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That smell

Tips and tricks to avoid unpleasant, lingering smells when cooking.

That smell in the kitchen

Not always easy to prevent, but we have a trick or two. Whenever you cook there is a wonderful aroma floating in the kitchen but sometimes that smell lingers once you have finished, and it is not so nice then. That is a problem we know well, as there is a lot of cooking going in our kitchen.

Prevent That Smell

Where there is smoke or a strong smell of food: There is someone cooking who did not close the kitchen doors, opened the windows, and turned the extractor fan on before starting –careful with your extractor system, some do not work with the window opened.

Avoid that smell: Deep frying usually leaves a thick smell behind. To avoid it, peel and core an apple. Slice it thick. Fry a couple of slices, when the oil is hot enough and before cooking any food, until they begin to brown, discard and repeat. Always works.

Vanish the garlicky smell from your breath: Chew parsley leaves to remove that nasty smell of garlic.

Burnt smell: Sometimes the dough spills over the edge and falls into the oven when you are baking; sprinkling salt over the spilled dough will prevent the burnt smell that can spoil the flavor.

Fish or garlic smell: Fish or garlic have a strong odor and can leave some of it clinging to knives. It will disappear if you wash the knife in cold water and pass it through the flame.

Sweet Perfume

Sweet citrus aroma: You have been cooking all afternoon and there is that food smell. Guests are about to arrive and your scented candles, sprays, and air fresheners have gone missing. Perfume your kitchen by heating up orange peel in a medium-hot oven with an open door. It is effective.

Caramel perfume: To rid your kitchen of cooking smell, “burn” some sugar in a pan. Cook it to the point of medium dark caramel color, when the aroma still smells sweet. Caramel is a natural fragrance and you've turned your pan into a natural air freshener.

Don't be afraid of brassicas

broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage or Brussels sprouts are healthy: Yes, they are, but they do smell strong when cooking. Add 1Tbs vinegar and 1 Tbs sugar to the water before adding the vegetables. Your nose will tell the difference.

Cabbage is smelly when cooking: So cover the pan and place some bread -crust off- on top. The bread will absorb the smell. Same goes for the other brassicas.

Coming back to a cabbage smelling home: Make your own air freshener by infusing 3-4 whole cloves into 1 cup vinegar.

Off your hands

Chopping onions or garlic: No one will be able to tell what you have been doing if you quickly splash your hands in cold water and wipe them with a cut lemon. In the abscence of lemon, give them the stainless steel treatment.

Garlic and parsley: Rubbing parsley on your hands and washing them should be enough to vanish any trace of garlic from them. Should the odor persist, rub them with table salt.

Leek and onions make delicious soups: The problem is they also leave some unpleasant odor on your hands. Refresh with a little rose water after washing them.

Fish smelling: Fish smelling hands return to normal if you rub them over a stainless steel utensil, gadget or bowl -including the kitchen faucet, kitchen tap in British English if it is stainless steel. Apply the lemon or table salt treatment if nothing steely is at hand.

Fresh smelling containers and utensils

Keep that flask fresh: Store it with a sugar cube or 1 tsp white sugar to prevent stale odors.

Deodorize that container: Fill it with warm water, add 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, leave overnight. Use this trick if your flask has developed that stale odor.

Bottles or glass containers: Half fill them with warm water and add 1 tsp mustard. Leave overnight. This would also work for flask or a container to keep food hot or cold..

Breadcrumbs: If you keep breadcrumbs in a container, wash it often, as breadcrumbs may become stale. Add a few drops of ammonia to the water when removing the soap. Don’t use a tight closing container.

Pressure cooker: When not in use, don’t keep the lid on. If you don’t want to misplace it, keep it on top, but reversed and if your pressure cooker is a jiggle top one, keep it inside the pot.

Clean grater: Eliminate any strong odor from your grater by making it work on hardened bread crust.

Board freshened: Wash the cutting board and wipe it with a cut lemon or cut orange to remove any odor, especially after chopping strong smelling food like garlic or onions.

No fish, no onion smell on your knives: Both ingredients may leave a strong smell on your knife. To remove the unpleasant smell of fish or onions from knives, wash them in cold water and then get them quickly through a burning flame.

Nasty smell no more: To remove any unpleasant smell from a pan, wash in soapy water with a little ammonia added. Rub with coarse salt afterwards.

Cutlery will lose any fishy smell if you wash it in cold soapy water.

Metal dish: A metal serving dish may retain a disagreeable smell sometimes. Rub with mustard powder, careful not to scratch.

Deodorize kitchen sponges: By soaking overnight in water with bicarbonate.


The oven: Sprinkle coarse salt into the oven when it is still hot. Clean as usual afterwards.

Don’t close tight: The dishwasher when it is not working, keep a small gap to prevent bad smell build up. Do the same with the fridge, freezer, and washing machine when you stop them –if you are going to travel for a long period, for instance, and you want to save energy.

The fridge: Clean with lukewarm soapy water and bicarbonate of soda. Keeping a small bowl with bicarbonate of soda in the fridge will keep it smelling fresh. Change the bicarbonate when it becomes hard.

Cut melon or cucumbers: Will pass their smell and flavor to other food in the fridge despite any bicarbonate of soda. Cover the cut with aluminum foil or kitchen film. If they are cut in a container, cover the container with foil, film or a plate.

Chopped onions or garlic: More of the same. The smell of onion will permeate every food in the fridge in you don't wrap the cut in foil or film. If there is chopped or sliced onion as part of a salad, cover the containter. This equally applies to garlic. If you are a gazpacho aficionado, for instance, cover the container when you are chilling it.

Chilling water: Water soaks any aroma in the fridge. If you like very cold water and don't have the kind of fridge that does it on its own, chill it in closed bottles.