How to Freshen Up the Kitchen Scent – Part 1



You know that feeling: no matter how delicious last night’s meal was, the kitchen just doesn’t smell as nice in the morning. There are quick fixes you can try in Part 2, but the best way is to first develop good cleaning habits and schedules in the kitchen.


While cooking

Rather than waiting till the very end to get rid of the cooking smell, why not minimize it as it happens? Turn on the range hood while you’re cooking. It may mean a noisier cooking session, but there won’t be as much lingering smells to deal with afterward.

Remember to wipe up spills right away, too – it only takes a second. Letting them crust over will not only make cleanup harder later, but it’ll also contribute to bad smells the next day.


Immediately after cooking

Leave the range hood running. You can always turn it off on your next trip back to the kitchen. This will take care of as much residual smells as possible.

Also, rinse away the food bits and sauces from your cooking utensils as soon as you’re done with them. Don’t forget about the cutting board! It doesn’t take long for it to absorb strong ingredient smells like garlic and onions. Use a cutting board scraper to clear off chopped ingredients and juices from its surface. Give it a quick rinse and dry it afterward. Proactive rinsing lessens the risk of smells clinging on to your cookware.


After meals

If you make a habit of washing dishes after every meal, you’ll eliminate most of the scents that come with the mess. Whether it’s by hand or by loading up the dishwasher, do it regularly every day. The moment they’re dried and put away is when that new kitchen feeling comes back in all its uncluttered glory.

A meal with lots of fried dishes or strong spices calls for a bowl of baking soda or vinegar to be set out for the night. They’ll absorb the cooking scents overnight so that you can step into a fresh-smelling kitchen the next morning.


Every few days

Another culprit of funky smells is often the kitchen trash can. Make sure to rinse the inside of the can with hot water every time you throw out the garbage. Give the can a more thorough cleaning with detergent once every few days, too.



Grease accumulates very quickly on kitchen surfaces so it’s good to wash them every week. Focus on the exterior of the stove, range hoods, kitchen cabinets, and countertops.

Both the garburator and the sink drain needs to be cleaned weekly as well. For the garburator, make sure to scrub the two sides of the top rubber flap. Afterward, drop in a few ice cubes and lemon peels. You can also pre-freeze cubes of lemon peels in vinegar to pack an extra cleaning punch. When you turn on the garburator, all these ingredients will help clean the blades and keep them sharp. For the sink drain, sprinkle a generous amount of baking soda and then pour in vinegar or lemon juice. This will neutralize some of the gunk that builds up inside the drainpipes.



When the dishwasher does all the heavy-duty cleaning work, it needs its own cleaning as well every month. Follow the instruction manual on how to remove and clean the dishwasher filter. Then run the cleaning cycle on the machine. If the manual doesn’t discourage it, you can also add vinegar to the dispenser during the cleaning cycle. Sprinkle baking soda inside the machine and leave it overnight for good measure. In the morning, run an empty cycle to rinse the baking soda away.


In Part 2, we’ll look at longer-term cleaning tasks as well as what you can do if you need to get rid of a smelly kitchen right away.

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