Do You Have To Clean Fish Before Cooking?

When we prepare a meal, we usually wash or clean the food first. It is an essential step in the cooking process to prevent food poisoning and other infections. However, it is not necessary to wash all foods.

Do you have to clean fish before cooking? While you do not have to rinse fish, you still need to clean it before cooking. You have to take the scales, fins, and guts out of the fish before preparing it for a meal. It is incredibly simple and needs only a few materials.

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For this article, we will enumerate the tools you will need to clean fish properly. Aside from that, we will give you step-by-step instructions on how to do this.

Materials Needed for Cleaning Fish

Cleaning fish is different from cleaning produce, red meat, or poultry. These are the materials that you need:

Sharp Knife

You will be utilizing the knife for most of the cleaning steps. It will come in handy for when you scrape off the scales and scoop out the innards of the fish.

Cutting Board

When cleaning a fish, place a cutting board underneath. It will keep your table from getting dirty or damaged.

How To Clean Fish

It will only take a couple of minutes to clean fish. Here is what you have to do:

Remove Scales

First, you must remove the scales on the fish. You can use either a knife or a spoon for this step. Scrape or scoop out the scales to take them out. When you do this, make sure to go in the opposite direction of the scales.

Slice A Line From The Belly To The Head

On the belly of the fish, you might notice a small hole. That hole is the fish’s anus. From the hole, make a small incision and slice a line up to its head. Be gentle, and do not make a large incision since this will cause the guts to spill over.

Take Out The Innards

This next step is very messy and a tad gross. You have to scoop out the intestines and other internal organs out of the fish. It should not take too long since the innards will come out very easily. Make sure you do not miss any organs when you remove them.

If you see a dark membrane in the flesh of the fish, take that out as well. Only some fish have this, but check anyway. This membrane is very oily and unappetizing.

Remove The Dorsal Fin

You can use a knife or scissors to cut the dorsal fin off. Another option would be to simply pull the fin from the tail end towards the head. The fin should tear off nicely.

Rinse The Fish

This step is unnecessary, but you can wash the fish if there is a ton of blood left over. Try not to use too much water, so the fish does not lose its flavor.


Before you cook or prepare fish, you have to make sure it is clean first. Take out all of the blood, guts, and innards. Once you have done that, it is ready for cooking!