7 Reasons Your House Smells Like Skunk But No Skunk!

By - Ron Singh

Updated on -

Published on -

As a homeowner, maintaining a clean and conducive environment is not always something you have covered at your fingertips.

You constantly have to clean, wash and prewash household items and equipment to avoid having your home oozing from bad smells. 

However, things may get terribly out of your control sometimes because you don’t have control of the smells entering your windows and doors, and your house will begin to smell.

A skunk smell is one of such everyday things that makes you wonder why your house smells like skunk.

This article outlines why your home smells like skunk and the steps to get rid of the smells.

Your house may smell of skunk due to sewer gas leaks or when your pet has skunk on its fur. Also, dead animals inside your wall, rotten and spoiled foods, and incorrectly installed plumbing and venting jobs cause this. Additionally, natural gas leaks in your home could be the culprit in these situations. 

What Does It Mean If It Smells Like Skunk In Your House?

House Smells Like Skunk But No Skunk 

Although the common reason for skunk smell in the home remains a leaked sewer gas, many other things may cause your house to smell like a skunk without sewer gas leaks.

Therefore, here are a few reasons why a skunk smells in your home:

#1. Sewer Gas Leak

Gas leaks can cause fatal consequences if not addressed immediately you find it out. It may get challenging to detect it at first.

Therefore, once you notice the cause of the skunk smell in your home is a leaking gas pipe, call your gas supply company immediately.

However, if the smell is strong, exit the house and call your local emergency department. Stay outside the house until the sewer gas leak is taken care of. 

#2. Skunk Spray On Pets

Pets, especially dogs, may get sprayed with a skunk and linger around on your couch, furniture, and bed.

Unfortunately, the skunk-like odor does not quickly leave a surface where it is rubbed on until it gets scrubbed off.

Once you suspect your pets of been sprayed with a skunk, get closer and smell them for any pungent odor, then go ahead to clean them up using the following steps.

  • Keep your pets outside the house first as much as you can.
  • Use only disposable equipment such as towels and gloves because the skunk smell may linger around if you decide to use the equipment again.
  • Pour 25 cups of baking soda and 3% vinegar into a small dishwashing liquid container. Endeavor to use it within a few minutes of mixing because the combination can result in an explosion if they remain bottled for a long time. 
  • Using the solution, thoroughly wash the fur on your pet with a glove. 
  • After this, rinse off the chemical.
  • The last and final step is to use the regular bath shampoo for your pet to rewash the fur. A couple of times more if you desire to leave no smells. The skunk should be completely off by the time you do this. 

#3. Dead Animals And Household Pests

Most times, animals and pests like rats get trapped in pipes, vents, and walls and then die afterward.

Unfortunately, they begin to decompose soon after, causing your house to have a skunk-like odor. Fortunately, the dead animals eventually dry and stop smelling.

However, if you can not exercise patience by waiting for the dead animal to stop smelling. Instead, you can use room sprays in the vents and holes that smell like skunk. 

#4. Rotten Food

If the skunk-like smell you perceive in your home seems to be coming from the kitchen, then a likely cause is rotten and spoiled food.

Most roots like- vegetables and tomatoes are prone to spoilage much faster than other foods. So when left in the pantry or even in the refrigerator, they may get rotten and smell like skunk. 

#5. Improperly Installed Plumbing Pipes And Venting Works

An improper house Installation could cause wear and tear in pipes and vents, causing leaks and giving off horrible smells. How does this happen?

Loose toilet rings, clogged vents, and burst sewer lines result from improper plumbing work.

For example, loose toilet rings can cause sewer gas release in the air, clogged vents block sewer gas passage, and burst sewer lines lead to indiscriminate sewage water flow. 

#6. Cannabis Smoke

Cannabis smoke released from marijuana has a skunk-like smell. The skunk smell is more evident when the marijuana gets lit. However, burning incense or opening up your windows takes care of the smell. 

#7. Skunk Cabbage

Skunk cabbage, as usual, gets overlooked when finding the culprits for a skunk smell, mainly because they only give that pungent skunk-like smell when they bloom. 

What To Do If Your House Smells Like A Skunk 

After understanding what it means for a skunk-like smell to linger in your house, the next thing on your mind is what you should do if your house smells like a skunk.

So here’s what you should do. 

#1. Boil Vinegar Indoors

Vinegar is a smell inhibitor and absorber. It helps to deodorize your house by saturating the air as they evaporate.

However, they usually don’t have a sweet scent but eventually neutralize to blend the smell in your house.

Another way you can use Vinegar on skunk smell is by spraying your walls and vents with it. 

#2. Burn Effusion Lamps

When you burn effusion lamps, they eliminate and neutralize any pungent smells. It also kills air bacteria and inhibits their activities. 

#3. Get Fragrance Candles

Lavender and Lemon candles both work efficiently in covering up smells. However, they may not necessarily do away with the smell but buy you time while you look for a more permanent solution to the smell in your house. 

#4. Get Scent Sprays

Scent sprays, like scent candles, help to deodorize your house temporarily, but this does not mean they are not helpful quick fixes for pungent smells. 

#5. Open Windows For Proper Ventilation

A traditional way of removing smells is by opening the windows and allowing natural ventilation to help with saturating smells.

You can also turn your fans very high, take out some furniture, and, if possible, allow a little ray of sunshine to flash through your rooms. 

#6. Wash Up

Most times, your pest may get sprayed with a skunk, and you must wash them up. However, since the pungent skunk smell is very intense, you may also need a thorough bath after washing up your pet.

It would be best to use deodorizers and grease-cutting soap with lots of shampoos.

Dealing with the root cause of a skunk smell is the first step to ensuring that the smell gets addressed permanently.

After that, you may either choose to discard or do away with the fabrics contaminated with a skunk. 

However, you can wash the clothes at very high temperatures using antibacterial detergents by repeatedly washing the clothes till every smell is gone. 

Other non-chemical methods for getting rid of skunk-like smells include; using ozone generators, tomato juice or paste, White vinegar, and baking soda. 

Can A Gas Leak Smell Like Skunk? 

Yes, natural gas is odorless and tasteless, so a substance known as Mercaptan is added to it so that you can detect natural gas leaks easily.

However, Mercaptan has the smell of skunk. Natural gas has the smell of rotten eggs and vegetables, especially cabbage.

You can detect natural gas leaks through:

  • Rotten eggs smell
  • Rousting and hissing sounds
  • Bubbling outdoor water 
  • The inability of plants to grow in your environment.
  • An unusual amount of air and dirt production
  • Health hazards but mostly headaches, nausea, and breathing difficulties

Once you notice that you have a gas leak, turn off your lights and electrical outlets and vacate the area. After leaving the danger zone, put a call across to the emergency company for help. 

What Else Causes Skunk Smell? 

Other smells In the home are mostly mistaken for skunk smells. They include natural gas, skunk, sewer gas, and carbon monoxide.

Skunk SmellNatural GasSewer GasCarbon monoxide
Oily pungent smellOdorless and colorlessOdorless and colorless gasOdorless gas
Contain an organic compound known as ThiolIt contains a harmless compound known as Mercaptan, skunk odor, egg odorIt is used in indicating sewer and septic system issuesContain carbon soot from incomplete combustion
It has a sulphuric smell to keep threats awayIt smells like rotten eggs It smells like skunk Used carbon monoxide gas detectors and natural gas

Can Skunk Smell Come Through Windows? 

Of course, skunk-like smells do not necessarily get generated indoors. For example, a family of skunks nesting outside your house may make you feel like you have them hosted in your room. 

Also, marijuana has a skunky smell. Imagine a neighbor who smokes this close to you; it would also affect your room by coming through your windows. 

Final Thoughts

As a homeowner, you may encounter funny smells in your house, like skunk smells. However, these may come from natural gas leaks, sewer gas leaks, carbon monoxide smells, skunk cabbage, and outdoor skunk nests.

You can remove skunk-like smells in the home by disinfecting your home and using fragrance boosters like candles, incense, and room sprays.

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