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Getting rid of fish smell after cooking...

Apologies in advance if this is on the wrong board.

I'm trying to be all health conscious, which (for me) means eating more fish. But I'm really grossed out by the lingering smell after I've cooked the stuff. I live in a relatively small condo, and even coming home the-day-after, the apartment continues to smell like cooked fish. I don't like it. How can I get rid of this very persistent smell (open windows and stove fan aren't enough)??

Thanks -

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  1. I'm not sure how you can get rid of the smell, but I do know that you can soak the fish in milk for a few hours and it should take the smell away from it when you cook it. I don't know if that's dependent on the type of fish or any other conditions though, but it's worth a try.


    1. Make some coffee after you wash the dishes, the cutting boards and the counters (and anything else the fish has touched). Grind from whole beans for best effect.

      1. Very easy. Put out a small bowl of white vinegar on drainboard when you leave the kitchen. Et voila next day smells gone.

        7 Replies
        1. re: Mother Hubbard

          I second this suggestion. I find it works for many kitchen odors, though it takes a little time to work.

          1. re: ivanova

            I actually learnt this method from another post in Chowhound, and it works great!

          2. re: Mother Hubbard

            ....how do you get rid of the vinegar smell?

            1. re: AngelSanctuary

              I put the vinegar in a small jar that has a cap on the kitchen counter. After I cook the fish, I open the jar and somehow the vinager is able to magically "get rid of the fish smell". Once I only smell vinegar I will just close the cap. Then the vinager smell disappears in a few minutes.

                1. re: acgold7

                  Yes, cheddar goldfish do have their own distinct scent, don't they? ;-)

              1. re: Mother Hubbard

                I've mixed white vinegar with water and simmered it on the stove for awhile. I hate the smell of cooked fish and really dislike eating it, but my ex-husband and ex-boyfriend loved it, so getting rid of the smell was a priority to me.

                The vinegar smell always reminds me of coloring Easter eggs!

              2. I light a vanilla-scented candle or two for the rest of the evening.

                1. Many candle places have "Kitchen Candles" that seem to take the smell out of the air. I always have a Bath & Body Works Vanilla candle burning after cooking fish. It doesn't overpower eating the fish, and is a gentle enough scent to not be overpowering in and of itself.

                  2 Replies
                    1. re: LindaWhit

                      I think an unscented candle may work as well, because burning it should consume the scent, shouldn't it? But yes, a kitchen scented candle will work.

                    2. Baking chocolate chip cookies always works for me. (Even the Toll House premade stuff from the fridge case at the store.)

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: ccbweb

                        LMAO, so much for the eating healthy aspect of the OP!:-)

                      2. If you're not opposed to an aerosol "deodorizer" try Oust; smells leave pronto. I also use candles but something acidic, like lemon, that overpowers and doesn't simply mellow. Coffee soaps can also cut smells when used to wash up the kitchen (my bar gets rid of "garlic fingers" in a snap).

                        1. rather than trying to overpower the smell, make sure your fish is super fresh. try poaching, roasting or cooking en papillote. cook for as short a time as possible. do not deep fry, because that adds another smell.

                          1. great question! I hate fish and I hate the smell of fish. I try to eat it every now and then to be healthy. My husband likes it a lot. When we owned a home we would grill fish regularly on the outdoor bbq so the smell was never in the house. grilled on the bbq i could almost enjoy it. now, we live in a condo. we don't bbq here. i've tried cooking it twice in two years in the condo and the smell has just made me crazey. we have a very strong stove fan but, no, that smell would not go away. the kitties and boxer dog were very happy.....

                            1. Generally, if you cook fish on the stovetop with any kind of oil - either cooking oil (olive/vegetable/canola/peanut etc.), or the fish's natural oil (fatty fish like salmon or trout etc.) will cause fishy cooking odors to linger since the odor gets trapped in the oil droplets that spatter from the pan when you cook over fairly high heat.

                              This is not so much getting rid of the smell more a ways you can bypass it suggestion. If you cook it on the stovetop with oil (deep fry, pan fry, saute, sear, etc.) try a spatter guard over top of your pan (essentially a large, flat, fine mesh strainer). Won't entirely do away with the smell issue but should cut it down a bit.

                              Or avoid high heat stove top preparations. roast or broil in the oven, or poach on the stove top.

                              1. Burn a lampe berger....originally invented to remove odors in hospitals, these burners will effectively rid your kitchen of cooking odors. I wouldn't be without one...


                                You will also find many lampe berger listings on ebay...

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: fauchon

                                  Gee thnx for "ebay" tip. Here in the aptmnts. we are not allowed to burn candles.
                                  Will this little kid create black smoke like most candles do?
                                  I've seen the Glade plug ins but never tried them, thinking "nnaaaaaaah"
                                  Regards, Jaemy

                                2. I fried fish Monday night and could barely sleep for the smell in the bedroom. The smell still lingered today and I decided to wipe around the kitchen with a few drops of lavender oil on a cloth. Made a huge difference.

                                  1. You need the "gets rid of every smell magic oven trick"
                                    1. Get a baking sheet, line it with tin foil so no clean up.
                                    2. Put some sugar, cinammon and a little pat of butter all in a little pile.
                                    3. Stick in the oven on 250 for 1 hour.
                                    Gets rid of any kitchen smells and makes the whole house smell as if you had time to bake something!

                                    9 Replies
                                    1. re: ddelicious

                                      that doesn't "get rid of the smell". it just covers it up. like one of those christmas tree hangers in a taxi.

                                      1. re: hotoynoodle

                                        No true. It gets rid of it. When the baking smell goes away the stinky smell is completely gone too. Works for all frying and smelly cooking odours.

                                        1. re: ddelicious

                                          How do you define covered up? If you can't smell it, it's gone.

                                          1. re: taos

                                            This is ridiculous. You are just covering up the smell not eliminating the smell. If you didn't shower but just covered yourself in perfume would you consider yourself clean?

                                            The best way to eliminate the smell is by preventing it in the first place by using any or all of the following; vent fans, a splatter screen, air cleaner. When frying, even with a little oil, the oil basically becomes aerosolized and travels a tremendous distance. This oil is the smell that lingers. The vent fan, splatter screen and air purifier traps or captures the oil particles and keeps the odors down.

                                            Burning candles, making cookies,etc. just covers the odors.

                                            1. re: KTinNYC

                                              not to mention only cooking very fresh fish. if it smells fishy before it hits the pan, you're already doomed.

                                              1. re: KTinNYC

                                                Cleanliness involves more than just not smelling bad. But if it did, and you took a shower and came out smelling good, than you'd be clean.

                                                If a smell cannot no longer be detected, by definition, it's not there. It doesn't mean the fish isn't there, or whatever caused the smell is not there. All we're talking about is a smell - which is a perception sensed by the human nose.

                                                The issue with perfume air cleaners is that they ADD another smell on top of the existing smell so there are two smells, the perfume and the less detectable smell the perfume was put to distract from. I don't think we're talking about that in this case.

                                                1. re: taos

                                                  If baking sugar, cinnamon, and butter in a oven isn't the definition off adding another smell on top of the existing smell than what would you call it?

                                                  1. re: KTinNYC

                                                    My point was that a smell, by definition is an aroma detected by the human nose. If you can no longer smell the fish, the smell no longer exists. It doesn't mean the fish is gone or that its smell may be reactivated, but that's another story.

                                                2. re: KTinNYC

                                                  I'm not sure why you're so opposed to this but I can assure you that the nice baking smell causes you to not smell the fishy smell. AND THEN..... once the baking smell has gone away there is no more fishy smelly either. Try it, you'll see.

                                        2. Nothing works for me, other than only cooking fish in the oven. Our kitchen is in the basement, so the smell wafts up throughout the rest of the house and it is disgusting.

                                          1. Maybe I am wrong, but if fish is very fresh, it should have no odor at all, just a salty fresh smell- am I wrong? I cook fish all the time ( 2-3x a week) but it is fish I buy that day and cook the same day.

                                            2 Replies
                                            1. re: cassoulady

                                              Oily fish like salmon and shark smell much fishier when cooked even if they go straight from habitat to Le Creuset. Whitefish don't have as much of the issue, unless you have a "long time no sea" issue in which case buy your fish elsewhere. :)

                                              1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                                Run your exhaut fan on high for the duration of cooking on your stovetop, and for at least an hour after it. If you can remove the exhaust filter, remove it and wash it. Be sure to wipe down your stove and your exhaust with something that removes grease and smells nice. I like Chlorox wipes for this. Finally, spray some Febreeze into your exhaust fan. It helps a lot.

                                                For the oven, a vinegar and water spray on the door and sides will work wonders, once the over is cool.

                                            2. The thing about fish smells is that its not always possible to prevent. For example, i just found this post because i steamed a lobster yesterday and am making a stock with the shells. I'm not frying, so there's no aeorsolized oil particles, just good old penetrating steam that is infiltrating the apartment. And i know its fresh fish, because it was a frisky live lobster.

                                              In any case, i'm using the exhaust fan, have the windows open, and am going to try the vinegar trick, or boiling small amount of vinegar or lemon juice water to get THAT smell vaporized into the air, hopefully counteracting the fish smell.

                                              1. I am fed up of my house smelling like an old persons home after cooking smoked haddock, i invented this method of trying to eradicate the smell,,i put a piece of aluminium foil on a baking sheet and crumpled up the edges so nothing can run off it, i poured on some diluted concentrated disinfectant ie: zoflora, placed it on the hob and lit the gas under it for about 10 mins,,, i have only just done it so when i leave the house later and re-enter, i will let you know how it worked. :)

                                                1. A product like Fabreeze works well at getting rid of the lingering odor.
                                                  Also, in my experience, the fish becomes fishier (aroma) as a result of overcooking especially when fried or baked.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: dave_c

                                                    i cooked it in the oven in the oven bag it was sold in from asda, i made sure i disposed of the bag after cooking in the outside bin, my invention worked a little but not too sure as when i went out and came home again, all i could smell was my stew cooking. :) no offence to old people by the way. thanks i will try the fabreeze. :)

                                                  2. 2 suggestions:

                                                    1: I read once that clove remedies a fishy smell. We'd just simmer a little water with a whole clove in it - doesn't take long at all to lose the fish smell. My daughters called it "Clove soup".

                                                    2: good for any kitchen odors - if you squeeze citrus (esp. lemon), save the remnants until after dinner & cleanup, and then put them down the disposal.

                                                    1. One small step step that helps is to be sure to clean the fish off thoroughly with water before cooking it.

                                                      1. If my house smelled like febreze or scented candles, I would cook some fish to get rid of that smell.

                                                        What I do when I fry fish is stick a fan in my kitchen window while I'm cooking it, and for a little while afterwards. If it's cold out, I don't fry fish. In fact, I hardly ever fry fish, regardless of the weather. I prefer to roast some potatoes and other veg in a pan, then add a piece of fish to the baking pan at just the right moment.

                                                            1. Rachael Ray kept mentioning using white vermouth when cooking fish to get rid of the fishy smell in the house. I don't normally follow her tips, but I had a bottle of vermouth in the fridge from my husband's martini phase. Worked like a charm! Add some white vermouth to the dish and NO MORE FISH ODOR.

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: Njchicaa

                                                                I was reading this thread and wondered why my fish last night didn't smell and then I saw this comment. It must have been because it was fish in a vermouth and mushroom sauce. No odor!

                                                              2. Last spring I fried a mess of smelt in an electric skillet out on the deck. It was one of the best cooking decisions I ever made.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: John E.

                                                                  This is hilarious! Thank you. Some time ago, the WSJ ran a feature about super-duper- expensive gas grills. I really liked this one gal who, after her husband bought one of the things and then lost interest in it, used it exclusively for frying chicken. An $8,000.00 chicken fryer. Hah!

                                                                2. Hey there, I too live in a relatively small apartment and encounter the same issue when I cook up fish or shellfish.

                                                                  This past week I made pan seared scallops, and noticed that the smell was still in the air the next day.

                                                                  What worked for me was I had decided I was going to be making quiche, so I fried up a half of a pound of bacon.

                                                                  The fish smell immediately was gone. Of course my place then smelled like bacon, but it didnt last nearly as long.

                                                                  1. First really fresh fish doesn't smell when cooked. If you have fish that's been previously frozen or any fish/sea food that has a 'fishy smell' it's actually caused by a type of gassy coating that has formed on the surface. To remove this coating give the fish etc a quick ten second dip in a bowl of cold water to which you have added a couple of tablespoons of lemon juice. Remove and pat dry. The acid in the lemon juice will remove the gassy coating. BTW the gas is natures way of kicking off the rooting process.
                                                                    The 'smell' in your house, as another poster mentioned is actually tiny oil molecules floating around and sticking to everything. Forget the oven fan. All you're doing is sucking up the oil droplets and coating the exhaust system.
                                                                    I found the most efficient way of virtually eliminating the oil droplets was at the source. I use one of those SS screens that sit on the pan BUT the secret is then to put a couple of pieces of paper towel on the screen. Watch the paper towel absorb/capture all that oil spatter from any frying food.
                                                                    The paper towel doesn't act like a lid preventing browning. I used this trick last night when I made hamburgers. You should have seen the grease the paper towel captured. Works every time.

                                                                    1. What a jewel this is. Brother who ice fishes, fillets them on the spot and freezes them in water from the snow/lake. They arrive here all with the backbone removed too; Gotta love em'
                                                                      Now then I did my second "do not" last nite: Just Had To Have a Burger with Fried Onions. Don't which is the worst? Help anyone?

                                                                      1. Get an electric frying pan and cook it outside, anywhere theres an electric hook up, lol, neighbors might not like it, odor problem solve

                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                        1. re: gprimacio

                                                                          I did that when frying smelt a couple years ago.