How To Remove Fish Smell From Car Effectively in 2023

Are you tired of the lingering fishy smell in your car after an enjoyable fishing trip? Spilling a cooler full of fish in your vehicle can result in a terrible odor that seems impossible to remove. 

However, fear not! In this article, we will provide you with simple and effective methods to eliminate the fish smell from your car’s interior carpet and upholstery. 

We understand that dealing with odors in your vehicle can be frustrating, but with our tips and tricks, you won’t need any specialized equipment. 

By utilizing common household ingredients, a little effort, and some patience, you’ll be able to successfully bid farewell to that overpowering fish smell that has invaded your cherished vehicle. Say goodbye to unpleasant odors and hello to a fresh and clean car interior!

Do Not Forget to Read About: Best and Latest Air Purifiers

How To Remove Fish Smell From Car?

We will provide you with a detailed guide on how to effectively eliminate fish odors from your vehicle. Follow these steps and enjoy a clean and odor-free car once again.

Plan Ahead for Odor Prevention:

To avoid fish odor contamination in your car, take some preventive measures during your fishing trip. Securely close your tackle box and cooler to prevent spills, use towels or absorbent materials to clean up any spills immediately, and consider using a portable fish cleaning kit at the fishing site to eliminate most of the fishy smells before heading home. 

Additionally, opting for carrying home a cooler full of filets instead of whole fish can help prevent fish odor entirely.

Gather the Necessary Cleaning Materials:

Before you begin the cleaning process, gather a fish cleaning kit with appropriate cleaning sprays and solutions for your vehicle’s upholstery and dashboard materials. 

Avoid using all-in-one cleaning products as they may be less effective and could potentially damage interior additions like wooden paneling or metal-look accents. 

Include water, vinegar, liquid laundry detergent, baking soda, and odor-absorbing materials like charcoal or cat litter in your cleaning kit.

Ventilation and Proper Packing:

Maximize airflow and minimize the pungent fish smell by keeping your windows rolled down and using air conditioning during transportation. 

Avoid leaving fish in your vehicle for extended periods to prevent the smell from intensifying. Properly pack whole fish by wrapping them in newspaper or butcher’s paper to absorb excess fluid, place them in plastic bags, and then put them in a cooler with ice. 

Avoid overfilling fish coolers to prevent spills and ensure they remain upright during travel.

Fill the Air with Better Scents:

Enhance the fragrance of your vehicle by using vent-set timed-release air freshening units or compact incense cones. Consider using scented sprays specifically designed for cloth or leather upholstery to add a pleasant aroma. 

Choose a scentless detergent for your cleaning kit to avoid leaving a powerful detergent smell in your vehicle.

How To Remove Fish Smell From Car

Methods to Remove Fish Smell from Your Car:

Here are some effective methods to eliminate fish odors from your car:

a. White Vinegar and Water Mixture:

Use a mixture of white vinegar and water to clean the area where the fish smell is coming from. Vinegar helps neutralize the odors. After using vinegar, apply baking soda to the area, leave it for several hours, and then vacuum it up once the area is dry.

b. Steam Cleaning:

Remove the carpeting from the foot bed and use a steam cleaner to thoroughly clean the carpets. Steam cleaning can effectively eliminate stubborn fish odors embedded in the fabric.

c. Odor Absorption:

Place charcoal or cat litter around the area where the fish was spilled to absorb odors. These materials are known for their odor-absorbing properties.

You can also use: Best Air Purifier for Car

d. Enzyme Cleaners:

Consider using enzyme cleaners that break down the materials causing the odors. Apply them with a spray bottle and leave them for several hours to work effectively.

e. Coffee Bean Mixture:

Mix coffee beans with water and apply the mixture to the affected area. Coffee beans are known to help remove unpleasant odors.

f. Hydrogen Peroxide:

Use hydrogen peroxide mixed with water to break down odorous materials. Rub it into the affected area and allow it to dry before assessing if any residual fish smells remain.

g. Avoid Air Conditioning:

Avoid using the car’s air conditioning until the fish smell is completely eliminated to prevent recirculating the odor.

Additional Tips for Killing Fish Smell in Car

Here are a few additional tips to help you completely remove the fish smell from your car:

Use windows to allow fresh air to circulate and cool down the car while removing the fish odor.

Allow coffee beans or other odor-absorbing materials to remain in the car for at least a week to absorb residual odors.

Ensure proper drying of hydrogen peroxide or other cleaning agents before assessing if any residual fish smells remain.

Be patient and try multiple methods as needed until the fish smell is completely eliminated.

Avoid using powerful all-purpose chemicals on interior additions like wooden paneling or metal-look accents.

Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations in your owner’s manual for cleaning products suitable for specific interior materials.

Regularly clean and maintain your vehicle’s interior to prevent odors from lingering.

Properly dispose of any fish waste and remnants to avoid further odor issues.

Consider storing fish in sealed containers or bags to prevent leaks and minimize fish smell.

How Do You Get Fish Smell Out of Leather Car Seats?

Leather car seats are a luxurious and stylish addition to any vehicle. However, if you’ve ever encountered the unpleasant smell of fish in your car, you know how challenging it can be to get rid of it, especially when it lingers on your leather seats. 

The pungent odor can be quite persistent and require some specialized techniques to remove effectively. 

As soon as you notice the fishy odor in your car, it’s important to take immediate action. The longer the smell lingers, the more difficult it becomes to eliminate. Addressing the issue promptly will increase your chances of success.

Before tackling the odor, it’s essential to remove any visible residue or stains left behind by the fish. Use a clean cloth or paper towel to gently blot and lift the fish particles or any liquids from the leather surface. Be careful not to scrub the stain, as this could spread it further or damage the leather.

Open all the windows and sunroof, if available, to allow fresh air to circulate through the vehicle. This step will help in reducing the intensity of the odor and assist in eliminating it more quickly.

Baking soda is a fantastic natural odor absorber. Sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda over the affected area of the leather seats. Let it sit for several hours or overnight if possible. Baking soda will absorb the fish smell, leaving your car seats smelling fresh. 

Once the waiting time is over, use a vacuum cleaner with a brush attachment to remove the baking soda residue from the seats.

White vinegar is known for its odor-neutralizing properties. Mix equal parts of white vinegar and water in a spray bottle. Mist the solution lightly over the affected leather area, ensuring not to soak the seats excessively. 

Let the vinegar solution sit for a few minutes, then wipe it off gently using a clean, damp cloth. Vinegar will help eliminate the fish smell while also disinfecting the leather surface.

To further eliminate any remaining odor and restore the leather’s natural scent, use a specialized leather cleaner. Choose a leather cleaner that is safe for your car seats and follow the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Apply a small amount of the cleaner onto a clean cloth and gently rub it onto the affected areas. This will help remove any residual smell and restore the leather’s original freshness.

After cleaning the seats, it’s important to condition the leather to keep it soft, supple, and prevent it from drying out. Choose a high-quality leather conditioner and apply it following the manufacturer’s instructions. 

Conditioning the leather will not only maintain its appearance but also help in eliminating any lingering odor.

To ensure that the fish smell doesn’t return, you can use odor absorbers designed specifically for cars. These products are available in various forms, such as sprays, gels, or air fresheners. 

Select an odor absorber that is suitable for leather surfaces and place it in your car to keep it smelling fresh.

Final Words

In conclusion, dealing with the persistent fish smell in your car can be a daunting task, but with the right techniques and a little patience, you can successfully eliminate the odor and restore freshness to your vehicle. 

By following the preventive measures during your fishing trip, gathering the necessary cleaning materials, maximizing ventilation, and packing your fish properly, you can minimize the chances of fish odor contamination in your car. 

Additionally, utilizing methods such as vinegar and water mixture, steam cleaning, odor absorption with charcoal or cat litter, enzyme cleaners, coffee bean mixture, and hydrogen peroxide can effectively remove the fish smell from your car’s interior. 

Remember to be patient and try multiple methods as needed until the odor is completely eliminated. 

By implementing these tips and maintaining regular cleanliness, you can enjoy a fresh and pleasant-smelling car interior once again.

Frequently Asked Questions

What neutralizes the smell of fish?

There are several substances that can help neutralize the smell of fish. One effective method is using acidic ingredients like lemon juice or vinegar, which can help break down the odor-causing compounds. Baking soda is also commonly used to absorb and neutralize odors. Additionally, odor-absorbing materials like charcoal or cat litter can help eliminate fish smells from the air.

How do you get rid of fish smell ASAP?

To get rid of fish smell quickly, you can try a few methods. Ventilation is key, so open windows and use fans to increase airflow. Wipe down surfaces with a mixture of vinegar and water or use odor-neutralizing sprays designed for fabric upholstery. You can also place bowls of vinegar or coffee grounds in the car overnight to absorb odors. If possible, remove any fish remnants or spills and clean the affected areas thoroughly.

Why does my car smell like fish?

There could be a few reasons why your car smells like fish. One possibility is that you recently transported fish or fish-related products in your car, and the odor has permeated the interior. Another reason could be a malfunctioning air conditioning system, which can develop mold or bacterial growth that produces a fishy smell. In some cases, a dead animal or fish might be trapped in the car’s vents or hidden in hard-to-reach areas, causing the odor.

Why does my air conditioner smell like fish when I turn it on?

A fishy smell coming from your air conditioner is often an indication of mold or bacterial growth. Moisture and organic matter inside the air conditioning system can create an environment where mold and bacteria thrive, leading to the unpleasant odor. It is recommended to have your air conditioning system inspected and cleaned by a professional to eliminate the problem and prevent further issues.

Does lemon reduce fish smell?

Yes, lemon is known for its ability to reduce fishy odors. The acidic nature of lemons can help break down odor-causing compounds and leave behind a fresh citrus scent. You can use lemon juice or rub lemon slices on surfaces to help neutralize fish smells. However, it is important to note that while lemon can reduce the odor temporarily, it may not completely eliminate it.

Does toothpaste remove fish smell?

Toothpaste is not specifically designed to remove fish smells, but it can be effective in certain situations. The abrasive properties of toothpaste can help scrub away odor-causing substances from surfaces. You can apply toothpaste to a cloth or sponge and gently rub the affected area, then rinse thoroughly. However, for more stubborn fish smells, it is recommended to use specialized cleaning methods and products.

Does vinegar stop fish smell?

Yes, vinegar can help stop fish smells. Its acidic nature helps neutralize the odor-causing compounds. You can mix vinegar with water and use it to clean surfaces where the fish smell is present. After cleaning, rinse the area thoroughly to remove any residual vinegar smell. Additionally, leaving bowls of vinegar in the car overnight can help absorb and eliminate odors.

Can salt remove fishy smell from fish?

Salt can help reduce the fishy smell from fish, but it is not a foolproof method. Rubbing salt on the fish before cooking can help draw out excess moisture, which may minimize the odor. However, if the fish has a strong smell to begin with, additional methods like cooking with aromatic ingredients or marinating the fish can be more effective in reducing the fishy odor.

Why do car brake pads smell like fish?

If you notice a fishy smell coming from your car’s brake pads, it is likely due to overheating or excessive friction. The smell is caused by the release of chemicals from the brake pads as they heat up. It is normal for some odor to be present during heavy braking or on hot days, but a strong fishy smell could indicate an issue with the braking system. If you are concerned, it is recommended to have your brakes inspected by a professional mechanic.

Kristen Park - Specialised Content Writer for Caresh Fresh

My name is Kristen Park and I am a senior writer specialising in how-to guides and home cleaning information at Cares Fresh. As a researcher, I take pride in digging deep to find every small detail on a topic and explaining it in a way that is easy for the reader to understand.