Removing Skunk Smell With Common Household Items

It’s that time of year again, all the critters are coming out of their winter homes, migrating back from overwintering somewhere warmer, and they are all hungry, and out on the prowl for mates.

What does this mean?



Photo via Pixabay

Just last week we had two incidents of skunk stink on my street, one of which was practically on my front door step. Thankfully none of our critters were affected, but it has happened in the past and I’m sure it will happen again (although I hope it never will).

Our Experience

Smelling the skunk stink reminded me of the day we brought our two-legged critter home. Why? Well, two of our dogs got skunked on the walk Kevin took them on hours before I walked in the door with Leelynn.

According to Kevin they all did great on the walk and were getting their after walk rest and water break before coming home when a skunk was walking up the hill toward them. All the dogs alerted and jumped out of the truck, Hank and Chloe were good pups and came right back, Willow and Putt-Putt let their curiosity get the better of them.

Willow was just being her usual curious self and was non-threatening to the skunk, Putt-Putt was sniffing around trying to make up his mind what to do with it, Willow being the super nosy one started ignoring its personal space, so it snapped a warning to her. She yelped in surprise, and her yelp triggered Putt-Putt to attack it. When he jumped on it, the poor skunk (presumably uninjured or at the very least only mildly injured) sprayed Willow smack dab in the face, Putt-Putt got a side blast.

The skunk got away while Putt-Putt rolled and rubbed his face in the grass to remove the smell and poor Willow ran back to the river to try to wash it off. Kevin wrangled the two of them back up, and got in the truck. He would have done more if he could but the whole thing happened so quick and he was more preoccupied with trying to keep as many dogs AWAY from the skunk that his recalls went unanswered. He drove the whole way home (about 15-20 mins) with all four windows open on Jan 7th, the middle of winter (it was a cold one too), my poor truck smelled like skunk for weeks!

Kevin calls me up and asks if I know a good de-skunking recipe… sure enough, I did, it was the same one we used on a cat when I was growing up. We learned of it shortly after we realized that the tomato juice baths that were always recommended really weren’t effective without a ton of tomato juice, which wasn’t cheap.

Tomato Juice works don’t get me wrong, it just requires more that the average person tends to have (literally a tubs worth, I grew up with a Border Collie that got skunked ALL the time and we would use tomato juice by the case for her), and who wants to go shopping and leave a skunky critter at home? The de-skunking shampoos also work, but are even more costly and it’s not something most people would keep on hand ‘just in case’.

What You’ll Need

Distilled White Vineger, Baking Soda, Dawn dish soap, Hydrogen Peroxide

Distilled White Vinegar, Baking Soda, Dawn dish soap, Hydrogen Peroxide

So I gave him the recipe in text format so he wouldn’t have to call us back midbath, I’m telling you it is so simple and I can pretty much guarantee you already have everything you need in your house right now:

  • 1 Tbsp Dawn dish soap (any dish soap will work, just makes sure it’s good at degreasing),
  • 1 Tbsp Baking soda,
  • 1 qt hydrogen peroxide,
  • 2 qt warm water
  • and 1 to 9 ratio of distilled white vinegar and water in a separate container.

How to Mix It

When Kevin finally got home from the walk, he took everyone to the backyard, as usual, took the leashes and collars off of everyone, and opened the back door to head inside to start prepping the dogs bath. We were able to save the leashes and harness, but Putt-Putt’s leather collar had to be replaced, no amount of washing, sunshine or de-skunk mixture is going to work on leather that was hit at close range.

Willow and Putt-Putt were so miserable they decided that the only option left to them was to help too, so they voluntarily went in the house and made a Bee-line for the tub, I’m not kidding!

two dogs in a bathtub

Willow begging for the de-skunk bath to be over

two dogs in a bathtub

They woefully jumped in and were very well-behaved for their de-skunk bath










It’s best to have a separate container to mix your soap in and use a washcloth to apply it with after first wetting your dog. In all honesty it’s best to pre-mix your soap with water every time you bathe your dog, it coats more evenly and reduces the risk of any one area getting over stripped of the essential skin oils. At least, that’s how I was taught at the kennel/groomers I worked at, I’ve found at the very least it makes the process much easier particularly with longer furred dogs.

Mix the Dawn, Baking soda, peroxide, and warm water together, bath your dogs thoroughly letting the soap sit for a few minutes avoiding the face and eyes. Your pup may or may not tolerate letting the mixture soak, that’s okay, letting the soap sit helps, but isn’t necessary. Rinse thoroughly.

If the smell is still pungent wash again, if not, rinse your pup with the vinegar water mixture, then dry as usual.

I’m not kidding when I say this works! The dogs smelled great after this and were much more comfortable, but the damage was done, the skunk stink had managed to soak into my truck and my house. I ended up going nose-dead to it and have no clue how long it took to dissipate naturally from the house (I was also distracted by new mommy issues too), I’m thinking the truck was back to normal after a week or two of keeping the windows cracked even when not in use to expedite the airing out process.


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