Let’s face it—every now and then we all get unwanted odors in our kitchen, whether from something we cooked, dishes sitting too long, or the dreaded mystery smells. Even when we know what’s causing the odor, we don’t always know the fastest and easiest solution for getting rid of it or how to prevent odors from happening. Here are some tips to help prevent and eliminate those dreaded kitchen odors:
1. Clean as You Cook
When you wait until you’re completely done finished cooking to clean up any mess you may have made, you are more likely to overlook spills or simply be too tired from cooking to want to invest that much time in cleaning. You may also just really want to focus on eating the product of all that work. If you clean as you go, you prevent spills from becoming stuck on the counter and causing smells. The same goes for dishes. If you wash each pot, pan, and dish as you, you won’t have any residual or burnt-on food sitting for too long that can also lead to odors. Cleaning as you go may seem like a pain, but it will ultimately benefit you.
2. Clean Every Surface Weekly
Of course you should clean any obvious spills as they happen, but do a more thorough cleaning of every surface once a week. Make sure to wipe down counters, cabinets, and floors. There could be missed spills, food particles, or grease spots which can attract more food increasing the potential for odors.
3. Throw Out Sponges Weekly
Unless you already put this into practice, I’m sure you’re no stranger to the funky smell that accompanies old sponges. In addition to throwing them out weekly, you should also wash dishtowels, potholder, and rugs on a weekly basis. All of these things can breed mold when they’re wet which causes odors.
4. Use the Above-Stove Vent
If you have a vent above your stove, use it while you are cooking or after you cook. Ventilation removes odors and improves air quality. If you don’t have one, consider having one installed.
5. Clean the Fridge
If you can tell the smell is coming from your fridge, but you’re not sure exactly where, clean the whole thing out. Clean your fridge out on a regular basis to prevent mystery smells from occurring. You can also use a dish of baking soda, freshly ground coffee, or charcoal to eliminate smells. Leave it sitting in the fridge for a few days and it should take care of any odors.
Vinegar is a great means by which you can get rid of kitchen odors. Place 3 bowls of vinegar around the kitchen. The vinegar smell will go away after 10-15 minutes when it starts eliminating the other odors. Leave bowls for 6-12 hours and your kitchen should be odor-free. For severe odors, heat 1 part water and 1 part vinegar on the stove. You can add lemon or orange peels to make the scent more pleasant. Let it simmer for 1-2 hours then turn off the stove and let it sit overnight.
7. Orange Peels
If the odor is not strong enough to call for vinegar, orange peels on their own will do a great job of removing odors. Simmer orange peels and cinnamon in water for a few minutes, turn off the stove, and let it sit all day.
8. Burn Toast
Food chemists say the fastest solution for getting rid of unpleasant food odors is to burn toast. The smell of burnt toast absorbs other lingering odors. Your kitchen will of course smell like burnt toast then, but that smell won’t linger for very long.
9. Treat the Trash
Frequently, the smells in the kitchen are coming from the trash can. If emptying the trash doesn’t remove the offending odor, wipe down the inside of the can before putting a new bag in, making sure to get rid of any food debris that might be stuck to it. Spray it with a disinfectant and you can sprinkle some baking soda around the can to help prevent future odors. While you may have to take the trash out multiple times a week, you should wipe down and clean the can at least once a week.
10. Clean the Sink
If the smell seems like it’s coming from the sink, it’s probably due to food trapped in the pipes or in the garbage disposer. Clean the disposer blades by grinding up ice from the freezer. If you have a rubber gasket you need to thoroughly rinse it as it is a magnet for food debris. Whether or not you have a disposer, pour ½ cup of baking soda down the drain while running warm tap water to clean the pipes.