Tomato juice doesn’t work. Sure, it masks the smell, but I promise you that tomato juice is not the remedy you need. What really works is the following solution, courtesy of a chemist from Illinois named Paul Krebaum. The article below is taken directly from ‘How to Remove Skunk Odor’ via the NJSPCA (the New Jersey Society for Prevention of Cruelty of Animals) page:
1 quart hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
2 tsp. mild dish detergent
* This solution must be mixed in an OPEN wide mouth container like a bucket. It will bubble or fizz profusely, so DON'T mix it or store it in a closed container or bottle. This formula will produce pressure in a closed container and cause it to burst. Use it as soon as you make it, because it will lose all effectiveness if it is stored. It must be freshly made in order to work properly.
* Wet your pet's coat with warm water then thoroughly massage formula into pet's coat. Be sure to massage it in very well so that you neutralize every trace of skunk spray. Be VERY careful not to get any of the formula into his eyes nose or mouth. You may use a wash cloth to CAREFULLY wipe it onto his face. Leave it on for about five minutes then rinse off thoroughly (do not get into eyes). Repeat if necessary.
Your Pet's Eyes
Call your vet immediately if the skunk sprays your pet directly in the eyes. You will know because your pet's eyes will be very red, irritated, and probably watery. The spray will make his eyes sting very badly. Your pet will not be permanently blinded but it is very painful.
What Is Skunk Spray Made Of And Why Is It So Strong?
Skunk spray contains compounds called Thiols and Thioacetates. Our noses are very sensitive to Thiols, so sensitive in fact that we can detect then in parts per billion! Thiols smell so horribly noxious because of the sulfur they contain.
The Thioacetates in Skunk spray decompose very slowly into; you guessed it.....Thiols!
So the reason that Skunk spray has such staying power and lingers for so long is because of the slow decomposition of Thioacetates into Thiols. In essence you are getting "timed
release" Skunk odor because of the slow release of Thiols.
Why Doesn't Tomato Juice Work?
You may have heard that tomato juice is the magic potion to get rid of Skunk odor, but it isn't magic, it's just an illusion. It is an illusion because strong odors such as Skunk tend to cause something called "olfactory fatigue". Olfactory fatigue happens when an odor binds very strongly to the odor receptors in your nose.
For example olfactory fatigue can occur if someone is wearing strong perfume and you are in the same room for an extended period of time. The odor receptors in your nose become fatigued and you stop noticing the smell, but if you leave the room for a while and return, you will notice the perfume again. The same thing happens with many other odors even strong cooking odors.
So when you use tomato juice, perfume or room or fabric deodorizer sprays on skunk odor. One strong odor is replacing another and it fools your odor receptors. So if you use tomato
juice or a deodorizer on your pet, chances are YOU will think your problem is solved but it isn't. Just ask a friend or family member if they smell skunk. They will!
This photo is from my files but is what George looks like after being de-skunked. He’s even wearing the same collar. Had to throw the other one out because it stunk to high heavens.