4 Ways To Remove Fishy Smell From Clothes

If you know what it’s like to walk around with a repulsive smell, you wouldn’t want your clothes to have a fishy smell. Smell provokes emotions and ultimately determines whether people will be comfortable in your company or not. As such, you should always get rid of fishy smells from your clothes. Wondering how to do that? Read on.

5 Causes Of Fishy Smell In Clothes

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Before you tackle the fishy smell in your clothes, you need to know what causes such unpleasant odor in the first place. As such, you’ll learn how to protect your clothes from having a fishy smell instead of going through the stress of removing them every time.


Trimethylaminuria, also called fish odor syndrome, is a metabolic condition caused by a disorder in the FMO3 gene, leading to the body’s inability to break down trimethylamine. Consequently, the affected person naturally emits a fishy odor, regardless of their hygiene practices.

Additionally, this condition is characterized by the body’s inability to break down trimethylamine, a chemical compound that, when not metabolized properly, contributes to the fishy odor. As such, the smell stains their clothes. The major symptom of Trimethylaminuria is the release of a fishy odor from the body, which can be especially noticeable in bodily secretions and excretions.

The treatment for this goes beyond getting rid of the fishy smell from the clothes. The affected individual has to see a doctor for proper medical treatment and stay away from seafood, kidney, liver, peanuts, etc. 

Fish products

If you go fishing or cook fish products a lot, the chances that your clothes will have a fishy smell are high. What you should do is have separate clothes for these activities. That way, the fishy smell won’t end up staining all your clothes. 

fabric smells like fish

Formaldehyde resin

Formaldehyde resin is a chemical present in some clothes, especially new ones, and it gives a fishy smell. It’s meant to increase the fabric’s resistance to wrinkles and help dyes penetrate deeper. The only solution to this is to wash the clothes well until they no longer smell.


If you expose your clothes to mildew, they’ll end up having a fishy smell more often than not. How do you solve this problem? Avoid leaving your clothes outside overnight. If they are not yet dry, find a dry and cool place indoors to lay them out until they are fully dry. Also, you can spread the clothes in the sunlight to get rid of the smell.

Poor hygiene

Your clothes can’t smell nice if you’ve poor hygiene. You’ve to keep the standards every day. Keep your body and environment clean. If you need to declutter your wardrobe and air it for some time, do so. Wash your clothes regularly and rightly too. If you need to change cleaning agents or the way you wash, don’t hesitate to do so.

4 Ways To Remove Fishy Smells From Your Clothes

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Removing a fishy smell from your clothes isn’t difficult, but you need to know whether your clothes have a fishy smell or not. Naturally, your senses should pick up this odor. But if they don’t, you may need to rely on another person to tell you. Below are some of the ways to remove a fishy smell from your clothes.

1. Wrap the clothes with baking soda

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Once you identify the affected clothes, get a paper bag and put some baking soda inside. You can also sprinkle some baking soda on the clothes and put the clothes in the bag. Baking soda helps to get rid of the unfavorable smell. You might need to put the clothes in the bag for more than one day, depending on how quickly the fishy smell goes away.

2. Wash with white vinegar

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Another way to get rid of the fishy smell from your clothes is to wash them with vinegar. Vinegar helps absorb unpleasant odors wherever you use them. As such, it’s a common ingredient in household cleaning materials. Just add a little to the soapy water and soak the clothes in it for some hours. If the smell isn’t gone after that, you can leave it overnight.

3. Line-dry the clothes in the sunlight

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Sunlight is one of the oldest and most effective ways of getting rid of a smell from clothes. As much as possible, except stated otherwise, you should spread your clothes in the sunlight.

Not only does it eliminate unpleasant odors, but it also helps to kill germs on the clothes. However, don’t expose your clothes to too much sunlight to avoid color fading, etc. For clothes with a fishy smell, spread them in the sunlight till the smell goes away.

Wash with cleaning detergents

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High-quality cleaning detergents are very effective in getting rid of the fishy smell from clothes. For instance, borax is a good cleaning agent. You can also use your dish cleaning liquids to wash the affected clothes either by hand or machine.

Whichever you use, ensure it doesn’t violate the instructions on the clothes. For example, using a machine to wash clothes that should be hand-washed can ruin the clothes. After washing, spread in the sunlight or a dry, open space. 

Now That You’ve Removed The Fishy Smell

The first step in making your clothes smell nice should be to identify and eliminate the causes of the smell and remove the smell from the affected clothes. Now that you’ve done that, you’ve to replace the bad smell with a pleasant one. Below is a guide on maintaining your clothes such that they don’t get a fishy smell.

Always use a clean washing machine 

The state of your washing machine will determine the smell of your clothes. For instance, using a moldy washing machine to wash your clothes won’t make them smell nice. Therefore, you’ve to make it a duty to clean your washing machine regularly as well. 

how to get fishy smell out of clothes

Use a nice-smelling cleaning detergent

Another way to make your clothes smell nice is to use nice-smelling cleaning agents to wash your clothes. Usually, your clothes take on the smell of the cleaning agents you use, in addition to the effects of the chemicals on your clothes. As such, don’t go for poor-quality cleaning products. You can also add some drops of essential oils when rinsing your clothes.

Air your clothes regularly

Putting your clothes in cramped spaces is one of the causes of a bad smell. Whether worn or not, your clothes should be stored in a dry and cool place. You don’t need to have the biggest-sized wardrobe to do that, simply ensure there’s enough space for your clothes. If your closet is too small for your clothes, however, you need to get a bigger one. 

Put a nice-smelling scent in your wardrobe

Putting a nice-smelling scent such as an air freshener in your wardrobe will go a long way in making your clothes smell nice. You can also use other items like clothes, perfume, a sweet-smelling bar of soap, etc. Just put the item in the corner of your wardrobe and let the smell envelop your clothes for some hours. 

Never keep clothes wet for long

Leaving your clothes wet for long will make them develop a bad smell because of mold. Air-dry your clothes as soon as you wash them. Even if there’s no sunlight, you can find a cool and dry place in your house to spread them. [9 Things You Can Use To Get Mold Out Of Your Clothes]

3 Tips For Caring For Your Clothes

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Beyond removing the fishy smell and making your clothes smell nice, you need to know how to care for your clothes. Proper care will preserve them for long, thereby reducing wardrobe costs, unpleasant odors and helping you save money for other things. But what does proper care of clothes mean? Check the tips below to know how to go about it.

Follow the instructions on the care labels

It’s a great disservice when you don’t follow the instructions on the care labels when taking care of your clothes. Each fabric has different modes of care, so you can’t lump all your clothes together and treat them as you know best. For instance, you might need to iron most cotton clothes while nylon clothes are usually washed and wear.

The care labels provide correct information on how to preserve your clothes. However, you should also take note that only high-quality clothes can be preserved for long.

You might not get a full wardrobe if you’re keen on buying good clothes but having a sizable number of clothes that make a statement is better than having a truckload that makes you look like a shadow of yourself.

No use of abrasive detergents

Don’t use abrasive detergents to wash your clothes. Always go for mild cleaning agents. If you want to get rid of a stain, pre-treat it before washing. You can use home remedies like toothpaste, lime juice, etc., or an effective but mild detergent.

Also, it’s not every time you should wash your clothes. Washing reduces the quality of fabrics – the more you wash, the lower the quality. Try to ensure your clothes don’t get dirty when you wear them so you can repeat them. In addition, upping your fashion game will help you know how to combine clothes when repeating them so as not to look boring.

Sort your clothes before washing

It’s a bad habit to heap all your dirty clothes in the laundry machine without sorting them according to different categories. For example, some clothes are color transferable and can’t be washed with other clothes, especially if those clothes are of a different color.

Some clothes have sharp designs too, and they might snag other less-resistant fabrics. All of these ruin your clothes. This is why laundry isn’t an activity you should rush through. 


Removing the fishy smell from clothes isn’t a problem, as long as you follow the instructions above. However, to make your clothes stay fresh and smell nice, you need to know what causes the bad smell, how to eliminate them, and how to properly care for each piece of cloth that adorns your body.

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