Skunks may be known for emitting a powerful odor, but they also damage gardens, lawns and beehives through their constant digging. No known reliable skunk repellent exists, according to the University of California Davis. Rags soaked in ammonia, however, have some success in evicting skunks from their burrows.

Ammonia sometimes works to repel skunks.

Method of Use

Locate the skunk's den. This is often under sheds, garages, outbuildings, near chicken coops or under steps. Using a long stick or broom handle, shove several rags soaked in ammonia inside of the den. When the skunk leaves, fill in the burrow and seal with hardware cloth. The smaller the den, the more pungent the ammonia will be. Ammonia smell fades quickly and needs to be replaced as soon as the homeowner can no longer smell the ammonia, notes Utah State University Cooperative Extension. Stuffing more rags down the opening is usually safer than trying to physically remove the older rags.

Time Frame

Skunks tend to live alone, except for mothers with babies. The skunk mother will leave the den with her babies in a few weeks, advises "Healers of the Wild: Rehabilitating Injured and Orphaned Wildlife." Skunk burrows discovered in the late fall and winter will not have babies. To determine whether a skunk is still using the den, sprinkle a layer of white flour at the opening in the afternoon. Check for skunk prints when it is dark. Skunks tend to leave their dens at dusk or when fully dark.


Other repellents that can be used in place of ammonia-soaked rags include bleach-soaked rags, cayenne pepper spray, a spray made of equal parts castor oil and liquid dishwashing soap and blaring a radio just outside of the den. Napthalene, a compound commonly used in mothballs or moth flakes, has reportedly been successful in evicting skunks. Napthalene is poisonous to people, pets and wildlife if it is swallowed.


Wild skunks will bite and may carry rabies. Never handle a wild skunk. Check local laws before killing skunks, because they are protected in some areas. Always wear eye protection and work gloves when approaching a skunk's den or a live trap, as frightened or injured skunks may spray. Never mix ammonia with bleach, as this can create toxic fumes to anyone nearby.