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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Austin-Area Cleaning Company Explains How to Deal With Skunk Odor

10/9/2020 (Permalink)

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Summary: SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin has the advanced cleaning technology to neutralize the worst odors, including skunk spray.

SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin offers an advanced cleaning technology that does more than mask foul odors. The cutting-edge odor removal technology neutralizes odors and eliminates them, which is an essential service in light of the large skunk population in Texas.

Skunk odor removal can be challenging. Occasionally skunks will spray the family pet, which then may spread the noxious oil through the home in its attempts to escape the overpowering odor. Skunks that have taken up residence in a crawl space may, on occasion, spray the area. If a skunk sprays next to a home, the HVAC system or attic fan may pick up the scent and spread it throughout the house. In any of these cases or other cases, a call to SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin is the best first step to eliminating the odor.

Skunk Facts

Texas boasts five species of skunk, more than any other state. These include the striped skunk, the hog-nosed skunk, the hooded skunk, and the elusive Eastern and Western spotted skunks. Skunks were once thought to be in the weasel family, but DNA tests proved otherwise. The skunk is most closely related to the Asian Stink Badger. That makes sense. (No pun intended!)

Diet: Skunks eat grasshoppers, bees, beetles, beetle larvae, and crickets. During winter, skunks will scavenge for nuts, seeds, pet food, and open garbage cans. If extremely hungry, skunks will consume mice, rats, and chicken eggs.

Nesting: Skunks roam at night, like their privacy, and are homebodies. They will homestead where there is ample food, water, and shelter. Dark, protected areas such as crawl spaces, basements, and under decks and porches are favorite living quarters.

Property Damage: Skunks are equipped with efficient digging tools — their front claws, which enable them to tunnel under sheds, buildings, decks, and concrete foundations, compromising the structural integrity of homes and businesses. These burrows also give skunks access to the interior of a home or business.

Skunk Prevention: In order to be less attractive to skunks, the yard should be neat and clean. Trimming overgrown shrubbery eliminates potential hiding places for skunks. Removing yard debris, including wood and rocks, reduces insects and other skunk food sources. Garbage cans should have tight-fitting lids to keep skunks from foraging in the trash, and pet food should be discarded or moved inside before sunset.

Odor Chemistry and Mechanics: Skunks will spray when started or when threatened by predators. The intensely pungent spray is composed of thiol, an oily substance of mainly sulfur and hydrogen. A skunk can spray multiple bursts either in a mist or a fine stream that can accurately hit a target over fifteen feet away. The nonlethal spray may cause temporary blindness, nausea, or vomiting in humans or pets. Thankfully, skunks are not fond of their own odor, so they either flee or engage in maneuvers that hopefully cause the predators to flee.

Rabies Warning: Skunks, raccoons, and foxes are high-risk carriers of rabies. A skunk is very near-sighted and may come very close to a pet or human before taking any evasive action. Remember, skunks are wild animals, even though they may be living under the deck or shed or in the crawl space.

Signs of a Skunk Infestation: Tunnels or burrows, cone-shaped holes in the yard or garden, disappearing pet food when the pets are in the house and ripped bags in the garbage cans may indicate a skunk problem. One sure sign of a skunk infestation is the frequent presence of the sharp skunk smell.

The SERVPRO Solution: Advanced Cleaning Technology

Neutralizing the odor from skunk spray requires the SERVPRO advanced cleaning technology.  Not only is skunk odor extremely difficult to remove, but the toxic spray can also damage furniture, flooring, and paint. Outdoor furniture is vulnerable to contamination if a skunk has found a home under the deck or nearby shed.

What to Do When There Is a Skunk Odor Problem

Step 1: Call SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin to start the process of skunk deodorization.

Step 2: Contact the insurance company. Skunk deodorization services may be covered by insurance. Call SERVPRO first to assist with the call when talking with the insurance company to have the damage partially and potentially fully covered if the decision is made to file a claim.

Step 3: Remove the source of the smell — the skunk and its family. Skunk removal is not a DIY project. Skunks carry many diseases, including rabies. The spray is not only noxious but also toxic. Skunks bite and scratch. Secure the services of a reputable animal control specialists. They can quickly, safely, and humanely remove the offensive creatures.

Step 4: Inspect and assess the situation to determine what needs to be cleaned, including furniture, carpet, clothing, or other household items. The spray oils can cover multiple surfaces, and they will all typically need to be cleaned. Also, if the insulation in a crawl space has been affected, it may need to be replaced.

Step 5: Leave the home during the cleaning process. If SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin takes on the challenge of eliminating skunk odor, the homeowner and other occupants can expect to be out of the house for a short period while deodorization is in progress. If the homeowners are filing an insurance claim, the company may cover food and lodging while the client is displaced.

Step 6: Apply the SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin advanced technology cleaning process. This proven cleaning technology for deodorization eliminates the problem at its source. The old process took several days, but the new process with new technology can resolve the skunk odor issue much quicker, even as soon as one day in some situations.

Step 7: SERVPRO of Lake Travis/NW Austin will properly ventilate the home to ensure the homeowner and family return to a clean, safe environment.

To learn more about property damage restoration including odor removal, contact the office by calling (512) 318-2202.

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