10 Best Skunk Repellents (and How to Use Them)

Striped Skunk - Mephitis mephitis. Santa Clara County, California, USA.

Skunks are cute animals, right? From a faraway distance, they are petite and have silky black and white fur. They seem perfectly harmless, which they are, but then they somehow manage to burrow their way into your yard and, well, it seems that they just do not want to leave the comfort of your home anytime soon. 

In truth, skunks are timid and nocturnal animals. You can use bright lights, jets of water, lemon, oranges, and even hot pepper to repel skunks. You can also utilize store-bought skunks repellents containing black pepper, capsaicin and putrescent whole egg solids that irritate the sinus of a skunk.

We will describe in detail down below the multitude of options you have to help you with this most troublesome and unwanted pest problem. So read on and begin to plan which method you will choose to get rid of those skunks once and for all!

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Castor and Vegetable Oil Repel Skunks

Most likely, you have some vegetable oil in your kitchen. Maybe you even have some castor oil. This is fantastic because not only can these be used for cooking and other household activities, but skunks absolutely detest both of them.

All you have to do is spray the grass with vegetable oil or castor oil. If a skunk happens to walk across the grass, the oil will affect its fur and make it oily. 

Skunks are very particular about their fur and having oil on their body will be incredibly unpleasant for them, making them less likely to return.

So, to use this method – if you’re finding that skunks are nesting underneath your deck or something else of the sort, you can place castor or vegetable oil in the grass under the deck!

Skunks Dislike Citrus (Lemon and Oranges)

If you have citrus trees in your garden, you are in luck. But even if you do not have these wonderful trees blooming in your yard, you can make a quick run to your local grocery store to get your hands on some natural skunk repellent.

Do you think the scent of citrus fruits is aromatic and wonderful? Well, skunks certainly do not have the same opinion as you.

The smell of lemons and oranges is known to repel skunks. The acid is irritating for their very sensitive noses. 

For this technique, take some lemon and orange rinds and lay them in the areas where you find the skunks. Underneath your deck, around the perimeter of your garden, or around trees and bushes. 

When the skunk meanders back to that area at night, they will smell the rinds and sprint away. So go ahead and try this method. A huge bonus is that your garden will smell fantastic!

Skunks Hate Putrescent Whole Egg Solids

Skunk (Mephitis mephitis) in winter, selective focus

Putrescent whole egg solids. You can already guess that they may be a bit… smelly? Yes, think of sulfer, or rotten eggs that have been in the sun for a few days. Skunks hate the stuff, and you probably do too!

Bonide’s (BND238) Repels-All Ready to Use Animal Repellent contains putrescent whole egg solids as their primary ingredient. Bonide is a well-known, reputable pest company that has been around since 1926 so you can be assured that they know what they’re doing!

It is a very strong repellent that consists of clove and garlic oil (along with putrescent whole egg solids) that will bother the skunk’s nose. Once the skunk comes into contact with this spray, it will naturally want to leave that area. This particular spray is ready-to-use, so just grab it and apply it wherever the skunks may be.

It is also biodegradable so you don’t have to worry about it affecting your pets, yard, or garden. Also, it lasts up to two whole months!

Bright Lights at Night Deter Skunks

Skunks are nocturnal animals. They wander, explore, and move around during the night as opposed to the daytime. They are harmless creatures who do not intentionally intend to disturb people or other animals. 

However, let’s say they find their way into your yard and start eating your vegetables in the garden or find a place to build a den underneath your house. Or, even worse, you or your pet gets caught in the line of fire and gets sprayed! Oh, no!

In this instance, you can acquire a product like the Thanos Nighttime Animal Deterrent Light. It is a strong light that casts an incredibly bright glare into your yard in an attempt to repel animals.

This device is solar paneled so it retains sunlight during the day and turns on automatically at night so you do not have to exert extra effort in remembering to activate it. When a skunk walks into your area, the Thanos light will shine two red LED strobe lights and scare them away.

If you’re interested in learning more about using motion sensor lights to deter wild animals, you can read our fancy guide on the topic here.

Utilize Motion Sensor Water Sprinklers

It is summertime and you and your family run through the sprinklers to get wet and have fun. Well, while you may enjoy this wonderful activity, for skunks? Not so much.

If you can dip into your pockets, you can purchase the Hoont Cobra Yard and Garden Motion Activated Water Blaster

This device detects any animals within a 0 to 30-foot range and will spray water in their direction once detected. Just for clarification, this will not hurt the skunk, just make them scurry off in the opposite direction.

Skunks Hate Chili and Cayenne Pepper

Do you like to make your food spicy? Maybe you do but you know who does not like hot sauces? Skunks, that’s who!

The scent of chili and cayenne pepper is popularly known to repel skunks. They have sensitive noses and react to those smells.

The solution for this method is quite simple. Take a spray bottle and mix some chili powder with water, stir it, then get to spraying the yard or areas which the skunks inhabit. 

You can also sprinkle chili powder flakes in those same areas. Just be sure to save some of the spices for your next meal!

Black Pepper and Capsaicin Keep Skunks Away

The striped skunk near brick wall

Luckily for us, there are quite a few scents that irritate the sinus’ of skunks. Black pepper, for instance is one. If you’ve ever accidentally ground too much black pepper on your food and gotten a whiff while you were doing so well, then you know what the scent feels like!

If you are not a fan of using sprays, then granule seeds are another excellent deterrent you can use. These are easy to find and even easier to apply.

The Havahart Critter Ridder 3142 Animal Repellent is a popular product that repels skunks by its taste and its smell. The ingredients used include oil from black peppers, piperine, and capsaicin. 

Once you obtain the product, all you have to do is spread it around by hand, or by a lawn spreader if you have one, in your yard. 

It will be effective for 30 days and also, if you have a garden you have lovingly and meticulously worked on, the spiciness of Critter Ridder can help to keep skunks away.

Ammonia Repels Skunks

Ammonia is most likely found in your home, and if not, it just requires a quick run to your local store to find.

The harsh taste and smell of ammonia is another scent that will bother the nasal glands of a skunk. The scent of ammonia irritates the sinus cavities of skunks, causing them to avoid the scent. You can take old rags and soak them in ammonia. Then place them around the burrows or dens the skunks may have created around your home.

Sit back and watch the ammonia do its job in repelling these pesky skunks from your yard.

Predator Urine

If a skunk senses that a predator is near, you can bet that it will dart off as far as it possibly can. Well-known predators of skunks are animals such as foxes and coyote.

While it is not practical to obtain a real fox or coyote to help you out (not that you would even want to do that!), you can, however, get a hold of ready-made bottles of predator urine to use in your outdoor area.

The Predator Pee Original Coyote Urine Spray Bottle in a 16oz size will help you out. This product has been around since 1986 so it is quite a tried and tested way to repel skunks and other pests.

Once you apply this spray around the problem areas, the skunks will sense that one of its predators, the coyote, is in the vicinity. The spray creates an effect that works within quite a bit of space. Keep in mind that you do have to reapply this product every week or after it rains.

If you’re interested in learning more – you can read our guide on the best coyote urine’s for animal repelling here.

Habitat Modification and Exclusion

Skunks like to nest and burrow in areas that they find comfortable and cozy. This means they may often find their way underneath your deck, in your crawl space, or any other similar area. Once they are in there, they may build a den and nest with their little ones.

This can create a problem for you. Nobody wants a family of skunks nesting in their home. Especially at night.

So, what can you do now? Let’s say that you have tried some of the above repellents and it has not quite worked out in the way you hoped it would. Well, there is still some hope and good news for you.

You can do simple things like moving the rocks or cutting bushes near the area where they have cozied up. Make sure you remove any fallen fruit or vegetables from your garden. You can also take leaves and sticks to block off any entryways the skunks are using.

Just be sure that no skunks are inside the den when you use these methods. You certainly do not want to trap any of them in there or separate them from their family.

If you plan on blocking off entries, you should use a material like Amagabeli’s 48×50 Hardware Cloth, which will help you out if a skunk family has burrowed their way into a small space. This hardware cloth has holes that are ½ inch which is small enough to keep skunks out.

There are many ways in which you can use the hardware cloth. You can line it around your vegetable garden or flower bushes to prevent the skunks from coming closer and causing damage. You can even fence it around certain areas that you want to keep protected such as a particular patch of lawn.

Or you can install the hardware cloth around the den. This will deter the skunks from coming back to the makeshift den they have built. 

Again, like any other similar method, make sure no skunks are inside their nesting hole before you install this product. You definitely do not want to hurt any skunks or cause any separation.

That’s a Warp!

Alright, now you have an arsenal of techniques that are the best skunk repellents!

So, let’s say you’ve started seeing skunks nosing about. Maybe they come every night to nibble at your garden. Or they think that one spot near your shed is a perfect spot to build a makeshift den.

It is time to spring into action and use any of the above methods to deter those skunks. Let’s do a quick review of what you can do in these situations:

  • Shining bright lights will catch the skunk and scare them into running away
  • A strong jet stream of water will get them wet which will not make them want to return
  • Oils like castor oil and vegetable oil will make a skunk’s fur sticky and oily
  • Hot spices! While you might like the taste, a skunk surely does not
  • The scent of lemons and oranges will make them run off in the opposite direction
  • Ready-made sprays that contain spices like pepper and capsaicin 
  • Granular seeds that can be easily spread around the yard and garden
  • The scent of ammonia irritates a skunk’s nose
  • Predators frighten skunks so you can use their urine in spots the skunks frequent
  • Installing a hardware cloth door will block off their paths to their dens or burrows

So as you can see, there is a myriad of tricks and tips you can employ to help you with this skunk invasion. Try them out and see which one works best for you. Some may be effective while others not so much.

Don’t give up hope! You will be able to have a skunk-free home, yard, and garden again in no time.

But, if you don’t think you can manage it on your own, there’s no shame in asking for help! Our nationwide pest control finder can get you connected to a wildlife professional near you in seconds! Using our partner network helps support Pest Pointers.

So thank you so much for reading and visiting this page. Best of luck to you in this endeavor and I know you will be successful!

Until next time!


Dustin, K., Messmer, T. A., Conover, M. R., & Dotson, L. D. (1997). Skunks.

Merrill, H. A. (1962). Control of opossums, bats, raccoons, and skunks.

Messmer, T. A. (1994). Skunks: Wildlife Damage Management Series.

Neiswenter, S. A., & Dowler, R. C. (2007). Habitat use of western spotted skunks and striped skunks in Texas. The Journal of wildlife management, 71(2), 583-586.

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