For some, it’s a nightmare scenario. You’re on a hike, and out of nowhere a skunk sprays you or a pet. Your hike is probably over, and now you have to figure out how do you get rid of the skunk smell.
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The topic recently came up on Reddit’s Survival group. The comments are a mix of old-timey solutions and science-backed answers. So, what really works? Let’s take a look.
The “Skunk Smell”
According to Iowa’s Department of Natural Resources, a skunk spray comes from the animal’s anal glands containing several “volatile chemical compounds.” The stink is thiols and thioacetates, which have a lot of sulfur. That’s what gives the smell of rotten eggs. Those two compounds also stick together, so the scent stays on your clothes or dog.
How Do You Get Rid of the Stink?
Here’s what r/survival followers had to say as a possible solution.
R/Zealousideal-Win9169 suggests the classic technique of tomato juice, saying, “Grandfather used it on his hunting dogs. I tried it. Covered the whole pooch, gave a good scrub, let it sit for 15-20 mins, then rinsed with dish soap and warm water. Worked really well.”
Others, like r/jlt131, say they had firsthand experience with a store-bought product. They said, “There’s a product at most pet stores called Nature’s Miracle Skunk Odor Remover. I walked into the store one day. The guy at the front winced, held his nose, and said, ‘aisle 4, left side, bottom shelf.’ It must have been pretty obvious why I was there.”
Finally, the most popular response to how to get rid of the skunk smell uses a chemical solution to fight the skunk’s stinky formula.
R/Vegetable-Shoulder78’s post said to use “One quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (fresh bottle), ¼ cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap. Vinegar will neutralize the smell depending on how bad it is.”
This solution had by far the most backing. Including a reply from r/manlygirl100, who suggests they’re a chemist. They said, “That formula works well because the dish soap will allow the oil to be washed away by water (think cleaning bacon grease off a pan). The hydrogen peroxide will oxidize the thiol to dithiol, which is two sulfurs bonded to each other (S-S), which don’t smell. It’s not perfect because you must wash a few times to remove the oil. And the peroxide oxidation isn’t super fast, but at least that’s the chemistry behind it.”
This solution also has the backing of The Humane Society of the United States, which uses the same formula. They recommend you clean sensitive areas such as eyes with cool running water.
Have you ever encountered a skunk while hiking?