How to Get the Fishy Smell Out of Clothes – Complete Guide

One of the worst smells that you can experience is the low fish smell that can seep into your clothes. You’ve returned to your home to relax after a tiring afternoon spent fishing but it’s not just the memories you’ve brought back. There is a high chance that at some point you will get your clothes smelly and covered in fish blood and guts.

This can be pretty unpleasant however it isn’t permanent and the smell can easily be removed, so long as it hasn’t dried or set into the fabric.

Unpleasant smells have taken over your home and now you’d like to get rid of them. How do you eliminate that fish stink you may wonder?

The odor of fish can remain on your clothes for a long time, and it can be difficult to get rid of. However, don’t fret, this can be fixed with some work and you can enjoy your clothes like before. To assist you in getting the fishy smell from clothes and other fabrics, we’ve created this guide that includes some helpful tips and techniques.

Cleaning with detergent


The first thing that pops as a good idea when trying to resolve the issue of smell in clothes is simply washing them. If the clothes aren’t terribly filthy, you can wash the item that has the smell the way you normally do, with detergent no matter what kind, either in the machine or at hand.

If you’re sure this isn’t enough you can use the detergents readily available, such as lemon juice. If you make a concoction of a little bit of detergent and lemon juice, the acid from the lemon kills the fish’s bad smell. After the wash, it is possible to add a bit of softener that will have a pleasant scent.

But, if this all doesn’t work and the fishy smell still lingers around, you need to use some simple home remedies for this issue.



Pour salt onto a cloth and wipe it all over your clothes. Leave for around an hour and then brush off with a hard bristle brush. This should help remove any stains and residue left behind by the blood and guts, but do not wash afterward as this will simply spread the smell further through the clean clothes.

First, rinse all of your clothes (including boots) with cold water (if possible straight from the lake) to get rid of the blood and guts, then soak them in a large tub containing cold water and 1 – 2 cups (250ml – 500ml) of salt. This will help draw out any remaining odor and kill off any bacteria in the fabric. Soak for around 30 minutes, though overnight is best.

For stubborn smells don’t be afraid to add more salt. Then rinse again in cold water and leave outside until you’re ready to wash everything properly. You’ll want to use this time to clean your boots with warm water and dish soap as well as scrubbing down your reel with WD-40.



Vinegar is another common item that is great to clean and get rid of fish odors from clothes. Similar to how baking soda is used white vinegar can be added into a basin full of water, where you can allow your clothes that have been contaminated to soak in the.

In addition, you can add one glass of vinegar to your washing machine alongside your detergent. This can aid in neutralizing any smells that may be present on your clothes. White vinegar also boosts the power of baking soda within your washer, which means that it could be used in conjunction with the wash cycle.

Detailed instructions:

  1. Fill a large pot with water and add 1 cup of vinegar
  2. Add clothes to the pot, making sure they are submerged underwater
  3. Bring the mixture to a boil, then let it simmer for about 30 minutes
  4. Remove clothes from the pot and place them in your washing machine
  5. Put detergent into your washing machine as normal, but reduce the amount by half (so if you usually use 2 tbsp., use 1)
  6. Wash clothes on the hot cycle for at least 30 minutes or until stains come out

Baking Soda

Baking Soda

Baking soda not only eliminates odors from clothes but can also be an excellent alternative to detergent when washing at home or dry cleaning. It removes unpleasant smells from fish scales and blood from fresh catches, while also eliminating almost all kinds of odors.

To use it, simply mix with water and leave clothes for a few hours before washing them as usual. Baking soda is especially recommended if you need to store your clothes for a long time after fishing because the smell does not cause them any harm and also eliminates unpleasant odors.

One more simple method would be just airing out the clothes long enough. Simply spread out your clothes in a well-ventilated area (preferably under direct sunlight) and leave them overnight. Letting your clothes dry in the fresh air will help remove any odors particularly if you’ve tried other ways to eliminate that fish smell.

Cleaning your clothes thoroughly before washing them can reduce the fish smell prior to soaking the clothes in vinegar or baking soda.

Whether you’ve been out on the water or just cooking dinner, we hope that these tips will help get your clothes smelling fresh. Keep in mind that depending on the strength of the smell on your clothing You may have to repeat or test several options until the smell completely disappears.

We hope that you liked our article and that you have learned how can you get off the fishy smell in a fast and easy way. Happy cleaning!