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Dec 20, 2007 10:29 PM

Getting rid of kitchen odors

How do you get rid of the smell of oil after deep frying or pan frying? I'm not crazy about incense, candles or anything that just masks grease odors. I've heard that boiling a pot of vinegar and water somehow absorbs odors?? Any tips? Thanks, especially now that it's holiday entertaining time.

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  1. The only way to prevent the odors from lingering is to "prevent" them in the first place. This can be done by using a splatter screen, turning on vent fans, and using an air purifier.

    1. That's a tough odor to eliminate, and it takes forever to dissipate. You can mask it though.
      The best part of my recommendation is that you'll be able to drink it too. Boil some apple cider, whole all spice, whole clove, and a cinnamon stick. Voila, no more odor, and you now have hot apple cider to boot.

      1. Dampen a kitchen towel with white vinegar and ring it out completely. Hold the damp towel by one end and swing it around the kitchen and house. Let the damp towel dry on the side of the sink.
        Cheeseboy's suggestion should taste great and work also,

        1. If you own your own home, the best way to eliminate the problem forever is to invest in a really good vent. A 600cfm ventilation system is a good place to start, but if you do much high heat frying or wok cooking, you may want to look at a higher rating.

          Do NOT consider those pop-up or in-counter systems that are supposed to suck the cooking fumes down. They only work with shallow pots and pans but not with stock pots.

          Vents built into the bottom of an over-the-stove microwave are not strong enough to pull away cooking odors, let alone airborne grease and fumes. You need a dedicated hood with a strong fan that is vented to the outside. And it will really cut down on your cleaning too!

          Oh, and spatter shields reduce the amount of grease spatter but don;t totally eliminate it, and they don't do anything for odors. at least none of mine do!

          3 Replies
          1. re: Caroline1

            Hi Caroline1 ! I have a kitchen fan that is connected directly to the outside but I cannot cook a steak or even toast a piece of bread without starting the smoke alarm. How strong (powerful) should my fan (ventilator) be? Thanks.

            1. re: lamaranthe

              As I said, a fan capable of moving 600 CFM (cubic feet per minute) is what I consider the minimum for maximum benefit. The CFM rating system is pretty much the industry measuring standard, something like BTUs. But there are also two other factors that will determine how well your system performs.

              One is the ventilation ducting itself. A really long pull, say from a downstairs kitchen through the upstairs and out through the roof of a two story dwelling may require an auxiliary fan. Especially if there are turns in the ductwork. Conversly, a wall mounted hood with a pretty "straight shot" vent through the wall of the house to the outside won't require such extra help at all. Every home is different.

              The second performance factor is the "hood" itself. Most city codes, as well as manufacturer's installation instructions, will state a minimum distance the hood should be above the actual cook surface. I *think* it's something like 29 inches, but I could be wrong. Then the dimensions of the area from which the hood will effectively capture vapors is also critical. You can't expect efficient performance when you mount a hood designed for a 36 inch cooktop over a 42 inch cooktop. However, you CAN expect good performance if you mount a hood designed for a 42 inch cooktop (or larger) over a 36 inch cooktop! I prefer a hood that is somewhat oversize to compensate for drafts, such as when the heating or air conditioning comes on, or someone opens an outside door. It depends on the dynamics of each individual kitchen.

              There are manufacturers that make equipment in excess of 600 CFM. Nothing in the world will keep your house as odor and vapor/grease free as a really good kitchen vent. Well, there is one thing. Do as the colonials did, and put the kitchen in a whole seperate building completely detached from your house! But that can be a bit of a challenge when it comes to serving dinner on a dark and stormy night!

              1. re: Caroline1

                Amen, Caroline. My exhaust fan vents to the outside (per my orders when we moved in, I see no use for a fan that sucks the air thru a carbon filter and into your face while you're cooking). It's not strong enough, really, but two things I've learned to watch out for- the clogging of the screens, which can be unbelievable, and the fan motor itself slowing. At my old apartment I would occasionally pull the fan out, spray it with electronic cleaner while it was running to dissolve the built-up grease on the blade shaft, and then apply a teflon-containing lubricant. Made a big difference in the fan's speed. I expect the hoods you're talking about are better protected than the cheapo ones.

          2. I have this problem in a two story house; the kitchen aromas, especially garlic, seem to congregate upstairs. The best remedy I've found and use regularly is to fill a pot with water, bring it to a boil, then lower the flame and add ground or stick cinnamon to the water. Gently simmer, run the stove fan and the house will quickly smell of cinnamon. Visitors will think you are baking something.