How to Get Rid of Fish Odors From Your Kitchen

fish odor

Some dishes, no matter how delicious, can leave unpleasant cooking odors throughout your home. Fish is one such item. The joy of eating fish is usually offset by the lingering odor in the kitchen and throughout the house after cooking. When you cook with fish, especially while frying or broiling them to prepare your favorite dish, it can leave behind an unpleasant fishy odor in your kitchen. In fact, that disgusting smell of fish is a real turn off, whether it is in the kitchen or dining room.

In This Article:

Why does fish smell?

In order to counteract the saltiness of seawater, the cells of ocean creatures are full of amino acids and amines.  Trimethylamine oxide is the main one (also known as TMAO). When a fish dies there are certain bacterial enzymes that start attacking the flesh. The muscles of the fish containing the trimethylamine oxide (TMAO) start to decompose causing it to break down into trimethylamine (TMA) which results in the bad smell. The fresher the fish the less it smells so if a fish smells particularly bad do not buy it as it is probably quite old.

The fish smell can linger in your home for hours or even days. But there is nothing to worry about as you can easily get rid of this unpleasant fish odor from your kitchen quickly. Smelly fish odors in the house can be neutralized by following some simple and easy tips.

Some of the tips for neutralizing fish odors:

  • Open the windows: When cooking in your kitchen, try to keep all the windows and doors open. This will help fresh air to circulate inside the kitchen. Fresh air helps any home smell well, and a strategic breeze can carry cooking odors right out the window and help to get rid of the smell.
  • Brew some coffee: After cooking fish, make a cup of coffee in your kitchen. Grinding coffee beans and brewing coffee are easy ways to fill a home with a pleasant aroma. For a change, try adding cinnamon, nutmeg or other spices to the coffee.
  • Bake an aromatic dish: Baking anything aromatic such as cake or cookies can easily eliminate unpleasant cooking smells.
  • Make potpourri: A simmering potpourri is an easy homemade air freshener. Bring a small pot of water to a gentle simmer, and add citrus peels, cloves, nutmeg or cinnamon stick to the water. Allow the potpourri to simmer for an hour or longer, adding water as necessary.
  • Leave out a bowl of vinegar: A small bowl of vinegar set next to the stove is very useful in reducing odors from frying fish and other foods. Leave the vinegar out for several hours.
  • Use air-fresheners: Plug-in an air freshener that dispels a slight scent to remove the fish smells from your house. A variety of scents are available to choose from in the market.
  • Turn on the exhaust fan: Using an exhaust fan will also help to get the odor out of the house.
  • Cook in the open: A great way to prevent fishy cooking smells indoors is to cook your fish outside.
  • Use scented candles: Scented candles are also an inexpensive alternative to get rid of the fishy smell in the house. You can burn a scented candle after cooking fish to eliminate the bad odor from your kitchen.

Use natural ingredients to remove fish odor

Apart from following the above mentioned simple tips, you can also use some easily available kitchen ingredients to eradicate the bad smell that lingers in the kitchen after cooking fish. Some of the natural ingredients that you can use are:

  • Use can use white vinegar to get rid of fishy odor. While you are cooking fish in your kitchen, leave a small bowl or cup full of white vinegar near the stove. Vinegar actually absorbs the odors, leaving the room smelling clean and fresh. And you don’t have to worry about your whole house smelling like vinegar. The vinegar scent fades as the vinegar dries.
  • You can use lemon juice to get rid of fishy odor. To eradicate the smell, boil a pan of water with a few teaspoons of lemon juice and allow the brew to boil for a half hour or so to eliminate the stench.
  • Apple can also be used to eradicate the smell of fish from your kitchen. Prior to frying fish, take few thinly sliced apples and apply them to your frying pan for a few minutes. This will keep the smell of the fish to a minimum without adding an apple taste to your fried foods.
  • You can also boil orange peels, grapefruit peels, or lemon peels after cooking to get rid of fishy smell that comes after frying them.
  • For a nice fragrance, add a teaspoon of cinnamon to a bowl of boiling water after cooking your fish dish. This will give your kitchen a nice smell like a baking pie.
  • Take any kind of citrus fruits in a bowl and add some white vinegar to it. This will help to soak up the unpleasant odor coming from your kitchen after cooking your favorite fish dish.
  • To remove the smell of fish from bowls, containers or pans cut a couple of potatoes in half and sprinkle them with table salt and put in the container for 2 hours (preferably with lid on).  Wash thoroughly.

Final Words:

Follow the above mentioned quick and simple methods for eradicating fishy odors from your kitchen while cooking. These tips work to keep your kitchen smelling fresh and delicious even after some not-so-yummy scents are left behind.


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