The Cleaning Staple You'll Want On Hand To Get Rid Of The Smell Of Skunk Spray

Seeing a skunk in your yard or anywhere outside your home can be a startling experience. You want to avoid scaring the skunk and getting sprayed. However, sometimes no matter how hard you try, it's unavoidable — especially for a pet. Once your clothes or other belongings have been sprayed by a skunk, you'll want to clean them right away. One basic cleaning staple can help you do the job: hydrogen peroxide.

Skunk spray is not only foul-smelling, but can also be harmful. If a skunk sprays a person or pet, it can cause nausea and eye irritation. If an object has been sprayed, even the lingering odor alone can be nauseating. The smell can last for weeks and the scent is noticeable for up to half of a mile (via That's how strong it is. The reason is that the chemical produced by the skunk's glands is primarily made up of sulfur, which gives it the rotten egg smell. Consequently, it takes some time and effort to remove it, but luckily hydrogen peroxide can help.

How hydrogen peroxide kills skunk spray smell

Hydrogen peroxide can be a lifesaver when it comes to removing skunk smell from clothing and fabric. You will need to use the common 3% mix that is readily available in stores — you may even already have it in your medicine cabinet! Add one part hydrogen peroxide and six parts water into a bucket or bowl and mix. Place the clothes or fabric into the container with the mixture and allow them to soak for a few hours. 

It's important not to exceed the recommended amount of hydrogen peroxide or use a stronger formula than 3%. Otherwise, clothing and fabric can become ruined. Then, simply rinse each piece by hand with cold water. You may want to use gloves to protect your skin. When you feel the peroxide has been thoroughly removed, throw the clothes into your washer and run a cold cycle.

Using hydrogen peroxide to neutralize skunk scent on people and pets

When faced with a skunk spray, it's important to attack and remove the smell itself. Some widely popular so-called remedies, like tomato juice, do not remove the odor. Instead, tomato juice just overpowers the smell of the skunk, so, in essence, you go nose blind to the foul odor because you are inhaling the tomato juice smell instead. By itself, tomato juice does not undo or counteract the scent.

A hydrogen peroxide approach also works well on people and pets that have been sprayed, however, the concoction is slightly different. This time you'll need a full quart of hydrogen peroxide. To that, add 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid dish soap (via The Humane Society). But first, clean eyes with plain water to alleviate any stinging. Then, take the mixture to the yard or somewhere in the fresh air and dip a cloth into it to clean the person or pet's body with the liquid. Wash with it as you would shampoo or soap. You want to be sure not to get it in the eyes or genital areas where it may burn. This will help neutralize the odor and eventually make it go away. Then, if it's not too cold out, rinse with clean water while still outside. Lastly, take a regular shower or give your pet a bath with animal shampoo.