Anne asked: How can I get the odor of what was cooked out of the house? I have tried opening the windows and burning a candle, but the odor remains overnight.
Odors from last night’s dinner can become nauseating when the smell just won’t leave the house. Fried fish is a common culprit of this problem as are other exotic foods with strong flavors and spices. To remove the lingering odor we need to remove the source of the smell. If it can’t be found, there are ways to neutralize it. Follow these steps to clear the air.
You Will Need:
- Citrus peels
- Large shallow pan
- Degreasing dish liquid
- Soft cloths or sponges
Steps to Remove the Lingering Odors:
- Begin by cleaning the area well to ensure that all of the grease and food splatters have been cleaned away.
- Use a degreasing dish liquid to wipe the area surrounding the stove, especially if the odor is caused from fried foods. If the old grease splatters remain, the smell will stay strong.
- Wipe down the cabinets, stove top and floor in front of the stove to remove any residue from the cooking process. Remember the vents above the stove as well; these collect grease and bits of food that can lead to odors.
- Open all the windows and allow the air to circulate freely through the house. If the weather permits, place a fan in the window to either pull fresh air in or push the odor-filled air out.
- Fill a shallow pan with one part vinegar and one part water.
- Add a few pieces of citrus peel or some lemon juice to the water for a more pleasant scent.
- Heat the mixture to simmering and allow it to simmer (not boil) for a couple of hours. Replenish the water and vinegar as needed.
- The vinegar vapors will neutralize the odors that are still present to help remove them from the air.
- After several hours, turn the pan off and allow the vinegar and water to sit in the open pan for the rest of the day to absorb any remaining odors.
Preventing Future Odors
There are some specific cooking odors that you can combat before they are released into your home.
- When cooking cabbage, brussel sprouts, broccoli, or cauliflower, you can either put a piece of bread or two on top of the vegetable, or add a couple slices of red pepper to the cooking pot.
- Put a dollop of creamy peanut butter in the pan when frying fish to get rid of the fishy smell.
- Whenever you fry food, set a bowl of vinegar by the stove to combat the odor.
- Always use the vent when cooking or frying to pull the odor-filled air directly away from the stove and out of the house. Ensure your vents are clean and functioning properly.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Dirty dishes in the sink and scraps in the trash can will also produce a lingering smell. Ensure both of these areas area cleaned out and sanitized to remove strong odors.
- Fresh coffee grounds are excellent odor absorbers. Place several shallow bowls filled with coffee grounds around the room. Allow them to sit for several days until the odor is gone. Dispose of the grounds afterwards.
- Another option is activated charcoal. Put charcoal grill briquettes that do not contain any lighter fluid on a few plates and set the plates around the room. Leave the charcoal for as long as needed to remove the odors.
- Putting a couple cinnamon sticks or whole cloves in a pan of boiling water for 10 minutes can help to mask or combat cooking odors, particularly odors from sulfur-rich foods like onions, garlic, or cabbage.
- Cleaning up cooking pans and disposing of the leftovers promptly will help to minimize the amount of odor that enters the air.
- If cooking odors are a problem on a daily business, you can leave several odor absorbers around the kitchen full time, such as the coffee, charcoal, or a commercial product, and replace them as needed. Another option is to use an electric air freshener, such as a San Jamar Arriba Twist, sold by food service suppliers, or a Rubbermaid TCell.
- Amazing Kitchen Cures by Joey Green
- Haley’s Hints by Graham and Rosemary Haley
- Practical Problem Solver by Earl Proulx
- 99 Cent Solutions by Reader’s Digest
- Handy Household Hints from Heloise by Heloise
- Martha Stewart’s Homekeeping Handbook by Martha Stewart