Things Professionals Do to Banish Bad Kitchen Smells for Good

Kitchen odors can quickly become unpleasant and overwhelming. However, there are many effective things that professionals do to banish bad kitchen smells for good. With the right strategies and products, you can keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

Use Natural Air Purifiers

One of the best ways to banish kitchen odors is to use natural air purifiers. Here are some effective options:

Activated Charcoal

Activated charcoal is highly porous and absorbs odors easily. Place small bowls of activated charcoal around your kitchen to soak up unpleasant smells. Just be sure to replace the charcoal every month.

White Vinegar

White vinegar is a natural deodorizer. Place bowls of undiluted white vinegar around the kitchen. The acetic acid in vinegar absorbs odors.

Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda directly on surfaces or in bowls. The sodium bicarbonate reacts with odors and neutralizes them.


Many houseplants act as natural air filters. They absorb airborne chemicals that cause unpleasant smells. Snake plants, aloe vera, and English ivy are excellent choices.

Open Boxes of Baking Soda in the Fridge and Freezer

Leave open boxes of baking soda in your fridge and freezer to soak up food odors. Just be sure to replace them every 30 days. The boxes absorb ethylene gas released by produce and prevent unpleasant smells.

Set out Citrus Peels

Citrus peels contain lots of aromatic oils that help to mask bad smells. Set out peels from lemons, oranges, or grapefruit to infuse your kitchen with a fresh scent.

Ventilate the Kitchen

Proper ventilation is key to keeping kitchen smells from accumulating. Here are some tips:

Use the Range Hood

When cooking, always turn on your range hood vent to high. This will direct cooking odors and smoke outside. Vent your range hood to the outdoors if possible.

Open Windows

Even just cracking open a few windows helps let fresh air in and stale odors out. This is especially helpful when doing heavy cooking.

Use Ceiling Fans

Run ceiling fans while cooking and afterward to help circulate air. Make sure they are set to the downwards direction to push odors up and out.

Install an Exhaust Fan

An exhaust fan installed high on the wall helps remove cooking smells. Look for one with at least 100 CFM for an effective air exchange rate.

Clean Regularly

Dirty surfaces absorb smells over time. Make sure to sanitize your kitchen thoroughly.

Wash Dishes Right Away

Don’t leave dirty dishes sitting in the sink or dishwasher. Wash dishes promptly after cooking so food residue doesn’t have time to sour and smell.

Take Out the Trash

Empty your kitchen wastebaskets daily so smells from food scraps don’t linger. Replace trash bags frequently.

Clean Sponges

Bacteria from dirty dishes can make sponges stink. Disinfect sponges daily by microwaving them or boiling them for 5 minutes. Replace sponges weekly.

Scrub the Garbage Disposal

Eliminate odors from your garbage disposal by grinding up orange or lemon peels inside it. You can also scrub the disposal walls with a brush and baking soda.

Clean the Drain

Pour 1/2 cup baking soda down the kitchen sink drain followed by 1/2 cup white vinegar. The chemical reaction cleans grime and odor-causing buildup.

Replace Old Plasticware

Plastic containers can retain the smells of foods stored in them, even after washing. Replace plasticware that is over 2 years old.

Clean the Trash Can

Use a sanitizing spray designed for the kitchen inside and outside your trash can. This kills germs that cause foul smells.

Use the Right Cleaning Products

Cleaning with the correct products also helps eliminate unpleasant odors lingering in your kitchen.

All-Purpose Cleaner

Look for an eco-friendly all-purpose cleaner. Spray this on countertops, sinks, appliances, and backsplashes after use to disinfect.

Disinfecting Wipes

Keep disinfecting wipes on hand to sanitize surfaces. Citrus-scented ones help neutralize smells as they clean.

Baking Soda Scrub

Make a paste with baking soda and water to scrub away stubborn odors. Baking soda also acts as a scouring powder.

White Vinegar

White vinegar cuts through grease and kills germs. Use it straight for cleaning windows, floors, walls and other nonporous surfaces.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is a deodorizing disinfectant. Mix it with water to make an all-purpose cleaner and wipe down surfaces. The lemon scent eliminates odors.

Oxygen Bleach

For extra cleaning power, use oxygen bleach powder. It’s chlorine-free and gets rid of bacteria that lead to foul odors.

Store Foods Properly

Storing foods incorrectly can quickly lead to rancid smells. Use these professional tips:

Use Airtight Containers

Transfer foods like flours, sugars, rice, and pastas into airtight containers after opening. This prevents smells from escaping.

Line the Fridge Shelves

Line shelves with a baking sheet or washable liner. This shields the porous plastic from food drips that can smell.

Use Fridge Deodorizers

Place charcoal bags, baking soda boxes, or open containers of coffee grounds inside the fridge to soak up odors.

Don’t Overcrowd

A crowded fridge traps moisture and causes spoilage and smells. Leave space between items for cold air to circulate freely.

Wipe Spills Right Away

Immediately wipe up any drips or spills in the fridge or pantry. Leftover food debris smells quickly.

Throw Out Moldy Foods

At the first sign of mold, throw out the food. Mold releases smelly spores that can ruin other foods.

Absorb Odors in Small Spaces

Even small spaces like drawers and cabinets can get stinky. Try these tips:

Place a Charcoal Bag in Drawers

A charcoal odor absorber left in utensil drawers helps keep them fresh smelling by soaking up grease.

Use Scented Drawer Liners

Line cabinets with scented shelf liner. Citrus or lavender odor-eliminating liners work great. Replace them as the scent fades.

Put Dryer Sheets in Cabinets

Stash scented dryer sheets among glassware, dishes, pots and pans inside cabinets to make the interiors smell fresher.

Sprinkle Baking Soda in Back of Cabinets

Sprinkle baking soda onto the back panel and bottoms of cabinets to absorb musty smells from spills and moisture.

Use Odor-Absorbing Boxes

Place small odor absorber boxes filled with baking soda or charcoal in cupboards to keep the space cleaner smelling.

Handle Garbage Disposal Odors

Even a garbage disposal can get smelly. Try these tips to keep it fresh:

Grind Citrus Rinds

Eliminate lingering funky smells by grinding up orange, lemon, or lime peel inside the running disposal. The oils in the peels deodorize.

Flush with Baking Soda

Pour 1/2 cup of baking soda down the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes. Then flush with hot water to freshen the drain.

Use Disposer Cleaners

Look for disposal cleaning tablets or powders made to bust through gunk and eliminate odors. Use them regularly.

Cut Back on Waste

Don’t put too much food waste down the disposal at once. Ground up waste can stick and rot, causing bad smells.

Run Cold Water When Grinding

Always run cold water for a few minutes before and after using the disposal to flush away particles. This prevents buildup.

Clean All Drains Weekly

Pour a mix of baking soda and vinegar down all your drains weekly to break up grime. Rinse afterward with hot water.

Absorb Cooking Odors

No matter how careful you are, cooking leaves some smelly evidence behind. Here are some smart ways to tackle these odors:

Ventilate While Cooking

Turn on your kitchen vent or open a window when cooking anything aromatic or likely to cause odors. Stop smells at the source.

Simmer Vinegar

Keep a pot of white vinegar simmering on the stove while cooking fish or other smelly foods. The acetic acid captures and neutralizes odors.

Use a Smoke Absorber

Place a smoke absorber over pans when cooking especially smoky foods like steak. Many absorbers use carbon filters to remove odors.

Boil Water Afterward

After cooking fish or cabbage, boil a pot of water on the stove for 10 minutes. The moisture helps absorb lingering odors in the air.

Burn Spices

Grinding up spices like cinnamon or cloves and burning them on the stove infuses the kitchen with pleasant aromas. They cover up cooking smells.

Wipe Surfaces

Wipe down surfaces near the stove with a natural citrus cleaner or disinfectant after cooking. This removes grease spatters that can smell.

Control Trash Can Smells

A stinky kitchen trash can makes the whole room smell bad. Use these tips to control trash odors:

Empty Often

Take out the trash every 1-2 days so food waste doesn’t have time to sour and smell. This is especially key in summer.

Use Baking Soda

Sprinkle baking soda into the bottom of the clean trash can before adding a new bag. The baking soda absorbs odors.

Use Odor-Blocking Bags

Invest in kitchen trash bags designed with odor neutralizers built in. They prevent smells from escaping the can.

Keep Lids Closed

Always keep trash can lids closed so smells don’t escape into the room. Look for cans with tight-sealing lids.

Clean Weekly

Use hot water and all-purpose cleaner to wash trash cans weekly inside and out. This prevents odors from building up over time.

Use Odor Absorbers

Place charcoal bags or baking soda boxes in the bottom of the trash can under the bag to keep the interior smelling cleaner.

Fight Pet Food Aromas

Pet food and litter can make unpleasant smells. Use these tips to control odors:

Store in Airtight Containers

Keep dry pet food in airtight containers rather than the original bag, which allows odors to escape.

Clean Dishes Thoroughly

Use hot water and unscented soap to wash pet dishes. Rinse and dry them completely to prevent smells from food residue.

Change Litter Frequently

Scoop litter boxes daily and change the litter entirely twice a week to prevent ammonia and other unpleasant smells.

Replace Old Food and Water Bowls

Plastic bowls absorb odors over time. Replace food and water dishes that are over 6 months old.

Feed Wet Food on Plates

Serve canned or pouched wet food on plates rather than in bowls. This prevents the smell of fishy foods from clinging to plastic.

Clean Accidents with Enzyme Cleaner

Use an enzyme cleaner instead of regular products to clean up urine, vomit or feces. Enzymes destroy odor molecules.

Control Food Waste Smells

Rotting food waste stinks up any kitchen. Follow these tips to prevent smells from food scraps:

Empty Compost Regularly

If you compost food waste, empty your countertop compost bin into your outdoor composter daily to prevent smells from building up indoors.

Wrap Foods for the Fridge

Keep foods you won’t use up like cheese, onion and garlic tightly wrapped before refrigerating. This prevents stray odors from escaping.

Rinse Recycling

Give recyclables like cans and bottles a quick rinse before tossing them in the bin so residual liquids don’t smell up the kitchen.

Freeze Food Scraps

Keep a bag in the freezer for food scraps like fat, bones, and vegetable peelings. Freeze scraps instead of letting them smell up the trash can.

Use the Garbage Disposal

Grind up small amounts of food waste in the garbage disposal instead of letting it sit in the trash can. Use cold water when grinding.

Empty the Fridge Weekly

Look for old, spoiled produce and leftovers in the fridge at least weekly and throw them out. Don’t let smelly foods linger.

Freshen the Fridge and Pantry

The fridge and pantry easily pick up food odors. Use these professional tips to keep them smelling fresh:

Clean Interior Surfaces

Take out all food and wipe interior fridge and pantry surfaces with a baking soda and water solution monthly. This disinfects.

Check Food Expiration Dates

Be diligent about checking expiration dates and throwing out anything past its prime. Moldy, spoiled food makes fridges smell terrible.

Store Leftovers in Top Shelves

Only keep leftovers and ready-to-eat foods on top fridge shelves. This prevents drips and leaks onto lower shelves.

Clean Spills ASAP

Clean up any spills or drips in the fridge or pantry immediately so staining and smells don’t set in.

Let Items Air Out

If fridge or pantry items like cheese or onions start to smell, take them out of storage bags and let them air out for a few hours. This dissipates odors.

Replace Old Containers

If plastic containers retain odors even after washing, it’s time to replace them. Old containers absorb smells.

Frequently Asked Questions

How do I get rid of bad smells in my kitchen for good?

Use a combination of tactics: ventilate while cooking, take out trash frequently, clean with deodorizing products like vinegar and baking soda, use odor-absorbing charcoal, soak up fridge smells with baking soda boxes, and keep potential smell-creators tightly wrapped or in sealed containers.

What is the fastest way to remove foul odors from my kitchen?

Simmering vinegar on the stove is one of the quickest ways to conquer bad kitchen smells. Keep windows open while simmering a pot of vinegar to speed up odor removal. The acetic acid in vinegar absorbs and neutralizes unpleasant smells rapidly.

How can I keep my kitchen from smelling when I cook fish?

Always turn your kitchen exhaust fan to high when cooking fish. Open windows and run a ceiling fan too. Wipe down surfaces near the stove with a deodorizing cleaner afterward. Leave a bowl of vinegar simmering on the counter while cooking to absorb fishy odors.

How should I store food in the fridge to prevent bad smells?

Make sure all foods are properly sealed in airtight containers. Wipe up spills immediately. Store leftovers and ready-to-eat items only on top shelves to prevent leaks. Clean fridge shelves and walls with baking soda monthly. Place a box of baking soda or open container of coffee grounds inside to absorb odors.

Why does my kitchen sink smell bad even after cleaning?

Lingering bad smells from your sink drain are likely caused by built-up grime and bacteria. Pour a mix of baking soda and vinegar down the drain weekly. Use a sink brush to scrub the drain walls and garbage disposal. Check for clogs too. Always run water before and after using the disposal.

What is a quick way to get rid of garbage disposal smells?

Cut up a lemon, lime, or orange and grind the peels inside a running disposal. Citrus oils naturally deodorize bad smells. You can also pour baking soda down the drain and let it sit for 15 minutes before running hot water to flush the drain. Do this weekly.


Bad kitchen odors can be tenacious, but with diligent effort, you can banish them for good. It takes a combination of odor-absorbing products, strong cleaning solutions, ventilation, food storage strategies, and garbage containment tactics. Activated charcoal, white vinegar, baking soda, and citrus peels are all handy odor eliminators to have on hand. With regular deodorizing efforts, you can keep your kitchen fresh smelling even after cooking up a storm. Implementing these professional tips will help you win the battle against kitchen smells.