Companion to the German Shepherd Dog Email List (GSD-L)

Skunk Smell Neutralizer

The skunk odor neutralizing formula below was devised by Paul Krebaum, a chemist employed by Molex, Inc. of Lisle, Illinois.

Krebaum originally developed this formula as an alternative to tomato juice or tincture of time in helping rid his laboratory of odor while he was conducting research on a group of chemicals called thiols. These are a group of organic compounds that are naturally produced, often in association with the degradation of protein. These compounds stink to high heaven, and, it turns out, they are also the primary cause of the foul odor associated with skunks.

According to Krebaum, his formula causes oxygen molecules to bind to thiols, thus effectively neutralizing their fetid odor.

Krebaum devised the formula and used it in his laboratory for some time before a colleague asked him to help with a pet cat that had been sprayed by a skunk. Realizing that thiols were at the root of skunk odor, Krebaum modified his laboratory cleaning formula so that it could be used on animals. Krebaum's colleague reported that the formula worked like a charm, removing every trace of odor from the cat.

Due to packaging and transportation difficulties associated with the ingredients, Krebaum decided against trying to patent his formula and subsequently placed it in the public domain. The formula was first published in the October 1993 edition of Chemical and Engineering News.

In Krebaum's formula, the soap functions to disperse and break up the oils in the skunk spray. This then allows the other ingredients to neutralize the thiols in the skunk spray.
When using Krebaum's formula, normal bathing procedures should be used to protect the pets eyes. After lathering the pet with Krebaum's formula, be sure to rinse the pet well with plain water.

Do NOT make this solution in advance - immediately discard any leftovers.  This oxygen producing solution could explode a closed jar.  Mix in an open container like a bucket, large plastic mixing bowl, etc.  The most favorite seems to be ice-cream buckets.
NEVER, ever, store mixed solution in a closed bottle, sprayer, etc. Pressure will build up until the container bursts. This can cause severe injury.

The Formula:

1 qt 3% Hydrogen Peroxide (the regular stuff you get at the drug
    store, Wal-Mart, etc)
1/4 Cup Baking Soda
1 tsp liquid soap (dish detergent)
    - some recipes call for up to 2 tablespoons of dish detergent

  • Soak your dog's fur.

  • Use a sponge to clean off his head and around his eyes. 

  • Skunks usually aim for the face.  Try to avoid getting it into the eyes as this stuff stings. 

  • Knead solution into the fur and be sure to get every part of him with it.

  • Leave the solution on for about 5 minutes or until the odor is gone. 

  • Oily areas may need a rinse and repeat. 

  • Rinse thoroughly then rinse again.

This works on cats, people and clothes.  However it may bleach fur, hair, and clothing.  (Bleached is better than stinky...)

BACK TO Health Page