How to Get Rid of the Smell of a Stink Bug

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A typical stink bug.
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The good news is stink bugs won't harm you, and they're not interested in eating the contents of your closet or pantry. However, the bad news is they definitely live up to their name: They stink. When they're disturbed or feel under threat, stink bugs release a foul odor. In the wild, this smell helps protect them from predators. In the home, it's unpleasant and difficult to get rid of -- but not impossible.

Prevention Is Key

The best way to keep stink bug smell from your home is to stop the insects from getting into your home. Caulk all cracks around windows and door frames. Another effective repellent is insecticide, which you can apply as a perimeter treatment around your property. Other repellent methods the website Bayer Advanced recommends include rubbing window screens with pungent dryer sheets and draping a damp towel over a lawn chair overnight to attract the bugs, then disposing of them in a pail of soapy water.

Quick Stink Bug Removal

If stink bugs do get into your home, resist the temptation to smash them as this will immediately release the foul smell. Stink-bug expert Anne Nielson recommends vacuuming as the best removal method. Make sure you immediately dispose of the vacuum bag as it is likely to stink.

Homemade Odor Eliminators

Simple odor removal methods using items you're likely to have at home may help get rid of stink-bug smell. "Good Housekeeping" suggests soaking a cotton ball with an odor-neutralizing extract such as lemon or peppermint, popping it into a small, clean glass jar, securing the lid and making a few holes in it to release the scent. Alternatively, put a few handfuls of fresh, unused coffee grounds into clean pantyhose and hang them around the room.

Odor Control Products

"The New York Times" states the chemical released by a stink bug when threatened or crushed is like skunk odor. Therefore, skunk-odor removal methods may be effective in getting rid of stink-bug smell. The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension recommends thoroughly ventilating the affected area with fresh air before applying deodorants to the source of the odor. A formula chemist Paul Krebam developed may help neutralize the smell on washable fabrics. Mix 1 quart of 3-percent hydrogen peroxide with 1/4 cup of baking soda and 1 to 2 teaspoons of liquid dish soap in an open container. Use the mixture immediately but don't apply it directly to the fabrics; add it to the wash cycle to dilute it. You may want to try a range of odor-control products available in stores. Always follow the manufacturer's directions for use.


Claire has been writing and editing for 18 years. She has written for many digital publications, including Apartment Therapy, Good Housekeeping, Buzzfeed and Architectural Digest.

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