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Fish "Juice" on car floor

My vehicle smells like dead meat. Some fish juice leaked out of the bag into the carpet. Does anyone have an idea or two on how to correct this mess? I washed with several products but obviously I need something stronger or, should this be done professionally? and what kind of a business? or, should I call the Car Guys on NPR?

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  1. baking soda is the first thing that comes to mind, but you can also try an odor remover made specifically for rugs/carpets. and there are hand soaps geared toward fishermen to help remove the smell..


    if you want to have it done professionally, go to an auto detailing center.

    1. I really wasn't sure what to suggest beyond blot wash repeat... this is what Martha has to say on the subject: (NB the advice is for wall-to-wall carpet/area rugs)

      "Removing Stains
      Some commercial spot removers take off the protective coatings or break down dyes that are found on most carpets, but the remedies listed here do not. Note: Be sure to follow the instructions for spot-cleaning, "blot," "soapy water," and "rinse."

      Stain Type: Organic blood, berries, candy, chocolate, soft drinks/coffee, gravy, ice cream.
      Cleaner: Hydrogen Peroxide bleaches these stains without breaking down carpet dyes.
      Mix: Buy 3 percent solution at a drugstore and use full strength.
      Technique: Scoop up solids with a spoon. Blot liquids. Rinse repeatedly. If stain persists, use soapy water, then rinse. Repeat. If improvement stops, dab on hydrogen peroxide. Wait one hour. Repeat as needed."


      1. Do you have a Little Green Clean Machine? It's like a mini carpet cleaner and gets deeper into the pile/fabric than washing with a sponge will. I've used mine to wash out spots on my home carpet and couch, so it's good to have around.

        1. Find an auto detailer and let the pros handle it.

          1. I would try a pet store for an odor neutralizer first. Anything that is recommended to get rid of the smell of cat urine, should help this.

            1 Reply
            1. re: danhole

              Good old garden variety mouthwash (the old aggressive kind, not the kindler, gentler non-sting!) is worth a try. I keep a spray bottle of store-branded Scope-type mouthwash around for pet "issues;" might be worth a try before more expensive methods. I don't know about the green color possibly staining light carpets, as I've only used it on hard/dark-colored surfaces - if a car has, say, white carpeting already compromised by rotting fish juice, I suppose the possibility of a minty-fresh pale green stain wouldn't be such a bad risk! - Cay

            2. A few summers ago, about 3 miles out of the Manasquan Inlet in the Atlantic, the finder showed fish near a wreck so we slowed and began to pull out our rods and secure the tackle.

              "Oh, sh*t!" Eddie growled, "I left the mullet on the floor of the car."

              Partly culpable, as he had given me a ride to the docks, I assured him all would be fine and went below for the seining net. I gave little thought to the consequences of a ziplocked bag of bait fish on the floor of a car in the August heat. My priority was on getting us bait so I focused my attention upon casting and retrieving the net from the stern.

              I managed to get sufficient replacements and we spent the rest of our time trolling for bass. We caught none. When we returned to his car, it was apparent that it was not only us who were skunked that day.

              Time went by, as it has a way of doing, and I didn't see my friend very often. A few months ago, I bumped into him in a local bar and we started to catch up over a couple of beers.

              "So, dude, did you ever get rid of the smell?" I finally asked.

              He new instantly to what I was referring and smiled, "Yep." He took a deep pull from the bottle. "I sold the car."

              3 Replies
              1. re: MGZ

                When I first read the post I thought of the Seinfeld episode when Jerry get's his car from the valet.
                Your friend just reminded me of the conclusion of that episode.

                1. re: monku

                  What can I tell you, an anecdote seemed like a gentler way of pointing out that, no matter what remedy you might have some success with, every now and again you just might get a little whiff . . . .

                  1. re: MGZ

                    That's what happened to Jerry after he took it to the detailed.

              2. I have a friend who used newspaper to "soak" up a rancid smell in a cooler. That might work. I also agree with pikawicca, let the pros handle it.

                1. I once had fish juice in my fridge. Activated charcoal (from pet store) got rid of it.

                  1. My advice would be to find a local auto detailer that has a carpet extractor. A full interior detail should cost you $50-100, depending on where you live. Just make sure you tell them why you are having the car detailed so they can concentrate on that spot.