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How To Get Fish Smell Off Your Hands (9 Tips That Work!)

If you’ve ever handled a fish, then you know it can be very difficult to get that fish smell off your hands. Unfortunately soap and water just isn’t going to do the trick. So how are you to get the fish smell off your hands? In this post, I’m going to share with you what I’ve found to be the 9 best ways to do exactly that. 

Best Way To Remove Fishy Smell From Your Hands!

I recently took my son on a multi-day canoe camping trip.  Fortunately, we ended up catching a lot of fish along the way.  Smallmouth bass, largemouth bass and carp. And as you can imagine, catching all those fish can lead to fishy smelling hands.  And when you’re sharing a small tent with a 8 year old, you want to know what the best thing is to get the fish smell off your hands.

As anglers, that’s probably one of the biggest things all of us have in common…the experience of fishy smell on our hands and always trying to figure out the best way to get rid of the fishy odor.

The problem is, the fish smell doesn’t easily come off.  As a matter of fact, you can scrub and scrub with soap and water, dry your hands and still walk away with the smell of fish on your skin.

It’s frustrating to say the least. So what can you do about it?

In this article, we’ll go over some of the best ways to get the fish smell off your hands.  These are tested and proven methods of cleaning up that potent fishy smell, by real fishermen and cooks from all around the world.  

So what’s the best way to get rid of that fishy smell off your hands?  Keep reading to find out.

Additional Reading:

How To Remove Fish Smell From Your Hands


1. GOJO Hand Cleaner

My Top Pick!
GOJO NATURAL ORANGE Pumice Hand Cleaner Squeeze Bottle
$7.99 ($0.57 / Fl Oz)
  • Quick-acting, lotion hand cleaner with pumice scrubbers. Cleans without harsh solvents. Effective on dirt, oil and grease.
Check Current Price
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 04:20 am GMT

Starting out this list is my number one go to method for getting rid of fish smelling hands…GOJO.  In my opinion, this is by far the best way to get rid of that stench for good. GOJO mechanics hand cleaner is a citrus based hand cleaner that is designed to remove the toughest oils and grime from the hands of mechanics.  And the fish oil that’s on your hands doesn’t stand a chance against GOJO.

With a small amount of GOJO, rub your hands together to spread the GOJO and scrub all the fishy smelling areas.  Then just rinse it off with water. That’s it!

GOJO sells this hand cleaner in small 7.5 ounce squeeze bottles, which is perfect for us anglers.  Throw a bottle in your backpack or tackle box then you’re always set to get that fish smell off your hands.

I usually pick up a container of Gojo on Amazon in the beginning of my fishing season. You can check Amazon here to see if they have any currently in stock.


2. Ketchup

That’s right. Ketchup…The red tomato based condiment that all of us have hanging around in our fridge. It works wonders at removing the fishy scent off your hands.  

When I was a kid, my friends mom showed us this trick after we came home from a local pond smelling like fish.

I was surprised to learn that not many fishermen know about this trick.  But all you have to do is pour a generous amount of ketchup into your hands and rub it around really well.  I usually leave it on my hands for a few minutes, then wash it off with hot soap and water. That’s it!


3. Soap. No Water

Another way to remove the fish smell from your skin is to use your favorite soap, and don’t rinse the soap off.  This method has worked great for both anglers and chefs who handle lots of fish.

All you have to do is wash your hands with real soapy water and rub them together vigorously to get a good soapy lather on them. But don’t rinse off the soap. Instead use paper towels to wipe the soap off. Then after waiting about 10 minutes or so, go back and wash your  hands again. Except this time, rinse off all the soap.

I’m not sure why or how this works, but for some reason your hands won’t smell fishy anymore!


4. Salt

One thing that many fishermen swear that works great for getting rid of the fishy smell from your hands is to add salt to your hand washing routine.

Keep a can of salt next to the sink.  When the time comes to wash the fish smell from your hands, add in a generous amount of salt to some lemon dish soap and scrub, scrub, scrub.

Anglers that do this will tell you it works every single time.


5. Bleach

You’ll want to be very careful with this method of removing the fish smell for your hands, because bleach!  It’s powerful stuff and will ruin your clothes if it touches them and be a very bad thing if it gets in your eyes.   

But it’s this same power that gets rid of the fish smell. And as a bonus, bleach also works well for cleaning out your boat and anything else that might get fish funk on it.


6. Baking Soda

Baking soda might not be one of the things you’d naturally think about taking with you on a camping or fishing trip, but it might be worth packing a small container of it with you on your next trip.

Simply make a thick paste of baking soda and water and use it to scour your hands. You’ll be impressed with how easily it removes fish odors that like to linger on your hands.


7. Toothpaste

Rub your hands together with a generous amount of toothpaste after thoroughly washing your hands with soap and water.  After rubbing the toothpaste all over your hands, rinse it off with only water.

Just as an additional FYI…this method doesn’t tend to work well with eel odors, in case you’re planning on catching or handling eels.


8. Hydrogen Peroxide 

Believe it or not, but straight hydrogen peroxide can remove fish odor as well. Just pour it straight out of the bottle and onto your hands.  I like to rub it all over my hands and allow it to sit on them for a few minutes before washing it off.

Just watch out for any small cuts or nicks you might have on your hand. Hydrogen Peroxide can sting a little. But at least your cuts will be clean too!


9. Saltine Crackers

This one might be the most surprising way to get rid of fish hands on this list.

What you can do is wash your hands really well with soap and water and dry them like you normally would. Then, with dry hands, crush up a few saltine crackers and rub them all around your hands as if they were soap.

You will be impressed with how well it works the first time you try it!


What Makes Your Hands Smell Fishy?

The fishy smell that’s left on your hands after handling fish actually comes from the amines of the fish, such as Dimethylamine, Trimethylamine, and Methylamine… All of which have foul or offensive fishy odors.

Ideally, you want to find  a low pH substance to help take the fish smell away. Examples of a low PH substance would be like lemon juice or vinegar. That’s why things like GOJO, ketchup and lemon do such a great job of eliminating fish odor.

What Do You Use To Get Fish Smell Off Hands?

What’s your favorite go-to method of getting rid of the fish smell from your hands?  Do you have a secret something that you’d be willing to share? Drop me a note and let me know.  I’d love to post it on this list!


My Top Pick!
GOJO NATURAL ORANGE Pumice Hand Cleaner Squeeze Bottle
$7.99 ($0.57 / Fl Oz)
  • Quick-acting, lotion hand cleaner with pumice scrubbers. Cleans without harsh solvents. Effective on dirt, oil and grease.
Check Current Price
We earn a commission if you click this link and make a purchase at no additional cost to you.
02/18/2024 04:20 am GMT

I’m confident that any of the methods on this list will help remove that fish odor for you. But without a doubt, the best was to get rid of fishy hands is with GOJO. 

If you ‘d like to give GOJO a try, you can find it here on Amazon.  Pick a bottle up before your next fishing or camping trip.


Written by Don

When I'm not bass fishing or looking for steelhead in my home state of Oregon I can be found working on house projects dreaming of my next fishing adventure.

I started this website to share just some of the things I've learned along my fishing journey, and the many things I'm still learning. Enjoy!

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