Looking for the best skunk smell removers for dogs and humans?
Perfect, you're in the right spot! In this Pest Strategies guide you'll learn:
- What skunk smell removers are and how they work
- If they're effective at killing the skunk odor on dogs or people
- How to use a skunk smell remover properly
- If they're safe around children and pets
- And our recommended picks!
When you, or more likely, your pet (probably dog!) gets sprayed by a skunk, the horrendous smell and linger for weeks afterward.
People have reported their dog getting wet five or six weeks after being sprayed and suddenly smelling the skunk odor on them again. If you’ve ever gone through this ordeal, you know it’s not fun.
So, what can be done? Anything?
The only honest answer is a definite maybe. Skunk odors are incredibly tenacious and every situation is different. What works in one instance won’t necessarily work in another which is why there are tons of products to help keep skunks away. We’ll tell you what we found and let you make your own decision.
Ready to get started? Below is a list of our top products, continue on to learn more about skunk spray and how to get rid of the potent odor!
Van Den Heuvel’s R86 Industrial Odor Eliminator
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Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover
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Bodhi Dog Pet Deskunk Spray Odor Eliminator
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Skunk-Off Liquid Soaker
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De-Skunk Odor Destroying Shampoo
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Our Overall #1 Rated Pick
(updated as of 8/4/2019)
Our top pick is Van Den Heuvel’s R86 Industrial Odor Eliminator
Because it eliminates more than just skunk odors. It combines over 30 different essential oils, natural ingredients, and salt.
If you follow the directions, it can be applied to almost any wet or dry surface. It is biodegradable and non-toxic, it's made of the natural ingredients, and it is safe to use around children and pets. Further, it’s non-flammable and can be used in ashtrays to eliminate cigarette odors.
It works very quickly on most odors but on dogs with thick fur, it may take several applications on successive days to eliminate the skunk smell.
Keep reading to learn more!
Top 5 Best Skunk Smell Removers
Are you short on time or just want a quick answer?Check out our list below for a summary of our results. Keep on reading to learn more about skunk smell removers.
What Are Skunk Smell Removers?
Skunk spray is an oily, yellow-tinted liquid that will penetrate hair, clothing, fabric, wood, and any porous material. It will continue to smell for day and weeks after the skunk is long gone or dead. A skunk smell remover is any substance that will remove the smell as opposed to merely masking it with another odor.
This can be difficult. Oils aren’t easy to remove from any surface and the oil in skunk spray is particularly difficult to get out. This is why researchers at universities such as Penn State recommend using a mixture of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup (70 g) baking sodium bicarbonate, and 1-2 teaspoon (5-10 ml) liquid dish soap to treat sprayed surfaces.
Read Also: What are the best traps to catch a skunk?
It chemically neutralizes the skunk odor. The instructions for it say to combine the ingredients in an open container and use it immediately. After washing the area (or your dog) with it, let it soak in for five minutes then rinse it off.
Depending on how strong of a shot of skunk odor the area was doused with, you might have to repeat it several times.
How Do Skunk Smell Removers Work?
The first two ingredients in the above solution work together to form what is called an alkaline peroxide. It chemically alters the musk into an odorless chemical called sulfonic acid.
The soap merely acts to facilitate the process by breaking down the skunk oil just like it removes grease and oil from dirty dishes. This makes the musk more susceptible to chemical alteration by the first two ingredients.
The other odor removers on our list each have their own chemical mode of action, which the manufacturers apparently prefer to keep to themselves.
Are Skunk Smell Removers Effective?
Yes and no. For instance, many people swear that tomato juice gets rid of the skunk smell.
No, it doesn’t.
What it does is mask the skunk smell with its own stronger smell. You could get the same result from using a strong smelling perfume, although that costs a lot more than tomato juice.
There is a chemical in skunk spray called thiols, which contains sulfur and produces the distinctive smell of skunks. Their spray also contains a precursor chemical called thioacetates. It slowly degrades into the smelly thiols.
That slow, but continual degradation process is what makes the skunk smell so persistent. Chemicals such as bleach or hydrogen peroxide work to neutralize thiols and thioacetates.
Any skunk remover that doesn’t contain either bleach or hydrogen peroxide isn’t going to be completely effective at eliminating the odor.
How To Use A Skunk Smell Remover
Follow. The. Directions. To. The. Letter.
Far too often people try to cut corners with skunk removal treatments then wonder why it didn’t work. Remember, you’re talking about a real-life chemistry experiment in your home.
Think of it as a super-sensitive soufflé. If you don’t follow the directions exactly right when you’re making a soufflé it won’t rise, or it will fall too quickly when you take it out of the oven. Chemistry experiments are even more exacting.
Read Also: What are good repellents for skunks?
Remember also, removing skunk spray from a pair of blue jeans is easier than removing it from your dog’s fur.
Short-haired dogs will be easier to treat than long-haired ones, and treating any dog around their face will be difficult at best. God help you if it was your cat that got sprayed in the face. You’re on your own with that one.
Are Skunk Smell Removers Safe Around My Pets and Children?
Yes. The usual cautions apply about not getting it in their eyes, nose, ears, and throat but other than that, there shouldn’t be any danger.
When you’re reading these reviews, keep in mind that although we’re reviewing skunk smell removers, we’re listing them by order of their effectiveness at odor removal in general.
Some of them explicitly advertise themselves as being a shampoo or treatment for pets, while others are broad-spectrum odor removers that can be used on a wide variety of fabrics and surfaces.
This is an environmental odor eliminator intended for industrial usages. It’s non-toxic and bio-degradable. It works mechanically instead of chemically so its suitability for skunk odor removal is questionable. It uses salt and essential oils to cover and absorb odors. In other words, it works in much the same fashion as tomato juice to mask skunk odors rather than extinguishing them.
This is the first product in our list that is explicitly intended to remove skunk odors. It uses liquid enzymes that neutralize odor-causing organic material in the skunk spray. You have to wash your dog with a skunk shampoo then apply this odor remover. Let the dog’s coat air dry.
There have been fairly good results with this product. As always, it works better on short-haired cats and dogs than on long-haired ones. It will get most of the odor but unless you’re willing to shave your pet bald and let them grow new hair, you’ll have to put up with a faint skunk odor from their undercoat for quite some time.
This uses a combination of 12 different essential oils and specifically states that it does not contain bleach or “harsh chemicals”. Some of the oils in it are cinnamon oil, eucalyptus oil, and peppermint oil. All of these are known for their fresh smell and use as cleansing agents. It is effective in getting skunk smells off of granite countertops, stainless steel appliances, porcelain, plastics, and varnished wood.
It’s not very effective at removing skunk smells from fabrics or animal hair. Like tomato juice, it doesn’t remove the smell. It masks it with its own stronger odor. You’ll have to reapply it on a regular basis until the skunk odor wears off.
This shampoo contains water, and what it calls a proprietary blend of essential oils and preservatives. There are no chemicals or enzymes in it. Proprietary, in this case, means the manufacturer wants to keep it a secret.
This is another masking agent. As a mask, it is no better and no worse than any other product. The stronger the essential oils used in it, the better it will work.
The list of ingredients on this product is impressive: deionized water, nonionic emulsifiers, citric acid, propylene glycol, pine oil extract, isoparaffinic solvent, polyquaternium 10, and a fragrance. It is basically a de-greaser that attacks the oil in the skunk musk and washes it away.
It is shampoo so wash your dog or cat with it as soon as they come in with skunk odor on them. Leave it on their fur for three to five minutes then rinse them off. Repeat the process at least once, and as many more times as necessary until the smell is gone. Be prepared to use the whole bottle if your pet has long hair.
Final Thoughts On Skunk Smell Removers
Most skunk odor removers double as a shampoo or wash for pets as well as a surface cleaner to get the odor out of the house and your clothes. All of them work to one degree or another, and all of them fail to one degree or another.
We still like the Van Den Heuvel’s R86 Industrial Odor Eliminator because of the salt in it. Salt has been used as a preservative for thousands of years and its powers of absorption are equally well known. When all else fails, stick with the tried and true.
Other Skunks Guides
Curious about other skunk related guides? Check out our other detailed guides to help you deal with your pest problems.