Fish Smell on Clothing

By Sandy Gerber 30 206

My ever inquisitive son must have opened a fish-oil capsule on his jeans, which I have washed twice and dried once. They still stink. How can I get rid of this smell?


By Sandy from WI

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By jc 2 6 Flag

December 24, 2010

Try spraying it with Febreeze?

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Archive: Removing Fish Smell From Laundry

My Husband got fish oil on his shorts while he was fishing. I put the shorts in the laundry and now my whole load stinks. Help!

Kim from Florida


RE: Removing Fish Smell From Laundry

Vinegar or baking soda combo will help. Good Luck. (05/23/2005)

By meoowmom

RE: Removing Fish Smell From Laundry

I am having the same problem with the fish oils on clothes. Try soaking them in lemon juice before washing them. I know the lemon juice takes the smell off your hands. (08/23/2005)

By Amy C.

RE: Removing Fish Smell from Carpet

I'd try lemon juice, let it dry, then baking soda after that. You can buy bottled lemon juice or squeeze your own. Don't use any with sugar in it or it will make the rug sticky. (10/12/2005)

By Susan from ThriftyFun

RE: Removing Fish Smell From Laundry

My son put a fish oil capsule in his pocket (omega 3). The smell is horrible. I used Mr. Clean antibacterial (about a cup), and soaked it over night. That finally did it. (01/24/2006)

By kayce

RE: Removing Fish Smell From Laundry

I came to this site looking for advice to get that fish smell out of silk shirts. I have been a previous victum of the "smell". On limited time and a need for action, this is what my wife and I did. First we sprayed the shirt with Fabreze, next we washed it in Wisk Detergent, third we sprayed it with Fabreze again and let it dry for 1/2 hour. When I wore the shirt it did not smell like fish or Fabreze. Just posting this because it was simple, quick, and maybe it will help someone else too. (06/15/2006)

By Roadrunner

RE: Removing Fish Smell From Laundry

I had a fish oil capsule break apart in my pants pocket. After reading all the posts here, here's how I got the stink out: Go out and get a gallon of plain vinegar. Put the smelly clothes in your washer on LOW water level setting, warm water wash. Use laundrey detergent with plenty (about 1 - 2 cups) vinegar. Same amount in rinse. Repeat until smell is gone. Should be gone after 2 cycles. You should have some vinegar left over! (09/14/2006)

By frk040

Archive: Fish Smell on Clothing

Last week, I got a bottle of Dermapet Eicosa Derm to help with allergies for my dog. The base ingredient in this product is fish oil. The bottle spilled last week and leaked all over our kitchen counter. I used a small hand towel to clean up the mess.

Over the weekend, my wife put that towel in the wash along with other towels, place-mats, etc and now everything smells like fish.I washed the items 4 times on Sunday. One of the times I put in a cup of vinegar. Last night, I soaked everything in vinegar for 2 hours, washed them with regular laundry detergent and they still smell to some degree.

Also, the smell permeated around our sink and below the sink. (It smells worse under the sink.) Need a suggestion there as well.


David from Phoenix, AZ


RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I used about 1 cup of "Right Stuff" Citrus Cleaner (orange citrus de-greaser) in warm water wash and warm water rinse. I had tried baking soda, lemon juice, oxyclean, simple green, and vinegar all at separate times. The citrus cleaner was the only thing that worked for me. I think that was by wash number 15 and I am not kidding. Those little fish pills pack quite a fish punch! (02/19/2007)

By Jodi O.

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

Hi! A similar thing happened me. My husband accidentally put a towel in with our wash. We had used the towel to mop up a broken bottle of fish oil we had bought at the pet store. I'm curious. Where would I be able to buy "Right Stuff" Citrus Cleaner ? (04/06/2007)


RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I too forgot about a fish oil capsule in my jeans pocket. Washed them with 3 other pairs of new jeans! I am trying the Mr. Clean antibacterial cleaner and am noticing that it is pulling some die out my new jeans. Oh well, better than throwing them away. They're new! (05/01/2007)

By Kevin

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

After working a factory job at a salmon processing plant, I thought my clothes were a lost cause. I've found that hanging the fishy clothes in the bright sunshine for a prolonged amount of time (I hung mine for three days, though just one day made a big difference), did wonders for getting a lot of the initial smell out. The sun is a powerful odor-remover! After that, the washings had much less work to do and were more effective. (08/03/2007)

By lulu

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

Try ammonia! It worked 100% for us after many other remedies failed miserably. (09/08/2007)

By Aino

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I wonder if Epsom salt with salt soaks would work. It gets fish smell off of cutting boards and hands when rubbed with lemon juice. (09/21/2007)

By F. H.

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I washed my elderly Moms clothing and she had hid one of her Fish Oil Vitamins in her pant pocket. Washing all her clothes together, the whole load of clothes smelled like a fish. I tried the suggestions for baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice by them self as well as together to no avail. After about 5 to 6 washings, the smell was still as bad as when I began. Finally, I tried the one suggestion to use Mr Clean Antibacterial. I filled the bathtub and put 1 1/2 cups of Mr Clean and Palmolive Oxy Dish Soap(1/4 cup) in the water with all her clothes and let them soak for 7 to 8 hrs. Then I put them back in the washing machine on warm water and no laundry detergent, instead I put 1 cup of vinegar in it's place. Also 2 rinses. It finally worked! (10/28/2007)

By Patsy

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

White vinegar and hot water work if used alone. You can not add it to the detergent or softener though. It will deactivate it.

Either do a pre soak or in place a fabric softener. If it doesn't work you did something wrong. (01/11/2008)


RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I tried everything, finally bought a product called Zero Odor and it did the trick!


RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I had my husband do the same thing to my clothes and I am in the process of trying to get it out, Well I have figured it out. I went to the hardware store and bought Lestoil. It is cheap and worked great. It smells like pinesol but just wash yet again in normal detergent and voila! Hope this helps (02/10/2008)

By Rachael

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I popped an omega3 soft gel capsule in pants pocket. Washed with every imaginable combo suggested here to no avail. Finally went with lulu's suggestion and put em in the sun for a day and voila. I live in Phoenix AZ and it was 97 here today. I gave em a squirt of fabreze before 'baking'. (04/15/2008)

By Tom H.

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I used vinegar and a product called Bac-Out by Biokleen. It has live enzyme cultures and lime peel extract to clean and get rid of odors. I also poured an all natural vinegar in the wash and let them soak about 30 minutes before washing with Bac-Out and an all natural laundry detergent. The Bac-Out got rid of the fish smell and the vinegar smell, which I can't stand. (05/11/2008)

By fishing mom

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

Yeah Right! After spilling the dogs medicine on the laundry basket I tried everything here and nothing worked. I got rid of the clothes and bought a new washing machine. Expensive! Yes, but it worked. One more thing I also got rid of all the fish oil related medicine or products. Note: I tried to get rid of the dog but my wife didn't let me. (06/08/2008)

By Jose from Puerto Rico

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

The only thing that worked is bleach. I was reluctant to try the bleach because I didn't want to ruin the colors in the clothes. But after trying many other things (see my previous post), I decided to try the bleach as a last ditch effort. And it worked! BTW, the Zero-Odor product that I ordered online did not help at all. (09/03/2008)

By hana

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

A fish oil supplement was left in the pocket of a pair of shorts and the shorts went through the wash. The only thing that got out the fishy smell was soaking the shorts in a bucket filled with hot water and oxyclean for several days. I put the bucket in the garage and actually forgot about it. When I found the bucket, I took out the shorts and they no longer smelled fishy. I then washed the shorts in the washing machine in warm water with Tide detergent. (09/20/2008)

By Adrienne

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

We got squid stink all over our clothes on a fishing trip. The only thing that took it off was Rug DR odor remover. Good luck. (11/20/2008)

By nursie

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I tossed a rag with salmon fat on it in the laundry with my socks and towels, and . . . as you have all experienced, the entire load of laundry smelled like fish.

I live in Russia, and can't get those great products lots of you mentioned, so had to rely on simple things. After two days of work I finally had success and thought I'd share what worked for me.

I was a little nervous of bleach, soaked everything in a small bucket with half a cup of bleach for 7 minutes, then washed them with Tide laundry detergent and about a cup of bleach in hot water. It still smelled like fish.

Washed it again with Tide and the hottest water (our water is almost boiling here) - still fishy.

Sunlight seemed like a great option, but we haven't had sun for weeks. Locals told me freezing works almost as well as sunshine. Hung it outside for 13 hours - it froze. Still fishy smelling.

Washed with Tide and 1 cup of bleach. Still fishy.
Washed them with no Tide, only 2 cups white vinegar - still smelled.
It never seemed to smell less of fish, just smelled like fish and vinegar, or fish and bleach, or cold and fishy.

Soaked it in a small bucket with 2 cups of vinegar for 28 hours, then poured the vinegar water from the bucket into the washing machine and washed with Tide, and no smell. At all. My socks are the cleanest they've been since I bought them!

I guess I would say, if your clothes are valuable to you, keep trying, persistence pays off! (11/12/2009)

By Verite03

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I just wanted people to know I used the Bac-Out product which I bought from and it worked! The smell of a fish oil capsule I washed with my 3 sets of scrubs is gone I am fish free! (03/10/2010)

By ekoob

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I know vinegar, lemon juice, bicarbonate of soda, or dish washing liquid works well. (04/02/2010)

By Dorty

RE: Fish Smell on Clothing

I have a few silk shirts that stink like fish, and they cost me $100+ each. Some are dry clean only. I researched it and here are the different solutions I have found. One person said baking soda and water soak. Another suggested using borax. If you don't know about silk, the smell comes from the silk itself, not the dye, shipping, or place where it came from. It is the cocoon particle in the silk itself that smell like fish.

By dudethedog

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