How to Remove Skunk Spray
Most people and many, many dogs know to steer clear of meandering skunks and those that don’t, or happen to venture close to one of the animals, usually get a set of warnings. But if the skunk still perceives a threat once the warnings are over it is very likely to infuse its bushy tail with a noxious, sulfurous solution, raise it high over its back and launch a thick spray that can travel 10 feet at full strength and up to 20 in a more aerated form.
If the interlopers have not retreated, they are left with an arduous cleanup job that involves time and chemistry. So intense is the odor of skunk spray that the victims are advised to stay out of the house, lest they contaminate the interior furniture and fixtures. Rather, they should stay outside and have someone prepare for them a mixture of household products that includes hydrogen peroxide or vinegar, baking soda and dishwashing detergent.
Then they should trash the clothing they wore when sprayed, head for the shower, and scrub down with the kitchen mixture until the evil smell is gone. The combination of kitchen chemicals attaches to those in the spray and neutralizes the odor. Caution: bathing in plain water is likely to make the noxious chemicals even more potent, and contact with the eyes should be avoided.
So much for the householder, but if his dog was also present, it requires a similar process, involving the same clean-up solution. Leave it on the dog for five minutes and then rinse the animal’s coat thoroughly. (If using peroxide, keep in mind that the dog may emerge a bleached blonde.) The mixture loses its effectiveness quickly, so it should be used immediately, with any leftover solution discarded. A vinegar and water mixture will also work, since vinegar is acidic and will break down the alkaloid skunk spray.
To deal with skunk odor that may have extended into the living area of the house, cotton balls saturated with peppermint or spearmint oil can be placed about affected room(s) to suppress the stench. Alternatively, the oils can be mixed with water, placed in a spray bottle and dispersed as a mist around the affected area. If the family car was contaminated during the drive home, the same process can be employed to remove or mask any residual odor from the skunk attack.
Commercial products are also available to deal with the problem, most of them available from veterinarians or pet supply stores and one, commonly used in feminine hygiene, can be found at the neighborhood drug store. Chances are, though, that someone who’s just been sprayed would just as avoid the trip downtown….
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