The kitchen smells great while you're hungry. But after the meal, lingering odors are unwelcome. Here's our simple advice for freshening up.
Just because you’re craving bacon on a Saturday morning doesn’t mean you want the kitchen to continue smelling like cooked pork into the following week. How can you deal with cooking’s unfortunate olfactory effects?
Prevent odors in the first place
The best defense is a good offense, which is a saying that only sort of applies to cooking. You can’t prevent your cooking project from having any lingering odor whatsoever, but you can take a few steps to minimize the leftover aromas.
If you have a range hood, it can help to disperse many of the smells that come from cooking on the stove or in the oven. It can also help discourage the smoke alarm from going off if you’re roasting something, or if you haven’t cleaned your oven in a while. Many range hoods don’t actually take the air they collect anywhere. They just disperse it through the room. This can still help you avoid excess odor since it spreads the air around more and helps it circulate through the AC system.
The best way to disperse odors, both before and after cooking, is with fresh outside air. Opening some windows or doors is likely to be your best bet.
If you’re frying or sautéing something, oil splatters can be one of the biggest culprits when it comes to lingering smells. You can prevent at least some of this by investing in a splatter screen, which prevents hot oil from flying too far from the pan.
Deal with Post-Cooking Odors
Some cooking smells are very determined to get out of your food and stick around longer than you’d like. You have several options when it comes to driving out old cooking smells, ranging from DIY solutions to high-tech tools.
Many cooking smells come from the mess that tends to result from food preparation. You can avoid many common smells by cleaning up as much as you can as soon as you can. Wipe up any spills, including splatter on the stove or in the oven. Rinse out any pots or pans that you used — once they’ve cooled off, of course. Put dirty dishes and glasses in the dishwasher. If you have any unusable food parts that are going to start smelling bad soon, such as broccoli stems or fat trimmed off beef or chicken, get them outside in your trash bin ASAP.
Simmer some homemade potpourri.
You can make your own potpourri out of spices and foods that smell nice. Examples include sliced lemons or oranges, cinnamon sticks, cloves, and fresh herbs like mint. Bring a pot of water to a boil, bring the heat down to a simmer, and add your potpourri ingredients. You can keep it going as long as you like, but keep an eye on it to make sure you replace the water before it boils away.
Put out some odor-absorbing materials.
Certain food products are quite good at absorbing odors. Many people put open boxes of baking soda in their refrigerators, for example, to cut down on odors in there. You can do the same thing for your kitchen. A bowl of baking soda can do the trick, or you can try vinegar or fresh coffee grounds.
Make something that smells better.
If you don’t like the way your kitchen smells after that meal you cooked, another option is to make something that smells better. Try brewing a pot of coffee or baking some cookies, and you might not care so much about the other smells.
Use an air purifier.
If all else fails, modern technology is here for you. An air purifier can trap and eliminate many of the gasses and particles that cause kitchen odors. Opinions differ about whether these devices can actually improve your health, but they seem to be quite effective at dealing with odors.
Photo by HS You on Flickr [Creative Commons]
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