How Do I Get a Fish Smell Out of My Car?

Updated April 17, 2017

A car is like a second home. You eat in it, you clean it, and every once in a while, you invite some of your friends. So just like a home, you want it to smell fresh. When an unwelcome scent arises, it is your duty to get rid of it. A fishy smell, by far, is one of the worst. Take action to remove a fish scent from your car -- for good.

Air Fresheners

Buy a bottle of Febreze to keep in your car at all times. Spray the entire interior of your car including the carpet and upholstery. Roll down the windows and allow the Febreze to circulate throughout. Follow this step with another lighter spraydown. This time, leave the windows up and let it sit overnight. The next morning, do one more spraydown.

Car Fresheners

These tree-shaped fresheners are for more than decoration. They keep a long-lasting, fresh smell in your vehicle. Buy a few of your favourite scent at a local petrol station. Place them around your rear-view mirror. Place another two on each of the hanging fixtures on the back doors of your car. Replace car fresheners once a month. For best results, do not remove car fresheners from their plastic packaging. Simply cut a slit alongside the top portion of the wrapping. This technique allows the scent to escape slowly, rather than all at once.

Interior Wash

Purchase a portable car steam cleaner. Begin by vacuuming the carpets and seats. Steam-clean your interior thoroughly. Immediately spray Febreze once you have finished. Let air-dry. Once dry, spray more Febreze on all carpets, seats and upholstery for a clean scent. Do not drive or allow passengers to sit in your vehicle until the car has dried completely. Sitting or stepping on wet fabric can make it dirtier and smellier than before it was cleaned.

Car Care Center

Visit a car cleaning centre. A car care professional can get right to the root of the problem. In some cases, a smell can come from the boot. Most car cleaning centres have a purifying mist that is applied in the interior of a car. The mist not only knocks out the smell, it gets rid of bacteria particles in the air of your car. You can also buy a car purifying unit and have it installed. These mini-purifying systems act as an anti-pollutant, eliminating smells before they have the chance to settle in.

A/C and Heating System

Consider having your A/C and heating system replaced. In some cases, a fishy smell can come from a dirty or rusty system (you may notice the smell every time you turn on your A/C or heat). A new system can take care of this problem. You can also purchase a system cleaner to spray inside of your vents. The cleaner removes the smell of possible fungi and mildew build-up in your system.

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About the Author

Zaina Adamu has been a general assignment reporter in Baltimore since 2006. She currently owns Refine Agency, a web development company in Towson, Md. Her works have been featured in "The Baltimore Times," "The Annapolis Times" and College Syndicated News. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in English from Morgan State University.