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The Old-Timer’s Secret Way To Remove Skunk Odor (Hint: It’s Not Tomato Juice)

The Old-Timer’s Way To Remove Skunk Odor (Hint: It’s Not Tomato Juice)

Image source: Pixabay.com

It’s nearly winter, which means skunk families will be moving in close to food supplies. This means your chicken coop, sheds and barn. With these stinky creatures so close, it’s a matter of time before the family dog gets sprayed or worse yet, the person who startles them. Knowing how to effectively remove skunk odor will come in handy.

When outside I’ve seen skunks just leaving the chicken yard. I always make sure to give them plenty of leeway, but sometimes the farm dog doesn’t!

Buddy was a chocolate lab we had several years ago. Bless his heart — he loved everything and everybody. We often found him loving up and protecting fawns, calves and rabbits. He even tried to love a skunk … once.

He saw it leaving the barn and went to check it out. Maybe he thought it was a cat. Anyway, he did his best “let’s be friends” routine but was only rewarded with a dastardly dose of skunk spray. I just couldn’t stop him in time.

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Did I mention Buddy slept indoors? Well, I couldn’t wait for the smell to wear off, so I turned to the time-honored remedy of my family.

We’ve used raw, organic apple cider vinegar on our homestead for all kinds of things. This was the first time in many, many years we had to use it to remove skunk odor, but I was sure glad we keep it made and on hand for just such an occasion.

You can use straight apple cider vinegar (ACV) and rinse your dog well immediately. Be aware, though, that ACV may burn sensitive skin. If your dog has this problem, then you should use a dilution of two parts water to one part ACV. Be careful around the face, as it will burn the eyes and nose.

The Old-Timer’s Way To Remove Skunk Odor (Hint: It’s Not Tomato Juice)

Image source: Pixabay.com

Wear clothes you don’t mind getting dirty (and smelly). You can soak the clothes in white vinegar or ACV for a few hours and wash with hot water to remove the odor. It may take more than one soaking, depending on the how strong the oils from the spray are.

Wet your dog thoroughly before applying ACV or the ACV dilution. Work it through the hair and saturate to the skin. Let it sit on the dog for at least five minutes before rinsing well. If the dog was close enough to the skunk for the oils to be concentrated in the spray, you may have to repeat a second time.

Another Recipe

I like to learn everything I can from old-timers. I could sit and sip coffee all day while they share their experiences with me. One of my favorites, Mr. Ted, shared how he would remove skunk odor after I told him about Buddy’s run-in with the stinky-stripped scoundrel.

Here is his recipe:

Mix thoroughly in a jug or bucket:

  • 1 quart hydrogen peroxide – 3 percent or higher
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid dish soap

Wet your dog thoroughly, and then apply the mixture to saturate to the skin. Let it sit for at least five minutes and rinse well. You may have to repeat if the oils are concentrated.

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As with ACV, be careful around the face. This solution has to be mixed just before you use it.

Remove Skunk Odor From Yourself

Both of these recipes for removing skunk odor will work on people and clothes. I’ve never been sprayed and hope to never be, but if I were, I would certainly use one of these to remove skunk odor from myself.

We’ve all been told to use tomato juice, lemon or orange juice. These don’t work as well. Tomato juice may be slightly effective, but it would take several baths to make any real difference. Can you imagine how much tomato juice it would take to coat a dog or cover a human body multiple times?  

I hope you never have to use either of these to remove skunk odor but if you do, at least you’ll be prepared and effective.

What recipes have you used to remove skunk odor? Share your tips in the section below:

hydrogen peroxide report

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3 comments

  1. Brilliant! I knew about Mr Ted’s recipe but never knew about ACV’s value. Thank you for the excellent advice!

  2. DO NOT WET YOUR ANIMAL DOWN BEFORE USING THE PEROXIDE/DAWN/BAKING SODA SOLUTION !

    Water seems to activate and spread the skunk.
    Apply the slurry to the animal generously and let sit a few minutes to start it’s magic and then rinse thoroughly and repeat several times.

    The skunk odor will get soaked into the hair pores so new fresh skunk odor will blossom out over time. Repeat every couple to few days for the next week.

    My last dog caught a skunk by the butt and bit down. Right down the throat. Her breath was never fully skunk free for some 5-6 years. I’m not kidding.

    • An addendum to my last post:

      The mix ratio I have used and found effective is:
      3 parts Dawn (my specific brand requirement)
      2 parts baking soda
      1 part hydrogen peroxide

      It’s viscous and stays in place pretty well in these ratios.

      It cannot be premixed or it will react and blow out a closed bottle over time.
      In a panic, estimate.
      Keep several bottles of each on hand. It can’t work it’s magic if you don’t have it.

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