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How to Get Skunk Smell Out of Carpet

A photo collage of ways on how to get skunk smell into youe carpet.

Skunks typically don’t go around spraying people’s living rooms, but they do spray dogs. If you’ve ever had a skunk spray your dog and roll all over your carpet, then you know it smells just as bad as if the skunk sauntered in and did it himself.

The smell is strong, musky, and deep. In short, it reeks. If your dog’s coat has been sprayed by a skunk, he’ll need a bath immediately as the smell is embedded in your pet’s fur.

What Should I do if I get Sprayed by a Skunk?

Skunks are nocturnal creatures with terrible eyesight. If you see a skunk, walk the other way, especially if it is stomping its front paws.

If you or your dog happens to get sprayed by a skunk, you’ll need a bath in a mixture of 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide,1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid. Rinse and repeat as many times as needed to get rid of the foul odor.

After giving yourself and/or your dog a bath, it’ll be time to get the skunk smell out of your carpet. If you’re not sure how to do this, read on for some tips and tricks you can use to get that new carpet smell.

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Having a skunk smell on your carpet requires immediate attention to eliminate this noxious odor. Otherwise, the smell could linger for months or even years. This is because the smell is embedded in the carpet and not just floating around the air.

If it were, you could simply open a few windows and the smell would dissipate. But a carpet soaks up the smell and will emit nasty smells unless you treat it immediately.

What is Skunk Spray?

A skunk’s spray is produced by the anal glands and contains sulfurous chemicals called thiols. The spray can reach up to 15 feet. Dogs usually get sprayed in the face which is not good for the dog’s eyes. It may cause temporary blindness, along with bad odors.

This is a close look at the behind of a skunk.

Can You Smell a Skunk from Inside Your House?

Yes. Skunks spray around and under houses, wherever their nests are located. This smell seeps in a person’s home through the doors, windows, and HVAC system.

Why Do You Smell Skunk in Your House but not Outside?

This is most likely because the skunk sprayed under the house. The smell is coming up from under the house through any cracks and/or the HVAC system.

What is the First Step to Removing Skunk Odor?

Whether you got sprayed by a skunk or your dog had an encounter with a skunk, the first thing you’ll want to do is bathe. Don’t let your dog inside, however, or he’ll transfer the smell into your home, getting into your carpets and furniture. Instead, give him a bath outside. Alternatively, a skunk will spray near your home and the smell wafts into your house.

What is the Best Remedy for Skunk Spray?

While there are many products on the market to get rid of skunk spray, there are also some tried and true methods people have been using for decades. The skunk smell is notorious for being difficult to remove, especially from carpets. That’s usually if you wait too long to remove it. Get to it right away and you’ll be sure to get rid of the smell.

The best remedy for skunk spray depends on the affected area, but all of the methods outlined here can be made from items around your home. Read on to learn more.

Removing Skunk Odor from White Carpets

A gloved woman is cleaning the carpet with a spritzer and a brush.

There are many ways to eliminate skunk odor. From opening all the windows to running fans 24/7, you can get rid of the smell as long as you don’t wait too long before taking action.

For example, if you’re away on vacation and skunk spray gets into your house and sits on the carpet for days or weeks, you’ll need to replace the carpet.

To clean your carpets, you’ll need, depending on whether your carpet is white or colored.

  • 1 qt. 3 percent hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 tsp. dish soap
  • Bowl
  • Rubber gloves
  • Brush
  • Paper towels
  • Sponge
  • Water
  • 1 cup borax
  • 2 cups cornmeal
  • Vacuum
  • Baking soda

Hydrogen Peroxide and Baking Soda Based Skunk Smell Removal Recipe

To start, mix 1 quart of hydrogen peroxide along with a quarter cup of baking soda and 1 tsp. of dish soap in a bowl. Using rubber gloves, spread the mixture on the affected area and rub it in with a brush. Now, let it sit for a few minutes so it can start to neutralize the skunk odor.

After 15 minutes or so, remove as much of the skunk removal mixture. You may need to use a paper towel to help lift it off the carpet.

Next, using a damp sponge soaked in cool water, wipe the affected carpet area to dilute the mixture and make it easier to remove. When done blot the area with a dry paper towel. Then, open some windows to let the carpet continue to air dry. Discard what you don’t use.

Removing Skunk Odor from Colored Carpets

A sspacious toyroom with skyblue colored carpets.

This recipe is different than what you would use to treat white carpets. Borax and cornmeal are used in order not to damage the carpet’s color.

Borax Skunk Smell Removal Recipe

First, mix 1 cup of borax with 2 cups of cornmeal. Spread the mixture over the affected carpet area and let it sit for one hour to deodorize the area. After an hour, vacuum up the mixture.

If the odor is still present, reapply the mixture and let it sit overnight. In the morning, vacuum it up. The smell should be gone.

How Do You Rid Your House of Skunk Odor?

Even after you thoroughly cleaned the carpets, a skunk smell may still linger just a little. You may have heard about taking a bath in tomato juice to get rid of the smell, but this actually doesn’t work. What happens is that at some point, your nose quits smelling the skunk smell, and simply replaces it with the tomato smell.

It doesn’t actually get rid of the smell at all. And you can’t dump tomato juice on your carpets. That would ruin them. So what really works? How do you get the skunk smell out of your house once and for all?

Aside from the recipes outlined above, you can use this one – which is safe to use on people, pets, and any items in the home.

  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon liquid detergent

Mix the ingredients together in a large bowl and apply to any area where you think the skunk smell may be coming from. For example, wash your hands with the mixture, and apply it to carpets, doorframes, and anywhere either a skunk sprayed or your dog touched after being sprayed.

You need to use this mixture immediately as it can not be covered or safely stored. When you’re done, dilute the mixture with hot water and pour it down the sink.

Does Vinegar Get Rid of Skunk Smell?

Yes. Many people stand behind vinegar as a solution to getting rid of the skunk smell. One way to safely use white vinegar is to place bowls of it around the house. In about a day, the solution will absorb the smell and your house won’t smell like vinegar either.

If you’re not really sure where the smell is coming from or it seems to be coming from more than one area, a mixture of one part vinegar and eight parts water can be used to wipe down walls, floors, upholstery, and surfaces.

You may even want to wipe down the ceiling to be safe. When a skunk sprays close to your house and the smell gets inside, the oily residue will come to rest on your surfaces and stink.

Vinegar and baking soda being used to clean the carpet.

To use vinegar on your carpet, mix 1 part white vinegar and 10 parts water. Put it into a spray bottle and generously spray the affected area. Let air dry. This should neutralize the odor.

How Do You Get Skunk Smell out of Furniture if it Can’t be Soaked or Washed?

Skunks may be cute, but boy do they leave behind a bad smell. Skunk spray is a foul odor that they use to defend themselves against predators and it is not something you want in the house. While pet skunks have their spray glands removed, wild skunks are free to roam and spray at will.

If a skunk has sprayed near your house, the skunk oil may get inside. When a skunk sprays a dog and that dog then jumps on the couch, the oily residue is transferred from the dog to the couch, making it stink. He may even brush up against the coffee table, kitchen table, or another piece of furniture.

Clean water alone will not get the skunk smell out of carpets or furniture. Skunk spray is made of an oil compound and water and oil never mix. To get skunk spray out of furniture, you need to treat it immediately.

Otherwise, the oily residue soaks in deeply and you may not be able to get it out. Don’t wait. As soon as you smell skunk spray in your home, get to work cleaning it or you will have to live with it for a long time.

For this treatment, mix 1 quart vinegar or peroxide, whichever you have available, with 1 tsp of dish-washing soap in a large bowl. For outdoor furniture, use 1 part Clorox and 9 parts water.

Using a clean cloth and rubber gloves (you don’t want to get any oil residue on your hands), wipe down the furniture to get rid of the oil and the smell. Then spray with a deodorizer.


Does Dawn Dish Soap Get Rid of Skunk Smell?

A woman using a dawn dish soap for cleaning.

Yes. When mixed with 1-quart hydrogen peroxide and a 1/4 cup baking soda, one to two teaspoons of Dawn dish soap helps get rid of the skunk smell from your carpet.

Does Baking Soda Help with the Skunk Smell?

Yes. After treating your carpet with one of the recipes outlined above, you can deodorize your carpet with baking soda, a natural odor neutralizer. Sprinkle the baking soda onto the carpet and let sit for about 20 minutes and then vacuum it up.

Repeat this a couple of times a day for maximum effect. There are many baking soda products made specifically for carpets that you can buy at the store. This will continue to neutralize any remaining skunk smell in your carpet and makes your home smell fresh and clean.

Does Bleach get rid of Skunk Smell?

Yes. You can use a mixture of 10 percent bleach and 90 percent water to wipe down flooring carpets, walls, upholstery, and more. However, it’s not safe for humans and animals so using a mixture of vinegar and clean water is a better option.

What Can You Spray on Bushes to Remove Skunk Spray Smell?

If a skunk sprays bushes near your home, the chance of that oil residue getting into your home is high, especially if you have a dog. You’ll want a mixture that is plant-safe.

For this recipe, mix 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon of dishwashing liquid in a spray bottle. Spray the bushes generously.

What Kind of Vinegar Kills Skunk Smell?

The reason vinegar works so well is that it is acidic. You’ll want to use white vinegar when treating the skunk smell because it won’t interfere with the color of anything you treat and it is the most effective at neutralizing the skunk smell, as opposed to apple cider vinegar.

Is it Bad to Breathe in Skunk Spray?

Yes, but only in high concentrations. Skunk scent is compared to tear gas because it makes you cough and gag. It may also cause temporary blindness. Overall, skunk spray is toxic to both humans and pets, and breathing it in can be fatal.

How Else Can I Get Rid of Skunk Smell?

After using the recipes outlined above, there are a few things you can do to help neutralize any lingering smell. Febreze is wonderful for spraying on and around the original smell. You can also try essential oils to fill your home with a fresh scent.

If it’s summer, try keeping the windows open for as long as possible to get rid of the smell. If your dog’s fur has been sprayed, he’ll probably need more than one bath. Take him to the groomers where they can get the entire smell out, along with any leftover skunk oil. If your dog is long-haired, a haircut may also be a good idea.

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