How to Get Smell Out of Starfish

Like many sea dwelling echinoderms, starfish have become a prized item among people visiting the beach.  Unfortunately, when starfish have not completed their decomposition process, they can emit an unwelcome aroma.



It may seem like the starfish stink will never go away, as it requires time and treatment to successfully neutralize the odor.  By following the below tips, you will increase your odds of eliminating your starfishy funk.


Soaking Tips

Soaking a starfish prior to drying helps in neutralizing much of the decomposition odors.  Drying the starfish without first soaking it will lead to a worse odor-filled drying process.

1 Baking Soda

Soak starfish within a mixture of baking soda and water for 48 hours.  Once Starfish has fully absorbed mixture, much of the odor will be neutralized and it will be ready for drying.


2 Bleach

Place in a solution of bleach and water for 24 hours.  After a full day of soaking, much of the odor will be removed, leaving the starfish ready to dry.


3 Boil in Alcohol

Place starfish within a boiling pot of alcohol and water in equal parts.  Let starfish sit for a minimum of another 60 minutes before removing to dry.


4 Soak in Alcohol

A water and alcohol solution works great at neutralizing much of the remaining odor.  After letting the  Starfish soak for 24 hours, it will be prepared for drying.


5 Fresh Water

This is the ideal solution if you wish to go chemical-free.  Letting the Starfish soak in fresh water straightens the legs out and prepare it for drying.  Ideally, allow starfish soak for 24-48 hours within fresh water before placing it out to dry.


Drying Tips

Once you have neutralized much of the rotting smells within the starfish, you must then lay the starfish out to dry. The following tips will ensure that it is dried with straight arms and free of odors.

1 Weigh Down Corners

It is easy to forget to weigh down the corners during the drying process.  However, when this is not performed it can have nasty consequences when the starfish legs begin curling up.  Use small weights at the end of the arms to ensure that this does not happen.


2 Cardboard + Pins

A sure-fire alternative to weights is by pinning the starfish on a piece of cardboard.  Place the starfish on top of the cardboard, and strategically place pins through the arms and into the below cardboard.  This will ensure that no arm curling occurs so that the starfish maintains it’s original structure.


3 Dry Far Away

Many people seem to underestimate the foul stink of starfish during their drying process.  For this reason it is very important to place them within high, hard-to-reach corners of the exterior of your house.  Placing them atop the garage roof is a common spot as this location provides a dry, sunny, remote place for them to make their final transformation.


4 Keep Clear of Dogs

Our canine companions seem to love these sea dwelling echinoderms.  The more that they smell, the greater the allure that they possess.  While drying, take extra precaution to place the starfish in a location out of your dog’s reach.  If your dog does get hold of it, it will smell twice as bad when he throws it back up.


5 Go Small

The smaller the starfish, the less time it will take to remove odor.  By only selecting small starfish, you will minimize the need for a long-lasting odor removal process.



  1. Alice April 16, 2011
  2. Adrian May 13, 2011
  3. Oliver May 16, 2011
    • Starfish November 4, 2011
  4. nancy July 30, 2015

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