Removing stinky messes is no fun so knowing how to tackle the problem will help by saving the time and effort of trying different remedies that may or may not work. One smelly problem that many pet owners have to face at one time or another is that of removing skunk smell. Here is a tried and true method of cleaning skunked dogs and and other surfaces, along with some tips on how to make the job less of an ordeal.
The smelly skunk musk is a oily yellow liquid that is produced in two walnut sized glands on either side of the skunk's anus. The skunk uses it in self defense, usually as a last resort because it does not have an endless supply. Skunk musk is not the same as skunk oil which comes from a different part of the skunk and is used to make perfumes. Skunk musk is stinky because of the sulfur compounds it contains and if sprayed in the face it can cause temporary blindness and vomiting. The compounds will cling strongly to any type of organic surfaces such as hair, skin, natural fabrics, wood, and leathers.
Make the right preparations by first tying the dog up outside because skunk musk can be spread to other surfaces that will then also have to be cleaned. Also be aware that getting sprayed by a skunk will often make dogs vomit. There are two ways to deal with the smell, neutralize it or cover it up. To neutralize skunk odor, the smelly compounds have to be chemically changed from aeromatic sulfates to sulfonic acids through oxidation. Two good oxidizing substances found in most homes are hydrogen peroxide and bleach. A 3% Hydrogen peroxide mixture made with baking soda and liquid soap is the best for washing skunk smell off of pets and common household bleach is good for hard surfaces and clothing. Covering up the skunk smell can be done using pet deodorants and air deodorizers such as Fabreeze, Oxyfresh, and Nilodor.
Gather the needed supplies for bathing the pet, a quart or more of 3% hydrogen peroxide (depending on the size of your pet), 1/4 cup of baking soda per quart of hydrogen peroxide, liquid dishwashing detergent - one teaspoon for each quart of cleaning mix and some vaseline. You will also need a container to wash the animal in such as a plastic tub or wheelbarrow. Do the washing outside to keep from stinking up the house and to have plenty of fresh air while completing the job. Wear some grunge clothes you don't mind getting ruined and rubber gloves to protect your skin and have some old towels handy for the drying job. Tie your hair up and cover it with a wrap or some plastic covering to keep it from absorbing the smell. Wear some washable shoes or cover leather ones with plastic bags.
Do not wet the dog down as water will only dilute the cleaning mixture. Rub a good layer of vaseline around the eyes and nostrils of the dog to cut down on irritating them. Mix up the skunk smell removing mixture of 1 qt. of 3% hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and 1 teaspoon liquid detergent right before you are going to use it as it looses strength rapidly. Do not seal the mixture in a closed container as it will give off oxygen and could cause the container to burst. Soak the animal with the mixture thoroughly, getting every inch of the skin covered. Be careful to not get it in the eyes or in the nostrils but don't forget under the ears. Keep the dog tied up to prevent any quick escapes. Let the mixture sit on the dog for 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse well with warm water. Dry the dog off and repeat the process if necessary. Be aware that this skunk smell removal mixture can change the color of the dog's hair, causing it to be bleached to a lighter color. The affect will not be permanent. If your dog has sensitive skin get some aloe vera containing shampoo and wash them in it to sooth their skin.
To clean wooden surfaces or cloth items that get contaminated with skunk odor, rinse them with a solution of one cup of bleach to a gallon of water and then rinse well with clean water. Do not use bleach on any animals. This solution can bleach the color from items and can irritate the skin and sinuses, so use it outside or in well ventilated areas and wear gloves. If you are really nauseated by the smell then one trick you can try is to wear a dust mask that has been smeared on the outside with some Vicks Vapor Rub. Just be ready for how it will clear out your sinuses by making your nose run.