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Cleaning Fish Oil From Clothing and Linens

Category Fabric
This guide is about cleaning fish oil from clothing and linens. It can be a challenge to remove the stain and strong odor of fish oil.


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By 0 found this helpful
December 29, 2009

To get fish oil out of clothes, first treat the oil with Dawn dish detergent. Let it sit over night and then wash. Air dry and repeat if necessary. Then treat the smell with pet stain remover. I used Nature's Miracle.


Note: As stated on the product, the drying process is where the chemical reaction takes place, so treat the area with the product and let air dry. Repeat if necessary. Give a final wash when the smell is gone!

By gwood from Wayne, PA

Comment Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

December 21, 2010

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


December 24, 20100 found this helpful

Try spraying it with Febreeze?

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Answer this Question...


ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

December 21, 20100 found this helpful

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


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.

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)



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

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

Fish Smell on Clothing

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

By Aino

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.

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

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)

Fish Smell on Clothing

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


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

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fish Smell on Clothing

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

By Dorty

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

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

December 29, 20090 found this helpful

Long story short: my beagle ate a bunch of fish oil capsules and, fortunately for her health, she threw them up on my bed. Now I can't get the smell of fish out of my beautiful new cotton woven bedspread and sheets! Any suggestions before I have to replace them?

Christina from Greenville, NC


Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

I would try washing with ammonia. Let me know if you have success :) God bless you! I'm glad your dog is okay. (08/19/2007)

By Luvyabye

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

I would try a heavy dose of vinegar in the laundry, then wash an extra time to remove the vinegar smell. I also have had very good luck setting things outside in the harshest sunlight of the day. The sun is a natural whitener and deodorizer, I have never had anything fade yet. Just recently I started using febreeze (Target brand) on my throw pillows and bedspread to avoid over washing, I spray and set in the hot hot afternoon sun for a few hours, I am very impressed with the results! (08/21/2007)

By MrsMom43.

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

If you put Oxy Clean in your washing machine with Laundry detergent the smell will come out. It is a great product for getting smells out. I have gotten Cat Urine smell out of my car and bathmat when my cat was sick. I swear by the stuff. I use in on the carpets, clothes, all over. There is a new product too that is Spray n' Wash with Oxy Clean in it. That works great for stains too. Love it! (08/21/2007)

By Molissa

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

I live on a farm. Believe me when I say I *know* about odors! My all time favorite remedy for offensive smells is enzymatic spray. The enzymes actually 'digest' the odor molocules! It works especially well on places where an animal has urinated. The urine gets altered by the enzymes and the animal can't smell where it has peed. Thus, it won't be tempted to re-use that spot! The enzyme liquids are usually found in the pet sections of stores. I have yet to find an odor problem that it doesn't work on, so I highly recommend you give it a try.
Best regards- (08/21/2007)

By igait

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

Ammonia could fade out the color from these cotton materials. I used it on some dark green towels, and it removed the stale smell, but also changed the color. I would try adding baking soda to the wash. It is a base, like ammonia, but is not as strong. It is also very good with odors -- that is why you put a box in your fridge, right? It says on the box to use it as a laundry additive, and bases are good for removing oil residue, which may be why your sheets are still smelling of fish.

Another thing to try, if the baking soda doesn't work, and the regular laundry additives don't work, is handcleaner that the mechanics use to remove grease and oil from their hands. Of course, some of these have an abrasive, and you don't want that, but it might be worth a try if the regular things don't get the fish smell out.

Louise, Nipawin, SK (08/23/2007)

By louel53

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

My 4-year-old daughter gets liquid fish oil in the mornings and she got sick at school, puked all over her sleeping bag, pants and my coat. The fish smell came out of her sleeping bag fine, but still lingered a little on my coat and A LOT on her jeans. The smell must hold better in certain fabrics. Anyway, my coat and her jeans had to go through a few rounds of wash. 1st I tried detergent, oxi clean and backing soda. No go. 2nd I tried pouring vinegar on the spots and then dumping baking soda over it. Then I washed it again in detergent and a non-chlorine bleach. The smell came out of my coat, but her jeans still wreaked. Finally, I listened to my husband and doused the stain with SHOUT! I washed it in detergent and oxi clean again and it came out! Not a trace of it at all. I am confident that if I had used the SHOUT! to begin with it would have been just as effective as when I used it after 3 previous washes. I am amazed, but disheartened that the natural cleaners didn't work better. Maybe I just didn't try enough options. Hope this helps. (03/12/2008)

By What am I going to do now?

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

My daughter takes fish oil supplements and one squirted all over our new couch. Any ideas how to get the oil stain and the fish smell out of something I can't throw in the wash? (09/16/2008)

By amaya

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

I soaked shorts in a bucket of warm water and oxyclean for several days. The fish oil smell is gone! (09/25/2008)

By Adrienne

Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

I had a whole bottle of fish oil break in a travel bag; here is what we've learned from our very unpleasant "fish oil epidemic." If you get a substantial amount of oil on clothes: DON"T PUT IT THROUGH THE LAUNDRY! This gets into the machine somehow, and we fished two more loads. I finally got the smell out of these loads with 2 cups bleach added to the wash (after vinegar didn't work). But I haven't been able to help the stuff that has oil on it: the fish oil has hardened into a yellow stain on denim and on our comforter (I've also tried carpet cleaner and straight bleach). Will try oxyclean and shout! next, but don't have high hopes... (11/13/2008)


Removing Fish Oil Smell From Cotton Bedsheets

Here is how I solved this problem: I tried soaking the clothing in vinegar overnight. That didn't work at all. Now they smelled of fish oil and vinegar. Not a great combination. It's amazing how those little capsules stink! Then I tried another overnight soak in Shout. Nope. Still stinky. At this point I started worrying that my jeans and shirts were going to mildew and have to be thrown out. But as jeans are expensive, I wasn't ready to give up.

After more research online, I decided to try enzymes. I went to the pet store and bought Nature's Miracle, a preparation containing enzymes that is made to deal with pet accidents. I have used it in the past for spot cleaning on carpets, and it worked fairly well. Apparently they also make a laundry detergent, and while that is expensive - 12 bucks Canadian - the store owner assured me it worked. They have a website, so you can look it up.

I washed the clothes in warm water with two capfuls (twice the recommended amount) of the detergent, twice. It got rid of 90 per cent of the smell - it really seems to 'stick' to denim. The tshirts at this point were smell-free. Yay! I then did a final wash with regular detergent and a half-cup of bleach, in warm water. FINALLY the smell came out.

So the enzymes in Nature's Miracle did the trick, along with a final wash of regular detergent and bleach. They are purported to be available in almost all pet stores. I think you could get away with just the regular stuff, rather than the detergent, but it worked for me.

Don't waste your time on vinegar! And the Nature's Miracle is also environmentally friendly.


By Stark Radio

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November 14, 20060 found this helpful
Click to read more ideas from older posts on ThriftyFun.
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