How To Get Fish Smell Out Of Your Refrigerator [Detailed Guide]

How To Get Fish Smell Out Of Your Refrigerator

When protein-rich foods like fish go bad, most times, the smell of the rot lingers even after the food itself has been taken out of the affected storage. Not to worry, if the storage location in question is your fridge, then this article will guide you on how to get fish smell out of your refrigerator.

By the way, we should mention that fish doesn’t necessarily have to have gone bad for it to leave a lingering smell. Fresh fish has a particular odor that may linger for a while even after the fish has been taken out of the fridge.

Now let’s get right into how to get fish smell out of your fridge.

But first…

Why Do Fish Smell?

For starters, sea or freshwater contains a substantial amount of salt.

So, typically, a certain compound known as Trimethylamine Oxide (TMAO) reacts with the salt to make the environment conducive for the fishes.

However, when the fish is killed, bacteria and enzymes will act on this chemical compound and convert it into Trimethylamine (TMA).

It is this TMA that gives the dead fish that distinct fishy smell that you may be familiar with already.

So, basically, all dead fish give off an odor; but some more than others. For example, codfish has a stronger odor compared to a catfish.

That being said, what can be done to eliminate this smell or reduce it?

Let’s start with preservation…

How To Get Fish Smell Out Of Your Refrigerator


How To Preserve Fresh Fish In A Refrigerator

Preserving fish properly helps to keep the fish fresh and suitable for consumption. It also helps to prevent lingering odor in the refrigerator.

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One important thing to note about preserving fish is to keep the temperature as cool as possible.

You can do this by keeping the fish in a sufficient amount of ice until it is ready for consumption.

The following steps will guide you on how to preserve fresh fish in the refrigerator:

  • Rinse the fresh fish properly under cold water. The emphasis on cold water is deliberate because cold water is required to maintain the cool temperature of the fish.
  • Rinse the fish repeatedly to get stubborn dirt out.
  • Then package it properly in an air-tight container or a reusable freezer bag. This is to keep atmospheric oxygen away from the food. Otherwise, the oxygen will contaminate the food and increase the chances of spoilage.
  • Keep the air-tight plastic container in ice to keep the temperature of the fish as cool as possible. Note that the fish should never come in direct contact with the ice.

Meanwhile, food scientists and storage experts recommend that fish is only good in the fridge for 2 days. If you won’t be using it within 2 days after purchase, then it is highly recommended to have the fish stored in a freezer.


Nonetheless, if you notice that the fish gives off a malodorous smell, then we advise you to play it safe by trashing that fish.

And if you want to learn more about how to store common foods properly, you can check out our detailed and informative guide on how to store food safely here. 

Now that you are in the know of how to preserve fish properly, let’s get into how to get fish smell out of your refrigerator.

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How To Get Fish Smell Out of Your Refrigerator

Cleaning Out The Fridge

In the event that fish goes bad in the refrigerator and you’re wondering how to get the fish smell out of your refrigerator, following these steps will bail you out:

i. Unplug the refrigerator and remove any food item in it.

ii. Remove all the trays and different compartments in the refrigerator.

iii. If you know the source of the stink, dispose of it immediately. If not, thoroughly check through all the containers, and dispose of any food item that may have gone bad.

iv. Now, open the doors of the refrigerator wide to allow proper circulation of fresh air in and out of the refrigerator for about an hour.

v. Clean the nooks and crannies of the refrigerator thoroughly with warm water and good dish detergent.

vi. Once that is done, use a clean sponge and some clean water to mop the soapy water from the fridge.

vii. An appropriate disinfectant in stipulated concentration should also be used to remove the germs from all surfaces and corners of the refrigerator.

viii. After washing and disinfecting, it is most likely that the surfaces of the refrigerator would still be wet. Use a dry towel to mop up any moisture.

ix. Repeat these steps for every section of the fridge.

x. Remember the food items you might have taken out of the refrigerator? Now is the time to let them back in to enjoy the fresh-smelling goodness of your refrigerator.

Using Odor Absorbers

Alternatively, you may want to try out some odor absorbers. These will be useful if you are keen on getting the distinct fish smell out of your fridge without putting in so much work to get it done.

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By the way, coffee granules and baking soda are two easy-to-get and DIY odor absorbers that you may want to try out.

Put some of the soda or coffee granules in a plate and place it in your fridge and you’ll be surprised how fast it gets rid of the fishy smell.

And just so you know, odor absorbers are more effective when the fridge is on and circulating cool air properly.

Meanwhile, if you are in the market for odor absorbers from trusted brands, then we recommend the highly-rated Nonscents Refrigerator Deodorizer — Fridge and Freezer Odor Eliminator. A single pack of this odor absorber can last for up to 6 months. It is also leak-free, fragrance-free, and food-safe. So, you may want to give it a try.


Refrigerator Deodorizer - Fridge and Freezer Odor Eliminator - Outperforms Baking Soda


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How To Get Fish Smell Out Of Your Refrigerator — Bottom Line

There are 2 ways to get fish smell out of your fridge.

One way is to use odor absorbers including DIY absorbers like baking soda and coffee granules. And if you are dealing with fish that has gone bad, then you may want to use the second method. The second method involves turning off your fridge, taking out the food items, and doing a thorough cleaning of the fridge.

Need food storage tips on how to make fish smell less fishy? Then check out the video below.


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