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Fish sauce on your carpet? The very thought of cleaning that mess is enough to physically drain your strength.
And that’s before you get to the worst part–the smell. Getting rid of the pungent fish sauce smell is as tricky as grasping a shadow. Unlike other odors, fish sauce has a pungent stench that will leave your home smelling awful for days.
While it is tempting to ditch the carpet, you can actually clean and have the rug smelling as fresh as before.
When cleaning fish sauce, water won’t do! Instead, use products that absorb odors, like baking soda and vinegar, to get rid of the smell.
Here are some other foolproof carpet-cleaning hacks to get fish sauce out of the rug. I’ll also mention some common mistakes that can make matters worse!
How to Get Fish Sauce (and the Smell!) Out of Carpet
You probably poured hot water, used the most powerful detergents, and probably scrubbed the carpet to an inch of damaging it, yet the stench won’t leave.
You are not alone. Get rid of the stain AND the smell like a pro using these steps:
1. Attack the Stain
- Put on disposable gloves or polythene.
- Take a clean old towel or cotton cloth and use it to blot up as much fish sauce as you can.
- After blotting, the gloves and cloth will have absorbed the odor. Set the gloves aside for recycling, and the cloth for compost!
2. Put Out the Fish Sauce Smell
Use these products to eliminate the pungent smell of fish sauce. You can use one or more at the same time, depending on how deep the stain is:
- Baking soda: considering fish sauce has such a strong smell, you will need a lot of this stench extinguisher. Sprinkle it directly on the affected area and around the spot. Put additional baking soda on plates and place on raised surfaces. Leave for 24 hours.
- Bread slices and crumbs: after blotting up the fish sauce, put bread slices or just about ANY starch on the spot for an hour and throw them away. Repeat the process. You can also put breadcrumbs on plates around the spot and raised surfaces.
- White vinegar is well known for removing unpleasant smells that lurk in carpets, upholstery, and rugs. In this case, use white distilled vinegar. Pour the white distilled vinegar on a plate and place it around the affected area. Leave it for 24 hours. Repeat for a more desirable effect.
- Air purifying indoor plants: chrysanthemums, spider plants, and snake plants are among indoor plants that purify the air by absorbing odors. If you have any, place them around the affected area and more on tabletops.
- Your humble dishwashing detergent: it will attack that nasty fish oil head-on. Just pour a few globs into a spray bottle filled with water, spray it onto the stain and work it into the fibers wearing gloves. However, make sure that the soap is non-bleach and colorless! Otherwise, your stain may end up getting even worse.
3. Clean the Area
Once the 24 hours have elapsed, clean up the area using either a wet dry vacuum cleaner or a steam cleaner.
If you lack the patience to blot and wait for odor removers to do the magic, you have two options:
- Call a professional cleaner to steam clean your carpet.
- Steam away! There are loads of small but powerful units on the market, and not all of them are expensive either. (My current favorites are Dupray steamers, but there are at least half a dozen more brands out there that make awesome steamers.)
The hot steam should clear the mess in most cases and neutralize the stench too.
What NOT to Use While Cleaning Fish Stains
- Don’t pour any liquid on the affected area. It makes the fish sauce spread.
- Don’t spray the house using aerosol. Fish sauce’s pungent smell will become dense and linger in the air longer.
- Don’t use bleaching agents on colored carpets. They leave white patches. If there’s one thing worse than fish sauce, it’s discoloration!
How do you get fish oil out of the carpet?
If the stain is small and didn’t have the time to set in, sprinkle any starch (corn or baby powder) or baking soda to absorb the oil. After letting it sit and work its magic for some 15-60 minutes, use a high-suction wet dry vacuum.
Bigger and deeper stains will require pre-treatment with some colorless dish soap to help break down the oily stain.
Why does my new carpet smell like fish?
- It may have been placed in the same room or close to a fish freezer/container during shipping. (Not very likely, but not impossible!)
- The manufacturer made the carpet from chemicals that release the smell for quite some time. Depending on the organic compound, it could emit a fishy, wooly, or musty odor. So in this case, your nose is being tricked. The “fishy” smell doesn’t really come from fish!
How do you neutralize the smell of fish oil?
If you want to neutralize fish smell from the kitchen, put some white vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda on a plate after cooking. Leave it overnight, and voila! Smell gone.
If some fish oil landed on your skin, rubbing some lemon juice or vinegar will do. Finally, if it’s your clothes, carpet or upholstery, you’ll have to treat them with all of these items, and then some! Dish soap will usually help, but you may need deeper cleaning too.