How I Got Rid of the (Terrible, Horrible) Fish Smell in My Kitchen
I made fish stock a week ago. It was my first go at the process, an ostensibly simple one: Procure fish carcasses from a local monger, strip them of any wayward flesh, roast the bones for 20 minutes, simmer them in water for 60. Strain, then store. I was unworried.
It was all a little messier than I expected (remember to line your pans with parchment when roasting any bones to keep them from gluing and glomming onto your baking sheets). After the pans were scrubbed and the trash cans carried out of the house, the problem appeared: a pervasive and lingering stench so awful I was convinced fish guts had spilled somewhere unnoticed and now sat, festering and turning my home into an uninhabitable swamp of filth.
Why You Should Always Ask for Fish Heads
Throughout the week that followed, my life’s purpose became ridding our house of the smell. It was formidable and mysterious. I Swiffered more than I’ve ever Swiffered in my life (though that’s not saying a lot). I frantically texted Sarah for guidance. I convinced myself my roommates would kick me out, deeming me unfit to use our kitchen ever again.
The good news is, a full week later, the smell is mostly gone; there’s still a lingering whiff you get when you first walk up our stairs, but I’ve come to greet it like a mischievous pet: annoying but harmless.
Присоединиться к разговору
“Add some baking soda and water to a crock pot and let it sit uncovered on low for a few hours to overnight. it takes away every smell you could ever imagine, and is much less time intensive!”
Here’s a summary of what I did, and which strategies I think actually worked. If this happens to you, know that you’re not alone! And it might take some time. Apparently this is just a thing that happens, but people keep cooking fish anyways?
Вот что я сделал:
- Swiffer: This worked to convince me that there weren’t fish guts sitting around on the floor and to add a nice chemical-clean smell to the milieu. Definitely recommend.
- Opening the windows: 100% necessary, though not completely successful since we don’t have a lot of windows in our common area and there isn’t great circulation.
- Putting on a fan to circulate air: 100% necessary, possibly the most effective long-term strategy I found. Kept it on for two days straight, despite the fact that I was also wearing sweaters for two days straight.
- Scrubbing greasy walls and surfaces: This is secretly essential; fish smells get trapped easily in grease, like those splatters on the wall near your stove. I used a rough sponge because I was worried that steel wool would be too aggressive.
- Setting out a bowl of coffee grounds: tried this the first night; woke up convinced it had worked; left the house and came back and realized it hadn’t. Jury’s still out on this one.
- Rubbing the sink and cooking surfaces with a cut lemon half: This was the only thing that succeeded in getting the stench out of the roasting pans I’d used.
- Swiffering five more times: Not really sure this helped the original problem, but it helped my psyche.
- Keeping a candle lit every single minute I was in the house: Though I’m not sure this got rid of any smells, it did cover them up successfully, so much so that I felt like I could invite people into my home. Stock up.
- Пылающий шалфей: Didn’t really work, but did get all the bad spirits out of my home.
There are other things I could have tried, like simmering a lemon peel in water, or simmering baking spices, or baking cookies until my arms fell off. I’d say patience is the most important tool here, as well as trust that your problem will, at some point, go away.
How To Get The Fish Fry Smell Out Of Your House Fast
It could mean something more dangerous than just last night’s leftovers.
We don’t mean to alarm you, but if your home smells fishy—and you didn’t cook tilapia for dinner—this could be a serious problem. It is actually completely normal for overheating electrical components, such as circuit breakers, outlets or wiring, to smell like рыбы. The smell isn’t actually coming from the electrical components themselves. The heat-resistant chemicals that wires, outlets and circuit breakers are made of will omit a fishy odor when they’re overheating. The longer these devices are left to overheat, the more likely they are to cause a fire. And the likelihood of a fire increases the more these overheating devices are surrounded by flammable materials, like paint, wood, insulation or wallpaper.
Why does my house smell like fish when I didn’t cook any?
Electrical hazards that may cause overheating include:
- Wrong-sized fuses or breakers
- Перегруженные цепи
- Loose or flimsy wires
- Frayed cords
- Wire insulation breakdowns
- Older homes with electrical systems not up to code
Also, your house could be in danger of an electrical fire if:
- ВЕСЬ Ваш автоматический выключатель продолжает спотыкаться
- You keep smelling a curious запах гари (not coming from the kitchen)
- Your outlets or light switches appear to be charred or discolored
- You just know you’ve got really old wiring (Is your home over the hill?)
What to do if you smell an undiagnosed fishy odor in your home?
Call an electrician immediately. They can track down and fix the overheating component and will also check for any other possible problems.
Often this fishy smell is mistaken for sewer gas, mildew or decaying animals stuck in the walls, attic or basement. Подсказка: Those things will never, ever smell like fish. A fishy odor is a very distinct thing, and it does not denote any of those aforementioned problems.
Просто быть чистым:
- Плесень smells musty.
- Коллекторы smell sulfuric.
- Gas leaks also can smell sulfuric, so if your house smells like rotten eggs, get out of there immediately and call the fire department.
How to get rid of fish smells in the house
Okay, so maybe it’s not an electrical issue. Maybe it really was just fish. And maybe it was really delicious, but now you’re sick of smelling it three days later. We’ve got some suggestions:
- Wash any cooking tools that touched the fish immediately if you haven’t already to remove the smell and prevent it from lingering.
- Leave a bowl of vinegar out on the counter overnight to absorb lingering seafood smells.
- Simmer either vinegar or lemon peels in water on your stove for 20 minutes or so to neutralize the surrounding air, sort of like a natural potpourri. Bay leaves, rosemary or vanilla extract are beloved DIY potpourri ingredients, too.
- Or better yet, try simmering water with cinnamon sticks, cloves and ground ginger. It’ll smell like chai. Yummy.
- Spray fishy-smelling rooms with Febreze Air for a quick burst of relief. It doesn’t just mask—it actually cleans away odors with OdorClear Technology.
- Deep clean upholstered furniture by laundering all removable covers in the washing machine.
- Baking soda absorbs odors—making it the perfect deodorizer. Sprinkle it all over your upholstery, from couches to pet beds and carpet. Let it sit overnight and vacuum up in the morning. If the upholstery had absorbed the fish smell, the baking soda should neutralize it.
- Leave out a bowl of absorbent coffee grounds to soak up the fish smell.
- Lightly mist any hard-to-wash fabric items with your favorite scent of Febreze Fabric to eliminate fishy odors.
- Wash the walls, clean the garbage disposal, scrub your dishwasher filter. Clean anything that was exposed to that fishy smell, whether during cooking or just passively absorbing it.
- Clean your cutting boards and baking sheets to get rid of fishy residue.
- Deep clean your stovetop and burners, in case any fish-flavored or -scented oil splattered onto them.
- Wipe down the stove’s backsplash with a gentle dish soap like Рассвет и теплая вода.
- Toss all your kitchen towels directly into the washing machine (but not in with the other laundry, or you’ll have fishy-smelling clothes, too!). Add ¼ cup of apple cider vinegar, and run on a hot cycle.
- Deodorize fabrics with a DIY cocktail of diluted vinegar and water, including curtains and carpets.
- Dust and wash your kitchen blinds.
- Air out your house. Open all of the windows and doors. Let some sun in, which can help kill odor-producing germs and bacteria.
- Купите очиститель воздуха. Because who doesn’t want purer air these days?
- Turn on the essential oil diffuser, light some scented candles or incense and/or buy a bouquet of fresh flowers to combat the fishy smell—or at least offset it with a more pleasant aroma!
Prevent fish smells in the kitchen
And, hey! The next time you cook fish, try these tricks that should cut down on the fish’s potent odor during cooking, but won’t affect its overall flavor.
- Soak fish in milk for at least half an hour before cooking it.
- Soak your fish in water mixed with 1/4 cup of vinegar or 1/4 cup of lemon juice перед приготовлением.
- Hang a damp kitchen towel near the stove while you’re cooking your fish, which may help to absorb the fishy smell and prevent it from traveling throughout your house.
- Make sure all your kitchen windows are open while cooking fish.
- Don’t forget to turn on the exhaust fan во время приготовления.
If your house still smells funky or fishy, we’ve got a million more ideas about how to make your house smell good (none of which include cooking more fish).