How to Get the Fish Smell Off Your Hands

How to Get the Fish Smell Off Your Hands

Anyone knows just how gross your hands smell after a day of fishing; handling the bait and the fish you catch. No one wants to even be around you with your hands smelling like that. The question is, how do you get that fish smell off your hands? You can use hand sanitizer, squeeze the juice of a lemon onto your hands, and even put toothpaste on your hands. Read on to find out what else you can do to get the fish smell off your hands and not have everyone avoid you because of fishy hands.

What Makes Your Hands Smell Fishy?

The fish smell comes from the amines of the fish, which include Methylamine, Dimethylamine, and Trimethylamine, all of which have an offensive fishy odor. To get rid of them you need to use a low pH substance to get rid of this smell, like vinegar and lemon juice. 

How to Get the Fish Smell Off Your Hands

Fish tastes good and is healthy for you to eat but that scent they leave behind can be very unpleasant. It is a smell that can linger on your hands for hours. What can you use to get rid of it?

  • Vinegar and Lemon: Mix in a bowl a fourth cup of lemon juice and a cup of vinegar along with a drop of dish soap. After mixing it, let it sit for 30 minutes. If your skin is sensitive, then you should not use this solution as vinegar can irritate your skin. Once it has set for the required time, scrub your hands with the mixture. Put your hands in the bowl and scrub all areas where you have touched the fish and bait. Make sure that you scrub between your fingers and under your nails. Once you have scrubbed your hands, wash them with soap and water, and then rinse them off. The fishy smell should be replaced by a citrus scent.
  • Baking Soda Paste: In a bowl mix a teaspoon of water with two tablespoons of baking soda to make a paste. If it is not a paste you can add a little more water. It needs to be a paste so it will stay on your hands to get rid of the smell. Take the paste and scrub it into your hands and between your fingers. Let it sit on your hands for one to two minutes and then rinse with warm water. If your hands feel sticky then you can wash them with soap and water.
  • Toothpaste: The first thing to do is wet your hands with warm water. The toothpaste is designed to neutralize bacteria so this helps with eliminating fish odors from your hands. Your hands have to be wet or the toothpaste will not spread well. Rub your hands together to make sure they are wet and then squeeze a small amount of toothpaste into your hands. Scrub them and then rinse off with water. You can use any type of toothpaste you want, even the super cheap ones but for the best results, it should contain baking soda.
  • Rub Your Hands on Stainless Steel: Yes, you read that right but first, you need to rinse your hands. The stainless steel will absorb the fish smell but not the solid pieces of fish or fish scales so this is why it is important to rinse your hands first. You can use hot, cold, or warm water, as long as it is flowing and clean. Rub your hands on the stainless steel faucet for at least a minute or two or any stainless steel appliance in your home. Rub both the front and back of your hands. It is not known exactly why or how this works but it is thought that there are certain molecules in the stainless steel that bind with the odor molecules and help to reduce the fishy smell on your hands. Finish up by washing your hands with soap and water. Make sure that afterward, you wipe down the faucet. 
  • Ketchup: Yes, ketchup; it works wonders in getting rid of fishy smells on your hands. Just pour ketchup in your hands, rub it in well all over your hands, and wherever you notice the smell. Just leave it on your hands for approximately five minutes and then wash it off with soap and water.
  • Soap: Wash your hands with soap water and then rub them together to get a good soapy lather on your hands but do not rinse the soap off. Instead, use some paper towels to wipe the soap off. Leave the soap on your hands for at least 10 minutes and then scrub them again underwater, rinsing the soap off this time.
  • Bleach: If you use this method to get rid of the fish smell on your hands, you do need to be careful because bleach is powerful. It can ruin your clothes if you get it on them and be very bad if you get it in your eyes. 
  • Hydrogen Peroxide: Use straight hydrogen peroxide on your hands and after rubbing it all over let it stay on your hands for a few minutes before you wash it off with soap and water.
  • Saltine Crackers: Yes, this does sound a bit strange to use saltine crackers but if it works that is all that counts. The first thing that you need to do is wash your hands with soap and water and then dry them, Crush up some saltine crackers and rub them around in your hands like you would if it were soap.


The fishy smell is hard to get off your hands and sometimes you can scrub and scrub with water and soap and even after you dry your hands you still notice that faint fishy smell. If one of these methods does not work, then try another. It may take a couple of different methods in order to get rid of all the fishy smells.

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