Although skunks may be a less common nuisance to homeowners than other pests, when they do come calling, they bring with them a unique threat: skunk spray, a foul-smelling liquid that’s detectable up to 3 miles away. In addition to engulfing one’s home in a cloud of stink, these nocturnal animals can also build nests in crawl spaces and under decks, causing structural damage.
Caleb Fabry, president of Town & Country Pest Solutions in Rochester, New York, says that skunks are omnivores, which means they eat a variety of foods such as insects, grubs, small mammals, fruits, and berries. First and foremost, it’s a good idea to eliminate these food sources from the yard. “Pick up fallen fruit and berries and keep pet food bowls indoors at night,” Fabry advises, and also mentions to remove their water sources. “Drain bird baths and ponds before dusk and fix any leaks around your home.” In addition, he says to seal up any holes or gaps under the porch, deck, or shed to eliminate anything skunks can use for shelter. If this doesn’t solve the problem, then it’s time to look for skunk repellents that use natural chemicals, such as essential oils and predator urine. There are also electric repellents that can scare them away with ultrasonic frequencies.
Ahead, find out what to look for when shopping for the best skunk repellent, learn about the different types of skunk repellents, and find out why the products below are some of the best skunk repellents on the market.
- BEST OVERALL: Natural Armor Animal Repellent Peppermint Spray
- BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK: Bonide Repels-All Animal Repellent Granules
- BEST ODOR-BASED: PredatorPee Coyote Urine Trigger Spray Bottle
- BEST NATURAL: Essentially KateS Peppermint Essential Oil
- BEST ELECTRONIC: RibRave Ultrasonic Animal Repeller
- BEST GRANULAR: Epic Skunk Scram All-Natural Granular Repellent
- ALSO CONSIDER: Zovenchi Ultrasonic Animal Pest Repellent
How We Chose the Best Skunk Repellents
To make our selection of the top skunk repellents, we used several criteria. Before a product made our list, we ensured that it would not harm animals or the environment; we considered sprays and granules that are nontoxic and biodegradable as well as electronic repellents. A top-pick skunk repellent also doesn’t repel the home’s occupants, so we chose those that use either pleasant-smelling active ingredients, are placed away from areas used by people and pets, or cease to emit odors detectable by humans shortly after application.
Since many skunk repellents must be reapplied fairly often, we mainly chose products that come in either spray bottles or shakers that can be applied with minimal preparation.
Fabry says to keep in mind that although skunks can be a nuisance, “they are also important members of the ecosystem and do a lot of good.” He advises taking steps to make a property unattractive to skunks to keep them away without harming them.
Our Top Picks
Our list of top picks narrows the field to some of the best skunk repellents on the market. The products below are humane and use natural ingredients that won’t harm the environment, plus they are safe for use around the home while keeping these black-and-white critters at bay.
In addition to being a humane way to ward off skunks, Natural Armor peppermint spray is also one of the most environmentally responsible methods of solving a skunk problem. That’s because it uses peppermint oil to send skunks packing. Not only does this make Natural Armor safe for the environment as well as the lawn and landscaping, but it also means one can spray it in earnest without worrying about harming the family dog or family members.
And, unlike other repellents that have an unpleasant odor, this spray puts off a pleasing peppermint scent. The repellent comes in a 1-gallon spray bottle that can be applied indoors and outdoors. One bottle covers 4,000 square feet and lasts for up to 90 days.
- Type: Spray
- Active ingredient: Peppermint essential oil
- Longevity: Up to 90 days
- Coverage: 4,000 square feet
- Uses natural ingredients that are safe for wild animals and the environment
- Remains highly effective as a repellent for up to 90 days
- Versatile enough to be suitable for both indoor and outdoor application
- Comes with a higher price tag compared to some alternatives
Get the Natural Armor skunk repellent at Amazon or Natural Armor.
This jug of granules is concocted from dried blood, putrescent whole-egg solids, cloves, and garlic oil, so it isn’t a surprise that it repels all sorts of animals, including deer, squirrels, and rodents as well as skunks. To use, simply sprinkle the granules around the perimeter of the home and then lightly water. With its granular form, this repellent holds up better than sprays in rainy conditions.
Despite its witches’ brew of ingredients, the granules won’t harm animals or plants. Just keep in mind that the granules’ scent isn’t just unpleasant to four-legged critters but to humans as well, so sprinkle it well away from outdoor living areas. One container covers around 2,000 square feet. Users will want to reapply every 2 months for best results.
- Type: Granules
- Active ingredients: Putrescent whole-egg solids, cloves, and garlic oil
- Longevity: 60 days
- Coverage: 2,000 square feet
- Contains biodegradable ingredients, ensuring safety for both plants and animals
- The granular formula is stable even during persistent wet weather conditions
- Simple application process; just sprinkle and lightly water the perimeter
- Gives off an odor that can be unpleasant not just for animals but for humans, too
Get the Bonide skunk repellent at Amazon or The Home Depot.
In the wild, a skunk’s ability to survive depends on its ability to detect and evade predators with its powerful sense of smell. By using coyote repellent as its active ingredient, this repellent uses a skunk’s powerful olfactory abilities against itself and exploits its natural instinct to flee from predators.
The product comes in a 16-ounce spray bottle, which contains the coyote urine, and includes 10 scent tags. To use, distribute the tags to create a perimeter around the property, and then spray the tags with coyote urine. The kit includes enough tags to create a 100- to 120-foot linear perimeter around the home. The urine serves as a deterrent for about a month, after which each tag requires a reapplication. Despite its unpleasant makeup, PredatorPee does not harm the environment and is nontoxic.
- Type: Spray
- Active ingredient: Coyote urine
- Longevity: 1 month
- Coverage: 100 to 120 linear food perimeter
- Uses natural ingredients ensuring eco-friendliness
- Application is straightforward with scent tags provided in the package
- Can effectively cover a significant 120-foot perimeter around a property
- The deterrent effect has a short duration, requiring frequent reapplication
Get PredatorPee skunk repellent at Amazon.
With its pleasing smell and all-natural ingredients, this peppermint essential oil is one of the best and safest means of driving away skunks and other unwanted animals. The 4-ounce bottle comes with a dropper and thorough instructions for how to dilute it. Simply mix it with the recommended amount of water, add it to a spray bottle, and then spray the perimeter of the home.
The peppermint smell is pleasing to humans but irritating to skunks and other animals, convincing them to go elsewhere. The essential oil can be used for more than just repelling unwanted pests; it’s also an effective household cleaner and air freshener.
- Type: Spray
- Active ingredient: Peppermint essential oil
- Longevity: N/A
- Coverage: N/A
- Creates a pleasant smell, making it ideal for use close to the home
- Entirely safe for human use and poses no harm to the environment
- Can be used for other household needs beyond just repelling skunks
- Requires additional work as users have to dilute and mix the product before application
- No longevity or total coverage area listed
Get the Essentially KateS skunk repellent at Amazon.
The RibRave ultrasonic animal repeller is an innovative device that utilizes motion detection to sense when unwanted critters are nearby. It then releases powerful ultrasonic sound waves and flashing LED lights to deter animals from approaching. It’s solar-powered and has a waterproof design, promising consistent protection around the clock, regardless of weather conditions.
As an added bonus, users can tailor the emitted frequencies to target specific animals with the adjustable frequency knob. It’s a humane solution that ensures animals’ well-being while ensuring they steer clear of the garden or yard. Installation is a breeze, and the device can be placed in any outdoor space. One limitation is that each device only has a 26-foot range, so buyers may need more than one to cover their entire outdoor space.
- Type: Ultrasonic
- Active ingredient: N/A
- Longevity: Indefinite (Solar-powered for continuous operation)
- Coverage: 26-foot range
- Solar-powered and waterproof design guarantees uninterrupted operation in all weather conditions
- Offers a compassionate approach, preventing harm to wildlife while keeping them at a distance
- Adjustable frequency offers customizable protection against a variety of animals
- The 26-foot motion-detection range might require multiple units for larger areas
- May affect household pets if not set to appropriate frequencies
Get the RibRave skunk repellent at Amazon.
While many pest-repellent products on the market broadly target a variety of different animals, Skunk Scram is specifically formulated to keep skunks at bay. With a formula that targets skunks’ particular senses of taste and smell, it offers an effective deterrent without resorting to chemicals. It’s made with all-natural ingredients, ensuring it’s safe for both people and the environment.
Its ready-to-use formula means users won’t have to deal with mixing or spraying. To apply, simply sprinkle the product lightly in areas that have incurred damage by skunks, working in a circular pattern. Expect to see results within 3 to 4 days.
- Type: Granules
- Active ingredients: Dried blood, peppermint oil, lemongrass oil, rosemary oil, and more
- Longevity: 2 to 4 weeks
- Coverage: 3,500 square feet
- The container provides a large coverage area of 3,500 square feet
- Features a hassle-free application with no need for mixing or spraying
- Designed using tastes and smells skunks find offensive and repelling
- The longevity isn’t specified, so it may require regular reapplication
- Designed specifically for skunks, so it may not deter other pests.
Get the Epic skunk repellent at Amazon, Lowe’s, or The Home Depot.
Given that they work with solar power and require no repeated applications or use of any chemicals, ultrasonic pest repellents are one of the easiest ways to ward off unwanted four-legged trespassers.
This IP44 waterproof repeller consists of a small set of speakers and a motion sensor that sits atop a stake. When the motion sensor is tripped, the repeller emits a high-pitched noise that drives pests away. A solar panel charges the device, so there’s no need to replace batteries, giving it a true set-it-and-forget-it design. Just keep in mind that it will also be heard by dogs, so use it wisely if there are pets in the home.
- Type: Ultrasonic
- Active ingredient: N/A
- Longevity: Indefinite
- Coverage: 30 feet
- Requires no batteries or reapplication since it’s powered by the sun
- Generates sounds only audible to animals; not audible to humans
- Construction is IP44 waterproof for long-term use and effectiveness
- The high-pitched noise might disturb household pets like dogs
Get the Zovenchi skunk repellent at Amazon.
Or, DIY Your Own Skunk Repellent
Those who want to deter skunks from their property without breaking the bank can make a DIY skunk repellent that is an effective and eco-friendly solution. Skunks are put off by strong scents, and several household items can help achieve this.
A simple method is to scatter fresh lemon and orange peels around the garden. The citrus smell, while pleasant for us, is unwelcoming to skunks and keeps them at bay. As an alternative, consider mixing half a pint of castor oil with an equal amount of dish soap, and then diluting it in a gallon of water. Once combined, spray this solution around the perimeter of the yard. The distinct aroma of castor oil, reinforced by the soap, creates an effective barrier that skunks tend to avoid. Using these easy DIY methods not only protects the garden but also promotes an environmentally responsible approach to animal control.
What to Consider When Choosing a Skunk Repellent
Understanding the different types of skunk repellents and how they work is crucial to choosing the right one. Ahead, learn how the best skunk deterrent products work and find out whether they’re more effective than traps.
Types of Skunk Repellents
Skunk repellents come in three main types: spray, granular, and electronic.
- Spray repellents consist of a liquid that’s distributed via a spray bottle. While these types of repellents are inexpensive and generally easy to apply, they typically only last for a few weeks before they must be reapplied.
- Granule repellents consist of small, dry pellets that contain substances that are irritating to an animal’s sense of taste and smell. Skunk repellent granules typically come in a shaker bottle, which makes them easy to apply. While a granular skunk repellent may be more expensive than sprays, it will last longer.
- Electronic skunk repellents consist of a small box that contains a motion detector and speakers. The unit sits on a stake that sticks into the ground near skunk activity. When an animal triggers the motion sensor, the speakers emit a high-pitched noise that scares them away. The speakers and motion detector are often powered by a battery and solar panel on the top of the unit.Electric skunk repellents are easy to install and do not wear out, making them the skunk repellent of choice for many. However, they do have their downsides. The noise from the speakers, though inaudible to humans, can irritate pets. And since this is designed to scare animals, it has the potential to provoke a spray from a skunk.
Since skunk repellents must be distributed throughout the yard to work, they typically use natural ingredients that are nontoxic to humans and pets and safe for the environment. Common ingredients include peppermint essential oil, which is irritating to skunks but pleasant smelling to humans. Other repellents use putrescent egg whites, dried blood, and garlic oil as a repellent, which have a bad smell when applied but are undetectable by humans once dry.
Black pepper, piperine, and capsaicin, which are irritating to a skunk’s sense of taste as well as its sense of smell, are also common ingredients in animal repellents. Some skunk repellents use urine from common skunk predators, such as coyotes, to scare skunks away.
Since skunk repellents are applied outside, weather largely determines how long an application remains effective.
- Most spray repellents will wash off in the rain, requiring the user to reapply them to maintain an effective barrier.
- Skunk repellent granules are better able to endure wet conditions than sprays.
- Electronic skunk repellents, which are waterproof, do the best job of enduring the elements. However, they require a certain amount of sunlight to charge their batteries; otherwise, they’ll cease to function.
Skunk Repellents vs. Skunk Traps
Deciding whether skunk repellents or skunk traps are a better option for one’s skunk problems depends on a few factors. Situations in which skunks have nested in the crawl space or beneath the deck may require traps to relocate them from the area.
If skunks are only making occasional nighttime visits, repellents will most likely suffice. Before trapping skunks, keep in mind that doing so is illegal in some states. Also consider that a trapped skunk is more likely to spray, so it may also make sense to call in the pros.
Tips on How to Use a Skunk Repellent
When using skunk repellent, there are a few strategies that will help to get the most out of the product’s effectiveness. First, users will want to be strategic about where they place it and identify how skunks are coming onto their property. They can then spray the area so the animals come into contact with the repellent.
Common areas to treat include garbage cans, trees, and gardens, all of which commonly attract skunks. If necessary, create a perimeter around the property with a spray or granules to provide comprehensive protection. Reapply regularly. While it may be a hassle, remember to reapply liquid or granular repellents every few weeks or after it rains to keep skunks at bay.
- Treat areas that skunks commonly frequent
- Create a perimeter of repellent around the home
- Treat the area regularly
Knowing more about the enemy is crucial when attempting to rid skunks from the yard. Ahead, learn about what skunks like to eat, what smells they hate, and other crucial intel about these odiferous invaders.
Q. How do skunk repellents work?
Skunks have a very powerful sense of smell, which they use to locate prey, such as grubs and other food. Repellents use this acute sense of smell by filling the surrounding area with odors that skunks find offensive.
Q. What smells do skunks hate?
Skunks particularly hate the smell of ammonia, mothballs, predator urine, citrus, and certain essential oils.
Q. Are skunk repellents safe around my pets and children?
Most skunk repellents are safe to use around pets and children. However, take care with the use of repellents that use such substances as pepper oil and capsaicin, which can be irritating to humans and pets. If using a skunk repellent that’s listed as safe for dogs, always check the label before using it.
Q. Do moth balls repel skunks?
Most animals, including skunks, cannot stand the smell of mothballs and typically withdraw when they are near. Remember that mothballs contain naphthalene, which is toxic to the environment and can also harm humans.
Q. Do skunks like light?
Skunks are night-dwelling animals and therefore do not typically appear in the daytime.
Q. What do skunks eat?
A skunk’s diet includes mainly grubs, crickets, beetles, other insects, and earthworms.
Q. How do I keep skunks out of my yard at night?
The scents that repel skunks include citrus, ammonia, mothballs, and predator urine. You can also use motion-activated lights or ultrasonic repellents to scare away skunks.
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