Love fish but can’t stand that fishy smell on your hands or your kitchen? Fish has beneficial nutrients and should be part of a balanced diet. However, the scent of fish can linger on in the house even till the next day. One common complaint when you’re cooking at home is the lingering smell of fish, whether it’s from cooking it or from the fish itself. It can put us off from consuming it completely. So how do we get rid of those fishy stinks? Let’s tackle this problem before you start cooking.

Choosing the right type of fish makes a big difference. Oily fishes like mackerel, sardines and bluefish will have stronger cooking smells as compared to fish like flounder and snapper. Also, different cooking methods produce different lingering smells. Frying, sautéing, and pan-roasting produce stronger odours compared to poaching, steaming and braising.

How do you get rid of that fishy odour before and during cooking? The unpleasant smell from fish is from a chemical called trimethylamine oxide that starts to breakdown once a fish is killed and exposed to air. So, the fresher the fish, the lesser the smell. You can try these methods to reduce the stink:

Milk – soak the fish or seafood in milk for 10 minutes and rinse it off. Milk will absorb the fishiness from seafood and make it taste milder.

Turmeric – give your fish a good rub with turmeric. You can either wash it off after 30 minutes or fry your fish with turmeric.


Vinegar – mix vinegar with water and soak your fish for 5 minutes. Rinse and pat dry before cooking.

Lemon – drizzle some fresh lemon juice over the fish and leave it for 5 minutes. Then pat dry before cooking it.

Ginger – crush ginger and rub it all over the fish. Leave it for 30 minutes before cooking.

Now, how to get rid of that fishy smell from your hands? After handling fish for cooking, you’re bound to have that strong fishy smell. Here’s how you can get rid of that stench:

Toothpaste – squeeze a small dab of toothpaste and rub it all over your hands after cooking. Rinse off with warm water.


Palms of steel – if your sink is stainless steel, rub your hands on your sink and then wash with soap and warm water.

Lemon juice, vinegar or salt – rub some salt into your palms or sprinkle vinegar or lemon juice. Then wash it off with water. However, these suggestions are not advisable if you have cuts on your hands as it will sting!

If your house smells after cooking fish, open up all the doors and windows and let some fresh air in. Or light up a scented candle to combat the odour. Lastly, if you have extra time, you can always bake some cookies. The scent of freshly baked cookies will definitely overpower any fishy stink that’s left.