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Best cure for skunk spray ever

It’s spring. A time when pets and skunks sometimes mingle. In my experience it tends to happen late at night, just before bed, and usually when you have an important meeting scheduled the next morning.

Kevin Collins-Striped skunk

Photo: Kevin Collins via
Wikimedia Commons.

I can’t help with the timing, but I can help with the stink.

I first reprinted this de-skunking formula in my column in The Boston Globe in 1993, and because of the tremendous number of testimonials, we published it every year after that.

The recipe is simple, but it cannot be made up in advance (it could explode in a closed container), and you have to have the ingredients on hand (speaking of hands, you may want to wear rubber gloves):

De-skunking formula:

Mix 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (from drugstore) with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of liquid soap. Bathe animal with this and rinse with tap water.

You might also perform a second wash using pet shampoo.

Two cautions: Remember to keep the solution away from your pet’s eyes. And the peroxide can bleach fur a little.

The game-changing recipe first appeared in Chemical and Engineering News. As I reported then:

A group of chemists from Lisle, Ill. had been using alkaline hydrogen peroxide to “scrub hydrogen sulfide from waste gas streams in the laboratory,” which could also “destroy excess thiols in dilute aqueous solution.” I don’t know what that means either, but the important thing is that when one of the chemists couldn’t get the skunk scent off his cat, the group came up with a modified formula that they say works much better than tomato juice or any of the other skunk smell remedies.

That was more than twenty years ago, but the formula remains the gold standard in the fight against skunk stink.

–Vicki Croke


2 Responses to “Best cure for skunk spray ever”

    • The Animalist

      Hi Hilda! Quote away. We’re happy to have you spread the word!


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