Doesn’t food smell enticing when you’re cooking? If you’re absorbed in creating a luscious meal, your mouth waters at the thought of eating it.
Still, heating and frying food releases odorous gases into the air. So, a few hours later, those delightful scents get stale, lingering. If you have compact living quarters, the odors are especially confined.
Thankfully, you can banish them. Here are easy and fun ways to remove cooking smells in a small apartment or house.
1) Create pleasant scents with potpourri steam
Simmer a mixture of fragrant spices, herbs, or citrus peels. Great candidates are:
- star anise pods
- cinnamon sticks
- fresh mint leaves
- orange or lemon peels
First, boil your potpourri items in a pot of water. Then, lower the heat to the point where small bubbles rise to the surface.
Here you can get a supply of cinnamon sticks, cloves, and star anise to simmer.
2) Nix potent odors with vinegar.
Vinegar neutralizes smells by absorbing them.
If you’re preparing a really pungent dish, create vinegar steam. While cooking, simmer ½ cup of white vinegar with a cup of water in a saucepan.
You can also combat smells overnight with a bowl of white vinegar. If you have children or pets, be sure to set it beyond their reach.
3) Deodorize the kitchen sink and garbage disposal.
Kitchen drains are catch basins for soap scum, rotting food particles, and grease. So are garbage disposals. Here’s how to deodorize both.
- Pour a cup of baking soda down the sink drain.
- Allow it to sit for 15 minutes.
- Add a cup of white vinegar.
- Let the mixture percolate and fizz for another 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, boil water in a kettle or saucepan.
- Slowly and carefully pour the hot water into the drain.
The trio of baking soda, vinegar, and hot water has scouring action!
If you have a garbage disposal, nix accumulated grease with citrus oils. Any type of citrus peel works, such as lemon, orange, grapefruit, and lime.
- First, cut the rinds into small pieces.
- Next, toss the peels into the garbage disposal and turn it on.
- Then, run cold water down the sink.
4) Rid sponges of funky smells.
Another source of noxious odors is a bacteria-laden sponge. It smells like a combination of stale food and mildew. Moreover, the germs can make your stomach ill. Here are two simple ways to disinfect a sponge.
- Bleach Treatment – Mix ½ teaspoon of bleach with 4 cups of tepid water. Next, soak the sponge for five minutes. Wearing a thick waterproof glove, rinse the sponge in hot water. Then, let it air-dry on a rack.
- Antibacterial Spritz – Spray all the sponge surfaces with an antibacterial cleanser. Wearing a waterproof glove, squeeze the sponge several times. Without rinsing the scrubber, set it on a drying rack.
Then, replace your kitchen sponge every two weeks.
5) Pan-fry foods with a charcoal filter splatter screen.
A splatter screen is a frying pan cover made of stainless steel mesh. One with a carbon filter absorbs food smells while you cook.
The steel mesh stops grease from shooting onto your stove and backsplash. Hence, there are no oily residues to evoke a rancid smell. Moreover, the mesh allows steam to escape, keeping your food from getting soggy.
Here’s a highly-rated KitchenAid splatter screen sold at Amazon. This product is durable, dishwasher-safe, and backed by a lifetime limited warranty.
6) Nullify odors with baking soda.
Most lingering cooking smells come from acidic foods. Examples are tomatoes, onions, garlic, and fish. Since baking soda is alkaline, it balances an acid pH. In this way, baking soda neutralizes the strong odors of acidic fare.
To reap this benefit, keep a bowl of baking soda near your stove. It will start absorbing pungent odors as you cook. Still, baking soda can take several hours to do its magic fully. For the best results, let the deodorizer sit overnight.
Also helpful is adding baking soda to your kitchen trash can. First, line the container with a garbage bag. Then, sprinkle some baking soda inside.
Furthermore, empty your trash can daily. Then, during the spring or summer, wash the container, letting it air-dry in the sun.
7) Treat oven spills with salt.
A casserole or lasagna can smell fantastic while baking. Still, if it bubbles over, the food splotches will leave burning odors. To thwart them, cover the spill with salt, letting it sit for three hours. Then, wipe up the splotch with a soft cloth. Here’s a short video demonstration.
8) Clean up your kitchen right after cooking.
If you do this routinely, you’ll reduce cooking odors substantially.
Start by washing your cookware once it’s cool. Then, wipe down your kitchen counter, the inside of your microwave oven, and your stovetop. Also, clean the sides of your stove, where food sometimes drips.
Do you have a range hood? If so, remove any splatters of food from the underside.
When you’re done eating, refrigerate any leftovers in an airtight container. If you have a dishwasher, run it soon after loading.
Try to establish a daily habit of cleaning your kitchen following supper. After a few days of this practice, you’ll breeze through the process!
9) Run an essential oil diffuser.
Essential oils from fruits and herbs can replace foul cooking smells. Additionally, various oils confer physiological benefits, such as:
- boosting alertness
- elevating mood
- strengthening immunity
- ushering calmness
Citrus oils impart a fresh scent while evoking cheerfulness. Examples are grapefruit, bergamot, sweet orange, lemon, mandarin, and lime.
Eucalyptus oil opens your respiratory passages. It also improves air quality. Thus, it’s ideal for a small kitchen that tends to feel stuffy.
Use rosemary oil to subdue rank smells, rouse your energy, and sharpen your memory.
For the broadest coverage, distribute essential oils with an ultrasonic diffuser. This device converts essential oils into tiny molecules, releasing them into the air.
One highly-rated product is the Pure Enrichment PureSpa Essential Oil Diffuser sold by Amazon. With its compact design, this model is perfect for a small apartment. Moreover, it’s whisper-quiet and comes with a two-year manufacturer’s warranty.
Warning – Essential oils are unsafe for most pets, including hamsters, guinea pigs, rabbits, dogs, cats, and birds. So, if you’re a pet parent, choose another method to combat cooking odors.
10) Purify the air with coffee grounds.
Are you a coffee drinker? If so, repurpose your used coffee grounds as an air freshener. Their nitrogen pulls sulfur from the air.
For instance, station a dish of coffee grounds on your kitchen counter. If you keep one in your fridge, the rich aroma will greet you each time you open the door! Be sure to use dry coffee grounds to prevent mold.
If you like to cook with garlic and onions, you know their strong smells can linger on your fingers. To eliminate the odors, gently wash your hands with coffee grounds.
They can also banish foul smells from your microwave. Just combine ½ cup of water with 2 tablespoons of coffee grounds. Then, heat the mixture for about a minute.
11) Usher cooking smells outside.
This is the quickest way to abolish kitchen odors. Cook with your windows open if weather permits. If not, and you have a range hood above your stove, activate it. The vent will direct cooking smells outdoors before they infiltrate your kitchen.
If you don’t have a range hood, consider buying a kitchen exhaust fan. Ideally, get the ducted type. It extracts cooking odors, smoke, and moisture from the air.
Since installation is rather involved, it’s best to hire an HVAC contractor to do the work. This way, the exhaust fan will operate safely and effectively.
Essentially, there are three approaches to resolving unpleasant cooking odors. You can either prevent, remove, or neutralize them. Let’s recap how to implement each strategy.
- Pan-fry foods with a charcoal filter splatter screen.
- Apply salt to oven spills, followed by wiping with a soft cloth.
- Clean your kitchen right after cooking.
Removing Funky Smells
- Treat sponges with antibacterial cleanser or bleach, drying them thoroughly between uses.
- Deodorize your kitchen sink with baking soda, vinegar, and hot water.
- Tackle grease build-up in a garbage disposal with citrus peels.
- Oust cooking smells through open windows, a range hood, or an exhaust fan.
- Set out bowls of vinegar, baking soda, or used coffee grounds.
- Simmer potpourri or vinegar, generating purifying steam.
- Use an essential oil diffuser, imparting the air with delightful scents.
So, cook to your heart’s content!
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