17 Tips To Help You Get Rid of Those Kitchen Smells

April 21, 2020

17 Tips To Help You Get Rid of Those Kitchen Smells

Kitchen smells. 

Having lingering kitchen smells from cooking or food can be unpleasant. And sometimes they can linger for far too long.

We have compiled a list of some very clever ways for you to get rid of those kitchen smells and to enjoy your cooking to your heart’s content. 

Give these natural odour-busters a try before breaking out a candle that will simply mask it. 

1. Coffee is Magic 

Leave out a small bowl of unbrewed coffee grounds to neutralize bad scents. You may also want to consider actually making a cup of coffee. 

The heady aroma of grinding and then brewing the beans can mask offending odours. It’s a great trick if you’re entertaining since you can also enjoy a cup with your guests.

2. Baking Soda as Air Freshener 

A box of baking soda is commonly used to soak up smells in the refrigerator, but it’s also extremely useful in the kitchen itself. 

While you can simply put out a few bowls around the cooking space, we suggest taking the extra effort and simmering some baking soda and water together on the stove. 

3. Clean as You Go 

It can be tempting to dump all the bowls, pans, cutting boards, and more in your sink while cooking with the “I’ll take care of that later” mentality, but cleaning up as you go is an efficient way to get rid of certain smells (like onion, garlic, and grease). 

Instead of letting these smells percolate and get stronger, thoroughly wash and clean the cooking utensils and tools as soon as possible. 

4. Bake Something Else 

If you can’t beat ‘em, overpower them! Make a batch of cookies or a cake or even baked oatmeal for tomorrow’s breakfast. 

There is conflicting info on whether an item cooked second in the oven would absorb the flavours of the first, the main concern is that you don’t cook them at the same time. 

Never underestimate the power of baked treats with butter, sugar, and fragrant scents like cinnamon and nutmeg.

Home baked cookies


5. Include Cinnamon 

Speaking of cinnamon, this spice is beloved around the world for its addictive, aromatic, and health-giving properties. 

Although its cozy scent is most closely associated with the holiday season, it would be a welcome alternative to the lingering smell of fried food year-round. 

Simply simmering a few cinnamon sticks in water for about 30 minutes will do wonders for changing the vibe in your kitchen from “State Fair” to warm and inviting.

6. Refresh With Lemons 

Cinnamon isn’t the only thing you can boil in water to simmer scents away. 

Additions like cut up lemons, lemon peels, or other citrus peels, vanilla, spices or bay leaves also work wonders to eradicate funky smells. 

You can even vary according to the season, using lemon for a refreshing springtime scent and going with a deep orange peel and cloves during cooler months. 

Here's yet another way to use your stovetop to freshen your kitchen—whip up a homemade liquid potpourri. Create your own by combining water, mint, an orange rind, and sliced lemons. Leave the mixture simmering on the stove, adding more water as the mixture cooks. You’ll not only cure odour problems in the kitchen, but you’ll also make the whole house smell amazing.

7.  Try Vinegar 

Leave out small bowls of white vinegar before and after you’re cooking something that will yield a pungent odour. 

This trick is even recommended for fish smells, which despite their delicious profile have a notorious rep for overstaying their welcome. 

The vinegar absorbs the odours, so let the bowls sit out while you cook and then for a few additional hours (or overnight, for stubborn smells) before dumping out the liquid. 

You can also try simmering water and vinegar or apple cider vinegar to speed up the process. Use about one tablespoon vinegar in one cup of water for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Try this tip to your post-dinner cleanup routine: Put a saucepan on the stove and fill it with a cup of water and about three tablespoons of vinegar. Bring the water to a boil and let it boil for several minutes, allowing the steam from the uncovered pot to permeate the kitchen. The vinegary mist should help neutralize the nasty smells.

Lemons on a kitchen bench

8. Do The Laundry 

Certain fabrics can be super smell absorbers, which is one reason why you typically return from a bar smelling like alcohol and sweat. 

The same goes in the house, so plan on tossing your clothes (even if you just wore them for an hour or two while entertaining) and any other cloths or fabrics that were near the source of smells into the washing machine.

9. Give Charcoal a Go 

Due to some awesome chemical properties that most of us probably can’t or don’t care to try to grasp, charcoal can be used to absorb smells from the air. 

You can go the fancy route and buy charcoal carved into shapes or sticks that look like modern art, or you can simply use basic blocks—just make sure they are natural, mesquite-free and additive-free.

If you have a range hood that is set to recirculating then most manufacturers will recommend that you use charcoal filters in your hood. This is the reason why.

10. Refrigerator Smells

A fridge can harbour lots of unpleasant smells, even if you're diligent about cleaning spills and removing leftover food before it goes bad. 

Neutralize noxious odours by keeping a bowl of baking soda in the back corner. And while you're in there, clean cracks and crevices in refrigerator shelves, crispers, or side doors to mop up crumbs or drips that could be causing a stink.


Oven baking

11. Oven Smells

If your oven has developed a baked-in stench, the best course of action is to clean it.

Here's a tip to hold you over until you can fit this cleaning job into your schedule: Put some lemon and orange rinds on a sheet pan, and bake them to release fresh-smelling oils that will temporarily mask bad scents.

12. Simmer Orange Peels

For a food odour that appears to be fading, you can take less drastic action by creating a pleasant smell to overwhelm the unpleasant one. To do that, simmer some orange peels and cinnamon in water for a few minutes. Then turn off the flame and leave the open pot of warm, sweet-smelling water on the stove all day.

13. Burn Toast

There’s nothing wrong with a kitchen smelling like food. But if a food odour becomes unpleasant, food chemists say the fast solution is to burn some toast. 

Burn a slice of bread in the toaster. That will absorb the lingering odour. 

Steam coming from a hot drink

14. Steam with Hot Lemon Water

First, take all the food out and put it in a closed cooler with a bag of ice so you won’t have to worry about it. Unplug the refrigerator. 

Squeeze a lemon into a cup of water, throw the peels in too, and heat the liquid on the stove. Pour this hot lemon water into a bowl, put the bowl in the fridge, close the door, and wait a few minutes. 

This will start cutting the odour but, more important, it will also loosen the food accumulations on the walls and shelves, making them easier to clean away.

15. Hands Smell Like Fish

Try Lemon

Whether you’ve handled fish in the kitchen or out on the water, here’s a sure-handed way to get rid of that fishy odour: Cut a lemon in half and squeeze each half over your hands. Rub your hands together and rinse

Add Some Sugar To Your Soap

If there’s no lemon handy, pour a teaspoon of hand soap onto your palm. Add a tablespoon of sugar to the soap and rub the mixture thoroughly over your hands. Then rinse. The combination of soap and abrasion from the sugar will remove the odour.

Or an easy way is to rub your hands on your stainless steel sink. The stainless steel will take away the fish smells

16. Use Other Smells

We can conquer cooking smells with other smells - some ingenious ideas to try:

Bake a small quantity of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter for a few hours. This will make your kitchen smell like freshly-baked cookies instead of fried onions or garlic.

In a saucepan of water, boil (or grind) some cloves.

Boil lemon peels and orange peels or both in a saucepan for an hour on a slow heat.

Roast coffee beans or freshly-ground coffee until the aroma permeates the room.

Place bowls of white vinegar at different locations in the kitchen.

Put vanilla-soaked cotton swabs around your kitchen.

Place bowls of baking soda around your kitchen. You can also boil the baking soda and let it simmer for some time.

17. Egg Smell on Dishes

Use white vinegar to get that smell out. Simply pour a generous amount into the pan and leave it overnight. The next day, add dish soap and clean as usual.

This list should give you at least one way you can remove those lingering smells from your kitchen. Nothing beats the smell of some fresh cooking but some smells are just too much.


Photos courtesy of:

Photo by Erol Ahmed on Unsplash

Photo by Lauren Mancke on Unsplash

Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on Unsplash

Photo by Alexandru G. STAVRICĂ on Unsplash

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