How to DeSkunk a Human

Whether your toddler runs outside to pet the striped kitty or you’re stumbling through the woods and not paying attention to where you’re walking, there is a chance that you or your child will get sprayed by a skunk.

Of course, there are other problems that can develop when you’re sprayed by a skunk besides just an overwhelming stench, especially if you’re sprayed in the eyes or nose. If you are experiencing an extreme adverse reaction after being sprayed, or if your child is of course, call your doctor or head to the emergency room immediately.

If minor eye irritation occurs, just flush the eyes with lukewarm water for a couple minutes. This is proper protocol for both children and adults.

Preparation


Once you realize you’ve been sprayed by a skunk, try not to go in the house if you don’t need to. Of course you’ll probably have to go inside unless you have an outdoor shower or the gym or a hotel is nearby. When you go in, do not touch anything, and don’t let your sprayed clothing touch any other clothing or furnishings.

Okay, well you can touch the following things, since you’ll need them for your cleanup:

  • Hydrogen peroxide (one quart bottle)
  • Baking soda or vinegar
  • Dish soap for hand washing
  • Large bowl, like a mixing bowl

If you don’t have one of these supplies, please send someone else to get them. You don’t want the stinky oils spreading to the inside of your car.

Mix the Cleaning Solution


The cleaning solution is fairly simple to make. Just take the entire bottle of hydrogen peroxide and pour it in the bowl. Then add a fourth of a cup of baking soda (or vinegar) and about a teaspoon of the dish soap. Mix them together with your hands. (Does it really matter if they smell like peroxide at this point?)

Wash, wash, wash


Once you’ve mixed up the solution, hop in the shower, or put your child in the bath, and lather and scrub away. Concentrate on the area of the body where the spraying occurred, as this area will have the highest amount of oils present. The cleaning solution is safe on skin and hair, as long as you don’t leave it on for more than a couple minutes. Then you might turn out to no longer be a brunette, but a fresh-smelling platinum blonde.

Rinse and repeat if needed


After you’ve scrubbed thoroughly, rinse off the solution with lukewarm water.

If this cleaning solution doesn’t get all of the smell out of your body and hair the first time, you can try repeating it, but you’ll have to start over and mix a new solution. The chemical reaction from the ingredients doesn’t last very long. Also, due to this reaction, don’t try to save any leftover solution in a container.

If this still doesn’t work, though it most likely will, you can try a premade commercial deskunking solution. You’re more likely to find one in the pet store than anywhere else. Just make sure to read the safety information on the container.

What About My Clothes?

Skunk odor tends to stick in fabrics very well, so you may think that all of the clothes you were wearing when you got sprayed is destined for the trash bin. In some situations, this is the case, but there are some things that you can try in order to salvage them.

You could try dropping your clothes off at the dry cleaner, though that will probably be the end of your prompt and speedy service.

A Final Note


Of course, instead of worrying about removing skunk odor, the easier thing to do is to avoid being sprayed by a skunk in the first place. Skunks are rather docile, not to mention half blind, so they will only spray you if you scare or startle them. In other words, keep calm if you encounter a skunk. Most likely, he will soon go away on his own. And teach your children not to approach wild animals without your permission. This is a good safety precaution to follow anyway.

Comments

  1. Lunalurker says:

    After using the hydrogen and soda mixture, I follow through with a mint mouthwash rinse.

    As for the washing of clothes, don’t use anything hotter than warm. The skunk scent is oil-based and you will just send small amounts into the air. It will settle on everything in the room, making for the smell last longer in your home.

  2. Tina says:

    I go with the tomato juice. I have used it in the past on dogs and cats, also on myself and believe it or not – it DOES WORK!! Just make sure you keep plenty on hand, just in case. You wouldn’t want to go to the store right after getting sprayed.

  3. Grandma says:

    My poor 9-yr-old grandson ran from my house across the street, charging up to his porch where a skunk was hanging out. He took the full spray. We are so grateful for this simple remedy. It worked great the first time!

    Thank you. Thank you.

  4. Kriss says:

    My dog got sprayed by a skunk tonight, and we figured that using tomato juice would take away the smell, but it didn’t. We even let it sit for like twenty minutes. So I don’t recommend using that. But the recipes on the site really helped… I just have one question: does anybody know how to clean skunk off of the carpet and off of the couches???

  5. Mike says:

    Just a suggestion, go to Costco to buy a bulk baking soda bag. Spread it all over the carpet in the morning and sweep it in a bit before work and let it sit all day long. When you get home, vacuum it up and be sure to clear the filter, as it will clog. You may have to do this for a week, but the smell should gradually subside. The bags of baking soda sell for about $6.69 each.

  6. Shane says:

    I never want to get sprayed by a skunk.

  7. Cynthia says:

    My dog and I both got sprayed by a skunk last winter. It was terrible and disorienting. The odd thing was that it didn’t smell like skunk to me; it smelled like a million rotting onions! I used the hydrogen peroxide, baking soda and Dawn detergent recipe…several times. Because we both ran in the house (I know…stupid!), our house reeked of it too. I happened to have a product called De-Molish. It was the greatest help ever, but cannot be used on people or pets, just surfaces. Ever since the skunking, my sense of smell is diminished. Has anyone else experienced this?

  8. Laura says:

    I too, when my dog got sprayed close up, noticed that I can not smell as well. I could not stay in my home for about a day because the smell caused me to gag, but did spend a good hour or so total around the settling spray. It has been about a month or so, and I swear that sometimes it seems that the skunk smell comes out of the glands or pores or something near my sinuses. About one week after the spray, my sinus well swelled and when I pushed on it, it seemed a chemical-tasting grossness, skunk oil?, was apparent near my back teeth on that side of my face. I’m so grossed out to think the oil could be lingering in my glands or something, but this is the only explanation that makes sense. Wonder if anyone else has had that happen…

  9. Alyssa says:

    Laura, From what I’ve heard, there are two main chemicals in skunk spray – there’s the extremely smelly one you’re probably familiar with, but another chemical that is designed to get into all your pores and be released very, very slowly. A month is probably the least amount of time it could be expected to linger…6 months is more likely.

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