How to De-Skunk a Dog: A DIY Recipe that Works

We had a lot of wildlife move through our homestead in 2010…

Coyotes, rattlesnakes, raccoon, porcupines, antelope with their babies, plenty of mice, and a couple of skunks.

We also have three very curious, very territorial dogs who are extremely interested in whomever and whatever may enter our place…

I don’t really even need to go on, do I?

My frugal nature, combined with the fact that I try to limit my shopping trips to no more than two per month, prompted me to search for a home remedy for treating “skunked” dogs…

And boy oh boy, did I hit the jackpot!

I’ve used commercial skunk shampoos in the past, but this simple recipe far surpasses them! And don’t even try to suggest the old “give them a tomato juice bath” wives tale… it doesn’t work.

It’s cheap, the products are most likely already in your cabinets, and it works wonderfully.

Homemade De-Skunking Solution

You will need:

  • 1 quart of 3% hydrogen peroxide (this is the kind you find in the first aid section of your average grocery store. It’s very cheap.)
  • 1/4 cup Baking Soda
  • 1-2 drops of liquid dish soap (optional)
  • 2-3 drops lemon essential oil (optional–but adds extra deodorizing power)
  • Rubber Gloves (optional, but highly recommended…)
  • Bucket

Put on your gloves and gather everything you will need. Once you mix the ingredients, the solution must be used immediately, so there won’t be any time to go searching for the dog, etc!

I did this outside and tied the dog up to a post so my hands would be free. I also had a hose handy. I suppose you could do this in your bathtub if you had to, but I wouldn’t unless I was very desperate!

Mix together the peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap. Stir well and then quickly apply to the dry dog, being careful not to splash any in his eyes. Thoroughly work the solution in his coat. It should cover and permeate as much of the hair as possible.

Allow the dog to “soak” for around 5 minutes.

A chemical reaction is occurring which actually neutralizes the odor. This is why you must use it before the peroxide and soda are finished with their reaction. It can not be made ahead of time and stored.

After the waiting period, thoroughly rinse the dog with water.

You may have to repeat the process, but I only had to do it once and we were skunk free!

I hope you never have a need for this remedy on your homestead, but it might be a good idea to bookmark this post, just in case!

A Natural De-Skunking Solution that Works!


  • 1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • 1/4 cup Baking Soda
  • Optional: 1-2 drops of liquid dish soap
  • Optional: Rubber Gloves
  • Bucket


  1. Gather supplies (including dog), and put gloves on because once mixed, the solution must be used immediately
  2. Choose your location: I did this outside tying dog to a post to free my hands with a hose handy, but a bathtub would work in a pinch
  3. Mix peroxide, baking soda, and dish soap
  4. Stir well and quickly apply to dry dog, avoiding eyes
  5. Thoroughly work into coat so it covers and permeates as much hair as possible
  6. Allow dog to “soak” 5 minutes as odors are neutralized by the chemical reaction
  7. Thoroughly rinse dog with water
  8. Repeat process if necessary (I only did it once and we were skunk free)


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  1. Roxanne says

    Thanks, I hope I do not have to use it but I know people who's dogs have got skunked. Guess it would work on people to .

  2. Sense of Home says

    Hope I never need to use this, but I know where to find the information if I (or someone I know) needs it. Love your blog!


  3. says

    Great post. :-) If you happen to get sprayed, make sure to wash clothes in COLD water, not hot. Hot water will send the oils into vapor and spread them all over. Cold and detergent will take the stink away.

    • Jill says

      I didn’t know that Laurie! Thanks for the tip- I will DEFINITELY keep it in mind! :)

  4. moira says

    I found a distilled vinegar/water rinse after the washing helped alot too. I even used this solution + vinegar rinse on myself after the skunky puppy crawled all over me crying about that not so nice playmate he found LOL

  5. says

    I see skunks almost every night while walking my Muffin. She’s a very smart cookie, and has even come face to face a few times with skunks and didn’t get sprayed. Still I worry it’s gonna happen. If this question is dumb, I’m sorry. But I remember using hydrogen peroxide to clean some doggie wounds and it bleached her brown coat. Can’t this solution take out the color and the smell? Found you on pinterest.

  6. Abigail says

    Oh my, this post brings back memories! A few summers ago my saint Bernard got sprayed 3 times. Big dog equals big area to spray! We had to double up on all the ingredients to get her covered….BUT it works like a charm, takes any odor right way.

  7. Roni says

    The “recipe” calls for 1/4 Baking Soda. That would be 1/4 cup, tablespoon, teaspoon . . . . . . . ?

    Please respond so I’ll know exactly what measurement of baking soda to use. Thank you.

  8. woofless says

    It’s 1/4 cup baking soda for anyone who is wondering. Works like a charm, too, used it 3 times….3 out of 4 dogs have gotten direct hits. Only dog who hasn’t gotten it yet, oddly enough, is my hunting dog LOL. And I’ve never done it anywhere else BUT my bathtub….it’s either been late fall or winter when my dogs have gotten sprayed (we’re in SD, far too cold for an outdoor bath after October usually), LOL. It takes all of 15 minutes to de-skunk them & doesn’t leave any odor behind, I give the tub a quick scrub, no big deal :).

  9. Dag says

    Our family dogs are very experienced with doing the late-night Polecat Polka; I think I’m up to about 10 times now between my dogs and my parents’ dogs… This solution, when mixed according to the recipe, is a magic potion for de-skunking Fido. And Kate, thanx for the baby powder tip! I’ll try it next time, and trust me, there WILL be a next time…

  10. david says

    Yes, to the poster who asked if peroxide will “bleach” your dog’s coat. I have read that it can, and can also bleach your clothes. Our dog got skunked at 4 a.m. Monday morning. A real treat. My spouse let the dog out and I was sound asleep. What a way to be awakened. 1 1/2 days later, the house smells less, thanks to open windows, candles, mopping the floor and air freshener. Tonight as a last ditch effort I put some baby powder on the dog’s neck where it seems to still have some skunk scent. I can’t bring myself to give the poor thing another bath. Meanwhile, its freezing out tonight, I just shut all the windows except 2 upstairs with a fan venting out. Could be worse things that happen, but this was such a pain in the butt.

  11. maria says

    Good to know cos no doubt when we move our dogs will be nosey and meet up with the local skunks, we have them around here but never had any run ins with them but i think we will when we move. thanks for sharing :)

  12. Brenda Smelser says

    Is there a proven method to keep them out of a fenced yard….my poor Border Collie just got skunked in the face on her eyes. She is at the vets office getting meds in her eyes.

  13. brendakat says

    You will be glad to have this recipe if you need it! I have used it before and trust me it DOES work. Just make sure you have the stuff ahead of time. lol I have everything stored in a bucket in the garage with the recipe in a page protector taped to the bucket.

  14. Dean H says

    I found that if you add apple cider vinegar to this recipe, it cuts the oils better. The smell is almost totally gone after one bath!

      • Megan says

        Thanks for the recipe. A few weeks ago our 4 dogs came home smelling BAD. After many baths in vinegar and banned to the front porch a few of them are smelling OK now. Our Australian Shepherd is holding on to the smell – so guess what she gets tomorrow… She’ll be so happy when we’re willing to pet her again.

  15. Tina Hansen says

    Do you know of a natural way to remove cat urine smell from carpeting? Do you think the de-skunking remedy would work?
    We recently moved in to a rental home that had previously had dogs and for whatever reason, my kitties are feeling the need to mark the carpet here and there. Obviously there are many reasons why I need to remove this odor as soon as possible. I would appreciate any thoughts or advice you might have.
    Thank you so much –

    • says

      Let’s see– I’d definitely try the lemon oil/baking soda method and let it sit on the carpet for several days– and then use the vinegar too. You may have to repeat it a couple of times– hope that works for you!

  16. Samantha says

    I tried this when my dog got skunked a month ago. I tried everything. He STILL smells. A whole month later.. … I have washed my poor puppy till he hated the sight of the hose. The only thing on here I didn’t do was vinegar … and I will tonight! … We have been thinking about shaving him where the skunk got him.

  17. says

    when my cat got sprayed by a skunk directly & in her eyes- she was foaming at the mouth it was so bad. I grabbed gloves & got my husband to make salt water eye drops as listed in natural cat book. lavender oil- human grade- which I always keep cat diluted 1 drop of lavender to 65-75 drops of distilled water. rubbed her down with it with old towels a few times . it took the smell away within a 1/2 hour- works like a charm. the only problem was she got it in her & she passed a lot of gas for the next week & smelled like a skunk when she did. she recovered nicely without a vet.

  18. Kathy says

    This recipe works wonderfully! I’ve used it on my own dogs as well as in my dog grooming shop. The peroxide needs to be from an unopened bottle though. For some reason . I use a washrag to soak the solution on their faces and heads as it’s more precise when trying to avoid eyes, ears, nose and mouth. Also do not get any solution on their genitals. I always keep eye drops (just the plain saline kind) nearby just in case. I’m definitely going to try the baby powder, that’s a great idea.

    The goal is to get the solution down to the skin as that’s usually where the oil from the skunk has settled. I’ve used Softsoap and Dawn (the blue kind) as they seem to be the most successful in this mixture.
    I’m new to your site and I really like it.

    • missannies says

      I too am a groomer Kathy. 17 years and this is the best solution ever. You are correct that it needs to be an unopened bottle of peroxide. Have used this a number of times, once on my own long hair dog that hubby let out at 3 am! I’ll be purchasing some talcum powder for my shop as well, have you ever used the baby powder? I can’t stand the smell so won’t get any.

      The eyes, genitals, ears and nose are very sensitive to the peroxide as well. Dangerous for the eyes actually.

      Yes, Dawn or Softsoap are the best for this solution.

  19. Danielle says

    I’m wondering how to get rid of skunks period. I have 2 curs, we live on 40 acres in the woods, and my dogs seem to love hunting skunks. They get sprayed at least twice a week, seriously. Then when they do murder one of the skunks they bring it home. Recently they killed one on our back porch, we literally could not use that door for days it was so bad. I love my dogs, wish they didn’t go on skunk sprees, if I bathed them every time they got sprayed I’m afraid they would be bald from scrubbing them down so often.

  20. Gail says

    I have a Newfoundland that I have used the recipe on for years and it is the only thing that works. I leave it on for at least 10 minutes though and for those asking, yes it does bleach the coat – my black Newf looked like she had been to the salon for red highlights. It is imperative to completely saturate the coat and get to the skin. I have never had to use anything else afterward but for those who are not seeing such great results, make sure to really work it into the fur, especially the furry breeds with thick fur on the underside of the neck and the chest. Also, if you have bathed the skunked dog prior to trying this recipe, oils from the skunk have been absorbed into the coat and skin and will require even more diligence when making sure the entire coat and skin are saturated. We had four dogs get it at once and we didn’t bother measuring – just threw all ingredients into buckets and saturated every dog….key being “saturated”.

  21. maureen says

    hopefully I won’t have to try your remedy ,but I do know another sure way to get rid of skunk have used this treatment many years working with dogs & cats! massengill douche. works really well ! but when you think about itit’s vinegar & herbs

  22. Sam says

    We’ve had great luck with a similar, but simpler formula. We pour peroxide all over the culprit, then lather him up with baby shampoo–it doesn’t hurt his eyes. Let it sit a minute or two, and rinse. Reapplication has never been necessary. If you have horses or cattle, you probably have a lot of peroxide. We buy 8-10 bottles at a time, and when it’s on sale it’s about a buck.

  23. Lahna says

    We found this recipe a couple of years back and it works great. Our dog is an indoor/outdoor dog,. During one of his early morning adventure he was sprayed in his face, we bathed him with this immediately and he sleep inside that same night. We have had the opprotunity to test this twice and it works better than you can imagine

  24. Korina says

    My vet recommended cleansing the eyes with basic contact solution before and after using this solution.


  1. […] If you live out in the country, or maybe just have some really curious or unlucky pets, you might have some experience with skunk spray. It can be unbearable for you (imagine how your dog feels!) and it can seem impossible to get rid of- no matter how many tomato baths you give your pooch. However, there are some solutions! Check out this post by Jill Winger at The Prairie Homestead for her de-skunking recipe: […]