Skunky Smell
September 24, 2004 6:10 AM   Subscribe

Skiunk vs car filter...

Ack! Ran over a skunk last night. What's your best tips for getting rid of the um...skunky aroma that's on my car (and now in my garage)....
posted by damnitkage to Pets & Animals (7 answers total)
Baking soda for the first couple days; vacuum out and spray on some of Lane's Car Scent.
posted by Smart Dalek at 6:16 AM on September 24, 2004

I'd swear there was a previous thread on skunk removal, but my skills are weak this morning.

Skunk spray smells because of a class of chemicals called thiols. You can wash these away. Skunk smells keep coming back because sunk spray also has some other chemicals, which soap doesn't remove, which will slowly degrade to thiols, and so you can wash and wash but the smell will come back.

You want to get rid of both sets of compounds, the thiols and the thio-acetates. Here's a wash that will do it and not stain your car with tomato pulp:

1 L/qt of 3% hydrogen peroxide (from a drugstore)
1/4 c baking soda
1 teaspoon of dishwashing soap.

Wash with this solution. Wear gloves, the peroxide will damage your skin. Rinse with lots of hot water. This solution is really cheap, about a dollar a bucket-worth and so can be made up in very large quantities. There are no harmful residues: the peroxide will break-down to water in hours. You can run this stuff through a wet vac if necessary.

For the geakily inclined here's what happens: The peroxide is oxidizing the skunk smell, trans-2-butene-1-thiol, and smaller quantities of other thiols, to the sulphate form. In a basic solution peroxide can also convert the thio-acetates to thiols and then to sulphates. That's what the baking soda is for. The soap does what soap does, bind and remoev the sulphates from the thing being washed.
posted by bonehead at 7:17 AM on September 24, 2004

As for the garage, leave it open and let it air out for a few days.
posted by mischief at 7:20 AM on September 24, 2004

Try running over a rose bush.
posted by RavinDave at 9:33 AM on September 24, 2004

Tomato soup. It takes skunk smell off of people, anyway- I don't see why it wouldn't take it off a car, and it won't damage the finish.
posted by headspace at 9:46 AM on September 24, 2004

Time. Skunk odor is organic and will eventually dissipate over time. Wash the car, wash the garage, and air it out for a while.

As for tomato soup, there is a difference between your skin and your car finish- the latter isn't a porpus surface, so there's no natural body oils or pores for the tomato acids to seep into and mix with. Soap and water will likely be more effective than pouring ketchup all over it.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:42 PM on September 24, 2004

Thanks for the tips. I'm quite sure however, that BMW doesn't recommend condiments as a paint treatment..
posted by damnitkage at 5:27 PM on September 24, 2004

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