How to Remove Fish Oil Smell From Clothes

eHow may earn compensation through affiliate links in this story. Learn more about our affiliate and product review process here.
You can remove fish oil smell from clothes.
Image Credit: shironagasukujira/iStock/GettyImages

Fish oil emits an unpleasant pungent smell that'll overpower even the strongest fragrance. When you get it on your clothing, the key to successful removal is to isolate the spill, wash the garment and neutralize the odor. While you can get fish oil smell out of clothes with everyday household ingredients, ​acting fast​ is crucial to the success of your efforts.


Isolate the Spill

Things You'll Need

  • Cornstarch

  • Paper towel

  • Cloth

Isolating the spill prevents it from spreading across a larger surface area and seeping deeper into the fabric. While cornstarch won't remove the odor, it will absorb the oil and prevent it from getting any worse.


Video of the Day

Blot the Stain

Blot the stain with a dry paper towel or cloth until it's no longer damp. Do not wipe the stain. Doing so will spread it over a larger surface area and work it more deeply into the fabric.


Remove the Garment

Remove the item of clothing as soon as you notice a spill and lay it on a flat surface to prevent the oil from running.

Apply the Cornstarch

Sprinkle a generous helping of cornstarch over the stain and rub it into the fabric. Repeat this step on the underside of the garment. Let the cornstarch sit for around an hour before you rub it off.


Wash the Garment

Things You'll Need

  • White distilled vinegar

  • Laundry detergent

Remove everything from your washing machine so you can wash the stained garment by itself. If you don't remove other clothes, the oil could spread and cause even more damage.

Add White Vinegar to Your Detergent

Add 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to your laundry detergent. The acids it contains are too mild to harm fabric, but strong enough to remove difficult stains.


Set Your Washing Machine

Set your washing machine to the ​highest temperature​ setting that your garment allows and place it on a full cycle. Check the care label if you're not sure what settings it can handle.


Hang Up the Garment

Hang the garment on a clothesline to air dry. If it's a sunny day, the UV rays will also help to get the fish oil smell out of the clothes.


Neutralize the Odor

Things You'll Need

  • Baking soda

  • Toothbrush

  • Lemon (optional)

Isolating the oil and washing the garment may be enough to remove the smell altogether; however, if it's still lingering afterwards, baking soda is the perfect odor neutralizer.


Apply Baking Soda

Lay the garment on a flat surface and sprinkle a generous layer of baking soda on and around the affected area. Let it sit for at least 24 hours.

Work the Stain

Work the baking soda into the garment with a toothbrush, and then let it sit for at least 24 hours.


Hang Up the Garment

Take the garment outside and shake off the loose baking soda. Hang it up on a clothesline to let it air out for a few hours. Repeat this entire process two to three times, if required to get fish oil smell out of clothes.


Squeeze some fresh lemon juice over the stain before you put on the baking soda if it smells particularly pungent.



Report an Issue

screenshot of the current page

Screenshot loading...