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How do you remove the smell of skunk?

If someone gets sprayed by a skunk, how do you get the awful smell out? Does tomato juice really work?

3515 day(s) ago

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Being sprayed by a skunk is one of the most debilitating, humiliating, and exasperating experiences a person can face. Although it is more common for pets to get sprayed by skunks, it happens to people too. Not only is the smell overpowering enough to knock some people out, if it gets in your eyes it can cause temporary blindness. Luckily, we have found a way to neutralize the odor of skunk juice. The most common method for eliminating skunk spray is by bathing in tomato or lemon juice. Neither of these methods really works. It will, however, trick you into thinking it works. Tomato juice just covers the scent and by the time you are done with your bath, your own nose has gotten used to the smell and you will smell the tomato juice more heavily. If someone new approaches you, though, they will smell the skunk spray just as strongly as before the bath.

To understand how to effectively get rid of skunk smell, we must understand what it is. Skunks have two walnut-sized glands that produce enough juice for about six sprays. Skunks are known for their accuracy so they rarely use more than one. The smell comes from a group of chemicals called thiols. Thiols are molecules with hydrogen and sulfur attached. Oxygen can break apart the thiols but the oxygen must be strong enough to break apart the molecules through a process called oxidation. It is a good thing that oxidizing agents are very common, such as baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Chlorine bleach also works, but it is too strong to use on skin or hair. Bleach can be used on furniture and clothing, though.

To remove skunk smell from your body, the following recipe will get the job done: Mix 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide with cup of baking soda and 1 teaspoon of dish detergent. Lather yourself up with the mixture and let the bubbles soak into your skin and hair for five minutes. Rinse and the smell will be neutralized. One word of warning the hydrogen peroxide may lighten the color of your hair a bit.

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