Here’s How to Get Skunk Smell Out of Cars Easily!

how to get skunk smell out of car
To get rid of skunk musk, mix 1 part baking soda with 1 part hydrogen peroxide in a bowl. Add just 1 teaspoon of dish soap to the mixture. Then, gently scrub your car's upholstery and carpets with this solution. Wash it down with water and leave it out to the sun to dry with the windows open.

Does your car smell like a raging stink bomb on full blast? If you live or have driven close to a skunk population, there’s a high chance that their signature stench has pervaded the confines of your vehicle. Here’s more information on how to get skunk smell out of car models, fast and simple.

How Long Will Skunk Smell Last on Car?

The usual time for skunk smell to linger is two to three weeks, but only if you act fast and take the proper action to clean up. If the skunky smell permeated your car’s upholstery for some time without further action, the pungent scent could sit for months, if not years.

This is especially true if the oily skunk spray came into contact with your vehicle’s upholstery. So how do you get skunk smell out of your car effectively? Let’s dive into the process.

skunk near a pathway in a field of dandelions

How Do I Get the Skunk Smell off My Car?

If you don’t want to bring your car to the car wash, you can remove a skunk odor at home. To remove a skunk smell, gather the following items:

  • 3% hydrogen peroxide
  • Dish detergent or bleach
  • Water
  • Baking soda
  • Bowl
  • Rug or cloth

Once everything’s in place, follow these steps:

  1. In a bowl, mix 1/4 cup of baking soda with one quart of the 3% hydrogen peroxide solution and 1/4 cup of dish detergent.
  2. Then, using a cloth or rug, scrub where a skunk’s scent lingers. If you can’t pinpoint the source, be generous and scrub down the entirety of your car’s interior—the leather seats, the car roofing, the carpets, the undercarriage, and so on.
  3. Rinse the scrubbed areas with water.
  4. Wipe down the wet areas with a clean, dry cloth.
  5. Let the car air out by opening all the doors and windows. If you can, park it in direct sunlight.

After taking these steps, the skunk smell in your car should disappear. If it doesn’t entirely disappear, leave bowls of vinegar in all corners of your car overnight to absorb the lingering odor. In the morning, remove the bowls and let your car air out once again.

How Do You Get Skunk Smell Out of Leather Car Seats?

Using a solution of hydrogen peroxide, dish detergent, and baking soda is the best way to get the skunk smell out of leather car seats. Scrub down the solution thoroughly, while ensuring your car’s fabric doesn’t stain, until the scent fades away.

An alternative method is using a sprayer and vinegar to get the skunk smell out of leather car seats. Simply soak a small rag in white vinegar and scrub down the affected area—distilled vinegar’s acidic and mycobactericidal properties will help break down the skunk musk.

Once you’re done scrubbing, rinse off the area with soapy water. Let it air dry in direct sunlight.

spotted skunk in a grassy area with autumn leaves

Can Skunk Smell Come Through AC?

If you smell something bothersome in your car and can’t pinpoint its exact location, it might be coming through the AC.

However, a skunk isn’t always the culprit of this foul odor. The source of this unpleasant aroma can be traced to Methyl Mercaptan—a mixture of two gases, namely hydrogen sulfide and methanol.

Coincidentally enough, mercaptan also occurs in nature, present in rotten eggs, swamp water, and—you guessed it—our furry, black-and-white friend.

If you detect this scent, you and your passengers should promptly leave the vehicle, not just because you’re not a fan of the stench. It’s a sign of a gas leak, which can cause fatal carbon monoxide poisoning if not immediately addressed.

If you’ve noticed a skunky smell in your car, turn off the ignition and step out of the vehicle. Then, contact a car professional to check for any gas leaks in your vehicle.

Joshua Munoz

Most people’s first instinct when they see a wild skunk is to back away, but not Joshua. He holds a near-obsessive fascination with skunks and their behavior. Although Joshua has never been closer than five feet to a skunk, he has spent countless hours researching them. He knows almost everything there is to know about skunks, from their diet and habitat, to how to humanely trap them. Joshua’s interest in skunks is rooted in his love of animal biology. He fondly remembers topping his finals in biology class while in university. Now, as a writer, he fuses passion and expertise into one by sharing his knowledge about the animal kingdom with others.

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