How to Get Rid of Fish Smells in the Car?

The awful smell, like a rotting fish, in your car can be hard to tolerate.

And the worst thing is it’s arduous to eliminate if it gets time to get attached to the upholstery of your car.

So, as soon as you notice these kinds of awkward smells do not overlook them.

Take the action fast by first knowing the cause of the smell and then eliminating the smell altogether from your vehicle.

car smell like fish

Why Does My Car Smell of Fish?

Well, there can be many sources of fishy smells present inside the cars.

It can be your food or of your pet’s that has been left and had gone bad in a car.

Or sometimes it can be a dead animal carcass in your blower motor that may be causing the smell like a dead fish.

Without your notice, the animal may have crawled inside your car at night to find a warm shelter.

And then has been obliterated when you switched on the car’s engine.

Many times, leaking antifreeze can also smell fishy if it gets inside your car through the heating system.

You will most likely experience the odor in this case when you switch on the heater.

Leakage can be due to a loose clamp or a hose turning bad.

The best solution is to get a complete check-up of your vehicle by a mechanic nearby who can help get you the answers you need for fixing the fish smell in your car.

Alternatively, if you have identified the real culprit, you can undertake the odor-eliminating task yourself in a DIY way.

Getting Rid of Fish Smell in Car Step-by-Step

Following are the steps by which you can easily get rid of fish smells in your car…

Step 1- Cover with newspaper

With some old newspapers or rags, cover the spillage in your car (like antifreeze).

If it’s something else smelling in the car, identify the source and cover it with newspaper as it can absorb the substance and smell quicker.

Step 2- Mix water and vinegar

In a small plastic bucket, mix 2 quarts of water and a cup of vinegar.

Then with an old rag scrub the area properly from where the fish smell is coming.

Vinegar being a natural odor absorber and cleaner will act fast by getting deep into the fibers of your car’s upholstery.

Step 3- Sprinkle baking soda

After using vinegar solution let it dry for half an hour.

Then sprinkle some baking soda on the areas with a fishy smell.

Baking soda will work very well to eliminate the remaining bad fish smell in your car, very much the same as it does in your refrigerator.

Step 4- Spray fabric refresher

After using baking soda, leave your car windows rolled down and allow some time to get the fish smell from your car to dissipate completely.

Use some fabric refresher spray inside the car for diluting the smell faster.

If you need to drive, consider driving your vehicle with the windows down and a vent open to the outside.

This will allow fresh air to circulate which will help to get of the contaminated air fast.

Step 5- Get the help of a professional

In case, if you still feel some light fishy smell inside your car you may need to get your upholstery shampooed and vacuumed.

A good professional cleaner at a car detailing shop can help you get the problem fixed forever.

So do not ignore the smell and get it removed completely by getting a good deep clean-up.


Taking quick action is all you need to stop the smell of rotting fish inside your car.

If you do not take the action fast the smell can get trapped for long which will become very difficult to remove.

In most cases, you can do the cleaning yourself but if the problem persists you can get the help of a professional car cleaning service to permanently eradicate the smell.

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