How long does it take for skunk smell to go away – A Vet Explains

Chances are you have started noticing skunk smell on your dog, you have encountered skunk spray, or your property has been invaded with skunks that are leaving foul smells and making you uncomfortable in your surroundings.

Unfortunately, the problem with skunk smell is a big problem that affects many households. The smell can range from mild to strong repugnant smells that can make an area unlivable and a health hazard for the occupants.

But how long does it take for the skunk smell to go away? The time for skunk smell to go is a few days to several weeks. This is because the spray contains thiols. The sulfur atoms in the thiols bond with the atoms that they encounter, causing the odor to remain for such a lengthy period.

Experts in the field, including veterinaries, are also of the opinion that, should you encounter skunk smells, there is a high chance that the smell will last for weeks, and sometimes even months.

This is succinctly summed by Stephen Vantasselm, a Vertebrate Pest Specialist for the Montana Department of Agriculture states, who in his research shows that the smell can last for weeks, during which the intensity of the smell reduces. However, when a skunk dies on your property, the skunk smell increases in intensity as months go by.

How long until skunk smell goes away totally in a house

It is common for skunks to find their way into properties and houses that people live in, unfortunately, skunks are ungrateful guests that do not appreciate being removed from a place they have come to know as their habitat. This includes places such as houses, compounds, and dog sheds.

The problem arises when you try to remove skunks from your house, or any other place on your property. This causes them to become agitated and results in them spraying your house with a smelly, oily liquid from their perianal sacs. This yellowish and oily liquid, though very volatile and evaporates easily, can cause discomfort in your house, and make it unlivable due to the bad smells caused by the spray.

If a skunk has in your house, you will not need smoke signals to notice the smell. This is because skunk spray is made of organic sulfur-containing thiols, which give it the characteristics of an overpowering smell.

The sulfur in the skunk spray gives it a foul smell which can only be described as spoiled cabbages or rotten eggs. The spray also smells like mercaptans, which is made of thiols, a building block of skunk spray. Mercaptans chemical is best known as the smelly ingredient added to the odorless household natural utility gas supplied by utility companies to homes, which warns you that gas might be leaking into your home.

Therefore, with such a detailed repugnant smell profile, it is no surprise that many people dread the skunk smell in their house. Unfortunately, keeping skunks away from your home is not possible, and therefore, estimating how long the smell will last is paramount for your comfort.

A mild skunk smell in your house can easily be removed by airing it out. However, if the skunk has found its way into fur, clothes, or carpeting, the smell can last for months, and in some cases, years, if no action is taken.

The good news is the skunk smell can be removed by acting as soon as a skunk sprays your house. To get rid of the smell, you can boil vinegar in a pan for an hour. This is one of the easiest methods of skunk smell removal.

However, if the skunk smell (click to see pricing for De-Skunk Shampoo) has found its way into fur, clothes, and carpeting, you should consider using liquid bleach to clean these surfaces. If the smell does not disappear immediately, you will need to be patient, because it may take several cleaning and bleaching attempts before the smell completely disappears.

You should also consider using skunk shampoos, which are products made specifically for the removal of skunk smell. The shampoo can be used on carpets, clothing, bedding and hard surfaces.

What neutralizes the smell of a skunk?

Here is a table that was derived from data found on various household forums on what can neutralize the smell of skunk.

What can neutralize a skunk smell?Percentage of total results
fast orange hand cleaner3%
Febreze (click for your pack of 3)10%
hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, dish soap mix72%
vinegar 5%
data from various online forums

Is it bad to breathe in skunk?

It is not bad or dangerous to breathe in skunk smell. Inhaling skunk spray odor is unpleasant because it can cause eye watering, irritation in the nose, and you will feel nauseated. Nevertheless, there are no long-lasting health concerns.

According to Stephen Vantasselm , Vertebrate Pest Specialist for the Montana Department of Agriculture states, the smell of a skunk can linger for weeks, but it is not going to cause health issues that are permanent.

However, in cases where the skunk is dead, Vantasselm indicates that the skunk smell does not decline, and gets stronger as months go by. This means that, if you live near a skunk, dead or alive, chances are you will have to breathe in the smell, which can result in discomfort and nauseating feeling. But are those all the effects that you should expect when you breathe in skunk spray?

When people are exposed to skunk spray, and breathe it, it has been shown to cause lung irritation and discomfort in the chest area. Other effects of breathing skunk smell are its potential to worsen asthma symptoms, though rarely, and causing discomfort for the person breathing in the smell.

When your skin meets the yellowish, oily liquid that is sprayed from skunk glands, you may experience irritation to the skin, redness, short-term stinging, and burning.

If the skunk liquid is sprayed into your eyes, you should expect short-term stinging, teary eyes, burning and redness of the eye because of the liquid.

Luckily for people who encounter the skunk liquid, the effects have no long-term effects on the health of individuals. It is also rare that breathing skunk spray odor has exacerbated asthmatic symptoms, and hence, besides the smell, people should not worry too much about the long-term effects.

How long does skunk smell last on skin?

A skunk smell can last for weeks on the skin. I will bond with the outer layers of skin which make it hard to remove by showering only. Bathing with a deodorant soap, dish soap that cuts grease, along with 4 cups of baking soda will remove most of the spray from the skin

Although skunk sprays can be irritating, nauseating and, in some cases, can cause short-term health risks such as exacerbating asthma symptoms, skunks don’t go around looking to spray people or pets. This is because skunks are nocturnal and will avoid contact with people or other animals.

However, when threatened, or their spaces are invaded, they will discharge the yellowish oily fluid towards their targets, and sometimes that target can be you.

When attacked by a skunk, it is important to get rid of the skunk odor as quickly as possible, and the sooner you act after the attack, the better the chances of you getting rid of the skunk smell from your skin completely. Use a degreasing type of dishwashing soap (click here) along with your deodorant soap (click to have two bars of Dial delivered to your front door)

What you should never do is apply perfume to your body as a way of concealing the bad smell. This is because the smell and the liquid stay on your body, and although some strong perfumes can hide the smell for hours, the skunk smell can outlast most perfumes and as perfume starts to fade, you will be left with smelly skin that is a nuisance to anyone you encounter.

How long does skunk smell last in a car?

A skunk smell can last for months in a car because the spray spreads over a wide area and microscopic portions of the spray can enter the car vents and bond with materials in the interior of a car.

Skunk smell can find its way into your car in many ways, including hitting it while driving your car, or the skunk finding a home in your car. Whatever the circumstances that result in a skunk inside your car, the smell of their spray will be left behind and your car will never be the same again.

Now, if a skunk has sprayed your car, you may decide the best course of action is to let the smell fade away before using your car again. Unfortunately, this will take anywhere from 3 weeks to a couple of months, and this depends on whether the spray has settled on your seats, dashboard, and car carpeting.

If the skunk fluid has touched your carpeting and other items found in the car, the amount of time increases, and the smell can even last for years if the problem is not addressed.

Washing your car with soap and water ingredients will not remove the skunk smell completely. This is especially true if the liquid has found its way onto places such as your seats and car carpeting. Instead, consider filling a spray bottle filled with vinegar and liquid dish detergent, and use the solution to wash the external areas of your car.

To remove the skunk smell inside your car, consider opening all the windows to air it out, and let the sunshine into the car. You should also consider using bleach and water, or a solution of hydrogen peroxide and baby shampoo to wash your car interiors, including your seats and carpets.

You should also consider a thiol neutralizing chemical solution that was first discovered by Chemist Paul Krebaum, that chemically neutralizes skunk odor. The solution is as follows:

  • one quart of three percent% hydrogen peroxide.
  • quarter cup of baking soda.
  • one teaspoon of liquid detergent.

Applied to your car, the solution will 100 percent neutralize the bad skunk smell coming out of your car.

How to get rid of skunk smell from tires

Your car tires are some of the most prone parts for a skunk spray attack. This is because of their proximity to the ground, and because they are the most recognizable moving parts, which can trigger their defense mechanism.

The skunk smell on your tires can also be because of driving over a skunk while driving. Whatever the circumstances that resulted in the skunk smell on your tires, it is important to get rid of the smell as soon as possible.

The smell of skunks will enter the interior of the car if one of the tires has been sprayed. One way of removing the skunk smell from your car is by using the regular water and soap routine. Since tires are exterior, it becomes much easier to remove the smell using only water and soap.

Alternatively, you should consider using a thiol neutralizing chemical solution, which can remove the unpleasant smell.

How do you get skunk smell off a dog?

To get the skunk smell off your dog, you must use a solution of two tablespoons of dishwashing soap, one quarter cup baking soda, and one quart of hydrogen peroxide. Rub the solution into the dog’s fur until it lathers and then rinse and repeat. As a last step, wash your dog again with regular dog shampoo.

Dogs are vulnerable to being sprayed by skunks, especially if you live in a skunk-infested area. This is because they are adventurous, and in most cases when they meet a skunk, they are either playful or defensive. In whichever case, their reaction is always interpreted by skunks as hostile and responds by spraying the dogs.

So, how do you get the skunk smell off your dog? You can get the skunk smell off your dog by using the Paul Krebaum solution. This will include mixing chemicals and compounds as listed below.

  • 1 quart (.95 L) 3% hydrogen peroxide (fresh bottle)
  • 1/4 cup (70 g) baking sodium bicarbonate)
  • 1-2 teaspoon (5-10 ml) liquid dish soap

After mixing the solution together, wash your dog with the solution, and if the smell does not come off the first time, consider doing it again, until your dog is cleansed of the smell. I recommend a final wash with Skunk-Off Pet Shampoo that is available on Amazon. Click here to get yours delivered.

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Aron Blake

I am the lead copywriter on Homezesty and the Webmaster. I have a lot of experience in home renovations and the creation of style. I enjoy writing and sharing my tips on how to create the best living environment. My Linkedin Profile, My Twitter Account

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