Removing Skunk Odor
June 24, 2004 7:15 AM   Subscribe

Skunkfilter: Ewww. There's a skunk under my office (which is in a trailer-house). It stinks. How do I get rid of the thing? When I've done that, how do I get rid of the stench? (Or will it just go away in time?) Lord, this is nasty.
posted by jdroth to Home & Garden (5 answers total)
Get Animal Control to trap it, or hire a professional to do it for you. Don't try to trap it yourself. Be warned: in my experience, most pros will gas the animal once it's trapped, unless you request otherwise (or find a "humane" trapper, and they might cost more and might still kill the animal once you're not around).

Once the skunk is gone the smell will dissipate over time, but it will take a few days (or weeks) depending on local conditions.

Once all that's done, seal up the crawlspace under the trailer. Your trapper will have suggestions on this, and it should be a thorough (not half-assed) job.
posted by aramaic at 7:41 AM on June 24, 2004

JDRoth, I'm feelin' ya.

The thing that worked best for my friend was to take every single item outside and leave it in the sun for a full day, and then Febreeze the stuff outside for another full day. The sun breaks down the skunkness and then the Febreeze apparently lifted it off as it dehydrated off the items.

(Don't know if you could use something other than Febreeze, that's just what worked for her.)
posted by pomegranate at 7:50 AM on June 24, 2004

In the states, the department of wildlife will have recommendations for "this one stuff" designed to specifically neutralize stinky animal smells. I was under the impression it was more potent than febreeze.
posted by mecran01 at 10:48 AM on June 24, 2004

Stink removal---the best stuff bar none I've ever used is the following recipe:

1 L (qt.) of 3% hydrogen peroxide (from your drugstore)
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tsp of diswashing soap.

Apply (wear gloves) then rinse with LOTS of warm water.

Tomato juice can't touch this stuff and it doesn't turn anything pink. Be sure to buy fresh peroxide. It degrades in a few months if you leave it on the shelf.

The chemistry is this: skunk juice is mostly thiols and thio-acetates. The thiols are the stuff that smell. It's fairly easy to wash away the thiols, but the thio-acetates tend to stick to things, especially hair or skin. Over time the acetates degrade back to thiols, and thus become stinky again. That's why skink odour is so persistant, it's a time-release formula!

The basic solution of peroxide converts the thio-acetates to thiols directly, which then react with the baking soda to make odourless sulphates. The soap (good old laurel sulphate) hels wash them away.

posted by bonehead at 11:24 AM on June 24, 2004

A neighbor at our last house had a similar problem (a skunk got down the dryer chute, and ended up falling into his _washer_). Fortunately, he's actually in the industrial supplies business, and knew of this stuff called "POW" that's just amazing--you put a couple of drops into a bucket of water, and it really does deodorize. After that happened to him and he managed to get rid of the smell, we got some off him when we had a flooded basement, and had that stinky mildewy smell in the basement rug. Worked great.

(Tried Googling for the stuff, and can't find it anywhere online, sorry. You might want to try an industrial supply outfit, like Grainger.)
posted by LairBob at 3:50 PM on June 24, 2004

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