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Skunk near a wooden wheel

10 Ways to Remove Skunk Smell from Your Camping Adventure

Updated on February 4th, 2024

When you go camping, there’s a good possibility that you’ll come across a few critters who live in the woods — like a skunk with an attitude. You’re invading its home, so it’s common for them to become a little agitated. When this happens, they go on the offensive by spraying intruders.

Since the people in your camping group won’t likely want to smell the aroma of a skunk, you’ll need to do what you can to get rid of the smell.

In this article, we’ll cover 10 things you can do if you’re sprayed by a skunk.

1. Tomato Juice Gets Rid of the Skunk Smell

Although it might not be pleasant to soak in a tub of tomato juice, it can get rid of the skunk smell from your body. You want to make sure you use fresh tomatoes when possible to make the juice that you put in your bath water.

Try to soak as long as you can, washing with soap and warm water before drying off.

2. Recipes from Home to Get Skunk Odor Removed

Another simple recipe that you can make for the bath is made with hydrogen peroxide and detergent. You’ll also want to add a small amount of baking soda to the water.

Although you only need a few teaspoons of detergent, you’re going to need to use about a quart of the peroxide. This ingredient will help remove the skunk smell from your body and even from the rest of the camper or bathroom.

You can mix the ingredients in a large container and use it as a bath wash instead of pouring it into your bath water, which is a good option to consider so that you’re not soaking in peroxide. This mixture can be sprayed on your clothes, furniture, and pets.

A skunk in tall grass with its tail up

3. Interior Solutions to Help Get Rid of Skunk Odor

When camping, once you enter the tent or your camper, the smell from the skunk spray can linger in the area for an extended time. Before sitting on anything, you’ll need to remove the clothing that has been sprayed as well as your shoes.

If the smell is already in the campsite area, you can boil a large pot of vinegar over a campfire or on the stove in your camper, depending on your camping situation. The vinegar can begin to neutralize the odor from the skunk so that you can begin using other items to start cleaning surfaces.

It can also make the environment a bit more pleasant for cleaning your body instead of smelling the strong aroma of the skunk smell. You’re going to smell the strong aroma of vinegar for a few hours, but the smell of the skunk should go away once the vinegar aroma leaves.

Try to open as many windows as possible to allow fresh air to circulate and to allow the aromas to leave the interior of your camper as soon as possible. If you’re camping in a tent, you’re going to want to avoid going inside until you’re clean, leaving a container of vinegar inside the tent so that it doesn’t begin to smell like a skunk.

4. Cleaning Surfaces Is a Necessity

If there is a deck, table, or another surface close to your camping area that has been sprayed or that you’ve sat on after getting sprayed by the skunk, you need to begin cleaning the surface as soon as you can. Bleach is a good solution when cleaning surfaces as it removes most of the skunk smell.

However, you want to mix the bleach with water so that it’s not too strong because the fumes from the bleach can burn your lungs and your nasal passages. Avoid getting bleach on your skin or clothes when possible.

If you’re concerned about colors fading from the bleach, then use a product that is safe for colors.

5. Quick Removal from the Area to Avoid a Second Skunk Spray

As soon as you have been sprayed by a skunk, you need to leave the area so that you don’t get sprayed again. You also must try to keep other people and pets away from the area.

You don’t want to do anything that can trigger another spraying from the animal. Remove any clothing that has been sprayed, throwing it away so that the smell doesn’t linger in the area any longer than necessary.

Any bags that contain clothes that have been sprayed should be sealed and then put in a dumpster or a trash can so that the smell doesn’t attract other skunks or other animals.

Try to do as many things to clean yourself outside instead of going in your tent or camper. This will keep the smell from staying inside an enclosed area.

If you have one, use a large metal tub to wash in, so you’re in the open air. The fresh air can often disperse the skunk smell, so it’s not confined.

Hot water should be used when cleaning as this can clean your skin better than cold water. Use soaps that have fragrances when you can and those that are antibacterial, as these often remove odors a bit better than those that are only used for cleaning.

6. Fresh Air Is One of the Best Ways to Remove Skunk Odor from the Area

An easy way to remove the skunk smell/spray from your tent when camping is to keep the flaps open as much as possible. If you’re in a camper, you want to open the windows and the vents.

You need to aerate the area as much as possible to get the smell dispersed instead of keeping it secured in a small area. Fans also work to help get rid of the smell.

You can even use a fan outside your tent as long as there’s an electrical connection near your site. Point the fan away from your tent so that it will blow the odor away from the area.

A skunk on top of a rock

7. Getting Rid of the Skunk Odor Is a Necessity to Prevent Others

After being sprayed, there could be more skunks that are attracted to you and the areas where you sit and walk after getting sprayed. If you’re able to dispose of your clothing and get cleaned as soon as possible, it can keep more skunks away.

However, there’s always a possibility that they will want to investigate your campsite while you’re there to see what you’re doing or to try to get food. Keep all food items secure and off the ground.

This can keep skunks and other animals from making a meal of your leftovers. You can use mothballs around your campsite to deter skunks from coming around. The mothballs can also deter other animals if they are small, but they usually won’t work with larger animals like bears.

Another way that you can deter skunks from coming to your campsite is to keep candles on surfaces. Cloths that have ammonia on them can be hung on trees or posts as well.

8. Filters Have to Be Changed to Stop Skunk Odor from Staying Inside

If you’re camping in a camper, you can change the filters so that the odor from the skunk spray doesn’t remain inside.

This is beneficial because the air conditioning system or the heating system won’t be able to circulate the skunk smell around the camper once the filters are removed.

9. Chlorine Mixed With Water Gets Rid of Skunk Odor

Although chlorine is often used in swimming pools, it can also be used to get rid of skunk smells. Avoid using the product directly on your skin.

You need to diffuse it with water, so it’s not as strong. Chlorine can also be put in a spray bottle and applied to surfaces with a skunk smell.

A skunk walking around in the fall season

If you have a small pool, consider swimming in it once chlorine has been added to remove the skunk smell from your body. This is a simple way to get the smell off of you right away if there is a pool near the campsite.

However, you’ll still need to take a bath or a shower to get rid of the smell completely and so that you’re pleasant to be around. If you want to keep the clothes that were sprayed, consider washing them in chlorine.

Carpets in your camper can be cleaned with chlorine and a small amount of vinegar.

10. Lavender Gets Rid of Skunk Smell

One of the scents that you can use to get rid of skunk smells is lavender. You can also use lemon with the lavender if you want to create a fresh scent in the camper or tent.

Combine lavender and lemon with a small amount of water to make a bath wash that you can use on your skin. You might have to use the solution a few times to get rid of the smell.

Another option is to add a small amount of mint or peppermint with the lavender. This smell will sometimes deter skunks from coming back to your camping area and spraying because of its overpowering qualities.

Skunked! (Video)

Related Questions

  1. What are the potential risks of using bleach or chlorine to remove skunk odor, and how can these risks be mitigated?

Using bleach or chlorine to remove skunk odor can pose risks such as skin and eye irritation, respiratory problems, and potential harm to pets or the environment due to their toxic nature.

These risks can be mitigated by using them in well-ventilated areas, wearing protective gear such as gloves and goggles, diluting the substances properly, and ensuring they are kept out of reach of children and pets.

  1. How effective is the use of natural remedies like lavender, lemon, and mint in removing skunk odor compared to chemical solutions?

Natural remedies like lavender, lemon, and mint can help mask skunk odor, but they may not be as effective as chemical solutions in completely eliminating the smell.

Chemical solutions, such as a mixture of hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap, are specifically designed to neutralize the thiols in skunk spray that cause the strong odor.

  1. Can the skunk smell attract other wildlife to the campsite, and if so, how can this be prevented?

Yes, the smell of a skunk can indeed attract other wildlife to a campsite as many animals are drawn to strong odors out of curiosity or in search of food.

This can be prevented by maintaining a clean campsite, properly storing food and waste, and using wildlife deterrents such as noise makers or wildlife repellent sprays.

  1. How does the hydrogen peroxide and detergent recipe work in neutralizing skunk odor, and are there any precautions to take when using this method?

The hydrogen peroxide and detergent recipe works to neutralize skunk odor by oxidizing the thiols (sulfur compounds) in the skunk spray, converting them into sulfonic acids which are odorless.

Precautions to take when using this method include avoiding contact with eyes and mouth due to the irritant nature of hydrogen peroxide, and not storing the mixture as it can explode if left in a closed container.

  1. What are some preventative measures to avoid getting sprayed by a skunk while camping?

To avoid getting sprayed by a skunk while camping, it’s crucial to keep your campsite clean and free of food scraps, as these can attract skunks.

Additionally, make noise when moving around, especially at night, as skunks are more likely to spray when startled or threatened.

"Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt."
-- John Muir
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