Fish is one of the most nutritious foods you can eat, but the aftermath after cooking can be disturbing. Hours after cooking, a strong smell still lingers on your hands, your utensils, and in the kitchen. For those who enjoy fishing, the odor hangs around your boat, car, clothes, or surface that came into contact with the fish.

Luckily, there are a few tricks to help get rid of the fish smell. You can apply these tips before, during, and after cooking to eliminate the stink effectively.

Here are some methods you can use.

Before Cooking

Here’s how you can neutralize the odor before you start cooking.

• Soak the Fish in Milk

Soaking the fish for at least half an hour before cooking cuts down on the odor. After the soak, drain the fish and proceed with the cooking process. This process works for the smell without changing the taste.

• Use Vinegar

For individuals who don’t like milk, there is an option to use vinegar. Coat your fish with 1/4 cup of vinegar or lemon juice to eliminate the odors.

• Turn on the Fan

Aeration in the house or kitchen keeps your home fresh. Before cooking, you can turn on the ceiling fans to help with air circulation. Putting on the fan early before you start cooking will be more effective. Keep it on even as you cook and after for better results.

• Use Baking Powder

Just like with vinegar and milk, baking powder can help keep the nasty smells away. You can achieve this by wrapping your fish pieces in the powder to retain moisture.

When Cooking

Most of the fish smell spreads out to the house when cooking. So what can you do to cut down on the smell when cooking?

• Open Doors and Windows

Prepare your home in advance when you know you are cooking fish. For example, open the windows when cooking to bring in some fresh air.

A small opening in your house will let the smell escape keeping your home less stinky. Leave the windows or the back door open even after you finish cooking for proper ventilation.

Besides, you can also close all the doors to the other rooms to ensure the smell doesn’t spread throughout the house, especially bedrooms and the living room.  

• Cook Fish in a Foil or Paper

Some cooking methods result in a more pungent fish smell than others. You can eliminate the stink by altering the way you prepare your meals. For example, compared to frying, cooking your fish in foil or paper has fewer odor problems. 

• Use Smell-Absorbing Foods

Another way to absorb the fish smell and avoid it spreading out to your house is by using foods that cut out the odor. For instance, you can add some mint leaves in the pan when cooking to keep the smell minimal.

Some slices of apples will also do the trick. Throw a few pieces into the frying oil for less stink.

• Keep the Lids Tight

Depending on the type of fish you are cooking, some will be smellier than others. As you cook, keep the lids tight when you can to cut down on the odor.

After Cooking

If you cook fish regularly, you know that the smell lingers on your hands, pots, plates, dishwasher, and oven even after you’ve done cleaning.

• Clean Up Immediately

As soon as your guests leave and everyone has eaten, tightly wrap all the leftovers, clean the dishes and throw away the trash. Keeping dirty dishes in the sink for long prolongs the presence of fish smell in your home. Also, clean all the surfaces and countertops with vinegar or lemon juice to eliminate any scent left.

• Freeze the Leftovers

Refrigerating the fish reduces the smell in your kitchen. Therefore, put all the leftovers in a container with a tight lid in the freezer until the next time someone needs to eat them.

• Leave Vinegar Overnight

Your countertops and surfaces that came into contact with the fish will probably be a problem. As you go to bed, have a bowl of white vinegar on your countertop for the entire night to soak in all the odor.

• Light a Candle

Scented candles work magic when trying to get rid of any smells in your home. Light a candle before, during, and after cooking to combat the fish smell.

• Bake Some Pastries

When all these methods fail to give effective results, you can choose to bake some sweet-smelling pastries such as cookies or cake. These food items have a double effect.

They will get rid of the scent in your kitchen as well as the oven. It’s also a smart way to make everyone dessert.

Removing Fish Smell from Your Hands

• Use Toothpaste

If your hands stink, squeeze a small dab of toothpaste on your palms and rub them together for a few minutes. Then, let the paste sit on your hands for rinsing off with warm water.

• Use Hot Soapy Water

The soap-water combination also does the trick. Immediately after handling fish, rub soap on your hands and rinse with hot water to eliminate the smell. You can additionally soak your hands in a lemon solution if the soapy water isn’t adequate.

Removing Fish Smell from your Oven and Dishes

• Use Lemon or Vinegar Solution

During cooking, your oven or stove might have absorbed the fish smell. You can eliminate this odor by leaving a lemon solution or vinegar in your oven overnight. By morning, the scent will have been overpowered.

The same applies to your pans, chopping boards, and utensils. Adding vinegar to the cleaning water will get rid of the smell on your dishes.


Having unwanted strong smells in your house, hands or clothes is very unappealing. Fish is a leading culprit when it comes to odors.

From these tips, you can now easily get rid of the smell the next time you plan to cook some fish for your family or guests. Try some of these methods for the best results.