Join Early Retirement Today
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
Getting a fish smell out of the car
Old 01-01-2017, 04:22 PM   #1
MichaelB's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Sheltered in place
Posts: 32,814
Getting a fish smell out of the car

So, DD did a favor for her mother, and took a garbage bag of remains from last night's food fest out of our trashcan, intending to take it to a dumpster. It was full of crab and lobster shells, the garage was already beginning to stink up and collection isn't until the weekend.

Sure enough, she put it in the trunk and left it there for a couple of hours in the nice South Fl sun, now DW's car smells like a fish market. Any suggestions how to remove that smell?
MichaelB is online now   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Old 01-01-2017, 04:25 PM   #2
braumeister's Avatar
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Flyover country
Posts: 16,138
My only suggestion would be to leave the trunk open with a fan blowing into it.
braumeister is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 04:32 PM   #3
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: Feb 2013
Location: Toronto
Posts: 2,696
Borrow the neighbor's cat and put it in the trunk for a few hours... probably skip the hot sun part though. OTOH I see that you wanted to 'remove' the smell rather than just 'mask' it. So maybe newspaper in the trunk and then baking soda spread all over it - then repeat as needed.
6miths is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 04:42 PM   #4
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
RobbieB's Avatar
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: Central CA
Posts: 5,578
If the bag is intact and did not leak "fish juice" into the carpet you should be fine just airing out.
Retired at 59 in 2014. Should have done it sooner but I worried too much.
RobbieB is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 04:53 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
MissMolly's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 1,313
Try putting a pan of activated charcoal in the trunk. Even charcoal briquettes. We once bought a used fridge to put out in the cabana that had been unplugged for awhile. The odor was almost overwhelming. I put some activated charcoal in it and before long the smell was entirely eliminated.
And whatever your labors and aspirations in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.- Desiderata by Max Ehrmann
MissMolly is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 04:53 PM   #6
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Amethyst's Avatar
Join Date: Dec 2008
Posts: 8,916
If the fish juice did get into the trunk carpet, is the trunk liner removable? Ours is. When Mr. A. spilled gasoline on it, and the car was uninhabitable due to gasoline fumes, I removed the trunk liner and scrubbed the carpet with dish soap and a scrubbing brush, rinsing it several times with the hose. Then I soaked it in baking soda solution and rinsed that off. Left the liner out in the sun and air to dry. Most of the smell was gone. Good luck!
If you understood everything I say, you'd be me ~ Miles Davis
'There is only one success to be able to spend your life in your own way. Christopher Morley.
It involved a mannequin hand, and an electric shaver taped to a golf club! - "The Other Guys"
Amethyst is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 04:57 PM   #7
Moderator Emeritus
W2R's Avatar
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: New Orleans
Posts: 43,939
Try driving around for several days to a week with the windows wide open. Don't ask me how I know.

....... W2R, bona fide New Orleans Katrina survivor

P.S.: If that doesn't work, see what your local car wash can do for you in the way of odor absorbers and more pleasant scents.
"It ain't over till it's over"
- - - Yogi Berra (1973)
W2R is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 04:59 PM   #8
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Marita40's Avatar
Join Date: May 2011
Location: St. Paul
Posts: 1,443
As a last resort a good professional car wash should be adept at getting it out. I had a bottle of red wine explode in the back seat on one of the hottest days MN has ever had. They got the stain and the smell out perfectly--I was impressed and so thankful!
Marita40 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 05:38 PM   #9
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
imoldernu's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2012
Location: Peru
Posts: 6,337
No solution, but permit an aside with a related story, circa 1965, when we lived on Cape Cod.
It was one of those periods when the local fishermen were going through a slowdown and the markets and restaurants on the Cape were hurting and paying big dollars for fresh fish.
Three of my brother-in-laws hired out a sport fishing boat to go out for Cod. To be sure they hedged their dreams of making a killing, by first going to several restaurants to be sure that the market for this popular fish was strong.
Starting out early in the morning... fishing with rods, not nets, they had instant success, and by the end of the day, had caught about 350 lbs of cod. The schools had come in to the bay, and fishing was phenomenal.
They loaded the fish in to the trunk of their mom's brand new Mercury convertible... (lining it with plastic).
What was expected to be one quick stop, to unload at the first restaurant, and then go home, turned out to be a three hour ordeal... with every promised sale falling through, as the professional fishermen were ahead of them.
The eventual resolution came as they ended up back home in Pawtucket... still with 350 lbs. of now aging cod, and neighbors only taking about 10 pounds.
A trip to the "sand banks" and a deep shoveled hole, and the fish were laid to rest.
Unfortunately, the plastic lining wasn't sufficient to keep the rotting fish juice from soaking the lining of the trunk... The 6 month old car made a trip to an upholsterer and received a complete relining at a cost I can't recall, but certainly more than the investment the BIL's had made in their entrepreneurial adventure.

A lesson in going after the "fast buck".
If you want others to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
--Dalai Lama XIV
imoldernu is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 05:44 PM   #10
samclem's Avatar
Join Date: May 2004
Location: SW Ohio
Posts: 14,404
If simpler suggestions don't work (I'd try activated charcoal first, with a fan to circulate the air around a lot inside the car), the "gold standard" for professional odor removal is ozone treatment. This uses a device that puts out ozone which reacts with/neutralizes the odor-causing compounds. It is used by hotels to eliminate cigarette smoke smell, etc.
You may be able to rent an ozone generator from a big tool rental place, or take the vehicle to a good detail shop for the treatment. It will take several hours or overnight. The ozone itself probably isn't great for plastics and rubber, but a one-time treatment for a big problem like this is probably worth it. I used this to get rid of a moldy smell in a vehicle that had been wet inside, it worked well. I see that some smaller ozone generators are available online for less than $100, but I don't know how it would be possible to validate their actual output.
samclem is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 05:55 PM   #11
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
street's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2016
Posts: 3,401
Go buy a couple of boxes of Baking Soda. Open them partially and leave in the trunk. If there was some that leaked out clean well with a carpet cleaner then sprinkle Baking Soda on the area. Repeat and eventually you can vacuum the carpet in the trunk.
street is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 06:57 PM   #12
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Big_Hitter's Avatar
Join Date: May 2013
Location: In the fairway
Posts: 5,566
Swing hard, look up
Big_Hitter is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 07:17 PM   #13
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
easysurfer's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 10,562
A late friend of mine told me a trick of getting bad odors out by laying out some fabric softener sheets out. No guarantee but worth trying over night.
Have you ever seen a headstone with these words
"If only I had spent more time at work" ... from "Busy Man" sung by Billy Ray Cyrus
easysurfer is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 07:17 PM   #14
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
ls99's Avatar
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 5,422
Recycle dryer sheets

Just kidding about the recycling.

Open a box of dryer sheets, spread them in the trunk.

Can throw a few on the floor in the back too.
There must be moderation in everything, including moderation.
ls99 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 07:22 PM   #15
Full time employment: Posting here.
Join Date: Sep 2012
Location: Albuquerque
Posts: 736
The activated charcoal and baking soda sound like good ideas. When I accidentally left a container of crab (the refrigerated type) in my trunk for a few days, I put kitty litter in a box in the trunk because it was handy. Also opened trunk door and windows to air it out and scrubbed down the trunk carpet. And sprayed with Febreeze.
ABQ2015 is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 07:33 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: Jan 2014
Posts: 1,638
Go to your local fish/sea food store and ask them. This can't be the first time it's happened so they would probably know.
splitwdw is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 07:36 PM   #17
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: Jan 2013
Posts: 2,567
Second the Febreeze. Cats not cars here...
Another Reader is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 08:43 PM   #18
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
Join Date: Nov 2007
Posts: 7,746
Is it fully insured? Leave the keys in it while parked in a bad part of town and take a mulligan.
Retired in 2013 at age 33. Keeping busy reading, blogging, relaxing, gaming, and enjoying the outdoors with my wife and 3 kids (8, 13, and 15).
FUEGO is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 09:32 PM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 4,106
similar fish story w/ salmon belly juices and herring dripped into a rental car trunk.
Rinsed rugs w/ best effort and water; then used Febreeze. Evidently worked well enough not to be noticed.
kaneohe is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-01-2017, 10:15 PM   #20
Recycles dryer sheets
Join Date: Jan 2014
Location: St. Louis
Posts: 66
Try either or both of these:
1) put a dish of used coffee grounds in the trunk for a day
2) put a dish of white vinegar in the trunk for a day

Both of these have worked for me to absorb dead rodent trapped in a wall odors.
Raymond01 is offline   Reply With Quote

Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Rental car with horrible cigarette smell - how to avoid it in the future? Disappointed Other topics 17 04-08-2014 07:36 PM
New car, old car, same car? cute fuzzy bunny Other topics 74 06-15-2006 04:27 PM
Try to smell the roses while planning... thefed FIRE and Money 13 05-30-2006 10:57 AM
I Smell Cheap(er) Gas JPatrick Other topics 23 02-19-2006 07:46 AM
Any one else smell that?? JPatrick FIRE and Money 5 08-16-2005 04:50 PM

» Quick Links

All times are GMT -6. The time now is 03:24 PM.
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.