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Clothespin Nose Plug

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The end-result of encountering a Smelly Skunk.

Sometimes, using your fingers to block out a bad smell just isn't enough. The solution? Simply force your nostrils shut with a clothespin! What, you don't have one? Everybody carries around a clothespin. Well, in that case, stuff some corks up your nose. Or a cloth, or a canary, or whatever else you have that can save your olfactory receptors from that awful stench.

Using a clothespin is the most common variation of this trope, usually found in cartoons where they will be comically oversized. The bad smell will be played up with its Visible Odor, perhaps resulting in a wrinkling of the nose, to which the character inexplicably pulls out a clothespin. The appearance of these is almost always Played for Laughs, even if the reason for it is to avoid a Weaponized Stench or a poisonous gas. Because trying to avoid a horrible smell that can kill you is inherently funny. However, sometimes a clothespin is utilised to avoid smelling something good, perhaps to avoid a delicious trap or to prevent yourself being strung along by the scent.

Note this trope involves using a makeshift noseplug for the purpose of avoiding an odour because it smells bad (or sometimes good) not for any other purpose like trying to not pass out, although they can overlap. Also note the 'makeshift' aspect must involve an unusual object, so anything from fingers to holding your breath is not this trope. Tends to ignore the fact that having a clothespin latched onto your nose for even a brief period hurts like hell, and is also not that effective at blocking out smells.

Can be used to avoid Fartillery, a Weaponized Stench, a Stink Bomb, a Smelly Skunk, or a Gasshole, among other things. Expect one to highlight the severity of The Diaper Change. Also used to emphasise that Humans Are Smelly, Evil Smells Bad, and a Wilting Odor.


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    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • In Fawcett Comics Funny Animals comic run, the character Sammy Skunk wore a clothespin on his nose as his permanent attire, to avoid smelling his own stench.

    Comic Strips 
  • Mother Goose and Grimm: In the March 3rd, 2005 issue, Grimmy gets sprayed by a Smelly Skunk, complete with Visible Odor, and Mother Goose goes to the doctor for help. The next panel has the doctor flatly saying to use clothespins as he hands them one each, with one already on his own nose.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Adrian Mole: In Growing Pains, Adrian mentions that when changing his baby sister Rosie's nappies, he nearly faints when he tries to do it without a protective device, a clothes peg.
  • The Berenstain Bears: The special Meet Bigpaw has a scene where Papa is rallying the bears of Beartown to travel up to Bigpaw's cave for an attack on him (before Mama stops him long enough to get him to go investigate and be sure Bigpaw really is a threat). One brief scene shows him walking past a group of "skunk bombs", skunks carried on watermelons, with a clothespin over his nose to block out their odor.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: At one point in Changes (book 3 of the Collegium Chronicles), while Mags is searching for a team of assassins sent to Haven, he discovers the assassins eliminated the previous team for failure. The bodies had been left in a sealed building during summer and had begun to rot by the time they were found. Several Guardsmen throw up from the stench before one of them starts handing out scarves soaked in mint for everyone to wrap around their faces.
  • In the spin-off book Mr Bean's Diary from the series Mr. Bean, Mr Bean is seen with a clothes peg on his nose when trying to sort out his drains.
  • The Witches: At the end of their annual meeting, the Grand High Witch reminds the witches to put cotton plugs up their noses before having their dinner, because the dining room will be full of children, who smell like dogs' droppings to witches.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Adventures in Wonderland episode "Arrivederci Aroma'', Alice accidentally spills a whole bottle of perfume onto herself. The Hatter, Hare, and Tweedles put clothespins on their noses when they interact with her.
  • A variation in CSI: NY: "Dancing with the Fishes" has Mac and Stella walk into his office to find Lindsay waiting with two bottles on his desk, one of hydrogen sulfide (which is known for smelling like rotten eggs) and the other of a test product not yet on the market which is designed to block out bad smells. She demonstrates the new product's use by smearing some of it right underneath Mac's nose, then opening the smelly chemical and having him sniff it. All he can detect is the scent of vanilla.
  • Shining Time Station: In "Stacy Cleans Up", the local dump closes and as a result, garbage bags pile up around the station. Rusty McRail, an engineer with a trainload of garbage keeps picking up more, but no one wants to let him unload his train in their town. The odor of the garbage becomes so pungent that everyone in the station wears clothespins on their noses to block out the smell. Eventually, the solution is to weed the recyclable materials out to reduce the volume. Once the task is complete and Rusty is able to take his train to the new recycling center, Becky is relieved that everyone can use the clothespins the way they were meant to be used; to hang up their clothes!

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street: In one episode, three Grouches travel from their home in Grouchytown to take a tour of Sesame Street. Besides sunglasses to shield their eyes from sunny smiles, they've brought clothespins for their noses, which they quickly put on when they notice the "horrible smell" of the vanilla ice cream Bob is eating.

    Video Games 
  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, one puzzle has you tasked with plugging up a complex flask to stop the smell from reaching a man nearby. Plugging the flask correctly requires more corks than you have, and the actual solution is to invoke this trope and just shove the corks up the man's nose.
  • A puzzle in Torin's Passage requires the hero to wear one as part of dealing with a pair of skunks.

    Web Comics 
  • In one strip of MoringMark - TOH Comics, King develops motion sickness, covering Darius in vomit. Later, Darius lies covered with vomit, with Eberwolf disgustedly watching with a clothespin on his nose.
  • In Sluggy Freelance's Dimension of Lame, even the sewers are inoffensively pleasant, being filled with scented flowers. The smell makes occupying them a challenge for the invading demons, for whom Good Is Bad And Bad Is Good; they overcome it once the local Alternate Self of Riff outfits them with clothespins on the nose.

    Western Animation 
  • In "Is There a Doctor in the House?" from Arthur, Arthur and D.W. use the method to block out the smell when changing Baby Kate's diaper.
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold are warding off Count Duckula with rotten eggs ("The Return of Count Duckula") but the vampire counters them with a clothes peg affixed to his beak's nostrils. Earlier in the episode, Penfold chases off Duckula with a rotten egg (which apparently is among foods thrown at terrible actors), and Danger Mouse has a clothes peg attached to his nose.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Thick as an Ed", Edd wears a clothespin on his nose to avoid the smell from Ed's lucky hunk of cheese.
  • In Legends of Chima, when Skinnet is around everyone uses clothespins on their noses. In this world, it's almost like plugging your nose is Serious Business since the ravens triple the price of the clothespins.
  • Felix the Cat: One cartoon has Felix encounter some extremely stinky cheese. He ends up using the exclamation mark that appears above his head in response to its stench as if it were a clothespin to clip his nose against it.
  • Looney Tunes: In the Pepé Le Pew cartoon "Louvre Come Back", Penelope's boyfriend confronts Pepe, but first he fills his lungs with air and closes his nose with a clothespin. Unfortunately, Pepe acts out a hypothetical duel between the two, making the cat wait until he can't hold his breath any longer.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Spike goes through a molting process in Moltdown which produces, among other things, a bad-smelling odor that attracts predators. Zecora uses two clothespins in order to not breathe in the stench.
    • When Twilight gets sprayed by a skunk, Spike washes her in tomato soup with a clothespin on his nose, along with a look of disgust.
    • In Hearts and Hooves Day, during the song "The Perfect Stallion," Scootaloo wears a clothespin on her nose while rejecting a dirty stallion with a garbage can cutie mark as "too smelly."
  • In A Pup Named Scooby-Doo, Scoob puts a clothespin on his nose on to elude Stikweed's stench (unfortunately he still smells it).
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Suds", after Sandy confronts "Doctor" Patrick's "treatment" of SpongeBob's cold which leaves him stinking, Patrick denies his smelliness whilst wearing a clothespin on where his nose would be (in spite of not having one).
  • In TUGS, the garbage-carrying barge Lord Stinker wears a clothespin on his nose.
  • Wayside: In "Le Race", these are used to block out a good smell. When Le Chef is racing the kids to the top of the school, he uses the delicious smell of his cooking to tempt Maurecia to fall off and stop her from climbing. Dana and Todd take out two clothespins to prevent themselves from smelling Le Chef's food and falling further behind.

    Real Life 
  • Italian ex-senator Nicola Morra once plugged his nose with a clothespin, saying that the Italian government stinks.

🔌Not EXACTLY the kind of plug we'd recommend using...


Video Example(s):


I'll Get the Clothespins

In "Is There a Doctor in the House?" from "Arthur," Arthur and D.W. use the method when changing their baby sister Kate's diaper.

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