fish oil on clothes

How to Get Fish Oil Out of Clothes

For cod’s sake, you cry as you realise that, like a right sprat, you’ve gone and got fish grease all over your nice white shirt. It’s enough to give you a splitting haddock.

There are two general sources of fish oil as far as your clothes are concerned. One is from fish oil capsules, the kind of dietary supplement that is supposed to be all but miraculous. Not so much for the fish that the oil’s been nicked from, but there we are. Plenty more fish in the sea.

Anyway, quite often these capsules can cause mayhem when left in a pocket, only to be stuffed in the washing machine, whereupon they leak out their vitamin- and stink-stuffed contents.

The other source is oily fish that’s being scoffed, but which drips grease onto the shirtfront of the enthusiastic and not so careful diner.


How to Remove Fresh Fish Oil

oil stain on shirt

OK, so you’ve just had the mishap, and you’ve got still wet fish oil on your clothes. The first step is to soak up the grease.

Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Bicarbonate of soda is an excellent way to soak up that grease. Also good is cornstarch, or talc. Pop some of the powder onto your clothing, and make sure the oil stain is covered. Then lightly shake the garment, so as to remove the excess powder.

What should be left will be just the powder that’s in direct contact with the oil.

It’s a good idea then to leave the clothing out in the sunshine, if that’s what you’ve got going on outside. This will help deodorise it.

Once you’ve done the powdering, you can then wash the clothing. Do not wash before applying powder, or you may fix the stain and make it permanent.



Also good for fish oil is vinegar, so if the stain happens in a fish and chip shop, you’ll be well-catered for.

Mind you, it’s best to stick to white vinegar if possible, as malt will tend to stain. Pour one cup of the conquering condiment into a bucket of cold water and swish that garment around in it like a freshly caught snapper. Then let it sit for 20 to 30 minutes. Then wash.

removing oil stain on clothes

Washing up liquid

Washing up liquid can also work wonders if applied directly to the stain, rubbed in a little and left for 20 minutes or so. Then wash and dry as normal. Repeat as necessary.



You may be lucky enough to have slices of lemon right there on your plate, being used as a garnish. If so, squeeze some juice onto a dish, dilute with a little water, and apply to the stain.

Then wash as usual when you get home. This technique can be an absolute lifesaver when eating out.



If you’ve tried washing and your nose still detects a trace of piscatorial pong, then you might want to try a cupful of ammonia in the washing machine, added to your usual detergent. It can be extremely effective at removing objectionable whiffs.



If you’ve got some WD-40 knocking round, it’s worth giving a few sprays of this onto your garment.

Spray lightly, mind you, as otherwise you’ll end up making matters worse as a WD40 slick threatens to seep right through the material. Once you’ve applied, follow the powdery path above.


How to Remove Dried Fish Oil

dried oil stain on clothes

If that stain’s been allowed to stick around for a while and you’ve now got a dried patch of fish oil on your clothes, you’ll need to try one or both of these options.


Get your normal washing detergent and rub some into the patch. Then put the garment in the washing machine on the hottest setting you can get away with (check the clothing care label). Dry outside, and repeat the whole process if you need to.



If it’s white clothing, then you might want to use old-fashioned but incredibly effective chlorine bleach. Just be sure to follow the instructions on the side of the packet and be very careful when handling it.

If you’ve got a coloured garment, it’s an idea to try oxygen bleach. It shouldn’t affect the colour of the clothing and is gentler on your clothes, on your hands and on the planet.

When you bleach a garment in this kind of soiled state, you need to leave it soaking in a solution for a lengthy period – usually eight hours at least.


Net Gain for Your Clothes

fish oil on dress

As with a number of stain situations, there’s not just one sole way of dealing with it. There’s a whole grouper them.

If you remember nothing else, remember this. Act quickly, for goodness’ hake. Don’t be a kipper.

The longer you leave the stain, the harder it will get to remove it. If you can tackle it straight away it’ll all go swimmingly and you’ll be filled to the bream with happiness as the mark disappears from its plaice.

Hope you’ve learned something useful about getting rid of fish oil here. Every day’s a school day, huh?