How to Get Skunk Smell Out of Your House
Have you ever smelled skunk close up? I’m very sorry to report that I have joined the unfortunate ranks of those who have. They don’t call it nature’s tear gas for nothing.
My Dog Was Skunked
Here’s how it went down: we took a day trip last week. Our dogs have full access to the (fenced-in) yard via their amazing dog den, as well as access to the downstairs.
Usually, coming home after a long day out is sweet sweet relief. So not the case on that day.
When we got home, our entire house smelled like a someone lit a garbage bag full of hair on fire and dropped it in our living room. The smell physically brought tears to our eyes.
It was immediately obvious that Franklin had been skunked.
After spending the past week getting the skunk smell out of our house, I wanted to share what worked, and what didn’t, in case you ever find yourself in this truly disgusting situation.
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Here’s What to Do When Your Dog Has Been Sprayed By A Skunk
After trial and error, I can confidently say you should do these steps in this exact order. Otherwise, you will undo all your previous work.
1. OPEN ALL THE WINDOWS AND DOORS
Before doing anything else, open up every single window and door to the outside. Turn on some fans for good measure. The key here is to get that stanky air moving OUT of your house. We were super lucky that it was beautiful outside for the two days we did this (obviously, close your doors at night) but if the weather isn’t your friend — suck it up. It must be done.
Seriously, our house reeked so bad that you could smell it from the end of our 100+ foot driveway.
2. PUT OUT SHALLOW DISHES OF WHITE VINEGAR
Set out shallow dishes of white vinegar everywhere you can for about 24 hours. Some online sources recommend that you put out freshly ground coffee and while that’s a far more delightful smell than vinegar, it totally didn’t work for us.
The vinegar made a BIG difference. Yes, our house smelled like a funky salad bar for a bit, but it took the edge off the skunk smell significantly.
3. GATHER ANY THROWS, PILLOWS, ETC. AND CHUCK THEM IN THE WASH
Wash all of your loose pillows and throw blankets. Yes, this is fairly obvious. We were happy to discover though, that our regular detergent worked to get the smell out — likely because it was transferred to the blankets from the dog and not directly sprayed. I added a scent booster as an added precaution and a touch extra detergent but otherwise, nothing special.
OK, now your house is airing out, you have random plates of vinegar everywhere, and your nasty throws are in the wash. Time to deal with the source of the skunk smell…
4. SCRUB THE SKUNK SMELL OFF YOUR DOG
NOW you can wash the dog. After consulting the Google, we tried a couple things to deodorize the dog. First, we just washed him. Three times. Nope.
Next, we doused him with apple cider vinegar since we had it on hand. Double nope. That made the smell even WORSE.
Finally, I put the question out to my virtual friends on Instagram. There were a few suggestions we’d already tried, but then Jesseca from Home of Juniper sent a great suggestion my way:
It worked! And honestly, the way she explained it makes a lot of sense (cut the oil, absorb the odor).
5. SPRINKLE BAKING SODA ON YOUR UPHOLSTERY
Have a helper sprinkle baking soda over your furniture (couches, chairs, ottomans, dog beds), while you’re washing the skunk smell off your dog.
It’s best to tackle this step while your dog is occupied so he doesn’t get powder everywhere. The baking soda needs to sit for about an hour to really absorb the skunk odor, so maybe lock Fido in another room to think about his choices in life…
After an hour, vacuum up all the baking soda then immediately dump it in the trash to avoid getting any of the smell trapped in your vacuum canister.
Alternatively, you could use heavy duty Febreze. We used this for a chair we forgot about during the baking soda step and it worked pretty well. I just felt like the baking soda got things a little cleaner.
6. MASK THE SKUNK SMELL UNTIL IT DISSIPATES
Finally, light lots of candles and liberally spray air freshener. The finish line is in sight! The bad news? This will still take a few days to clear out. I know, it sucks.
I’d literally just gotten my first Grove delivery (not sponsored, just coincidence) and, bless my lucky stars, it included air freshener! Annabelle carried it around with her all day like a security blanket hahaha.
We also ran out and bought an obscene amount of candles.
So, What’s the Verdict?
We were skunked five days ago and using these tricks to get rid of skunk smell have helped tremendously. I’d say we’re about 90% there….
As promised, here is that dog shampoo recipe that I hope you never need:
How To Get Skunk Smell Off Your Dog
This is the one how-to I hope you never need. But if you do, this "shampoo" is the best way to get skunk smell off your dog.
- 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
- 1/4 cup baking soda
- 1 teaspoon Dawn dish soap
- Spray bottle (optional)
- Mix all ingredient in a spray bottle (my dog is afraid of spray bottles so I just mixed it in a bowl)
- Spray or pour solution onto the affected areas (likely all over)
- Scrub into fur, avoiding eyes, and leave on for no longer than 2 or 3 minutes
- Rinse thoroughly
- Follow up with normal shampoo if desired
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