6 Easy Ways To Deal With Stinky Cooking Smells

updated Aug 22, 2022
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Credit: Sarah Wintle

Bacon. Fish. Broccoli. These things smell so darn delicious when dinner is on the stove — and so, um, less delicious the next morning. Lingering food smells are only nice when it’s, say, cookies or brownies.

So how do you eliminate these strong cooking odors in your kitchen? And the rest of your home? We have six easy-to-execute cures.

Credit: Sarah Crowley

1. Make a pot of coffee.

The smell of freshly brewing coffee will help, but it’s really the spent grounds we’re after here. Coffee contains nitrogen, which neutralizes odors. Spread your wet coffee grounds out on a baking sheet to dry and just leave them out overnight. (You can also put these used-and-dried grounds in a bowl in the fridge to battle odors in there!)

Related: The Last Thing You Should Do with Used Coffee Grounds

Credit: Sarah Crowley

2. Open your windows and use your range hood.

The best way to avoid odors is to blow them outside. If you have a range hood or vent over your stove, use it! Otherwise, an air conditioner or an air filter can help remove the stench.

Opening a window before you start cooking helps with air circulation, especially if you position a fan pointing out the window. If you forgot to open the window ahead of time, open it now — any little bit will help!

3. Clean up right away.

Wipe splatters on the stove and countertop, and wash all greasy cooking pans right after cooking. It’s best to take care of a pan full of stinky oil that evening rather than letting the smell emanate overnight. Don’t forget to clean the drain of leftover food particles, run the garbage disposal, and take the trash out, too!

Credit: Carly Diaz

4. Simmer your own natural potpourri.

Save your lemon rinds! Pleasant-smelling spices like cloves, cinnamon sticks, or citrusy lemon peels can be simmered in water on the stove for an all-natural air freshener that’ll mask any cooking smells. The potpourri steam is especially nice in the cooler/drier months. Just something to file away for winter.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

5. Leave a bowl of vinegar or baking soda on the counter overnight.

To neutralize really stubborn odors, try leaving a bowl filled with white vinegar or baking soda on the counter before you go to bed. Both will dissipate remaining cooking smells by morning.

Credit: Angela Chung

6. Start a baking project.

No, really. Here’s a good excuse to make dessert: Shortly after cooking a dish with strong odors, plan to bake brownies, cookies, or if you’re really adventurous, pie! With a little bit of effort, the delicious scent of freshly baked goods will permeate the kitchen. Tasty treats with nutmeg, ginger, or cinnamon work especially well.

Need ideas? We’ve got you covered. These chewy, chocolatey Cowboy Cookies or easy homemade brownies should do the trick!

Do you have any other tips for eliminating cooking odors? Tell us in the comments below!