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Skunk in grass: 'How To Remove Skunk Odors.'Skunk in grass: 'How To Remove Skunk Odors.'

Tips, Tricks and Professional Guidance on Removing Skunk Odor

Skunks are infamous for their putrid stench. When skunk spray is released, it can stick to walls and be absorbed by carpet and upholstery. If not cleaned properly, that strong odor will continue to linger.

Although skunks rarely find their way indoors, their spray can still be tracked inside. For example, your pets may have had an encounter with a skunk outdoors and got sprayed in the process. Before you have a chance to catch wind of the incident, they may walk across your carpet or lie on the couch, allowing the smell to transfer to the fabric. Alternatively, a skunk may spray on or around your backyard or patio, making it an unpleasant place to sit.

Here, we'll share tips, tricks and professional guidance on indoor and outdoor skunk odor removal.

What Is Skunk Spray and Why Does It Stink?

Skunk essence is composed of oils and compounds like thiols and thioacetates. Both of these compounds are sulfur-rich, which explains the signature stink - and their chemical stability is what makes skunk scent notoriously long-lasting and difficult to get rid of. It's not the skunk oil itself that has a pungent odor, rather, the thiols within the oil.

Skunk spray that's left untreated and allowed to soak into furniture and carpeting won't simply go away on its own. A lingering odor in the air may disappear anywhere between a couple of hours and a few weeks, but that's the best-case scenario. More often than not, a pungent odor in or around your living spaces means that the skunk's spray has settled onto something nearby and needs to be cleaned.

Potential Side Effects of Breathing in Skunk Odor

Skunk odor and skunk oil aren't toxic. However, while neither is known to be overtly threatening, the odor can cause a couple of minor yet uncomfortable side effects if breathed in for extended periods of time. Skunk scent may worsen symptoms in asthmatic people, although it's rare. In general, it can also be irritating to the lungs, sinuses and eyes.

To avoid these potential side effects, it's best to have professional skunk smell removal performed as soon as possible.

Indoor and Outdoor Skunk Odor Removal

For indoor, outdoor and pet odor removal for skunk smell, choose one of these three options for the best results:

Option 1: Indoor Skunk Odor Removal

  1. If the odor is indoors, place Fresh Wave IAQ Gel either in the furnace plenum or in front of an air mover to disperse the product.
  2. Dilute Fresh Wave IAQ Carpet and Upholstery Additive per label instructions into your portable or truck mount solution tank. Thoroughly clean and rinse all carpet and upholstery affected.
  3. Find the area where the odor is most intense and, using Fresh Wave IAQ Air and Surface Spray diluted per label instructions, directly spray the affected surface.
  4. Place the Fresh Wave M130 Vapor System filled with >Fresh Wave IAQ Air and Surface Spray, and run the machine for several hours. The Fresh Wave vapor will penetrate walls, fabrics and all porous material. It's not necessary to evacuate the area when using Fresh Wave IAQ.

Option 2: Outdoor Skunk Odor Removal

  1. Find the area where the odor is most intense. If the scent is on concrete or a hard surface that won't be affected by bleach, do a direct spray of a chlorine bleach solution (up to 2/3 cup of bleach to one gallon of water) boosted with 1-2 ounces of Unsmoke Last Resort Plus.
  2. Deodorize the structure's interior by using Unsmoke Liqui-Zone diluted at 2-4 ounces per gallon of water. This must be directly sprayed onto surfaces using a pump-up sprayer. If the odor is emanating from a surface behind a wall, a wet fogger may be used to reach all areas behind the wall.

Option 3: Soft Surface Skunk Odor Removal

If skunk spray has affected soft surfaces, such as clothes, bedding, carpet or upholstery, thoroughly washing them with typical laundry or carpet/fabric detergent may remedy the odor. If, however, the odor still persists, follow these recommendations:

  • For laundry, add 2-4 ounces of Odorcide Skunk Off Shampoo per regular load and run the cycle as normal.
  • For larger affected surfaces or items that aren't removable or machine washable, wet fog the area using Odorcide Skunk Off Shampoo at a dilution of 1:1 with water.
  • Consider using a hydroxyl generator, such as the Titan 1000 Hydroxyl Generator, to treat the area and eliminate persistent odors lingering in the space. 

Removing Skunk Odor From Your Pets Coat

If your pet has been sprayed, don't reach for the tomato juice. Instead, our experts recommend Odorcide Skunk Off Shampoo. Not only can it be applied to carpet, upholstery, clothing and bedding, but it's also safe to use directly on your pets coat as you would any other pet shampoo.

This skunk shampoo uses natural essential oils to remove all traces of skunk musk from hair and skin. This odor neutralizer is not a masking agent or an enzyme. With very little dwell time needed, it instantly and permanently removes the strong odor.

Follow these simple directions for use on pets:

  1. Wipe off excess skunk spray from your pet.
  2. Saturate the affected area of their coat with a direct hit of Skunk Off.
  3. Thoroughly work it into the area, rinse and let dry.
  4. If the odor persists, continue to reapply and rinse as necessary.

Can a Home Remedy Work for Skunk Odor Removal?

Specialized products and odor removal experts provide the best results for removing skunk odor. However, some quick deodorizing treatments may help mask the pungent smell that's lingering in the air until professionals can come to treat any affected surfaces.

When removing skunk smell:

  • Remove the odor's source. Move affected items (clothes, shoes, furniture, bedding, etc.) outside.
  • Ventilate the area with fresh air by opening windows and doors. Use a fan to help circulate the air.
  • Wash the affected surfaces with warm water and dish soap.

The Best Products and Tools for Skunk Odor Removal

Before a skunk has a chance to spray on your property, you may try a natural repellent to keep them away. Pepper-based deterrents can be purchased commercially or homemade and then sprayed on your vegetable garden or around the perimeter of your property to discourage visits from these wild animals.

When cleaning is necessary, these products can help remove skunk odor from hard surfaces, carpet, upholstery and your belongings:

Odor Removal Training

Odor removal is a very profitable add-on service that is ideal for carpet cleaning and restoration pros. More often than not, an odor problem is what triggers the initial phone call from a client.

Jon-Don offers a one-day IICRC Odor Control Technician (OCT) seminar that will teach you the principles of deodorization along with the chemicals, equipment and procedures used to permanently remove odors - including skunk smell. Visit our course page for upcoming classes and schedules.

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