6 Tips For Getting Aggressive Cooking Smells Out of Your House

From fish to bacon grease

Remember last Sunday, when you hosted a dinner party and delighted everyone with your homemade shrimp cacciatore? Well, now it’s Thursday and that pungent after-smell is still hanging around…and you want it to go away, right now, please, forever. First, throw open all your windows. Then check out these six easy and effective suggestions for ridding your life of those weird, gross kitchen smells.

How to Make Your Home Smell Amazing Without Candles

cooked fish on wooden table

Smells Like: Fish

Try: leaving out vinegar and then simmering spices.
Seafood is by far the worst offender. This one-two punch is best: After cooking, leave a bowl of white vinegar on your countertop overnight (to absorb stubborn odors). In the a.m., simmer cinnamon sticks, lemon peels and ground ginger in water on the stove (at least 15 minutes) to take care of any lingering stench.



vegetable kebabs on wooden board

Smells Like: Garlic, Peppers And Onions

Try: boiling a lemon.
Fajitas-and-margarita night was so fun, guys. But the next day, you’re likely overwhelmed by the souring scent of sautéed vegetables. Cut a lemon in half, add it to boiling water and let it simmer for ten minutes. The lemon steam neutralizes and refreshes your kitchen’s atmosphere. (Bonus points if you have fresh rosemary to add.)

indian chicken jalfrezi curry
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Smells Like: Curry

Try: soaking potatoes and salt.
Aggressive seasoning embeds right into your pots and pans, so combat stench at the source. Rinse a couple potatoes, chop them up and place them in your used cookware. Sprinkle the spuds generously with table salt and cover the pot with its lid. Let it sit for at least two hours and then wash it thoroughly.


Smells Like: Baked Ziti

Try: steeping tea bags.
Tomato-based meals (think homemade marinara sauce or baked Italian dishes) can linger for days because you’re cooking it for hours. Rinse out your pans and toss in a few tea bags (green tea is especially good). Top with hot water and let the tea steep for 15 minutes before running the pan through the dishwasher.


fried bacon and eggs in iron skillet
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Smells Like: Bacon Grease

Try: making a DIY aromatherapy spray.
It's way better than Febreze. Get a spray bottle with water and add equal parts of these essential oils: eucalyptus, lemon and lavender (8 to 10 drops each should be enough). Spritz liberally around your stovetop and directly into the hood vents above your range. Run the fan for five minutes and you should be good.

burnt toast
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Smells Like: Burned Toast

Try: leaving out coffee grounds.
Set an open bowl of coffee grounds on your countertop for a few hours. Acidic java helps to break down aromatic compounds in charred foods.

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Freelance Editor

From 2015-2020 Lindsay Champion held the role of Food and Wellness Director. She continues to write for PureWow as a Freelance Editor.