car was a case of canned cokes I had just picked up at the market. Yep, 24 cans opened and deposited all over her, and scrubbed her down with my hands whenever I could get close enough without bringing up my breakfast. I won't lie and say the coke completely got rid of all the smell, but wow, it did a darn good job eliminating 90% of the smell, and tamed it enough so I could get her into the car and home to give her a proper bath.

EmmitS (author)2016-04-24

This is good information to have. I live near dead center of a city with a population of 50,000 people and we have skunks in our neighborhood. Anywhere a stray cat can live, a skunk can live, and skunks are not at all afraid of people (or dogs).

Mark 42 (author)2016-04-24

Baking Soda.

dufus2506 (author)2016-03-04

Yes, this is easily the best method to de-skunk. The instructions leave out an important point. Be sure to massage the solution into the fur for at least 15-20 minutes. Wear latex gloves to keep from transferring the skunk smell to your hands. Use a cloth soaked in the solution to clean around the dogs face, and don't get the solution in their eyes. Then rinse and shamoo.

jeanniel1 (author)dufus25062016-03-06

Ah, yes, the inevitable gloves - as one CERTAINLY doesn't want to touch such a stinky dog! Good point. I suppose the solution would clean the hands, too, but it's the thought of getting the smell onto one! I didn't use a cloth around the face, but Pepper wasn't thrilled at how cold the solution was anyway.

cfuse (author)jeanniel12016-04-24

Prevention is always better than cure. Gloves save from many situations.

Paul Wi (author)2016-04-24

If the skunk sprayed in the dogs mouth, get him to the vet quick. My friend lost her dog because his throat closed up and he couldn't breathe.

Thanks for the great tip on odor removal!

DDW_OR (author)2016-03-22

our chihuahua saw a "black cat" last night and gave chase. came back SKUNKED.

used this method and now is un-SKUNKED. now have to do the same to the carpet she rubbed on

jeanniel1 (author)DDW_OR2016-03-23

OMG. Isn't it the worst HUGE smell?!?!? Glad it worked and yeah, works on other stuff too!

falcon13 (author)2016-03-04

Thanks for the instructions--our neighborhood has recently had some skunks move in and I'm worried about my dog. Definitely will keep these ingredients on hand for the next while.

DustandDoghair (author)falcon132016-03-09

Ditto for us! Thanks, Jeannie!

rcaputo1 (author)2016-03-04

I can attest that the hydrogen peroxide / baking soda mixture works having had a dog many years ago sprayed by an entire group of skunks. I know for a fact that you can bathe a dog in an entire tank car of tomato juice and do nothing to abate the odor. I have even heard of using a feminine product called Massengil without success. The peroxide / baking soda mix did not bleach my dog's coat as my wife was afraid would happen. The dog that was skunked has since gone on to doggy heaven (nearly 15 years ago), yet his collar (which I saved) still has the skunk odor. Hope I never need to make this mixture again, but if I do, I will add the shampoo into the mix also.

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More by jeanniel1:Macro-sized Diatom BoxHow to Evict A Skunk ... out from under your house for less than $5Cleaning skunk spray off your animal or you for $3
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