How To Get Rid Of Fishy Smell On Hands

Disclosure: As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. more info

Fish do not exactly smell like roses and perfume. Those fish oils get all over your hands and boy do they smell. Even worse is that general hand washing is not going to remove those oils or the accompanying smell.

However, there are some good ways of how to get rid of fishy smell on hands and that is what we are here to figure out right now.


Getting Rid Of Fishy Smell From Hands

Let’s get right to it and talk about the 11 best ways of removing that fishy smell from your hands. Not all of these methods have total efficacy and some work better, and are more convenient than others.

However, you should definitely be able to find at least one way that works well for you.

1. Lemon

lemon juice

Lemon juice is a fantastic all around deodorizer and works well for fishy hand smell. The acidity in lemon helps to dissolve and loosen up that fishy slime which smells so bad.

That acidity plays a big part in breaking down the fish slime and the odor that comes with it. Lemon in itself does smell pretty strong, so this of course helps too.

Lemon juice might not totally remove all fishy smells, but because it breaks down the slime so well, it does also make it much easier to wash off afterwards with some basic soap.

2. Strong Herbs

parsley herb

Another great way to get that disgusting fishy smell off of your hands is to rub them with herbs. Now, you cannot use just any herbs, as most simply do not have enough power to get rid of that stink.

However, two specific herbs that do work very well are cilantro, alternatively known as coriander in some places, as well as parsley. Both of these herbs contain compounds which work wonders in terms of neutralizing all kinds of strong smells.

Both cilantro and parsley are just generally very strong smells and should work fine to overpower that fish stink.

3. Soap

washing hands with soap

Yes, soap works Ok for fishy smells, but not the best. If normal soap worked to totally get rid of fish stink, we probably would not even have written this very article.

Very strong soaps that contain medicines and special compounds do work quite well. For instance, shower gel that contains menthol works quite well to neutralize fishy smells. Another option to go with is a special fish smell neutralizing soap.

Yes, there are special kinds of soap out there specifically designed to neutralize the smell of fish, which is undoubtedly the best soap for fish smell.

4. Vinegar & Baking Soda

baking soda

Another simple but effective option to go with for getting rid of fishy hands is the combination of baking soda and vinegar. Now, some people just use a water and baking soda paste, as baking soda is a well-known smell neutralizer, which is why many people brush their teeth with it, put it in cars, and place it in refrigerators too.

Moreover, the acidity which vinegar contains does a great job at breaking down and washing away the slime left on your hands by fish, plus it has a pretty strong smell on its own.

However, when you mix the two together, they work in tandem to remove the slime and neutralize the odor.

5. Baby Wipes

Baby wipes, something which every single parent probably has dealt with, work great for the smell of fish. Now, there is not much to say here and we are not about to start listing the ingredients which baby wipes contain.

The bottom line is that they do contain substances which work to neutralize all kinds of smells. Yes, they are usually used to neutralize the smell of a soiled bottom, but they work equally well for fish stink too.

6. Toothpaste


Something that works wonders when it comes to removing the smell of fish from hands is toothpaste. You want to go with a strong and minty toothpaste here.

The combination of the minty smell and the various bacteria killing compounds in toothpaste, which also happen to remove grease and oils, all work together to remove fishy smells from hands.

Alternatively, seeing as baking soda works pretty well too, using a baking soda based toothpaste should work fine for removing odors such as fish stink too.

7. Hand Sanitizer

Hand sanitizer is specifically designed with things like rubbing alcohol and other chemical compounds. These are meant to kill bacteria, remove grease, and kill smells too.

In our opinion, hand sanitizer is one of the better options for removing fish stink. Although, many people actually really dislike the smell of hand sanitizer, so this may not be the best option if you don’t like that particular smell.

8. Pure Alcohol

Pure alcohol, also known as rubbing alcohol or medical alcohol, will definitely get rid of that fishy stink. For one, the strong concentration of alcohol breaks down grease and helps to wash it away.

Alcohol is also a smell neutralizer, plus it smells so strong, that after using it, you won’t be able to smell anything but the pure alcohol. Yes, it is meant as a topical disinfectant for wounds, but it works to kill fishy smells just as well.

9. Coffee


Coffee is another one of those things that works quite well to remove the smell of fish from hands. No, we are not saying that you should brew up a fresh pot of coffee and douse your hands with scolding liquid.

The way to do this is to use coffee grounds that have not been used yet. For one, the dry powder which is coffee grounds work well to absorb the grease and oils which fish leave on your hands.

Also, coffee smells very strongly on its own, plus it contains odor neutralizing compounds. Coffee is good for more than just drinking.

10. Stainless Steel

This may sound a little weird, but stainless steel does have the ability to neutralize smells. No, we are not going to go too in depth about why this works, but it layman’s terms, stainless steel contains some compounds, mainly things like sulfur, which will bind with the fishy smell and get rid of it.

This is a very scientific process, because it is not like you can use liquid stainless steel as soap. There is no such thing as liquid stainless steel.

However, simply rubbing your hands with it, when the fish oils come into contact with the steel, should be more than enough to neutralize the smell.

11. Soap Stones & Pumice

soap stone

The last option to go with is a rough soap. Soap stones which are hard rock-like bars of soap, usually have very abrasive textures, thus helping to physically remove fish oils from your hands. Also, this is true for pumice soaps.

Pumice comes from coral and it is used to scrape away dead skin. When you put pumice in soap, those rough chunks help to remove fish oil.

At the same time, these soap stones and pumice soaps also contain neutralizing chemicals and ingredients.
These types of soaps are intended to get rid of the harshest and most stubborn of smells.


Yes, fish stink, and when that smell gets on your hands, it can be impossible to remove through conventional hand washing methods. However, as you can see, there are actually many good options out there for getting rid of that terrible fish stink on your hands.

When it comes down to it, some of these methods may not be 100% effective, but they do work well. If you want to be sure to remove any and all remnants of fish stink from your hands, we would recommend using a combination of the above methods that have been discussed.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.