How to get fishy smell out of clothes

Are people around you giving you a look? Could it be because they sense a bad odor coming from you? Perhaps your clothes smell bad, as in fishy smell, bad? We hear you; who hasn’t been there right! But don’t sweat it; you are not alone. That’s why today you can find out all the right steps and tips on how to get the fishy smell out of clothes.

Now don’t feel too bad; this is not entirely your fault. Perhaps you went fishing a few days ago, and the smell doesn’t seem to subside. Maybe you cooked some fish, and your cleaning machine didn’t do a good job of getting the fishy smell out of your clothes. The smell of fish is a tough one to fight, let’s put it like that. It is something that lingers in the kitchen, the pots and pans, in your car, on your hands, in your clothes, and anywhere else that is touched by the fish.

So if you think you’ve done everything in your power to get the fishy smell out of your clothes and still aren’t working as you’d expect, it’s time to take another approach. When you’ve washed your clothes, and the smell still isn’t going away, you are clearly doing something wrong. This is where it becomes vital to learn how to get the fishy smell out of clothes the right way. So, take pen and paper.

General steps How to get fishy smell out of clothes

While fighting to get the fishy smell out of your clothes, simple washing may not remove all of the lingering fish smell. However, there are a few simple techniques before laundering to remove those annoying odors successfully.
There are several ways to get the smell off, some work better than others depending on the odor and how much is on us.

What you need:

  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  1. Take whatever fabric with the fish odor and sprinkle it with baking soda.
  2. Lay the fabric in the sun and leave it for two hours.
  3. Transfer the fabric into a sink filled with cool water.
  4. Pour one cup of white vinegar into the sink.
  5. Slosh the fabric in the vinegar wash, so the vinegar is dispersed through the material.
  6. Allow the fabric to sit in the sink for 20 to 30 minutes. The vinegar will kill any remaining fish odor.
  7. Now take your piece of clothing into the washer.
  8. Wash with laundry detergent.
  9. If the fish odor remains, wash a second time.
  10. If your clothes are odor-free, then you can proceed to the dryer.

Ways to get fishy smell out of clothes

Baking soda

The baking soda neutralizes odors; this is why it is highly effective in removing fishy smells. Baking soda is widely known for its many cleaning abilities. Baking soda is also beneficial in getting rid of oily stains from the fish too. You can follow the next steps:

  1. Sprinkle baking soda on your smelly clothing and place it inside a sealed bag.
  2. Leave overnight.
  3. Brush off the baking soda and hang it outside in the fresh air.
  4. Add half a cup of baking soda to your washing machine to give it an extra boost and wash as you’d normally.


This household essential can also help remove fishy smells from clothes. Follow the next steps:

  1. In a basin wash or a sink full of water, place your clothes.
  2. Add a cup of vinegar and leave your fishy clothes to soak.
  3. Add another cup of white vinegar to your washing machine along with your detergent.
  4. Vinegar and baking soda could be used together during the washing cycle.


Airing out your clothes is highly recommended before you wash them. This can help decrease any fishy smell before soaking the items in baking soda or vinegar. Just leave your clothes outside to dry in the fresh air.


You may not want to waste your Vodka, but if you’ve tried everything and it hasn’t worked, this may be it. Thanks to its high alcohol content, this clear liquid has the ability to get rid of the smells without leaving behind any alcohol trace on your clothes, of course.

  1. Transfer the Vodka to a clean spray bottle.
  2. Spray it evenly across your fishy garments.
  3. Hanging it up to dry.

Dish detergent

The chemical compounds in dish detergent help to disintegrate the organic fish residue lingering on your clothes.

  1. Wash your clothes in the sink with the dish detergent.
  2. Let them soak before you put them in the washer for about 30 minutes.
  3. Wash normally.

Hydrogen Peroxide

Hydrogen Peroxide is a compound that breaks down the organics and bacteria from the fish residue in your clothes, thus helping in eliminating the foul smell.

  1. Add one cup of hydrogen peroxide to the water before you wash your clothes
  2. Mix with your detergent to help get out the odor.


This common household cleaning ingredient is used in numerous products and can equally effectively remove fishy smells from clothes.

  1. Just add a half-cup to your normal wash.

Dishwashing Liquid and vinegar

When treating fishy-smelling clothes, ditch your laundry detergent and try using this blend of dishwashing liquid and vinegar for excellent results.

  1. Add an eighth cup of dishwashing liquid into the rinse cycle and stop it.
  2. Allow it to soak for three hours or more, and then add a cup of white vinegar.
  3. Let agitate and then let the clothes rinse. The smell should be gone.

Lemon Juice and laundry detergent

This combination has equally shown great results when everything else doesn’t seem to work.

  1. Add a cup of laundry detergent to a bucket of water.
  2. Add lemon juice to the water and mix with the detergent.
  3. Let the clothes soak for 24 hours.
  4. Take time to move the clothes around several times and then wash them normally with bleach alternative laundry soap.


If you face a tough fishy smell on your clothing, then boiling them is the way to go.

  1. Mix water and laundry soap.
  2. Pour the solution into a large pot or basin, large enough to fit your clothes.
  3. Place the pot on the stove and bring it to a boil.
  4. Boil over low heat for about 40 minutes, adding water whenever necessary.
  5. This should help you get rid of any dirt easily.

Further tips How to get fishy smell out of clothes

  • If the clothes aren’t too dirty, try washing them the same way you’d normally would, using powder or liquid detergent in the washing machine or by hand, depending on the garment requirements. If you are certain that this will not be enough to eradicate the fishy smell, use one of the methods above.
  • You can add a fabric softener with a pleasant smell at the end of the washing process.
  • It is advisable to employ a good-quality, thick solution of laundry soap with a high content of alkali before washing.
  • If you can spare some time without your clothes, try wrapping them for a few days in newspapers, they do a great job of absorbing odors.
  • Once the clothing is clean, the items should be dried in a well-ventilated area or outdoors.
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