It can be incredibly frustrating to have to drive around in a car that smells like fish. This can happen for a number of different reasons and it’s going to be annoying no matter what.
Perhaps you caught some fish and placed them in your car or you might have bought seafood and had some spill in your car at some point.
Whatever happened doesn’t matter, but what does matter is that you want that fish smell gone as soon as possible. Fish odors can be incredibly strong and it isn’t always easy to get rid of them.
It isn’t impossible to take care of this issue, though, and you just need to learn what to do.
Keep reading to explore what your options are when you’re trying to get rid of the fish smell in your car. You’ll learn about several things that should help you to solve your problem.
After you’ve gathered the necessary information, you can utilize the method that makes the most sense for your situation.
Also check my article on how to get the fish smell off of your hands.
1 – Take Care of Your Spill Fast
If you spilled some seafood in your car, it’s going to be best to try to take care of the spill as fast as you can.
Allowing the spill to just go unchecked will lead to various problems and it will wind up being much tougher to eliminate the odor completely. What you should do is try to wipe up the spill and then do something to absorb it if you can.
One good option is to make use of newspapers or some old rags that you have sitting around. Cover up the spill and see if you can absorb it as effectively as possible.
Newspapers work really nicely because they’re going to absorb things really well so you might want to try to go the newspaper route.
2 – Cleaning with Soapy Water
Cleaning your car out with soapy water could be a good idea when you’re trying to eliminate fish smells. This is especially true if the spill just happened and you’re trying to take care of things before they get worse.
Scrubbing the area with the fish smell is necessary to get things cleaned up and you can do things right to try to keep the smell from settling into the carpet.
One good idea is to go ahead and use a bit of dish soap and some water to scrub the carpeting. Mix that dish soap up with warm water in a bucket and then scrub it into the carpeting using a brush.
You don’t have to scrub super hard if you’re worried about hurting the carpet, so feel free to be gentle.
If you happen to own a wet-dry vacuum, you could suck up the water and then clean things again. Keep doing this until you’re satisfied with the results.
If you don’t want to go this route, don’t worry because there are more options to consider that will help you to fix your problem.
3 – Use a Water and Vinegar Mixture
When it comes to cleaning the spill, it can be good to make use of a water and vinegar mixture. What you want to do is mix one cup of vinegar with two quarts of water.
Grab some type of old rag from somewhere and use it to scrub this mixture into the floor of your car.
Vinegar is a type of natural odor absorbing cleaner that can work wonders. It should allow you to get deep into the fibers of your carpeting so that you can get rid of the fish smell.
If you clean your car’s carpeting immediately after the spill, you can expect to get pretty good results by using this method.
4 – Baking Soda Can Also Help
It’s always going to be wise to keep some baking soda around to help you handle little problems like this. You can actually go ahead and sprinkle some in your car wherever you think it is needed.
Determine which areas of your car are smelling fishy and then use the baking soda to try to eliminate those odors.
Just note that you should clean up any spills or messes before you use this baking soda method. It might go without saying, but you can’t just sprinkle it over a spilled bowl of fish soup and hope for the best.
However, it is remarkable how well baking soda neutralizes odors and it’s going to work nicely to eliminate any lingering fish smells that you are dealing with.
It’s good to know that you can also use a combination of vinegar and baking soda to clean your grill after you’re done cooking your fish.
5 – Air Out Your Car
Airing out your car is probably going to be a good idea when you’re dealing with a problem like this. The fish smell might linger longer than you would like if you keep things contained in the car.
It’s going to be wise to go ahead and roll down your windows so that things can air out naturally.
Of course, this is going to work much better if the weather is appropriate for it. Hot weather can make the fish smell worse when you don’t have the windows down and you’re definitely not going to want to drive around like that.
Forego using your air conditioning while driving for a while and just roll the windows down instead.
Over time, your car should smell much nicer from being aired out like this. Fish smells are known for lingering, but airing your car out does make quite a difference.
The smelly air will be able to leave your car and you’ll be back to normal soon enough if you combine this idea with some of the others mentioned above.
6 – Use Odor Neutralizing Cleaning Products
Those who don’t want to make use of vinegar might be better off using something that will work just as well that comes from the store.
There are odor neutralizing cleaning products that you can purchase from the store such as Febreeze that will take smells away swiftly. One reason why you might want to use a product like this is that you might not enjoy the smell of vinegar.
It’s true that vinegar is something that is rather potent in its own right and that might not be something you want to go through. It’s very easy to buy an odor neutralizing cleaning product from the store and they come in various different types.
You can find products with pleasant scents or you can go with something that doesn’t really have a scent at all.
Either way, these products are going to be very easy to use. You just spray the product on the area of your car carpeting that smells like fish and it takes away the odor.
For the most part, these cleaning products work well to eliminate fishy smells, but it might take several applications over the course of time if you have a particularly bad problem.
The only real downside to this method is that you will have to pay for the product. You’ll find that most of these odor neutralizing sprays are not all that expensive, but that will also somewhat depend on your perspective.
Vinegar and water can work just as well, but you’ll have to decide how you feel about the vinegar smell.
7 – Get Your Car’s Carpet Shampooed
Finally, you could just consider taking your car to get it professionally cleaned. There are all sorts of car detail shops that will be happy to help you out with the issues that you’re experiencing.
Generally, these professionals are going to be able to shampoo your carpets and take care of the fish smell expediently.
If you haven’t had a lot of luck getting the fish smell to go away, this might be your best bet. This is a type of deep cleaning that can get rid of various odors and it’s good to have your car’s carpet shampooed every so often.
The only real negative aspect of this is that you will have to pay to get it done.
Just try to find a respectable company that is going to give you a good deal while also doing a stellar job. If you’re able to do this, you should be able to walk away from this situation feeling happy.
Your fish smells should be gone and you can get back to enjoying your car once more.
Start Using Your Car Again
Now you should be able to start using your car again without having to be afraid of that awful fish smell.
In the future, it’s likely going to be important to be more careful when you’re transporting fish or some type of meal with fish in it. You definitely don’t want to spill things like that in your car, but at least you know how to handle things if the worst does happen.
Dealing with a fish smell in your car doesn’t have to be an onerous process if you take the time to read the advice above.
There are lots of things that you can do to try to fix things and you might want to utilize several of these methods to get the best results. You will be able to eliminate that fish smell and your car will be back to smelling fantastic again.
Ben has a bachelor’s degree in construction engineering. When not constructing or remodeling X-Ray Rooms, Cardiovascular Labs, and Pharmacies, you can find him at home with wife and two daughters. Outside of family, He loves grilling and barbequing on his Big Green Egg and Blackstone Griddle, as well as working on projects around the house.
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