3 Easy Ways To Get Fish Smell Off Your Hands


Anglers all over the world have a lot of things in common, from a deep adoration for the outdoors to delightful dreams of landing a trophy-sized fish and more. Another thing that they share is the experience (or problem, as some beginning anglers often consider it) of having a fish smell lingering in their hands. Whether it happens after holding a gargantuan fish for a photo op before releasing it or preparing a freshly-caught trout for a camping dinner, the issue of stinky hands is always bound to come about. Although all anglers will consider this as natural and should be expected, there are still those who do not relish the unpleasant odor that comes with handling fish. It is these anglers and many other people who handle fish daily or even occasionally, who are searching for different ways on how to get the fish smell off their hands.

If you identify yourself as belonging to this group, we have here three easy ways on how to remove the fish smell from hands. Following and applying the following tips should leave your hands smelling fresh and clean after handling fish.

1. Wash Your Hands with Stainless Steel

One common technique employed by many anglers is washing their hands using a stainless steel bar soap or knife.

A stainless steel bar soap is the same size, shape, and looks pretty much like an ordinary bar soap except that it is made of stainless steel. To get rid of the fish smell, you just rub it all over your hands like you would a regular bar of soap. But how does this work? Accordingly, the sulfur compounds found in fish gets transferred to your hands when you hold the fish, and stainless steel is capable of lifting these compounds off your hands and fingers.

If you don’t want to spend money on a stainless steel bar soap, you can use a stainless steel cooking or multi-purpose camping knife instead. Simply rub your hands across the knife’s blade and the odor should be removed from your hands. However, be very careful should you decide to go down this route. Take care that you do not cut or slice your hands or fingers when following this method. Also, be sure to clean the knife before you rub it into your hands.

2. Use Lemon or Vinegar

Another way of removing fish smell from your hands is by washing your hands with lemon juice or vinegar. Some people would actually prefer to use the former than the latter since vinegar has a relatively strong smell of its own. Nonetheless, both are effective at removing fish smell since they contain acids that react with the amines transferred from the fish onto your skin. These amines are those compounds that produce that fishy smell. Simply wash your hands in lemon juice or vinegar (or rub some lemon wedges on your hands) then rinse them with clean water.

Lemon and vinegar are actually some of the most popular home-made solutions for removing fish smell from hands. In fact, they are so effective that they can also be used to clean and remove fish odors on other things like chopping boards, kitchen counters, and fillet knives or boning knives used in preparing the fish.

3. Lather Up with Toothpaste


You may be wondering why using a regular bath soap isn’t good enough when it comes to removing fish smell from your hands. As mentioned earlier, the reason is that the compounds responsible for creating that fish smell have now been transferred onto the top layer of the skin on your hands and fingers. The first two methods mentioned above are effective at removing these compounds, but regular bath soap isn’t capable of doing that.

But aside from using chemical reactions to your advantage, another way of getting rid of the fish smell from your hands is by literally scrubbing or scraping away the top layer of your hands’ skin. This can be achieved with the use of toothpaste.

Toothpaste has abrasive properties, the same ones that scrub away all the dirt and stain that forms on your teeth. These abrasive properties will not only scrape off the top layer of your hands’ skin, but it will also get rid of all the oils (both those from fish slime and the ones produced by your body) therein. Simply squeeze a good amount of toothpaste onto your palms and lather your hands with it before washing your hands with clean water. Some anglers often add a dash of baking powder along with toothpaste as it appears to be more effective at removing the fish smell.

Other Ways of Removing Fish Smell from Hands

Aside from the three methods mentioned above, you can also use the following items to remove the fish smell from your hands.

  • Mouthwash is a great way of removing fish smell from the hands. First, it has anti-bacterial properties which can kill all the odor-bacteria that you may have contracted from handling fish. Second, it leaves a fresh scent on your hands which can mask or cover any smell that may linger after you clean your hands.
  • Coffee Grounds. Aside from a DIY compost or fertilizer, coffee grounds can also be used when it comes to removing fish smell from your hands. Like toothpaste, coffee grounds have abrasive properties that can remove the smelly top layer of your hands’ skin. This is why many spas and beauty products use coffee grounds as body and facial scrubs. Simply spread the coffee grounds all over your hands and in between your fingers and rub them around. After a minute or two, rinse your hands with clean, warm water.
  • Baking Soda. Baking soda is not something that you’ll find in any fishing trip checklist, but you just might want to bring along a small container of it since this is also effective at removing fish smell from hands. Simply make a thick paste of baking soda and water, and then lather your hands with it.
  • Liquid Dishwashing Soap. Just like mouthwash, liquid dishwashing soaps have anti-bacterial properties that can help remove the oils and other compounds from the skin. Plus, some of them are also scented, so they’ll leave your hands smelling nice after washing.

Globo Surf Overview

There is nothing more satisfying to anglers than being able to take photos of themselves holding a gargantuan pike or carp or bring home a large trout or two for dinner after a long day of fishing. However, having smelly hands is rather inevitable when it comes to handling fish. Fortunately, there are several answers to the question of how to get the fish smell off hands, and more often than not the solution is well-within anybody’s reach. Just follow the tips and advice on how to remove the fish smell from your hands and you’ll be driving home from the trip with clean and fresh smelling hands.

More Fishing Reviews:

Globo Surf
My name is David Hamburg. I am an avid water sports fan who enjoys paddle boarding, surfing, scuba diving, and kite surfing. Anything with a board or chance I can get in the water I love! I am such a big fan I decided to start this website to review all my favorite products and some others. Hope you enjoy!