Our Very Best Remedies for Bad Kitchen Smells

published Dec 20, 2022
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Woman opening a kitchen window
Credit: Sarah Crowley

Your kitchen works hard and sometimes, well, it smells like it. Whether it’s lingering smells from a cooking mishap or an unpleasant scent emanating from a trash can that needs to be emptied, unpleasant odors are not uncommon. Obviously, we want to get rid of them. Here are the best ways.

1. Harness the power of citrus.

Sonja Wosnitzer, of the Luxe Duplex Guesthouse in Rumson, New Jersey, has been an Airbnb Superhost for three years. Her best advice for making sure things smell fresh? Boil citrus on the stovetop to fill the kitchen with a natural, clean scent. Also, don’t overdo it; strong fragrances make it feel like you’re covering something up. 

2. Deodorize your stinky trash can.

Janitors know a thing or two about how to deal with trash-can odors. Our favorite advice from these stink-prevention pros? Add something — either baking soda or lemon rinds — to the bottom of your bin to keep smells in check.

3. Use a toilet bowl cleaner to combat odors.

Yes, you read that right. This TikTok hack involves adhering gel toilet bowl cleaner to the inside of your trash can to keep things smelling clean. 

4. Clean your trash can regularly.

Lifestyle influencer Elnaz Hamai recommends washing your trash can regularly with vinegar. If the odor is really bad, she advises letting the vinegar sit overnight.

5. Neutralize odors as they happen.

Sometimes the sheer act of cooking causes unpleasant odors in the kitchen. To combat strong smells from, say, cooking fish or frying up bacon, simply place a bowl of distilled white vinegar in the vicinity.