How to Create a Natural Skunk Repellent

By: Contributors  | 
A skunk walking in the dirt.
Skunks are mammals that eat grubs, insects, small rodents, carrion, and fruits and vegetables. They are known for spraying a liquid with a strong, unpleasant scent from their anal glands. Mark Newman / Getty Images

Skunks are pests that eat grubs, insects, small rodents and carrion as well as fruits and vegetables. For most people, however, their signature attribute is the scent of their spray, which is highly undesirable.

If you have a skunk problem in your neighborhood and want to deter them from crossing your property, a skunk repellent can certainly help. In this article, we'll show you how to make a natural skunk repellent. Additionally, we'll reveal some best practices for keeping these unwanted animals away from your home.


Why Homeowners Need Skunk Repellents

Skunks can be a significant nuisance around residential properties. One of the primary issues is their notorious defense mechanism: spraying a foul-smelling liquid. This scent is not only unpleasant but also notoriously difficult to remove, lingering for days or even weeks. The odor can permeate the air, infiltrating your home and outdoor area.

Skunks are also known to rummage through garbage cans in search of food, often scattering trash and creating a mess that you need to clean up. They can cause damage to your garden and lawn while digging for grubs and insects to eat. Plus, they can have unfortunate encounters with your dogs or cats.


As if you need more reasons to deter skunks, they are potential carriers of diseases like rabies, which poses a risk to humans and pets. Their burrowing habits can undermine structures like decks, sheds, and even the foundations of houses, leading to costly repairs. These factors combined make skunks unwelcome visitors to many residential areas.

How to Repel Skunks From Your Property

The best way of repelling skunks is to discourage them from visiting in the first place. The following preventive measures will make skunks less likely to visit your property:

  • Keep your trash cans tightly covered and make sure the cans can't be tipped over [source: City of Sacramento].
  • Feed your pets indoors. Empty any bird-feeders at night. Skunks will eat almost any type of food, especially from pet food bowls [source: City of Sacramento].
  • Remove piles of wood, compost, or junk so that skunks can't build a den in them. If you can't move the pile, cover it securely with a heavy tarpaulin [source: City of Sacramento].


Natural Ingredients Make the Best Skunk Repellent

If you have a skunk problem, you can try repelling the skunks with the following natural solutions:

  • If skunks are snacking on the vegetables growing in your garden, spray your plants with a mixture of water and hot pepper [source: Woodstream Brands].
  • If skunks are snacking on the vegetables in your garden and you don't want to try the remedy above, you can plant cucumbers, squash or other prickly-leaved plants among your vegetables [source: Gardening Know How].
  • If you suspect that a family of skunks has made a den on your property, try boiling one chopped yellow onion, one chopped jalapeño pepper and one tablespoon of cayenne pepper in two quarts of water for 20 minutes. When the broth is done, strain the liquid and pour it into a spray bottle, then squirt it all around the skunks' den [source: Woodstream Brands].
  • If skunks are walking around your front or back path or porch, try placing a rag in a bowl of ammonia on the ground in the area. The smell will keep skunks away. However, it's important to keep the ammonia away from any grass or plants, as ammonia will burn them [source: City of Sacramento].


Best Commercial Solutions to Repel Skunks

If you're looking for a quick fix and don't want to mess around with peppers and oils, consider one of these proven commercial animal repellents:

PredatorPee Coyote Urine Trigger Spray Bottle

This repellent uses the natural instincts of skunks against them by exploiting their fear of predators. It contains coyote urine and is applied around the property's perimeter using scent tags. The effect lasts for about a month per application​​.


Essentially KateS Peppermint Essential Oil

This is a natural repellent that uses the strong scent of peppermint oil to deter skunks. You need to dilute and spray it around your home. Besides repelling skunks, it can also be used as a household cleaner and air freshener​​.

RibRave Ultrasonic Animal Repeller

Let's not forget about electronic skunk repellents! This one uses ultrasonic sound waves and flashing LED lights to keep skunks and other animals away. It's solar-powered and waterproof, with a 26-foot range. This device is ideal for outdoor use but may require multiple units for larger areas.


The Best Skunk Repellents: Safe and Effective

Whether you choose a spray concoction that skunks hate or electronic repellents to drive them away, all of these skunk repellents work. You can even find solutions that involve garlic oil and black pepper, although results may vary.

The key is to find a safe, humane, and eco friendly way of telling these skunks to take a hike. Don't get skunked; your property and health are worth protecting!


This article was updated in conjunction with AI technology, then fact-checked and edited by a HowStuffWorks editor.