Re: Skunk odor

My sister in law had a family of skunks living around their house, one sprayed the front porch and the smell was there for well over 1 year!
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I've encountered skunks several times along the years but never once even came close to being sprayed. I also handraised baby skunks, mainly domestics, but had one wild litter that a construction crew had stirred up, & the young were brought to me scared to death. They are not able to spray when they're so little, but they don't realize they can't, their instinct to try precedes the ability. These tiny skunks no bigger than a boxer's fist jump up on their front feet & aim their anuses at the source of their terror & try to squirt, but there's nothing to squirt. Funniest damned sight, to open a box of baby skunks, & they all do handstands of terror. After only ten minutes of handling, they lost all fear, & never again tried to squirt -- they were instantly tamable & afterward full of trust.
Anyway, I wonder if anyone has ever used the commercial products such as Outright Skunk Odor Remover. Such products always claim the odor can never be fully neutralized but requires bacterial action to break down mercaptans, which otherwise persist in the environment for months no matter what other solutions are slathered over them. Could be ad hype -- that Outright says on the label "can be used up to three times a day" seems to assume it ain't a quick solution. For washing kids or pets, a mixture of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda is frequently recommended, plus a bit of soap to help release molecules and wash the stench out of the fur & down a drain, but presumedly what gets washed out would still smell horrid, it would just no longer be on the dog or child, & to remove the same mercaptans from a larger environmental area would be way more difficult.
This page from Humbold University chemistry department: http://www.humboldt.edu/~wfw2/deodorize.shtml essentially says nothing will remove the scent from a large area except "time and adequate ventillation," though it provides the two most often seen formulas to remove the odor from pets, or from wooden decks. The page also provides a neat little explanation for why people think tomato juice works, though it doesn't work.
-paghat the ratgirl
--
"Of what are you afraid, my child?" inquired the kindly teacher.
"Oh, sir! The flowers, they are wild," replied the timid creature.
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Try this: http://www.agilityability.com/skunk_odor_removal_recipe.htm I suspect diluted bleach would also work but do not leave it on too long or it might attach the wood. Either peroxide or hypochlorite should oxidize the mercaptan to an odorless form. Frank
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This will fade over time; time in this case being several years. I'd try washing the deck down with oxalic acid, and then sealing it.
Chris Owens
Ed Schmitt wrote:

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