How to Get Rid of Unwanted Fish Smells

You’ve headed out on the boat for the day, wielding your best fishing rod, a bucket of bait and an attitude that says; “I’m ready to try my hand at hunter-gathering and bring home a boat-load of fish”. Then lo and behold, after hours on the ocean, you’ve proudly reeled in the catch of the day and are ready to present your spoils to your family.

Okay. Perhaps you nipped into the local supermarket and found the freshest looking fish in the seafood section. No one will know, right?

No matter whether you’re a successful fisherman or secret shopper, there’s no doubt that fish is a delicious and healthy meal option and is a part of many household’s staple diets. However, everyone is familiar with the unfortunate stench that can remain after a fishing trip and a seafood-based meal.

Not to worry, we’ve put together a few quick tips to help you keep your home smelling fresh and get rid of those lingering seafood odours, from your clothing to your kitchen.


In the Kitchen


Keeping fishy odours out of your kitchen, truly begins with preparation. First off, it’s important to know that fresh fish shouldn’t really have an odour whatsoever, so make sure to begin with sniffing the meat. If there’s anything unsavoury about the scent emanating from the meat, it’s probably best not to eat.

It’s also absolutely key to make sure that your tools, bench tops and oven are all clean from the get-go. Any uncleanliness in your kitchen, combined with the smell of fish cooking is a recipe for culinary disaster, so before you embark on your seafood sauté, make sure everything is spotless.

Finally, when preparing to cook your catch, make sure there’s plenty of ventilation throughout the house. Open doors and windows and bring out the fan you have tucked away in storage – you’ll thank yourself later.

Cooking Method:

A lot of the smell from fishy dishes comes from the method used to cook it. If you’re thinking of throwing fish steaks in a pan and frying your way to dinner time, it might be best to reconsider, as frying is one of the worst techniques for causing an odour problem in the kitchen.

A brilliant method that guarantees you a more scent-free experience is poaching. Cooking fish in water allows the meat to remain tender and soft, season the broth with a little lemon to neutralize the odour, and you’ll be surprised at how fresh your kitchen will smell.

If that’s not for you, a great way to quite literally keep the fishy smell under-wraps, is to use baking paper or foil and place the meat in the over to bake. This way, the smell and moisture is contained both within the paper and the oven, and you’ll have a little less of a fishy aftermath on your hands.

The Clean-up:

Everyone dreads doing the dishes, but when cooking fish for dinner, it’s best not to procrastinate. Get straight onto it, wipe the bench tops down, make sure you thoroughly clean the utensils you used to cook with, and give the sink a thorough clean afterwards. It’s the overlooked remnants of your fish-centric dinner that’ll cause unwanted odour.

Furthermore, make sure to throw out any leftovers, bones and remains from gutted fish straight away. A handy tip to getting rid of any leftover meat is to freeze it first and put it in the bin on rubbish day. There is nothing more pungent than the smell of rotting fish. So when rubbish day arrives get that seafood out the door and straight into the bin before it begins to turn a little too fragrant. This way you’ll have zero odour as the meat is frozen and will be taken away quickly so you won’t have rotten fish waiting for you at the back door.

Not to worry if you haven’t followed these steps and you’re left with a bit of unwanted fishy odour, take a look at Rug Doctor’s Odour Remover – it’ll get rid of the bad smells for you.


On Your Clothing

Sometimes it can feel like you’ve done absolutely everything you can to get rid of the smell, and it just won’t go away. When this happens, it could be time to look a little closer to home and consider that your clothing might need a bit more attention to detail.

Easy Washing Steps:

Firstly, grab your offending fishing swan-dry or clothing item and a bucket. Place the clothing in the bucket and fill up with warm water, and leave it to soak (make sure to check the fabric is warm-wash safe and wont shrink). This is a great preemptive step and will get rid of a lot of lingering odours straight off the bat.

Follow up with a full wash cycle with preferably scented washing powder. Ideally, this will get rid of any bacteria and mask the scent with something a little more favourable.

The final step to getting rid of bad smells in clothing, is to air dry outside in the sun. This isn’t the time for the clothes horse or a dryer, hanging things out in the fresh air naturally deodorises garments.


In the Home

If you’re either a keen fisherman or a hungry pescatarian, or simply love a bit of homemade fish and chips on a Friday evening, chances are the fishy smell might linger throughout the house longer than you anticipated. If this is the case, there are a few quick things you can action to get rid of the smell as fast as possible.

Air it Out:

We’ve said it once and we’ll say it again, open up those doors, unhinge the windows and let that fresh air flow through your home. The simple act of not trapping pungent air in your house will work wonders. If this doesn’t do the trick, there are plenty of air fresheners available that’ll mask the odour and get rid of bacteria, removing the smell from your home. Alternatively, simply light a fragrant candle and flicker away your odour woes.

A Good, Thorough Clean:

Scents like fish can hang around the home a lot longer than we think. Fortunately, there’s very little that a good, thorough clean won’t fix. Begin with the furniture, vacuuming and using professional cleaner to get rid of any particles that may have attached to your upholstery, then move to your carpets and repeat the steps. If you’re not sure where to even begin when it comes to a deep clean, take a quick look at Rug Doctor’s frequently asked questions – they’ll get you headed in the right direction.


Sometimes, no matter what steps we take, a lingering smell can remain. If you’re in need of a heavy duty clean or odour removal, have a look through Rug Doctor’s full range of cleaning and odour removal products, here.

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