Skunk Recipe

We often receive unusual requests at the Library. One such question comes to mind.  Someone phones at 8:00 p.m. and with a nervous voice asks, “How do I get rid of the smell of skunk? My dog and I got sprayed on our walk this evening.”  We’ve got the answer, but I’ll get to that later. 

A couple of weeks ago the weather was balmy and sunny, quite unusual for December.  I had laundered some tablecloths used at the Library Gala on that Saturday evening.  I wanted to hang them out in the wind and sun. I’ve learned from experience, that you always must wipe down the clothesline before hanging up whites.  As I ran the line through my fingers, my peripheral vision detected movement near the fence.  

We’d redone our backyard this summer, and planted many small trees in the newly mulched garden. My husband noticed that a small creature had decided to use some saplings for salad, so he had set up a live trap, in order to bring what we assumed was a pesky squirrel to its “winter home” in the country. 

However, upon inspection, the captured critter was none other than a big healthy sleepy skunk. 

Photo of a skunk
One big healthy sleepy skunk

 I brought news of our visitor to my husband’s attention.  My information was received with a less than enthusiastic response. As one does with most unpleasant tasks, we thought of ways to pass the buck.  “Let’s call animal control”.  Did you know there is a $80.00 fee for skunk evictions?  My husband, not willing to part with the cash, decided to risk a do it yourself attempt. 

After donning armour consisting of old coveralls, tall rubber boots and gloves, he set out on his mission.  The trick is this. You have to approach the skunk without alarming him.  In order to do this, hold a blanket in front of your body as you approach the animal. Then lower the blanket and you won’t get sprayed. It worked. However, Pepe Le Pew had collected a lot of mulch into the cage, probably to create a comfy bed for the night. The door hinge would not remain open.  My brave ingenious husband was forced to retreat, go back to the workshop for wire, and approach the cage for a second try, this time successfully opening the trap. In order to know whether beasty had gone, he decided to remove the blanket as he backed away. 

Our guest was in no hurry to escape. He had made himself a rather cozy home.  I was ready to give up and throw the laundry in the dryer. When I checked one last time, our friend raised his head and looked towards the cage door. He walked over and poked his head out first. Then he ventured out half way. By this time I’d called hubbie who was struggling to get the camera ready.  The skunk’s exodus has been photographed; to prove I didn’t just fabricate this adventure. 

Photo of skunk 

Photo of skunkPhoto of skunk 

Back to the recipe to remove skunk spray odour. Here it is. 

Immediate Action 

  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup baking soda (sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1 – 2 teaspoon liquid soap

Wet your pet down and work the mixture through the pet’s hair. Leave it on for three to four minutes and rinse. This will generally need to be repeated several times. Be sure to throw away any excess mixture. Do NOT get any of the mixture in the eyes; as a precaution, place protective ophthalmic ointment in the eyes. 

Note that the above mixture may bleach the hair color temporarily until the animal sheds and new hair grows in. Common antidotes like tomato juice, vinegar, or regular shampoos will not be as effective. 

Note: Do not store in a closed container! 

This recipe can be doubled for bigger breeds. 

Remember, your Library has the answers! 

– EL

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