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it stinks in here!

  • r

i live in an apartment and whenever i cook, the whole place smells like food for days. this includes my clothes and jackets. the air vent over my stove is useless (it sucks the air up then pushes it out the top, back in to the kitchen!). i've tried candles, cracking open the door and windows, febreeze, air fresheners, and nothing really seems to work. i roasted a chicken last night, and while it was delicious, everything now smells like chicken and probably will for a few days.

i was wondering if anyone has any tricks that work for them. thanks!

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  1. Have you tried baking soda - spread out in pans around the kitchen to maximize exposed surface area? I have no idea if this would actually work but I think it's worth a try.

    1. I put a window fan in the window nearest my "kitchen" and I also use a Friedrich Air Cleaner. Works pretty well. I've also heard that putting a pot of vinegar to simmer on the range helps a lot.

      1. c

        You have my sympathies. I also suffer from a "ventilation fan" that sends the air back into the kitchen. What on earth is the thinking behind those things? Anyway, I haven't found that there's anything that completely solves the problem, but I haven't regretted my investment in two window fans, of the sort that allow you to flip a switch and make them blow in or out. I open the two windows in my kitchen, set one to blow in and one to blow out (I try to go with wind, the windows are on different walls). I freeze sometimes when cooking, but it does drag the fumes out. I also close off the rest of the apartment from the kitchen so the odor doesn't get into everything in the apartment and linger.

        1. I cannot stand the smell of frying oils and such, so what we have done at home is to get some cinnamon sticks and simmer them in water. Maybe you can find some cheap Mexican cinnamon somewhere. It works!!
          We made some fish and it stunk up the house and the smell was gone once we simmered the cinammon.

          1. We have the same problem, especially after something with long cooking time. I can smell it on my jacket for a day or so after. We burn candles, usually a couple. Does not remove all the smell, but helps a lot. And we open the door or a window for some fresh air.

            1 Reply
            1. re: Spudlover

              I like candles, too, for reducing the amount of odor that sticks with the coats and such.

              I notice the cooking smells linger in a much more annoying way in carpeted apartments -- we have much less of a problem in our current wood-floored apartment. If you have carpet, vacuuming with baking soda should help a lot.

            2. Have you tried cleaning the filter in your range-hood vent? I didn't know I had such a thing until my now-husband took it out (it was clogged with grease and dirt) and ran it through the dishwasher. Suddenly the terrible problem I had always had with setting off the smoke alarm every time I pan-grilled something was over. Now I clean it every few months, which helps the vent work the way it's supposed to--it still blows the same air out the front, but now it's been filtered, so the smoke, and smell, is reduced.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Sarah W-R
                ChowFun (derek)

                I second this proposal...all non-vented rangehoods (those that do not vent outdoors) have a filter..some can be self cleaned...some after a period of time are replaced...many have a charcoal component to remove odors...check yours..I'm sure it's a greasy mess!...not to worry..get the number of the filter or the number of the hood itself.. call the 800 number for that company, and treat yourself to some relief!!! You deserve it!

              2. You can douse your apartment with Febreeze spray periodically. It doesn't have much of an odor itself but it does seem to get rid of persistent smoky/oniony/fishy smells.

                1. Haven't read all the responses below, but one method is to set a pot of water to simmer and a little white vinegar to it; let that simmer for several hours, refilling as necessary.

                  I wonder, too, if it would work if you spread some baking soda out on plates and put them in the kitchen to absorb odors.

                  1. Look for Super Citrus made by Citratech. I get them in two packs at BJ's Wholesale Club - one lemon, one orange. (I think it's also at Bed, Bath & Beyond.) It's a pure citrus oil non-aerosol spray that definitely takes care of the smell. I just walk around the apt. spritzing it into the air in every room, and usually the smell is completely gone within less than 24 hours. No website, unfortunately. Oh, and I'd recommend you *don't* get what the supermarkets sell (citrus oil spray) - different brand, and the smell always seems to be "off", at least to my nose.

                    1. An expensive solution is to buy air purifiers. I bought them because my son has asthma but found that cooking smells go away overnight. The drawback is that you cannot use scented candles.

                      1. Cooking smells are not unique to apartments, it happens in houses too.

                        First line of defense is to evacuate the kitchen air, if your stove fan doesn't work, get a window fan.

                        Second line of defense is to close doors in the rest of the apartment.

                        My mother wouldn't fry much food in the house because of cooking odors.

                        1. I am a dog owner who lives in a small house, I cook a lot too and even with a realy good range hood things can get smelly. Despite my original skepticism, I like Oust a lot. I also recommend looking for anti- smell products at your local pet supply store.

                          1. I boil a couple of lemon slices, orange slices, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, on the stove for a couple of hours. You can just keep adding water. It's great at this time of year because it adds moisture to the air, cleanses the air without having to open all of your windows, and smells festive.

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: Sallie

                              I have had great results from this method, too! The citrus with the spices seems to be key.

                            2. My friends and I had a bright idea to have some durian in my apartment. So after eating it the apartment smelled like durian but we opened windows sprayed Oust everywhere --and the smell was gone.
                              If it could get durian smell out so fast I think there is a chance it can help you too.

                              1. l
                                La Dolce Vita

                                I know somebody has already made this suggestion, but I want to emphasize that a HEPA air filter is a highly effective way to remove cooking odors. There are lots of good ones on the market. Mine happens to be an Austin air filter, which has the capacity to filter the air in a 3,000 square-foot house.

                                I let it run after frying meatballs, latkes, fish, etc. and within hours, the cooking smells are gone from the whole house. Unlike chemicals and air deoderizers, a HEPA filter will actually remove the particles from the air, instead of just masking them.