How to Get Rid of Strong Food Smells in the Home

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Cooking fish can stink up the whole house.
Cooking fish can stink up the whole house. (Image: Stockbyte/Stockbyte/Getty Images)

Cooking with garlic, frying chicken or baking fish, to name just a few, all lend themselves to strong food odors that can linger in your home for days. If you have guests coming over, or you just can’t stand the smell any more, several techniques can be used to help eliminate the smells. In the future, though, when cooking foods with strong odors, close the doors to your bedrooms, office, closets and other rooms to help confine cooking smells to a limited area of the home.

Things You'll Need

  • Fans
  • Vinegar
  • Cooking pot
  • Lemon
  • Orange
  • Cotton balls
  • Vanilla
  • Shallow dishes
  • Baking soda

Turn on exhaust fans during and after cooking. Fans help eliminate much of the strong food smells in your home. Open the windows as well, and if you have window fans, set them in the window so the air blows outdoors.

Boil and simmer 1 tbsp. of white vinegar per cup of water, according to Michigan State University. In other areas of the home, place the vinegar-water solution in small bowls to help get rid of the cooking odors there. If this doesn’t work, try using equal parts vinegar and water.

Boil and simmer 1 quart of water with the peels from a lemon and an orange. This can help get rid of the food odors in the kitchen.

Soak cotton balls with vanilla. Place one cotton ball per shallow dish and distribute around your home where the odors are an issue. This works well in the refrigerator and freezer to get rid of food smells and will work some in your home as well.

Set small dishes of baking soda throughout your home where the food smells are present. Baking soda absorbs odors and will help get rid of the lingering smells.

Sanitize your sink with a disinfectant spray and sprinkle some baking soda down the drain, where some of the food smell may be originating. Also, clean out and around your trashcans.

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