No Range Hood? These 10 Products Will Help Rid Your Space of Lingering Food Odors

published Dec 7, 2023
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Bright and sunny kitchen and dining room in mountain home.
Credit: Minette Hand

When people complain about having to live in small spaces, there are a few select issues they often tend to bring up: a lack of storage, having to share a bathroom with roommates, no in-unit laundry — you know the deal. These are, of course, all valid points of concern. But as a small space dweller myself, there’s a different problem that bothers me unlike any other, and it’s the fact that my apartment frequently smells like food. And it’s not just the kitchen! When your home lacks a range hood and quarters are confined, grease, smoke, and other unpleasant scents tend to quickly penetrate your clothes, curtains, carpets, hair, and even your bedding. Simply put, it’s the worst.

Now, there’s really no way to get around food smells if you or your roommates cook at home, but there are products you can invest in to make up for the lack of a proper exhaust system in the kitchen. We’ve listed some great alternatives below that’ll help clear the air around your culinary workstation; plus, they don’t take up a lot of space!

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It's widely known that baking soda is one of the most effective natural odor eliminators, which is why we suggest placing a couple of these deodorizing discs around the areas that need it most. Although they're titled nursery fresheners, the palm-sized discs can go just about anywhere, from the counter to the bottom of the trash can. They'll bust bad smells and leave behind a pleasant citrusy scent instead.

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The Container Store

You don't want to merely mask bad smells by spraying a different scent over top. This spray actually gets rid of them without adding to the problem. As we noted earlier, heavy smells like grease can permeate soft, upholstered surfaces, so you can spray Zero Odor on your curtains, couches, and carpet to help alleviate that.

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was $22.15

We also recommend forgoing traditional wall plug-ins that only dispense flowery smells and instead opting for this Hamilton Beach plug-in, which boasts a built-in fan. The device not only pulls in bad smells and neutralizes them with its carbon filter, but it also sends out refreshed air, helping to target undesirable odors from pets, food, cigarettes, and more.

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Grove Collaborative

A great way to target grease smells? Clean up the grease, itself! This degreaser by method tackles even the stickiest stove and countertop messes without using harsh chemicals. After all, if you don't have a range hood, your kitchen is more susceptible to oil splatters, so this surface cleaner helps counteract that.

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Especially pungent cooking ingredients, including onions, garlic, and fish, not only affect the air, but they can make your hands stink, too. In such cases, regular hand soap might not be enough. This KitchenAid odor removal bar, however, was designed precisely with such foods in mind. Simply rub it between your hands under running water the way you would a normal bar of soap, and say goodbye to the unwanted smells.

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Although baking soda and surface cleaners can certainly work wonders when it comes to combatting food smells, nothing is going to be quite as effective as a fan. This one by Vornado is great for small kitchens, but don't be fooled by its compact size. The three-speed fan will get air circulating in a flash, helping to clear up any post-meal-prep aromas.

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Grove Collaborative

Maybe you've cleared your counters of the onions and banana peels, but merely throwing those in the garbage can won't get rid of the smells for good. Aside from emptying your trash regularly, the next best thing you can do is invest in a trash can deodorizer, such as this spray by Grab Green. Simply spray it directly into the can, and its essential oils and zinc ricinoleate will help neutralize that gross trash stench.

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Installing a doorway curtain will definitely take more work than setting up a fan, but it really does make a difference by trapping food smells and keeping them contained to one room. This curtain is not only budget-friendly, but its thick, three-layer material will keep your personal spaces smelling fresh.

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Of course, if you're willing to shell out a bit of extra cash, this portable machine is the next best thing to an actual range hood. The AirHood uses dual-filter technology and activated charcoal to remove grease particles from steam, guaranteeing an odor-free kitchen and home. Plus, because of its compact design, you can move the AirHood to any room that you could use the extra help.

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Finally, don't forget about implementing an air purifier. Coway makes one of our favorite models, which you can set on the floor in your kitchen or dining room. The Airmega purifies over 1,700 square feet in just one hour, so small space dwellers can rest assured that their entire apartments will feel fresh and clean in virtually no time.