13 Home Remedies to Get Rid of Skunks

home remedies for skunks

Skunks are rodents that will eat almost anything. Similar in shape and look to the raccoon, these creatures have a foul-smelling spray they will use to defend themselves. Their smell can linger for days in your garden or on your pets if they stumble across these animals. Finding small holes is your lawns or your trash rummaged through is a sure sign you may have a skunk problem. However, if you want to know how to get rid of skunks, then we have all you need to know. Our home remedies for skunks will keep these pests out of your garden or deter them from your yard for good.

Home Remedies to Get Rid of SkunksSigns of skunk damage to your property

Skunks are nocturnal so it’s quite unusual to spot them in the day. Typically, you will only know about the presence of a skunk by the damage to your property.

There are a few signs that confirm the presence of a skunk in your garden. The first and foremost will be the smell. The skunk smell is quite unique and sulfurous in nature. The scent contains sulfides which give the smell a rotten egg or putrid cabbage odor. Some describe the smell as burning rubber.

skunk damageIf you have a skunk nearby, your dog may be the first to find it. Dogs sprayed by skunk either from close contact or from running through the undergrowth is another giveaway.

The second sign to be aware of is the is the appearance of holes in your lawn. Skunks will instinctively dig holes in your lawn, not to make a den, but to search for worms and grubs.

Skunk lawn damage is usually the first sign of a skunk in the area. If the holes seem random, leading nowhere, with new ones appearing every night, then a skunk maybe to blame.

If you smell pungent odors near trees with fallen fruit, or vegetable patches smelling unpleasant with missing vegetables, then a skunk will likely be the culprit.

Also look for signs that the garbage bins have been tampered with. Raccoons and possums will also rummage through the trash, so if the spilled trash is accompanied by a pungent odor (not from the trash), then a skunk may be present nearby.

If you think you have a skunk problem, then there are many home remedies to repel skunks from your garden you can try. Check them out.

How to get rid of skunksHome Remedies to Get Rid of Skunks

  1. Remove Food Sources

what do skunks eatIf you wondering what do skunks eat, the answer is almost anything.

Skunks are omnivores and scavengers and so their diet consists of small rodents, grubs, worms, insects, nuts, fruit and even human garbage, compost and pet food.

If you find a skunk in your yard, then it will most likely mean that your yard has a food source nearby.

So how do you get a skunk to leave? The first and foremost way is to remove food sources. [1]

  • Clean all fallen and rotting fruit
  • Clear bird seed near bird feeders
  • Keep garbage lids tightly sealed
  • Garbage cans need to be secured so as not to topple [2]
  • Don’t leave pet food out.
  • Keep your garden tidy and bug-free.
  • Secure compost heaps

Most skunks will not enter your property as these animals will tend to avoid contact with humans. Removing food sources is one of the most effective and simplest home remedies to keep skunks away and should be the first remedy to try.

  1. Homemade Skunk Trap

homemade skunk trapThere are several skunk traps that you can buy, but a homemade skunk trap is easy to make and effective.

For making your own skunk trap, all you need is a long plank of wood and a barrel. The plank should be at least six feet long and a foot wide as it acts as a ramp or walkway for the skunk.

To make a lethal skunk trap, fill the barrel with water. Do not fill it to the top but leave 3/4 foot of space.

On the water, sprinkle sunflower seeds across the surface. The seeds float so you must make sure there is no water visible.

On the plank, lay a trail of skunk bait. Marshmallows work very well as they are light. Place the final marshmallow on the floating seedbed in the middle of the barrel.

The skunks will walk the plank and fall into the barrel for the final treat.

You can also make this trap non-lethal. Do not fill the barrel with water but instead, create a false-bottom with which to place the final marshmallow on, that collapses along with the skunk when the skunk puts its weight on it.

  1. Havahart Trap

havahart skunk trapAs mentioned, trapping is a good option to get rid of skunks from your yard.

Commercially available traps can catch the skunk and allow for release. A Havahart trap is as good as any non-lethal skunk trap.

As with all traps, you will need an effective skunk bait as a lure.

The best skunk bait to use tends to have a strong smell. You can try sardines, pet food or peanut butter.

Remember to set the trap in an area that you know skunks have been seen.

Place this food in a spring-loaded Havahart trap and you will have the intruder caught within days.

  1. Seal off Hiding Spots

skunking hiding spotsAnother simple but effective home remedy to keep skunks away is to remove hiding spots.  Skunks are nocturnal creatures that come out at night and choose dark spots to hide in the day.

You may find them under the shed, in your garden, and under the decking too. Seal decking and shed foundations with chicken wire.

Skunks sometimes build dens but will often use discarded burrows of other animals. So block up old rabbit, gopher or groundhog burrows.

Long grasses, dense shrubbery, and wood piles may also provide a resting place. Keep the yard clear.

  1. Night lights

floodlightIf the skunks in your backyard refuse to go away, try outdoor lighting. Because skunks are nocturnal, they love darkness and avoid coming out in the light. [3]

Bright light can act as a natural repellent for skunks.  If you install lights in every corner of your backyard, it will deter them.

Use motion sensor activated lights where possible as a sudden change in lighting is a much better skunk repellent.

  1. Spread the Urine of a Predator

predator urineIt is common for predatory animals to mark their territory by urinating. Skunks intuitively look out for the smell of predator urine and will avoid any area where it is present.

Predator urine is a skunk repellent that works very well.

There are several natural skunk predators such as dogs, foxes, coyotes etc and predator urine or granules of urine of all these animals can be purchased online.

Spray predator urine wherever you think the skunks have been active.

Owning a dog will also repel skunks. Skunks will avoid dogs and also any yard that has a roaming dog. Likewise, your dog’s urine will keep skunks out of your yard just as well.

  1. Go for Cayenne Pepper

cayenne pepperCayenne pepper is an excellent skunk repellent. Skunks have an acute sense of smell and the capsicum in cayenne pepper is an irritant and will deter skunks from entering your yard. [4]

All you need to do is to spray sprinkle some cayenne pepper wherever the animal is known to frequent. Pay close attention to areas under decks and sheds.

You can also mix some cayenne pepper in water to form a spray. Use this spray in every corner of your garden to keep skunks away.

  1. Use Ammonia

how to get rid of skunks with ammoniaAmmonia is an excellent skunk repellent. The pungent smell of this chemical agent is unbearable for skunks and will keep them out of your yard or garden.


How to get rid of skunks with ammonia:

  • Add ammonia to an old plastic bottle and stuff a rag into the opening. One end of the rag needs to be immersed in the ammonia, the other needs to be hanging out of the bottle.
  • The rag acts as a wick, drawing up ammonia from the bottle, slowly releasing it into the air.
  • Place the ammonia skunk repellent in confined spaces where skunks frequent, such as under sheds and decking.
  1. Motion Activated Sprinklers

sprinklerSkunks hate water and will try everything to avoid getting wet. However, just installing sprinklers and turning them on at certain times won’t be effective.

Installing motion-activated sprinklers in your backyard works much better and will repel them.

  1. Fencing

fenceSkunks are not good climbers and you can use fencing to get rid of skunks from your backyard.

Be aware that skunks are good at digging. So if you plan on installing fences, make sure to extend its foundations to a depth of three inches at least.

Also, skunks can squeeze into tiny places so do not leave space between the wooden slats. [5]

  1. Try Citrus Peels

essential oil skunk repellentA lot of animals tend to dislike the smell of citrus and skunks are no exception. A great home remedy to get rid of skunks involves spreading citrus peels all around your backyard.

Be sure to spread the peels along the whole perimeter of your garden. Cover all the areas where skunks frequent.

You can also use citrus essential oil as a skunk repellent. Just add to water and spray across your yard.

  1. Use Bird Netting

bird nettingTo prevent skunks from entering your garden, try installing bird netting. It is cheaper than fencing, and easier to install and will keep the skunks out of your property.

Remember to dig a trench and bury the bottom of the netting in the ground to prevent the skunks from going under.

  1. Noise

ultra sonic

Just as skunks hate bright light, there are many sounds that scare skunks. [6] If you have a skunk in your garden that refuses to leave, or you want to scare a skunk away without getting sprayed, then loud noise will do it.

Noise to scare skunk includes blowing a whistle, air horns or simply beating a can full of bolts and washers.

Electronic ultrasonic repellents are available to buy that produce sounds that are inaudible to humans but are intolerable to rodents. Use these to provide 24/7 protection for yards, lawns, and gardens.

Some of these devices even have settings designed specifically for repelling skunks. These units will also deter rats and mice which are a food source for these animals. [7]


  • Be patient while releasing a skunk. It may take a few seconds for the skunk to regain its senses and get out of the trap
  • Check all the local laws before trapping and releasing skunks as it may be prohibited in your area
  • Try to avoid trapping skunks during their breeding season
  • Skunks are rarely active during the day. If you see one, it may be rabid so avoid.


  • Do not get hit in the eyes as it can be dangerous and may cause blindness
  • Do not be ignorant of the warning signal given by the skunk before it sprays
  • Many people believe you can get rid of skunks with chocolate. Chocolate is toxic to skunks, but it will not kill, just make them sick. Don’t use chocolate as it is needlessly cruel and won’t get rid of your skunk problem.


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