The Secret Ingredient You Need To DIY A Powerful Skunk Repellent At Home

Skunks (aside from the adorable cartoon variety) are not to be trifled with. The associated smell alone is reason enough to keep them at a major distance, as skunk spray contains sulfur, which translates to an extremely strong rotten egg-like stench. There might be a place for that in the wild, but it certainly doesn't belong in the backyard! Thankfully, some well-placed ammonia is all it takes to repel skunks away from your property and back into more appropriate areas.

Skunk spray does more than smell bad, unfortunately. It can cause people to become nauseated, irritate the eyes, and the stink can hang around for weeks. Then there's the fact that skunk spray isn't the only threat the critters pose. In fact, skunks are well-known carriers of rabies, which is known to be extremely dangerous to pets and humans alike, as well as listeriosis, leptospirosis, canine hepatitis, canine distemper, and more. So while some people don't relish the thought of using ammonia in an undiluted form, it's nonetheless an effective way to get unwanted skunks out of your yard.

How to use ammonia to drive skunks away

While their vision is not the best, skunks have an impressive sense of smell, which is why it behooves homeowners to take the ammonia route to turn them away. If you suspect or outright know that a skunk is making inroads into your property, it's time to quickly address the situation before it gets out of control. 

To do so, soak some cotton balls or old rags in ammonia and strategically place them in the areas that skunks find to be most appealing, like under decks or around wood piles. Skunks do not like the severe odor that ammonia is known for, so they'll likely turn tail and find a new place to live. To be safe, refresh the rags with ammonia every few days because the scent will wear off over time. Be fully aware, however, that ammonia can be problematic for pets and children, so proceed carefully and keep the soaked rags out of reach. 

Other ways to make your property less skunk-friendly

Ammonia can help to repel skunks, but it's a much better idea just to keep them away in the first place. Often, they are drawn into a location by the presence of food. Such appetizers can include natural food, like mice and other rodents, but skunks also really enjoy noshing on pet food. Never leave uneaten cat or dog food out at night because that'll just encourage skunks to come that much closer to your home to check out the real estate. Along the same lines, if you must keep pet food bags outside, make sure they are located in firmly sealed containers. The same concept goes for trash cans. Skunks also hate bright lights, so consider installing some yard lighting to discourage them. Noise machines are another option.

All that said, if the skunk decides to tough it out or returns to the site very stubbornly, contact a professional to have it removed. Regulations vary by state as to when and how such animals can be removed from a property, so avoid a hefty fine and play it safe by consulting a professional.