Tuesday, February 19, 2013


We got hit by a skunk and we got hit hard. I've heard of dogs getting sprayed by a skunk and how awful that is. I had no idea that the smell would overtake our house for almost a week. Here's how it went down. 11pm Wednesday night (the night before Valentine's Day) I let the dogs out front for their bedtime potty break. When I opened the door to let them back in I noticed a skunky smell outside. It didn't startle me because we have a skunk that frequents our house and leaves his aroma outside on a fairly regular basis. I hadn't smelled him much this winter, though, so it caught my attention. Did I take note of the fact that I didn't smell skunk when I let the dogs out? No. Did I even consider the possibility that one of the dogs could have been sprayed by Pepe le Pew? No.

The dogs came in and Monty appeared to have something in his mouth. "Monty, what do you have? Drop it!" The lights were out and it took a moment before the smell hit me. As it turns out, close-up skunk smells very different from dead skunk on the road as you drive by. It's sort of like a super strong burning rubber. Monty was foaming at the mouth and doing his best to shake the Eu de Skunk out of his mouth. He flung skunk foam all over our entryway as I froze cursing, "Sh--! Sh--! Sh--!" Dave frantically asked, "What?!?" and I cursed a few more times before I could answer him. And then, instead of taking him back out the same door (because maybe the skunk was right there) I ran him all the way through the kitchen, fireplace room, and four seasons room to the back door. Stupid. Inexperienced. Clueless. If I knew what I know now I'd have acted a lot smarter from the get go. Well, maybe. Quick thinking under stress is not one of my strengths.

Here are some anecdotes to demonstrate how badly our house smelled:

  • Day 2: I apologized for being late to Chloe's class party and started to explain that I was cleaning when another class mom interrupted me, "Oh yes. We figured. We could all smell skunk and then realized it was coming off of Chloe's backpack.! It smelled so strong!" At the end of the class I opened Chloe's locker and was smacked in the face with skunk. I felt bad for the kid who shared Chloe's locker. That kid went home smelling funky that day.
  • Solana's teacher said that various people entered her classroom exclaiming, "What is that smell?!?"
  • Day 4: I entered the house of a Pampered Chef hostess to give a cooking demonstration. I had washed all my cooking tools that same day to try and remove the smell but I couldn't get it out of my bag. I sprayed the bag multiple times with vinegar and water. When I opened the bag in her house it reeked. I was horrified. What to do? Pretend like nothing's wrong and hope that she doesn't notice? I was forced to tell the tale and just hope that I didn't stink too bad. I had planned to make potato chips on our Microwave Chip Maker but, as it turns out, silicone absorbs odors and a simple wash in the sink doesn't take them out. We went without potato chips at that party.
  • Day 6: We took a 40 minute drive to eat lunch and go shopping in a quaint town of Yellow Springs. After two hours there we headed toward the van and stopped when Dave declares, "I smell skunk. And it isn't coming from us!" Woohoo! We did a little happy dance. Then I realize we're downwind and one car length away from our van. Sure 'nuff. The skunk was coming off the van! And why would the van even stink? Monty never even went near the van?!? Unbelievable.
  • After 7 days I think we're finally getting a handle on the skunk. I still smell it here and there and Monty still has it on his snout but at least it's no longer the overwhelming smell of our house.

Here are all the things we've done to get rid of it:

Dog Cleaner:
We did this the night Monty got hit. It seemed to work well but then the smell came back. We can't figure out if our noses were just tricking us (our whole house smelled so maybe we just couldn't discern the smell on Monty) or if he consumed a bunch of the skunk oil spray causing it to slowly release from his body over several days. We've bathed his head 5 times in all.
1 Quart Hydrogen Peroxide
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
2 teaspoons liquid soap

Closet Deoderizer. The coat closet is very close to ground zero. I washed what I could but was concerned that everything would be super saturated in the smell. I put some baking soda and used coffee grounds in the bottom of the closet and this actually seemed to work really well. Every time I opened the coat closet I was greeted by a pleasant smell of coffee.

We covered the floor, carpet, and furniture (especially close to the entryway) with baking soda nightly. The smell seemed to have saturated into the fabrics even if they weren't touched by the skunk foam. This was my best effort at pulling it out. We're currently on our second Sam's Club size bag of baking soda and I'm crossing my fingers that our Dyson isn't getting too mad at us for all this abuse.
Limes: I heard that limes absorb paint fumes. Maybe they'd work with skunk fumes, too. So I cut up about 8 limes and placed them in every room of the house. They didn't help.

Bowls of vinegar: I read online to place bowls of distilled white vinegar around the house to absorb the smell. I used all the bowls we had and placed one in every room. It didn't seem to help.

I mopped the floors with straight vinegar. It's supposed to absorb odors. The vinegar smell goes away pretty quickly. But who could tell amongst the thick skunk smell?

I put off doing laundry as long as possible but I'm starting to wash clothes now. The washing machine will do double-duty as each load will go through one cycle with just vinegar and then a second cycle with detergent.

Fireplace: Dave had a fire going for two full days. I think this really helped to cycle air out of the house. It was difficult to air the house out considering the temperatures were in the 20's and low 30's all week.

Crock Pot Potporri - By day 4 we decided that neutralizing the smell wasn't enough. We needed to cover it up.  I set up two crock pots with sliced apples, limes, cinnamon sticks, and whole cloves. In combination with the fireplace these seemed to work well.

Incense: By day 5 we were ready to bring out the heavy hitters. Dave thought of incense and pulled out our old box. I do declare! Those hippies know a thing or two about covering up natural odors! That incense is much preferable to skunk and I'd rather smell like a hippie than a skunk! This box has been working overtime since Dave's great idea. I've never burned so much incense in my life!
Box Fans: With day 6 came the one day of warm weather we'd been waiting for. The temperature rose to a balmy 51degrees and we opened all the windows. Dave bought two of these box fans and we faced them toward the windows to try and circulate air out of our house. We left for Yellow Springs and returned about 3 hours later to the freshest smelling house we'd experienced in days! Of course, some of the smell came back after everything was shut up again but that 3 hours helped trememdously. 

Monty, you are so lucky we're not the kind of family to get rid of dogs. Between this and the almond butter incedent he has made us question our decision to get a second dog many time. He's lucky he's so adorable...

1 comment:

The Hillbergs said...

oh wow. that is all i have to say.