Advice about Skunks

Related Page: Dog Got Skunked

Parent Q&A

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  • Getting rid of skunk odor in house

    (5 replies)

    We recently moved into a home near a nature area known for lots of skunks and raccoons, and it is mating season! We have had several instances of skunks spraying near the home and the odor wafting in to awaken us early in the morning. Once in, it is hard to get out, especially in the colder weather when we do not tend to have windows open most of the time. Have others dealt with this issue and come up with mitigating solutions? Thanks.

    Bowls of vinegar and time

    I had skunks around our house too. They have very fine noses, so do not put any food garbage outside. When I got a pail with screw on lid for our compost, they stayed away.

    We had a dead skunk under our outside steps and the smell inside our house was unbearable.  The pest control tech recommended citrus oil spray and it did a decent job masking the smell.  That and time!

    Our last house was in an area with lots of wildlife including skunks and raccoons. We also had a deck that had an opening where the animals liked to hide out during the day. Consequently, we had a pretty bad skunk experience where a skunk sprayed in our backyard at 4:00 am and the smell was so strong it woke everyone up, and it stayed in the house until we took care of the backyard. It may be that, like in our case, the skunk sprayed your house or just outside of it. What got rid of the smell in our house was spraying the deck and the outside of the house where the skunk sprayed with a solution of dish soap, hydrogen peroxide, and baking soda. I put the solution in a sprayer that attaches to a hose and sprayed our backyard. The smell inside the house went away very quickly after that. 

    Our dog decided to run into our house seconds after being sprayed.  We left bowls of vanilla around the house for a couple of weeks.  I can't say that it was a huge success but it was better than skunk smell.

Parent Reviews

Are you sure it isn't a skunk?  (They don't call it "skunk weed" for nothing - the two smells are very similar and they are both very strong.)  Skunks are nocturnal, so if you are mainly smelling this smell at night, especially in the middle of the night, there's a good chance it's your little skunk neighbor, not your pot-smoking neighbor. We have skunks walking through our Berkeley backyard all the time, and if they feel threatened, such as by a barking dog, they will let loose their smell. One of our neighbors found that a skunk was living under their house. They used Critter Control which trapped the skunk and then they sealed up their crawl space so it never came back.

Archived Q&A and Reviews



Skunk smell is lingering after two years

March 2015

Hello all, Nothing in archives for this one. We just bought a new house, we were aware a dead skunk had been removed in 2013. The smell was not obvious, but now that we live here it's very obvious. Skunk carcass was removed in 2013 and smell still lingers. I've read all the DIY stuff, but am ready to pay a professional to get under the crawl space and treat. I think any ground the dead animal was on needs to be removed/treated as well to get rid of smell. Please let me know if you have any leads or dealt with this in the past. I did contact Alameda Animal Control as well as they remove skunks, but my goal is to get rid of smell and learn how to prevent it as well. Thank you! Sick of stink

I have used Nature's Miracle, an enzyme preparation, to eliminate skunk smell when my dog has an encouter. It is very effective; good on all kinds of organic smelly things. (diarrhea, vomit, etc) However, my experience is that skunk smell dissapates after a week or two, if the dog tracks it onto carpet or furniture, without treatment. That you continue to have skunk smell may mean there are still skunks under your house. In which case, you need a trapper and to seal up the bottom of your house. Good luck.

Smelling skunks a lot more frequently

June 2014

Seems like the last five or ten years, skunks have become a problem in Berkeley. I never noticed them before that. Now I smell them regularly, sometimes once a month, sometimes once a week, and sometimes even more often than that. The smell disturbs my sleep and even gives me headaches sometimes. I am wondering what has changed that I now smell them so frequently. Anybody have any idea? And what about getting rid of them? Is there any hope that we could get them out of the neighborhood? What do you suggest?

I love wildlife, even skunks. I saw them outside once when I was in the backyard in the evening and they are truly beautiful. But I don't want them living in this residential (almost urban!) area. Any ideas you have are appreciated. Thanks. Anon

We also have skunks in my urban neighborhood, which I mostly know by smell but last summer we had two sightings in our yard. The smell can be faint to strong and quite unpleasant, though it doesn't cause me headaches or other problems. My only concern is that one of my cats will get skunked.

Here's my perspective- I'm just glad that we humans haven't managed to banish wildlife from our towns and cities, that we haven't killed them all off with our blind egotism that ignores ecological balance. All critters have their place in the natural world and we have certainly overstepped ours. The critters were here first, and I believe that it's incumbent upon us to live in peace with them, however inconvenient that may be at times.

I'm very glad that you also appreciate wildlife and am very sorry about your headaches. But even if there was a way to round up all the skunks and vanquish them- there isn't- doing so would be a mistake on many levels. Cece

Hello - I have lived in Berkeley for 60 years. I can't recall a time when we didn't have skunks. There presence may vary a little from month to month but I don't believe they are a new phenomenon. I don't know how you 'get rid of them.' If there is a way, I am eager to hear it. I would particularly love to keep the deer away from my hydrangeas. Skunks, raccoons, flower eating deer, fruit eating/bulb digging squirrels, possums, our urban housemates. urban fauna galore

Are you sure you are smelling skunks and not pot? I used to also think it was an influx of skunks, but have since realized that smoking pot happens any and everywhere and all times of day and night. Just a thought. sensitive nose

I missed the original post, but a good resource is Gary Bogue's book, The Racoon Next Door, about living with wildlife in an urban setting. It doesn't have any magic answers, but helps to put into perspective ways that we can all live together. My neighbor used to get skunk traps from the city, and when he would catch one, the city truck would come out and gas them in the truck right in front of our house. I hated that little death chamber. They nested on my neighbor's property and it was a problem. J

Neighbor's Chickens Attracting Skunks - STINKY!

June 2011

We live on a corner lot and our neighbor directly behind us has chickens. The chicken coop is about 50 feet from our back door. The neighborhood skunks are attracted to the chickens at night. They come through the area, sometimes right by our bedroom windows, and spray. Of course, this isn't such a big deal when it's chilly and all the windows are closed. But, when it's warm and the windows are open it is seriously stinky! We are getting skunked multiple nights a week. We're afraid to sleep with our windows open for fear of being awoken by skunk spray. Instead, we keep the windows closed and get a hot and fitful night's sleep. So, what to do? I'm sure the neighbor isn't going to get rid of the chickens. The City of Berkeley has stated that they do not trap wild animals. Anyone have a method for keeping the skunks away?

Eeeeeek. I think I would send the neighbors a copy of your posting. If I knew I was causing that type of aggravation to my neighbors, I would be deeply ashamed. But beyond that... maybe you can locate some foxes? If the City of Berkeley can't take care of the chickens, I know the foxes can! farm girl

I doubt it is the chickens that are attracting the skunks. Your neighbor isn't letting the skunks eat the eggs and chickens, is she? The skunks have probably found a cozy spot under the coop to den up. I recommend that you talk to your neighbor about modifying the foundation of the coop so animals can't get underneath. Skunks seem to have become more numerous over the past few years. I think it would help if everybody excluded them from warm cozy spots like the areas under sheds and other outbuildings. anon

There is only one solution to your skunk problem---Eat More Chicken! Other than that you could try a fence as skunks can't climb as ground dwellers. They might try to dig under a short fence but they won't climb over. They tend to be creatures of easy opportunity that follow their noses to find food along an easy route. Something like a dog or cat must be spooking them to cause the spray. Electric fences will work but the first few times they get into it they will automatically spray but then learn not to come around that area. anon

The skunks might be going for the chicken food and/or water. Ask your neighbors if they can take in the food at night, not leave it out all day, etc.

Skunk trying to nest under our deck

April 2011

We have a skunk that tries night after night to crawl/dig under a low lying deck in our yard. When we put heavy rocks all around the perimeter she started trying to dig under the foundation of our garage. We are afraid that she will try to have babies under there and, well, you can imagine the rest I am sure. Does anyone have a way of running them off? Lights don't work, loud music ditto. HELP!!!!

I've been using Lemon Ammonia (from the hardware store) to discourage raccoons from nesting under our deck. It has been working for a couple of years now.

Using an old turkey baster, I spray it between the boards of the deck here and there (using about a quart), once a month from Dec to May (when they are nesting).

You can also get pest repellent which is usually hot pepper flakes that irritate their sensitive noses. --No Raccoons

Try putting a radio out in the yard near where she is digging on a talk station like NPR, it can be very low. This works to scare off raccoons from nesting under houses, might work for skunks to! don't hurt the wildlife, just make them uncomfortable

We had deer, skunk and raccoon problems. You're right most things don't work, I think the deer thought the lights were great to help find the smaller roses at night. Scarecrow motion activated sprinkler. $49 you can find by google was the only thing beside the compressed air boat airhorn that worked. The boat airhorn did however allow us to learn what the next door neighbor wore to bed when he came over to see what we were up to. signed, good evening officer