18 answers

Can't Get Fish Oil Smell Out of Clothing!

Hi Moms,

I am hoping that there is someone else out there who gives fish oil to their kids and has experienced the (inevitable) spill down the front of the shirt - I have thrown 2 shirts away due to my inability to get the smell out but she just spilled it on a favorite a few days ago, so I am hoping for some ideas. I have tried vinegar, bleach, borax, Bac-out, oxy-clean, and many washes in all temperatures. For the other 2 shirts it took REALLY strong concentrations of bleach to get rid of the smell (I gradually increased the concentration until the smell went away), but the bleach ruined the colors in the fabric.

Thanks in advance,


1 mom found this helpful

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

We have done fish oil spills as well as many other kinds of food spills. Bac-out has usually worked well for us, but only after leaving it on for a really long time (at least a day) so it has time to eat everything up. If it's not gone after a day, spray it again and give it another day. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

Never found a way to get the fish oil out of my son's clothes, but we did switch to a gummy fish oil pill and now we don't have to deal with the problem. Nordic Omega-3 Gummies. My kids love them like candy.

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

Go to an industrial cleaning supply place andGet an enzyme. I once spilled a GALLON of fish fertilizer in my house and found this stuff called Viafresh at a janitorial supply store. It eats anything human or animal (milk, vomit, blood, urine, fish, etc). When I mentioned regular store products like febreeze or pet sprays to them, they laughed. Truly, the real stuff makes all those seem like a joke.

Anyway, I've used it in my laundry for vomit and other things many times since.

Good luck.

6 moms found this helpful

We have done fish oil spills as well as many other kinds of food spills. Bac-out has usually worked well for us, but only after leaving it on for a really long time (at least a day) so it has time to eat everything up. If it's not gone after a day, spray it again and give it another day. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

I don't have any suggestions about how to get the smell out, but thought I'd suggest using lemon flavored fish oil. We use the Carlson brand with lemon flavor, and it hardly tastes fishy at all. Not sure how it would translate into smelliness on clothes, but it's worth a try. Might eliminate this problem in the future.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi D.,
I work in Theatre and to keep the costumes smelling fresh, we spray vodka on them. It also kills bacteria. You could try it and see, fish is pretty strong.

1 mom found this helpful

I have no experience with fish oil but I do know that the Spray and Wash stain stick will remove oil from clothing even if you've washed it once before. We saturate the oil stain with stain stick on both sides of the fabric and then let it sit for 24 hours. Wash at normal temps and the shirt has been rescued.

1 mom found this helpful

Addition: Peg suggested Citri-solve which reminded me of a cleaner that sounds very similar. It's called citrus cleaner and degreaser made by the brand name Zep. I purchased it at Fred Meyer. I use it to clean greasy cabinets and to remove the gunk that price stickers sometimes leave. Citrus does remove fish odors from our hands and so this may work on clothes too. My 32 oz. spray bottle has lasted years. Unfortunately the Directions for use label is gone. It's orange in color.

I've also used De-Solv-it Citrus Solutions that I purchased at Target. This bottle still has directions on it and says that it can be used on washable fabrics except for silk and leather. It specifically states it's for use on fish and onion odors. It's 100% organic and biodegradable. It's clear in color.

I have used both brands and they both work equally well for removing greasy and sticky stuff.

original message:
I looked on the Internet and found this site on which other people asked the same question. There are many of the same suggestions but also some new ones.


And here's a site that sells a product "guaranteed" to work.
I haven't tried it.


1 mom found this helpful

I haven't seen this suggestion yet:

Citra-Solve is a naturally-derived solved (obtained from citrus peels, I believe) that has a strong but pleasant orangey scent, and is safe to use where industrial solvents are not. See http://www.ecocern.ca/Citri-Solve_Page.htm for the specifics.

Because it's a solvent, it will thin and remove heavy oils (and a surprisingly long list of other "impossible" stains). Then whatever solvent residue remains launders out easily.

If you try this, test a hidden area of the shirt first to be sure you won't fade the color, then put a pad of some absorbent rags or paper towels underneath the fishy spot and blot a solvent-saturated cloth on the stain. Reapply a couple of times while refreshing/turning the absorbent pad so the solvent always flows through and away from the shirt. More than one treatment may be needed for such a strong smell, but you'll probably notice an amazing improvement after one treatment.

It's a good idea to use in a well-ventilated area and to wear rubber gloves, because the solvent also strips natural oils from your skin and leaves your fingers very dry. You could also absorb some through your skin. It's "nontoxic," but exposure to anything in concentrated amounts could be harmful (I recently learned that an acquaintance pretty much ruined her lungs using a "natural" pine cleaner in an enclosed space.)

I've had a half-gallon jug of Citra-Solve that's lasted for years. It has worked cleaning a few things that I thought were goners, though I only use it as a last resort. Haven't tried it on fish oil, so if you do give it a go, there will be lots of mamas here who'd appreciate a follow-up report from you if it works.

You can get this probuct through Amazon.com, and I believe also Gaiam.com, in various sizes.

1 mom found this helpful

If anyone has a surefire way, I'd love to hear it. I lived with a fishing guide for 2 years, and dang. To this day I treat fish oil like it's a strong acid, or toxic chemical... because once absorbed there was NOTHING that I used that got it 100% out. Fish oil is pervasive.

The best thing I could do was to soak the offending article in a bucket of pure lemon juice (pricey, and only if some rubbed off on accident onto something of mine that wasn't fishing clothes) and then to wash it with dish detergent (since dish detergent is designed to break up and unbond grease and oils. Crushed up vitamin C mixed with water would help to some degree as well. Both lemon juice and vitC fade clothes, and dish detergent will destroy them with repeated use.

1 mom found this helpful

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