Fish is a great meat choice for health conscious individuals, but the smell that lingers after cooking and eating fish is pretty pesky. The easiest way to prevent fish smell from building up in your house or kitchen is to fry or cook the fish outside but that is not always a viable option. Read on to learn how to get rid of fish smell from not only your house but also your hands, refrigerator, and utensils among others.
What Causes Fish Smell?
Fish smell is caused by bacterial action on Trimethylamine Oxide (TMAO) after fish dies, breaking it into trimethylamine (TMA). The presence of TMA causes the decomposition of muscles thus causing the fishy smell. The intensity of the fishy smell can thus serve as an indicator of how fresh the fish is. Handling fish leaves your hands with enough evidence that you have done it and cooking fish leaves your house and utensils smelling, sometimes for hours or even days.
How to Get Rid Of Fish Smell While Cooking
Fish has been used for culinary purposes for centuries and many home remedies have been tried and proven to help neutralize and combat the smell associated with them. Below is how to eliminate fish odor while cooking:
Soak the Fish in Milk
Milk is lauded for its ability to soak out fishy smell. The beneficial effect of milk on fish is attributed to the casein in it which bonds with the TMA in fish muscles and thus get rid of the fishy smell.
As regards how to remove fishy smell from fish with milk, simply soak the fish in a pan to which cool milk has been poured and allow it to soak in for 20 minutes. With this done, you are ready to cook or fry the fish without the smell.
Soak the Fish in Lemon Juice to Get Rid Of the Smell
The acidic nature of lemon juice makes it another powerful home remedy for fish odor in the house and pans. It is thought to work by making the offensive trimethylamine (TMA) to bind with water while at the same time not “diluting” the flavor of the fish.
Here is how to get rid of fish smell from your apartment with lemon juice:
- Squeeze fresh lemon juice from a lemon
- Pour in a glass of water
- Soak the fish in the mixture for 20 to 30 minutes.
- Cook or fry your fish as you normally do.
Use Vinegar to Eliminate the Odor
Acidic in nature, vinegar works in the same way as lemon juice. Vinegar comes in handy before and after cooking and can be used in the following ways:
- Mix a tablespoon of vinegar with a couple glasses of water and then soak the fish in it for 20 minutes or so prior to cooking.
- Pour vinegar into a bowl or open glass jar and place it by the stove while cooking the fish. The vinegar will help to neutralize the fish smell. For fish odors that remain after you are done cooking your fish, leave the bowl of vinegar on the kitchen counter overnight.
More Tips to Get Rid Of Fish Odor While Cooking
- Leave the kitchen windows open as you cook the fish.
- Cook, fry, or grill the fish outside if possible.
- Spice the food with cloves, citrus peels, cinnamon, or any other pleasant smelling spice of your choice to remove the fish odor naturally.
- Turn the ceiling or room fan on to boost air circulation. This not only helps while cooking but after as well.
- Cleaning up any accidental splashes of fishy water or “sauce” on the stove or counter tops goes a long way in getting rid of fishy smell in your kitchen and the house at large.
- Bag any fish and take it to the garbage bin right away.
More Ways to Get Rid of Fishy Smell in the House
Spraying an air freshener is a quick way to neutralize and get rid of fishy smell in your house. These products release a fresh smelling scent. There are even those that are not only designed to release the scent automatically but also swap the fragrances. If you go for these commercial air fresheners however, watch out how you use them to avoid getting the chemicals in them into contact with food.
Light Scented Candles
Scented kitchen candles helps to get rid of fishy smell while cooking and after cooking by releasing fresh-smelling scents.
Use Potatoes to Remove Fish Smell from Pans and Bowls
Potatoes can help to absorb and remove fish odors from utensils such as cooking pans, bowls, etc. Here is how to remove fish smell with potatoes:
- Cut 2 potatoes into two halves each
- Cover each half with salt and allow them to stay in the affected piece of utensil for 2 hours.
- Rinse the pan or bowl thoroughly and the smell will have faded away.
Use Coffee to Get Rid Of Fishy Smell Naturally
Coffee is also helpful in eliminating offensive fish odor from the kitchen after cooking. The coffee aroma will overshadow and neutralize the stubborn fishy odors quickly and naturally. For this home remedy to be effective however, it is important to start by cleaning the counter tops, and utensils (cutting boards, pans, knife, plates etc.) that have come into contact with the fish. Remember that coffee only mask the odor. Below is how to get rid of fishy smell in the house with coffee:
- Once you are done cooking fish and washing the utensils and counters, brew a cup of coffee in the kitchen. Ground coffee makes the best fish odor removal remedy and if you can spice it up with nutmeg, cinnamon, etc. it will do the trick even better.
- Grind some coffee beans and then place them on the kitchen counter overnight after cooking
How to Get Fish Smell off Your Hands
If you are concerned about fishy smell that lingers on your hands after preparing your fish delicacy, here are some of ways in which you can neutralize and remove it:
Rub Your Hands on Stainless Steel Surface to Eliminate the Fishy Odor
Stainless steel not only helps to get rid of garlic smell but also remove fish smell from the hands. All you have to do is:
- Rub your hands against the stainless steel surface of your sink (if it is indeed made of stainless steel) for a short while.
- Wash them with water and soap.
- Repeat several times as necessary to get the fish smell off your hands.
Stainless Steel Bar Soap
You can as well use a stainless steel bar soap to get rid of the fishy smell from your hands.
As the name suggests, these products are made from pure stainless steel and all you have to do is to clean your hands with them under running water like you would with a regular soap for half a minute or so and the fishy smell will go away.
What is best, the stainless steel bar soap doesn’t get depleted and you can use it for years to come.
Rinse Your Hands with Lemon Juice or Vinegar
This natural home remedy for fish smell is only ideal for you if you don’t have any nicks and cuts or open wounds on your hands. If that is a tick for you, then go ahead and rinse your hands with lemon juice or vinegar.
For lemon juice, the easiest way to do the trick is cut a lemon into two halves and then squeeze the juice out while rubbing them on your hands one half at a time. Washing your hands in a basin containing a solution of lemon juice and water will also help.
As for vinegar, mix a tablespoon of it with enough water to make a dilute solution and then dip your hands inside for instant fish smell removal.
Apply Salt to Your Hands
As soon as you are done preparing or cooking a fish-meal, use salt to remove the fishy smell as follows:
- Wash your hands with soap and water.
- Sprinkle some salt into your palm and then rub it all over your hands.
- After through scrubbing, rinse the salt off with cool running water.
As the case with vinegar and lemon juice, salt will cause a sting if you have open wounds, cuts, or scrapes.
How to Get Fish Smell Out Of Clothes
As you cook your fish dish in the kitchen, fish odor could be slowly sneaking into your bedroom and closet and sticking onto your clothes and beddings. It is also possible that the fish touches the clothes and leave behind an offensive odor. Below is a guideline on how to get rid of fish smell on clothes.
Close the Bedroom Doors While Cooking a Fish-Meal
This simple tactic is more of a preventative than a remedial measure. By keeping the closet and bedroom doors closed, you help to keep your clothes and other fabrics from absorbing the smell coming out of your kitchen.
Treat the Clothes with Vinegar
In case fish comes into contact with your clothes, soak them in vinegar for thirty minutes and then wash them as usual.
Apply Lemon Juice to the Affected Area
Lemon juice can also help to remove fishy odor from clothes. All you have to do is apply lemon juice to the stained area, leave it on for a few minutes, and then proceed to wash the clothes as normal.
Baking soda also comes in handy in removing fish smells from clothes. Simply add ½ cup of baking soda (bicarbonate of soda) into your laundry water and go ahead cleaning the garment with your usual laundry detergent.
Use Vodka to Get Rid Of the Fishy Smell
Some people suggests using vodka for the purpose saying that it removes the fishy smell from garments and evaporate off with it. Below is how to get rid of fish odor from clothes with vodka.
- Mix 2 parts water with 1 part vodka.
- Soak the affected piece of clothing into the mixture for a few minutes
- Wash it and then wring out the mixture.
- Air dry the garment.
How to Get Rid Of Fishy Smell in Fridge
The refrigerator is also not immune to the offensive smell of fish, so to speak. Below are some of the ways in which you can remove the smell from your fridge:
Method 1: Baking soda + Dish Detergent
Baking soda and dishwashing liquid make for a good combination remedy for the nasty smell of fish in your fridge. Below is how to get rid of fish smell from your home using these easily available home ingredients:
- Empty your refrigerator (or freezer) and then remove all the drawers and trays.
- To a liter of warm water, add 3-5 drops of washing liquid and ¼ cup of baking soda.
- Apply the resulting solution all over the refrigerator (on the inside of course) with the help of a clean sponge or towel. Don’t forget the inside of the door(s) and the trays.
- Dry the fridge with a clean towel.
- Once dry, rub the treated surfaces with vanilla extract to remove any outstanding fish odor.
- Close the door and give the fridge time to dry completely before putting the drawers and trays back in place.
Use Fridge Fresheners and Deodorizers
If you want you can as well use one of the many commercial fridge fresheners available on the market today. These are formulated with many fragrances ranging from citrus to apple, orange, lemon etc. follow the instruction provided for the product you use.
Fridge deodorizers on the other hand work by filtering out the offensive fish odor.
How to Get Rid Of Fish Smell in Microwave
Use Household Bleach to Eliminate Fish Odor from Microwave
Cleaning the microwave with household bleach can help to not only remove fish odor but also sterilize the surfaces. Here is how to go about it:
- Dilute some household bleach with four times its amount of hot water.
- With the help of a clean rag, wipe the microwave surfaces thoroughly.
Deodorize the Microwave with a Dish Towel and Dish Washing Liquid
- Soak a dish towel in hot water, then wring it to remove excess water.
- Pour a few drops of dishwashing liquid on the towel.
- Place the towel inside the microwave and then turn it on for 2 to 3 minutes or until the inside is covered in moisture.
- Wait for 30 minutes, then wipe the inside surfaces dry with a clean towel and the fish odor will go away.
Check with your manufacturer’s manual before using this method.
Wipe the Microwave with Lemon Juice
Just as lemon juice helps get cut fish smell out of your hands, it can eliminate the same from a microwave.
- Use microwave safe bowl to mix equal parts of lemon juice and water.
- Heat the solution long enough to have the interior surfaces of the microwave covered in moisture.
- Wait for one hour, then wipe the microwave surfaces dry with a clean dish towel.