9 Ways to Get Burnt Food Smells out of Your Kitchen

published Nov 13, 2022
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Modern and bright Loft kitchen
Credit: Hinterhaus Productions/Getty Images

If you’ve ever left the burner on when you could’ve sworn you turned it off, you understand the misery that comes from charring whatever you were cooking, creating a mess of your pan, and infusing your kitchen with the lingering eau de burnt food. Your first impulse to open the window is a good one, but if that isn’t doing the trick, here are nine more tips for getting burnt food smells out of your kitchen.

1. Discard burnt food.

For starters, get rid of the burnt food as soon as you can. Placing the food in a plastic bag and tying the ends and/or emptying the trash to your outside bin gets the source of the odor out of the house and goes a long way in eliminating odors quickly. 

2. Clean affected cookware as soon as possible.

Make sure to let your pots and pans cool down before washing them so you don’t risk warping them, but once they have, clean them ASAP to eliminate burnt food odors at the source. 

3. Use baking soda.

Baking soda is a natural odor absorber you already have in your kitchen. If you have remaining residue, sprinkle the pan with a bit of baking soda. For lingering odors, you can also try placing open bowls of baking soda around the site where the burn took place. 

4. Try coffee.

You can also use coffee grounds or even coffee beans in bowls to absorb burnt food odors in the same way you’d use baking soda. The nitrogen in coffee helps eliminate odors. 

5. Simmer white vinegar.

White vinegar is great at neutralizing odors but can have a strong smell of its own, so try this for stubborn lingering odors. 

6. Pour salt on still-hot burns in the oven.

If something spills over in the oven and then burns, you can pour salt on it until it cools. This way, you can address odors before your stove is cool enough to address the actual food item. 

7. Make a simmer pot.

For a more pleasant-smelling simmer pot, bring a pot of water with cut citrus, some fragrant herbs like rosemary, and some cinnamon sticks to a simmer on your stovetop. 

8. Use “vanilla cotton.”

This is another solution made from something you already have in the kitchen. Grab some cotton balls, soak them in vanilla, and place them in bowls around the affected area. 

9. Whip out this French solution.

Papier d’Armenie is a scented paper that is set on fire, much like incense, to cleanse and deodorize the home. The scent is pleasant and strong, which will help swallow up offending odors.