How To Get Rid Of Cooking Smells In Small Apartment? [Top 10 Tips]

Curry, tuna fish, cabbage, and Brussel sprouts are just a few of the stinky scents that stick around after cooking and consumption is complete. These obnoxious odors can be exacerbated even more when living in a tiny space.

Unlike a big home where the scent can only travel so far, a rental property with limited square footage can be enveloped by smells quite quickly. This can become quite unpleasant and overwhelming! Therefore, if you want to remove these unfortunate aromas, consider using these simple techniques to get rid of lingering cooking smells in a small apartment!

The top technique for neutralizing kitchen smells is to use natural remedies like white vinegar and baking soda to deodorize the air and remove unwanted scents. Then, of course, be proactive with cleaning your kitchen!

More long-term solutions for eliminating regular cooking smells are to purchase an air purifier and ensure that the thermostat in your apartment is set to a cool temperature to slow the spread of the scent.

Most importantly though, you always want to use the vent above your stove. This will not only help with the removal of unwanted aromas, but it is also an important safety precaution. 

The Top Ten Tips For Eliminating Unwanted Kitchen Odors

1. Limit The Spread Of Smells

The first step is squashing the stink is to stop it from spreading! This is easily accomplished by shutting doors before cooking. Moreover, running the range hood is an effective way to not only eliminate smells but remove pollutants and heat from the air.

In fact, according to research done by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, “If you put it on a low speed and cook on a single back burner, then you’ll typically capture 50 to 70 percent of the pollutants”.

Additionally, an air purifier is another fantastic tool to suck up unwanted smells. However, it is essential that you purchase a HEPA air purifier with a carbon filter.

This works as an odor eliminator, essentially absorbing the vapors that cause smells to linger. Finally, for an old-school approach, just open the windows and let the fresh air carry the unwanted aromas away!

How To Get Rid Of Cooking Smells In Small Apartment

2. Clean Up Quickly After Cooking

As much as we all want to deal with the dishes later, forgoing this task can lead to cooking smells sticking around. Take the time to clean up the kitchen after you eat, or even better, throughout the cooking process! Don’t forget to wipe down the countertops as well!

In addition, for those tough messes that require a little extra TLC, allow them to soak for an hour and then revisit the item. SOS pads, Dawn, and a little elbow grease can go a long way!

3. Try Natural Deodorizers To Get Rid Of Cooking Smells

White vinegar is known as a magic laundry solution, but it can also be used in the kitchen to neutralize unwanted odors! Your options are to either pour it in a bowl and let it set overnight or disperse a mist of this solution in the air. Some folks even clean their kitchen counters with it because it is also a natural sanitizer! 

For the really tough smells, consider simmering some white vinegar on the stove. However, do not boil it, as this can have detrimental health impacts. While simmering, make sure there is plenty of ventilation to avoid dangerous fumes. Moreover, only conduct it for a short period of time. 

Other simple and effective deodorizers that you likely have around the house are coffee grounds and baking soda! Just like with the vinegar, leave one of these options in a bowl overnight. Then, voila! The scent should vanish with little to no effort.

Odor Removal Safety

However, for those individuals with pets and or kids underfoot, having open containers can be a bit of a problem. Therefore, consider purchasing a sachet to hold the baking soda or coffee grounds.

Additionally, there are also pre-made, scented baking soda filled balls that you can use to deodorize your home! Despite the fact that these are natural remedies, you always want to place these items out of reach to ensure everyone’s safety.

Lastly, another alternative that is safe and effective is to simmer a mixture of water, cinnamon sticks, lemon slices (with the peel on) and ground ginger! It is like brewing potpourri and spreading the wonderful scent through the air!

4. Keep Your House Cool

Have you ever noticed that smells to become more pungent in the heat of Summer? Temperature and humidity play a huge role in the dispersion of molecules throughout the air. When it is colder, the odor particles slow down, making the smell less noticeable.

Therefore, turn down the thermostat before starting dinner prep! This can limit the spread of cooking smells and keep them contained in the kitchen.

5. Don’t Forget About Unsuspecting Places 

When you are done with each day, take the time to focus on the little things throughout your apartment’s kitchen. Take out the trash. Run the garbage disposal.

Clean up spills under the stove grates and burners. These are all small tasks that can make a big impact on the smell of your home! 

If you really want to make an impact, throw some citrus peels in the garbage disposal to give it a little scent refresher! Moreover, make a point to scrape food into the trash and not down the drain. This will benefit you two-fold — it will limit the smells and keep your drain clog-free!

Additionally, grab some kitty litter and pour it at the bottom of your trash receptacle. This material is tailored to soak up our pets’ stinky bathroom smells, so why not use it in the kitchen as well!

For stay-at-home moms, make a habit of cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen often! Lastly, don’t forget to regularly go through the fridge to remove any food that has taken a turn for the worst.

6. Use A Splatter Screen While Cooking

Instead of letting your sauce bubble over as it begins to simmer, stop the splatter in its tracks! This can reduce the amount of mess AND if you buy the right splatter screen, it can even capture the smells of your culinary creation! Just make sure to purchase one with a carbon filter that is designed to absorb those unwanted smells. 

7. Change Your Cooking Technique

Sometimes the smells are inevitable, especially in a small apartment. Therefore, if you really want to avoid them, rethink your cooking strategy!

Choose to grill or smoke your salmon instead of baking it. When you have a hankering for Thai curry, eat out that night! While not always ideal, it can be the easier route.

8. Utilize Essential Oils

It should be no surprise that lemon and lemongrass oil will bring a refreshing scent to the kitchen. However, orange, lime, grapefruit, and bergamot are other citrus-based oils that can provide similar benefits!

In addition, tea tree and lavender essential oils are fantastic options to help get rid of cooking smells and they have disinfecting properties!

9. Head To The Laundry Room

Those lovely dryer sheets are not just good for your laundry load! They are also effective at absorbing odors! Just lay some out in the kitchen and any other areas impacted by food-related scents and leave them overnight to work their magic.

10. Prep Some Potatoes

Who knew that this food staple is also a master odor absorber? All you have to do is peel and slice up some potatoes and sprinkle a little salt on top! Leave them in a dish and the smells will slowly vanish away!

Frequently Asked Questions 

How do I prevent my neighbor’s cooking smells from coming into my apartment?

First, speak with your landlord. There is a chance that filters need to be replaced or a vent may require repairs. Secondly, open windows to help air out space and consider purchasing an air purifier to reduce the smell.

Finally, turn the air down to slow down the spread of the cooking smells. Unfortunately, if the origin of the odor is coming from another location, other remedies will not work quite as effectively. 

Can I use candles to get rid of cooking smells in a small apartment?

Yes, candles can mask the smell. However, once you blow them out, it is likely that the odors will return. Therefore, if you would like to use this as a solution, make sure to purchase a candle made with beeswax or soy-based wax.

These are natural deodorizers. Thus, they will help to eliminate smells instead of just covering them up.  

What are the best items to absorb cooking smells?

Natural remedies like lemons, baking soda, potatoes, white vinegar, and coffee grounds are your best bet! Just place bowls filled with your remedy of choice around the kitchen overnight to soak up the smells and refresh your apartment!

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Final Thoughts 

Cooking can be extremely cathartic, but there is nothing worse than ending a relaxing evening with unwanted odors lingering longer than they should. This is especially true in a small apartment where the scent can spread rapidly. Thus, after your meal is over, take the time to wipe up any spills. Then, at minimum, rinse the dishes before heading to bed. 

While it seems easiest to plug in an air freshener or light some incense to cover up the lingering scent of your latest dish, if you don’t work to address the issue, it will always manage to come back. Other places that can cause a smelly situation in the kitchen include the oven and the microwave.

While cleaning these appliances is not necessarily a weekly task, aim for at least once monthly and make it a priority to address big messes when they occur. This will prevent odors as well as the growth of bacteria on these surfaces. You may be interested in our guide on how to get rid of freezer burn taste.

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