Fishing is a leisurely activity and provides you with food on the table. The best way to prep your catch is to gut and process the fish as soon as possible. That smell can linger, so how can I get the fish smell off my hands after cleaning a catch?
How to get fish smell off hands:
- Wash your hands with ketchup or tomato paste
- Wash your hands with a stainless steel soap
- Fresh lemon juice rubbed into the skin
- Bicarbonate of soda and water to make a paste rub
- Use regular toothpaste and rub it onto the hands
- Use table salt and rub it into the hands
1. Wash Your Hands With Ketchup Or Tomato Paste
A chemical compound in most fish called trimethylamine causes the pungent smell that loves to linger on your hands or clothing after handling raw fish.
If you’ve been fishing before, you’ll know you cannot get rid of it with water and regular soap, no matter how many times you try. The small can linger for days, and truthfully it’s quite an appetite suppressant!
While this remedy is famous for supposedly getting rid of skunk spray, it has a better effect on trimethylamine, making it a cheap and readily available solution.
The easiest way to use ketchup is as follows:
- Squeeze a reasonable amount of ketchup into the palm of your hand.
- Next, start rubbing the ketchup into both hands like a surgeon would while scrubbing up.
- You may need to leave it on for a few minutes for the best result.
- Wash your hands with a dishwashing liquid and repeat if necessary.
Tomato paste is much more concentrated than ketchup and does not include other ingredients like artificial colorants, sugar, or fillers.
- The tomato paste can be squeezed out of the packet or tub.
- Rub the paste onto the hands and leave it on for a minute or more.
- Rinse off the excess paste.
- Wash your hands with dishwashing soap – you may not have to repeat it, but you can ascertain that after doing a smell test.
2. Wash Your Hands With Stainless Steel Soap
Yes, stainless steel soap is a real thing and highly effective too. You may have heard people use it to stop their eyes from burning when cutting onions and eliminate a garlic and onion smell on their hands!
So, what can it do for the fish smell? The stainless steel soap bar binds any sulfur molecules to the steel molecules and eliminates them from the skin. The steel soap bar is small and compact enough to carry in your tackle box.
- Steel soap bars are inexpensive.
- They last indefinitely.
- Steel soap is environmentally friendly.
- They work instantly to eliminate the fish smell from your hands.
3. Fresh Lemon Juice Rubbed Into The Skin
Usually, lemon juice is used to enhance fish’s flavor but not eliminate it. However, lemon juice has a neutralizing action on trimethylamine, making it a great alternative to use.
However, if you have a small cut or graze on your hands you may have forgotten about, the lemon juice will remind you in no time! It will burn, but it is also a good wound cleaner.
- Take a fresh lemon and place it on a cutting board.
- Slice it in half.
- Over the kitchen basin, squeeze the entire half into the palm of your hand.
- Rub the juice onto both hands and if possible, leave for a minute to soak.
- Wash off with dishwashing liquid.
- Repeat the process if needed, using the other half of the lemon.
4. Bicarbonate Of Soda And Water To Make A Paste Rub
Baking soda or bicarbonate is a common household item; most people will have some in the kitchen. It is often used for baking, health, or cleaning purposes and is inexpensive.
Baking soda should not be confused with baking powder. Baking soda is grainier, feels like fine sand, and has a distinctive salty/bitter taste. If you mix baking soda with white vinegar, it will bubble up and could sting if you have cuts or abrasions.
- Scoop a tablespoon full of baking soda into the palm of your one hand.
- Add a tiny amount of water or white vinegar to turn the powder into a paste.
- Rub the paste into both hands and scrub between the fingers too.
- Let it penetrate the skin for a minute or two.
- Rinse off and wash with dishwashing liquid or regular hand soap.
- Repeat the process if necessary.
5. Use Regular Toothpaste And Rub It Onto The Hands
Toothpaste is something every household has plenty of and will get rid of the fish smell on your hands fast. The best toothpaste would be zinc citrate, charcoal, or baking soda based, but a specific brand is optional.
The three ingredients that eliminate breath odors fast will also get to work on that fish smell. You might have to use a little more than a pea size. This method is best done at home or in a cabin. Don’t do this at the water’s edge; wash toothpaste into the lake or river.
- Squeeze half a teaspoon size toothpaste onto the palm of your hand.
- Add a tiny amount of water and vigorously rub into both hands.
- Work the toothpaste in between the fingers and under the nails.
- Scrub with a nail brush if needed.
- Leave until it dries – yes, it’s a pain, but it works best this way.
- Wash off with warm water and hand soap or dishwashing liquid.
- Repeat if necessary.
6. Use Table Salt And Rub It Into The Hands
The table salt method can be done immediately after cleaning the fish at the water’s edge. Salt in such small amounts will not harm freshwater fish, and if you’re at sea, it won’t matter for obvious reasons.
You can keep a small tub or salt shaker in your tackle box. Just be sure that it seals airtight to prevent it from getting moisture inside and dissolving or forming hard crystals. Salt is excellent for wounds and cuts as a cleanser. Bear in mind it will burn open scrapes or scratches.
- Shake out an amount of salt onto the palm of your hand.
- Take a small amount of water and make a paste.
- Rub the paste all over both hands – remember it is abrasive, so don’t rub too hard.
- Let the salt soak for a minute – not too long, as it will dehydrate the skin.
- Rinse it off with water and hand soap.
- Repeat the process if needed.