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Jan 15, 2005 04:19 PM

How to Get Rid Of Cooking Smells

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Fellow chowhounders,

I need your help. I have developed a funky smell in my apartment from my constant cooking that I can't seem to get rid of. Right now, my apartment has the musty odor of a deep fryer, so grease smell is the problem.

Some factors add to this situation:
1) I have an open kitchen. Actually, kitchen/dining room/living room is just one big room.
2) The exhaust fan is weak. My apartment is a rental -- there's nothing I can do about that fan.
3) Some of what I like to cook stinks. I like to fry stovetop: chicken fried steak, burgers, dumplings. I also ovenfry: tater tots, chicken nuggets, oven fried chicken. I also occasionally make curry and fish. Pretty harmless actually. It's not like I'm boiling offal or hoarding durians or something really foul.
4) It's the dead of winter. Opening the window in sub-zero temperatures is an extreme last resort.

Now I have read all the previous postings on getting rid of smells and have tried most of them:
-baking soda boxes spread throughout room
-ditto bowls of white vinegar
-liberal spraying of Oust and Lysol as well as plug-in air stinkers
-scented candles lit for hours
-obsessive vacuuming, dusting and wiping
-immediate washing of all cooking materials after stinky food items are made and eaten. Stove completely wiped down and deodorized/bleached.
-baking yummy smelling items, like bread, cookies, and cakes. The yummy smell dissipates quickly, leaving behind same musty grease smell.

I don't want to have to compromise my cooking appetites, but I also want to have a fresh smelling abode. Any more suggestions?

P.S. Yes, I am a clean person (if you were wondering). I clean the apartment constantly. Yet the smell remains. (It's not an offensive smell, just musty and not the pristine April fresh smell I desire.)

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  1. You may find that you need to wash your cabinets, walls and draperies. Airborne grease particles build up on the surfaces and leave a dulling deposit on them that can give off an odor.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Candy

      Damn, I was afraid someone was going to say that. All the hard surfaces -- cabinets, tables -- get wiped down with cleasers and bleach all the time. But I was afraid for my couch and drapes -- I vacuum them regularly, but if I have to get the professionals in here, I may as well eat all my meals out!

      1. re: Pupster

        You might open a window and put in a fan that is facing outward to augment the less than satisfactory range fan. I think you can find the kind that you can close the window down on top of and use it to help get some of the stuff out. Even with a good range vent I still find myself washing everything down several times a year.

    2. Have you tried the air freshener products that claim they actually remove odors, not merely masking them? I had good luck on a product called "Odors Away" a while ago.

      2 Replies
      1. re: D-NY

        That's what the Oust and Lysol were supposed to do -- kill the odors, not just mask it. But I may have to go industrial strength. Where can I get "Odors Away"?

        1. re: Pupster

          Hmm, I just googled Oust and it seems like it is exactly what I was talking about--oops. Not sure if Odors Away is really "industrial strength" (ie I'm not sure it will be able to help if Oust cant help) but if you want to try you can buy it online if your local hardware store doesnt have it.


      2. A more expensive solution (but not as expensive as not cooking what you want to cook) is an air purifier. I got mine for different, health related reasons but find that it removes cooking smell and I live in a smal apt. I invested in the Sharper Image air purifiers.

        1 Reply
        1. re: rkn

          Yes, I am considering this. For smells, dust, allergens and other pollutive debris. Will it work for grease?

        2. You've probably done this, but make sure you clean the inside of your fan, too. I cooked a new brand of bacon last month and the grease got up into the vent -- everywhere. The kitchen smelled thoroughly of bacon. Everything removable had to be taken out of the exhaust fan and all surfaces cleaned 3x. Gross.

          1. I’ve been in the same circumstance. Aside from forcing the cooking smells out the window you are stuck.

            But… Here is an idea. Don’t fry on the stove. Purchase an electric skillet and a deep fat fryer. Move them to the window with an exhaust fan.

            How did I solve the problem, (same as yours), I moved.

            PLS Excuse my brusque manner.

            Frank in Southern CT