Car tire

How To Get Skunk Smell Off Car Tires


How To Get Skunk Smell Off Car Tires: The unmistakable and pungent odor of skunk spray on car tires can be an unwelcome and persistent issue for drivers. Whether encountered on a nighttime drive or parked in an area frequented by these nocturnal creatures, the lingering scent poses a challenge for vehicle owners. Skunk spray is not only foul-smelling but can also be resilient, clinging to surfaces and creating an unpleasant environment both inside and around the car. In this guide, we will explore effective methods and practical tips on how to get skunk smell off car tires.

Addressing skunk odor requires a combination of thorough cleaning techniques, odor-neutralizing agents, and time-tested remedies. As we delve into the step-by-step process, we will consider not only the removal of the smell but also preventative measures to minimize the likelihood of future encounters. 


From homemade solutions to commercially available products specifically designed for odor elimination, this guide aims to equip car owners with the knowledge and tools necessary to restore their vehicle’s ambiance and rid it of the lingering scent left behind by skunk encounters. Whether you are a city dweller or a suburban driver, the challenge of skunk odor on car tires is a universal one, and our comprehensive guide will provide practical solutions to help you reclaim a fresh and pleasant driving experience.

How To Get Skunk Smell Off Car Tires

What neutralizes skunk smell in the car?

Here’s how to get rid of the skunk smell in the car ASAP: Mix one quart of hydrogen peroxide, 1/4 cup baking soda, and one teaspoon of liquid dish soap in a bowl. With a clean cloth, gently scrub (do not saturate) the interior surfaces of your car. Next, wash your car’s carpet and upholstery with clean water.


Neutralizing skunk smell in a car requires thorough cleaning and odor removal techniques. Here are some effective methods to neutralize skunk odor in a car:


Ventilation: Begin by opening all the windows and doors of the car to allow fresh air to circulate. This helps to dissipate the skunk odor and begin the process of eliminating the smell from the interior.


Remove Source of Odor: If the skunk odor is originating from the tires or exterior of the car, focus on cleaning these areas first. Use a hose to thoroughly rinse the tires and underside of the car, as skunk spray can cling to these surfaces.

Vinegar Solution: Create a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water. Apply this solution to the affected areas of the car, including the tires, upholstery, and floor mats. Vinegar helps to neutralize odors and can be effective in eliminating skunk smell.

What cancels out the skunk smell?

Chemist Paul Krebaum discovered a solution that changes the odorous thiols into odorless acids, thereby chemically neutralizing the skunk odor. The formula is: 1 quart of 3 percent hydrogen peroxide (fresh bottle),  ¼ cup of baking soda (sodium bicarbonate), and 1-2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap.

Several substances and methods are known to help cancel out skunk smell effectively. Here are some options:


Tomato Juice Bath: While not a complete neutralizer, tomato juice is known for masking skunk odor. Some people use it as a bath for pets or as a skin wash for humans. However, it’s more of a cover-up than a true neutralizer.


Vinegar and Water Solution: Mix equal parts white vinegar and water to create a solution. Use this mixture to wash surfaces affected by skunk spray, such as clothing, pet fur, or outdoor furniture. The vinegar helps neutralize the odor.


Baking Soda Paste: Create a paste by mixing baking soda with a small amount of water. Apply the paste to affected surfaces, such as clothing or upholstery, and let it sit before rinsing or vacuuming. Baking soda can help absorb and neutralize odors.

How long does it take for a skunk smell to go away in a car?

The first question people ask if their car got skunked it “how long does skink smell last on a car?!” If you hit a skunk, the smell can last months if not treated. Will a car wash get rid of skunk smell? Probably not. Basic soap and water won’t be effective enough to fully remove the smell.


The duration for skunk smell to dissipate from a car can vary based on several factors, including the intensity of the spray, the cleaning methods used, and the materials affected. In some cases, the smell may diminish significantly within a day or two, while in other instances, it may linger for a more extended period. Here are some factors that can influence how long it takes for skunk smell to go away:


Prompt Cleaning: Taking immediate action to clean and neutralize the skunk odor can significantly impact how quickly it dissipates. The sooner you address the smell, the more effective the removal process is likely to be.


Cleaning Methods: The choice of cleaning methods and products plays a crucial role. Thoroughly washing affected areas with solutions such as vinegar, baking soda, or commercial odor neutralizers can expedite the removal process.


Ventilation: Allowing the car to be well-ventilated by opening windows and doors helps disperse the odor. Fresh air circulation can contribute to a faster reduction in skunk smell.

Will car wash remove skunk smell?

How To Get Skunk Smell Off Car Tires

Does an ordinary car wash remove the skunk odor after you’ve run one over? No, not unless it has a good underbody wash system. Some of those places claim they do but they really don’t.

A standard car wash may not be sufficient to completely remove skunk smell from a car, especially if the skunk spray has permeated the interior or clung to certain surfaces. Skunk spray is potent and can be challenging to eliminate with a basic car wash alone.


To effectively address skunk smell, consider the following steps:


Exterior Cleaning: Start with a thorough exterior wash to remove any skunk spray from the car’s body, including tires and the underside of the vehicle. Use a car wash detergent and a pressure washer if available.


Focus on Affected Areas: If the skunk spray has penetrated specific areas, such as tires, the front of the car, or the undercarriage, pay extra attention to these spots during the wash.


Interior Cleaning: Clean the interior of the car, focusing on areas where the skunk smell may have permeated, such as carpets, upholstery, and air vents. Use appropriate cleaning agents or odor-neutralizing products designed for car interiors.

Does lemon remove skunk smell?

White vinegar mixed with lemon juice will cut through a good chunk of the smell. Dr Bronner’s makes a citrus soap that also does a surprisingly great job on skunk smells. Both are chemically mild and easy on the animal. One round of each is a good idea to really work through the smell and break down the chemicals.

Lemon can be effective in helping to neutralize skunk odor, thanks to its natural acidity and fresh citrus scent. Here are a few ways lemon can be used to help remove skunk smell:


Lemon Juice Solution: Mix fresh lemon juice with water to create a solution. Apply this solution to surfaces affected by skunk odor, such as clothing, pet fur, or even the interior of a car. The acidity of the lemon helps to neutralize the odor while leaving behind a fresh scent.


Lemon Peels: Place lemon peels in areas affected by skunk odor, such as inside a car or near the source of the smell. The natural oils in lemon peels release a pleasant citrus aroma that can help mask and neutralize the skunk odor over time.


Lemon Essential Oil: Add a few drops of lemon essential oil to water and use it as a spray to freshen up surfaces or rooms affected by skunk odor. Lemon essential oil has strong deodorizing properties and can help eliminate unpleasant smells.

Is the skunk smell toxic?

Besides the odor, it can have other effects on humans and animals: Nausea and vomiting – The smell can be stomach-turning. If any spray gets in the mouth, the person may throw up or experience diarrhea. Respiratory problems – Skunk odor can cause breathing issues.


Skunk spray, while extremely unpleasant and odorous, is generally not considered toxic. Skunk spray is a mixture of chemicals produced by specialized glands in the skunk’s anus. The primary components of skunk spray include sulfur-containing compounds such as thiols, which are responsible for the strong, pungent odor.


While the smell itself is not harmful, exposure to skunk spray can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat due to the presence of sulfur compounds. The irritation is usually temporary and not considered a significant health risk for humans. However, it can be uncomfortable.


If you or a pet are sprayed by a skunk, here are some recommendations:


Avoid Direct Contact: Avoid direct contact with the spray, and don’t rub the affected area, as this can spread the odor.


Rinse with Water: If the spray is on your skin or clothing, rinse the affected area thoroughly with water. For pets, a bath with pet-friendly shampoo can help remove the spray.


Flush Eyes and Nose: If the spray gets into the eyes or nose, flush the affected area with water to reduce irritation.

Is the skunk smell permanent?

While skunks might use their spray as a defense mechanism, the odor left behind is more offensive than anything. The extremely foul smell can last for three weeks, and the longer it sits, the harder it is to remove. Acting quickly with the following tips will ensure your success in eliminating skunk odor.


Skunk smell is not permanent, but it can be persistent and challenging to eliminate. The odor from skunk spray is caused by sulfur-containing compounds, primarily thiols, which are responsible for the strong and enduring scent. While the smell can linger for an extended period, it is not permanent, and there are effective ways to neutralize and eliminate it.


To address skunk smell, consider the following methods:


Thorough Cleaning: Wash any surfaces that have come into contact with skunk spray. This includes clothing, pets, and affected areas in and around the house or car. Use appropriate cleaning agents and deodorizing solutions.


Odor Neutralizers: Utilize odor-neutralizing products designed to break down and neutralize the sulfur compounds responsible for the skunk smell. Enzymatic cleaners or commercial products specifically formulated for skunk odor removal can be effective.


Ventilation: Allow the affected area to be well-ventilated. Open windows and doors to promote air circulation and help dissipate the lingering odor.

Can air freshener get rid of skunk smell?

Most air fresheners only emit a strong perfume that covers other odors in the home. This will not be enough to deal with skunk smell, however. Only a deodorizing freshener can neutralize and eliminate some of the smell.

Air fresheners may provide temporary relief by masking or overpowering the skunk smell, but they do not eliminate the underlying odor. Skunk spray contains strong and persistent sulfur compounds, and simply covering it up with air fresheners is not a long-term solution. While air fresheners can offer a quick fix to improve the immediate air quality, it’s important to address the source of the skunk smell for effective odor removal.


To truly get rid of skunk smell, consider the following steps:


Thorough Cleaning: Wash any surfaces or items that have come into contact with skunk spray. Use appropriate cleaning agents, such as a mixture of vinegar and water, to neutralize the odor.


Odor Neutralizers: Use odor-neutralizing products designed specifically for skunk odor removal. Enzymatic cleaners or commercial products formulated for this purpose can help break down the sulfur compounds responsible for the smell.

Ventilation: Ensure proper ventilation by opening windows and doors. Fresh air circulation helps disperse the skunk odor and aids in the overall removal process.


How To Get Skunk Smell Off Car Tires



Tackling the challenge of removing skunk smell from car tires requires a combination of effective cleaning methods and odor-neutralizing strategies. The unmistakable and potent odor left by skunk spray can be particularly persistent, but by promptly addressing the issue, car owners can restore a fresh and pleasant environment. Whether employing natural remedies like lemon or vinegar solutions, utilizing commercial odor-neutralizing products, or opting for thorough cleaning and ventilation, the goal remains the same – to eliminate the skunk smell and reclaim the comfort of a skunk-free driving experience.


It’s important to tailor the approach to the severity of the smell and the materials affected, ensuring that both exterior and interior surfaces are thoroughly treated. Additionally, patience and persistence are key, as skunk odor removal may require repeat treatments and careful attention to affected areas.


By following the steps outlined in this guide and adapting the methods to individual preferences and circumstances, car owners can effectively banish skunk smell from their tires. As with any odor removal process, a proactive and comprehensive approach increases the likelihood of success, leaving behind a fresh and skunk-free vehicle ready for the open road.




Vaishnavi vaish

Vaishnavi is an automotive enthusiast and writer with a passion for all things cars. With years of experience in the automotive industry, Vaishnavi brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to Vroom's platform. Whether it's dissecting the latest car models, exploring industry trends, or delving into the intricacies of automotive technology, Vaishnavi is dedicated to providing readers with comprehensive and insightful content. From performance reviews to in-depth car comparisons, Vaishnavi strives to deliver accurate and engaging information to help readers make informed decisions about their next vehicle purchase. Explore the world of automobiles with Vaishnavi on Vroom and stay updated on the latest developments in the automotive world.

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