Skunk odor is one of the most persistent and unpleasant animal odors in nature. It’s the skunk’s defense system — the oily spray not only smells horrendous due to a cocktail of sulfur compounds, it can actually temporarily blind an attacker if the spray hits the face. Getting rid of skunk odor is a challenge because you need to (1) break down the oily substance and (2) neutralize the sulfur compounds. Plain water or soap probably won’t do the trick alone, but there are homemade and commercial products that may successfully De-odourize your clothing.
Household bleach — straight or diluted in the wash — will remove skunk musk. However, you obviously run the risk of ruining the fabric’s color, so use this method on light or white clothing only.
Vinegar or Hydrogen Peroxide Mixtures
The most popular home recipe you’ll find calls for a combination of either vinegar or hydrogen peroxide (1 liter or quart), 1/4 cup baking soda and a teaspoon of dish soap or laundry detergent. Important: Use the mixture immediately after it’s mixed and don’t store in a closed container. The mixture produces oxygen bubbles that could cause a closed container to burst.
Hydrogen peroxide can also bleach fabric, so don’t use this mixture undiluted. Pour into your wash water first and then add clothing.
A fabric-safe deodorizing spray such as Febreeze can help cover up the odor while the smell dissipates. For other deodorizing products, check the label to see if it’s safe to use on fabrics. A simple homemade spray can be made from distilled water, a clear alcohol such as vodka, and several drops of a pleasant-scented essential oil such as lemon, mint or lavender. Spray lightly and let air dry.
Air It Out
Shoes, dry-clean-only fabrics and other items not suitable for the wash can simply be aired out. Over time, the skunk odor will decrease as long as the skunk doesn’t go for a second spray. Skunk oil is volatile, meaning it’s meant to be dispersed into the air, so hang the clothing item in a well-ventilated area or outside.