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Tomato Skunk Stink Cure

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A well-known North American remedy for being sprayed by a skunk is to take a bath in tomato juice. Tomato paste, tomato sauce, or just tomatoes themselves are also an alternative. In fiction, whenever a character is sprayed by a Smelly Skunk, they'll be forced to take a bath in some kind of tomato solution.

In real life, however, this remedy doesn't actually work. At most, tomato juice will mask the scent of a skunk, not get rid of it. There are better remedies out there than dousing yourself in tomatoes. The most popular recommendation, for those curious, is a combination of peroxide, baking soda, and liquid detergent.note 



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    Fan Works 

    Films — Live-Action 

  • Animorphs: One book sees Visser Three get skunked. The Visser has them cornered, but Ax points out that the smell is going to linger, and that returning to his spaceship (an environment not known for being easy to air out by opening a window) will only transfer the smell and require a weeks-long cleaning at a major space station. The Visser lets them go in exchange for the secret, and the book ends with Tobias reporting the Visser is now a lovely shade of purple, and the Animorphs musing that they should maybe have told him he should bathe in tomato juice, not grape.
  • A Dog's Purpose: Bailey comes across a skunk while wandering in the woods. He doesn't know what it is, goes to investigate, and ends up sprayed. His owners are forced to bathe him in tomato juice and he isn't let in the house for a few days. Unfortunately, Bailey doesn't correlate the smell with the skunk and tries to get near her a second time. After one more tomato bath he figures out that maybe he should avoid skunks.
  • In the Fudge book Fudge-a-Mania, Turtle the dog gets sprayed by a skunk, and Mr. Tubman, Shiela's grandfather, is the first to suggest making him bathe in tomato juice.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Fuller House: Stephanie, Tommy and Max have to bathe themselves in tomato juice when a skunk ends up getting loose in the Harmon Veterinary.
  • One of various myths tested by the Mythbusters. The result: the smell of the sauce masked the stench, but it didn't get rid of it completely. A better solution was to wash the sprayed part thoroughly with commercial cleaners, preferably those with an oxygen solution.
  • The Partridge Family had an episode where got skunked on the way to a show. Reuben came up with the tomato juice bath cure.
  • In the Seinfeld episode "The Smelly Car", Elaine's hairstylist offers tomato sauce as a backup plan to get rid of the super-strong and persistent bad smell from Jerry's car. Toward's the episode's ending, she accepts it.
  • Zoey 101: In the episode "Bad Girl", a skunk sprays Michael and Logan, making them seek odor removal. They try eating tomato juice at first, only to learn that they were supposed to bathe in it.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Under the Umbrella Tree: At the end of the episode "Twins," when Gloria and Jacob get sprayed by Sparky and Spunky Skunk, Iggy and Holly are revolted, but Gloria and Jacob take it in stride, since it's happened to them before, and calmly ask Holly if she has any tomato juice so they can wash themselves.

  • The trope is invoked in this Questionable Content strip, mostly to embarrass Elliot.
  • Breaking Cat News:Elvis gets sprayed by a skunk and then put in a tomato juice bath. Naturally, he's extremely annoyed about it.
  • Sabrina Online: In one strip Sabrina and her boyfriend R.C. get cornered by a mugger. Sabrina sprays the mugger, and R.C. gets caught in the crossfire. Cue this trope.
  • Comes up every so often in Kevin & Kell, with skunks showing up as recurring characters or extras every once in a while.

    Western Animation 
  • In the BoJack Horseman episode "BoJack Kills", Todd and Mr. Peanutbutter get sprayed by a skunk and use this method to get rid of the smell.
  • In one episode of Curious George, the titular monkey comes across a skunk. He goes close to it to study it and gets sprayed. The Man with the Yellow Hat gives him a bath of tomato juice. This happens multiple times throughout the episode, the man remarking that he's down to his last bottle.
  • In the Family Guy episode "Meg Stinks", Brian dumps and bathes himself with tons of tomato juice after getting sprayed by a skunk. It doesn't work.
  • In the Katie and Orbie episode "Peeheew!" Orbie gets sprayed by a skunk and the parents wash him with tomato juice in the kiddie pool outside. It takes four baths before the smell finally goes away.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: In the episode "Winter Wrap Up", while waking up the animals from their hibernation, Twilight Sparkle gets sprayed by an entire family of skunks, and later she is shown taking a bath into a tub filled with tomato juice.
  • In the Regular Show episode "Skunked", Rigby gets sprayed by a were-skunk and will turn into one unless he can get rid of the smell. Naturally, the solution is tomato paste.
  • Discussed in the Rugrats episode, "Chuckie Gets Skunked". After Chuckie gets skunked, Chaz tries everything to get rid of the smell. When Didi asks him if he gave Chuckie a bath in tomato juice, Chaz tells her he tried it, but it didn't get rid of the smell and instead permanently stained the bathtub. Stu then tells Chaz that it's better to use tomato paste, but Chaz tells him he tried that too; it didn't get rid of the smell and instead gunked up the bathtub drain. Bathing him in borsht did the job, though.
  • In The Spectacular Spider Man episode "Market Forces", Spider-Man gets stuck with a persistent garbage smell after fighting Shocker in a dump. J. Jonah Jamerson upon smelling Peter, assuming he got the stench photographing the scene, tells him that tomato juice is the only thing that will get rid of the smell.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures: The short "Out of Odor", which is a part of the episode "Viewer Mail Day", has Elmyra wanting to capture Fifi La Fume because she mistakes her for a cat, but Fifi's strong stench is a powerful deterrent. So Elmyra douses her with tomato juice to get rid of the smell so she can cuddle Fifi. Fifi is eventually able to wash off the juice and tries to fight back. Unfortunately, an allergic reaction to roses leaves Elmyra unable to smell anything, which allows her to capture Fifi.
  • In the Total Drama Action episode "Dial M for Merger", the gang needs to each defuse a trash can stink bomb. They are unsuccessful as the next scene has them bathing in tomato juice to get rid of the scent.
  • In The Venture Bros. episode "Pinstripes & Poltergeists", Brock Samson and Shore Leave try a tomato bath to get rid of the stench of a chemical weapon's lab they took down. Notably, it doesn't work, causing Hunter Gathers to comment they now smell like "tomato and crap soup".
  • Subverted in the Wild Kratts episode "Skunked!". After Jimmy gets sprayed by a spotted skunk, the crew use tomato soup as their first attempt to get rid of the smell. It doesn't work. At the end, they correctly use the combination of peroxide, baking soda, and liquid detergent to finally wash off the scent.
  • Subverted in the Puppy Dog Pals episode "A Stinky Story". After Hissy gets sprayed by a skunk, this is one of the remedies Keia attempts to remove the smell. Needless to say, it doesn't work out so well.


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