Keep Your Kitchen Fresh with these Odor-Busting Tips

29 Nov 2011
Posted by Tom Papageorge

There are many wonderful things about home food preparation and cooking, but some of the less pleasing side affects are odors that linger in your home.  The smell of a freshly baked apple pie might be welcome, but what about the smell of last night’s broiled fish?

Better Homes and Gardens offers the following tips to help rid your home of cooking and kitchen odors:

  • Make sure your kitchen is properly vented.  The best way to avoid lasting odors is to prevent them from occurring.  Proper kitchen ventilation will go a long way toward absorbing cooking odors and preventing them from lingering in your home.  Better Homes and Gardens notes that ventilation limits the concentration of carbon dioxide, especially if you use gas burners, as well as particles suspended in the air and fumes that build up from compounds in other areas of the home, including paint.  Atherton Appliance & Kitchens and BSC Culinary offer a wide variety of ventilation options for your kitchen offered by premium brands such as Bosch, GE Profile, and Wolf.  Options range from range hoods to wall-mount hoods and under cabinet hoods.  Keeping the windows open during and after cooking can also help to ventilate your home.
  • Clean during and after cooking.  Clean spills and surfaces throughout the cooking process, and finish cleaning right after you complete your meal.  Soak dirty pots and pans immediately, and wash dishes promptly.  Even dirty appliances can contribute to kitchen smells; be sure to maintain a clean oven, wash small appliances such as blenders right after use, and wipe the surfaces of cooktops and other appliances until they’re clean.
  • Take out odorous trash.  Don’t let smelly garbage sit around the kitchen; if you’ve tossed out foods or scraps that have lingering odors, or that might spoil over time, take the trash out so the odors won’t infiltrate your home.
  • Remove cooked oil from the house.  Don’t let cooked oil sit around; it can contribute to after-cooking odors.
  • Freshen your garbage disposal.  You might think that foods that have been crushed in the garbage disposal are gone – out of sight, out of mind.  In fact, garbage disposals can collect food debris that becomes odorous over time, so be sure to freshen yours regularly.  Our previous blog post on garbage disposal use and care offers advice on how to clean and deodorize your disposal.
  • Clean your cabinets.  We rarely look closely at our cabinet exteriors, but if you examine yours, you might be surprised to find the remnants of food and beverage spills.  Wipe cabinets down periodically with a fresh-smelling cleaner that is appropriate for their particular exterior material.  And check inside your cabinets, too – make sure you haven’t forgotten about perishable foods that have expired and might be contributing to odors.
  • Clean area rugs.  If your kitchen has area rugs or other floor coverings, wash them regularly to keep them clean and fresh.

Good Housekeeping offers some additional tips:

  • Set out a small bowl of vinegar on the counter next to the stove to absorb the smells of foods like cabbage, broccoli, or fish.
  • Sprinkle salt on burned spills from casserole dishes and then clean after they cool.
  • For food spatters inside your microwave oven, mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda in a cup of water in a microwave-safe bowl.  Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes and then wipe the walls and turntable of the oven.
  • Throw out anything in the refrigerator that has passed its expiration date, and leave a margarine tub filled with baking soda (with holes poked in the lid) to absorb odors.  Another suggestion is to keep small dishes of lemon or lime slices on the shelves.  Wipe refrigerator walls with white vinegar.

You can eliminate kitchen and cooking odors by making sure your kitchen is well ventilated, paying attention to appliances and cabinets, and staying true to a regular cleaning regimen.  Your family will thank you, and you’ll enjoy your the fresh, clean smell of your cooking space.