Skunk problem!

ipswichclamFebruary 27, 2012

We have a small cottage in Maine. The cottage is built on piers/posts, and it does not have a basement, just a crawlspace.

We were there last week for winter vacation, and we were awakened during the night be the most intense skunk odor we have ever experienced. We did not see the skunk, but we did notice some footprints in the snow leading under the house.

The odor was so bad that we cut our vacation short, and returned home. All of our clothes, suitcases, and other belongings smelled of skunk and needed serious cleaning.

We have hired a licensed expert to trap are relocate the skunks. Once that is done, we will need to figure out how to get rid of the odor in the cottage and on our belongings there, and how to keep skunks from returning.

I have done a lot of reading on the internet, and in this forum in particular. It seems that for every solution that one person touts as a godsend, another says it doesn't work and/or it is dangerous.

So I am posting here to here everyone's thoughts on some specific approaches.


I may need to call a professional. Are companies like Servicemaster and Servpro good at this kind of thing? Do they stand behind their work?

What questions should I ask before hiring someone?

Ozone Machines--do they work for skunk? Did you rent one or hire a service that used one? I am aware of their potential safety hazards, but we can have any work done when the cottage is completely vacant.

If I need to have the underside of my house powerwashed or cleaned, how is that best done?


Given the construction of the house--on piers with lattice--it will be nearly impossible to exclude the skunks physically. So we are looking at some kind of repellent system.

I know about mothballs and their health hazards. I read that they may not work very well anyway.

What about commercial products like Critter Ridder and Bonide Repels All?

I've read about urine (fox, coyote, etc) but they need periodic refreshing and we are not there for months at a time. I also hear that these things sometimes attact animals instead of repelling them.

What about strobe lights? They make them for this purpose

Woudl it be an fire hazard to have these strobe lights running under my crawlspace when we are not there? If it's not UL listed, am I taking too much risk doing this?

Will they drive other animnals like mice up from the crawlspace into my house?

Thank you all for your thoughts.

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The odor will dissipate with time. It wasn't like a giant skunk sprayed and saturated the whole house. Crack the windows and let some fresh air in. You are not living there.
You can erect a physical barrier . Hardware cloth can be attached behind the lattice, barely noticeable. It can be attached to the under side of the house and buried several inches into the ground.
Hardware cloth is a screen that is pretty durable and should do the trick. If you are from Ipswich, I am sure someone in town has had a similar experience, talk around. I am familiar with the town and know it is rural, someone has had this problem.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 6:44PM
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One thing I forgot.Several years ago I had a large fisher cat take up residence under my deck which sits 2" off the ground, this was the first winter for this deck.Thankfully he didn't stay long. Once the ground thawed the hardware cloth went up per a coworker who lived on a farm in Methuen.No problems since.

    Bookmark   February 27, 2012 at 7:02PM
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