If you’re someone who likes to cook up a storm on a regular basis, you’re probably used to creating stubborn smells that linger long after you’ve eaten your culinary creation. While this isn’t always a bad thing, it can be if the smell is something particularly potent. The likes of fish, curry and garlic can leave odours that linger for days — and getting rid of them is never easy.
But before you reach for the nearest air freshener, there are a few natural remedies you might want to try — here are seven of the most effective.
1. Light some candles
But not just any candles — chef’s candles. These simple, no-frills tools of the trade are designed to neutralise potent food smells as and when they appear. Just before you start cooking, light a couple of candles and place them at opposite ends of your kitchen.
But remember: chef’s candles diminish all the smells in your kitchen — even the nice ones. If you’re cooking fish or garlic-based dishes, this could be a great idea. Roasts, bread and cookies? Well, you might want to leave the candles in the drawer!
2. Boil some spices
When you’re creating powerful smells in the kitchen, all is well with the world. But when those smells linger beyond a mealtime, that culinary joy can turn to something less positive. When that happens, fill a pot with water, and boil it along with some of your favourite spices. Nutmeg and cinnamon work particularly well — especially during the festive season.
3. Scatter some coffee grounds
Coffee grounds don’t just emit a glorious aroma, they also absorb lingering aromas in the kitchen. Sprinkle a few grounds around the edges of your kitchen worktops. If you’ve been using your oven, wait until it has cooled, and place a cup of coffee grounds inside. You can also leave a cup in your fridge pretty much all the time… just make sure you replace it once a fortnight.
4. Clean with vinegar
White vinegar is a highly effective cleaner, particularly when it comes to the greasy messes that leave lingering aromas behind long after cooking has stopped. By using a solution of water, vinegar and lemon juice to clean your surfaces after cooking, you can neutralise odours before they’ve had a chance to take hold.
5. Boiled citrus fruits
Nothing freshens up a smelly kitchen like oranges, limes and lemons. Never throw any citrus peel away, as it is Mother Nature’s air freshener. As soon as the last of the dishes have been washed after a meal, boil some orange, lemon or lime peel in a pan of water. The aroma will overpower almost every other type of food smell. If you’re clever about this, you can make marmalade or chutney while neutralising lingering smells in your kitchen.
6. Cut some potatoes
Starchy potatoes are very effective at absorbing smells from the air. Simply cut a few in half, sprinkle them with salt, and leave them out on a worktop. They’ll neutralise strong food smells during the cooking process, and for several hours afterwards.
7. Steam the oven
A lot of lingering smells emanate from an oven recently used to roast or bake something. While you obviously can’t deep clean your oven after every use, you can steam it to remove the worst of the grease and odours. While the oven is still hot, place a tray of water and lemon juice inside, and close the door. Leave the water to heat on a medium setting, and watch as lemon-scented steam cuts through grease and neutralises odours.
Don’t let that two-day old roast chicken odour take over your kitchen. Replace or neutralise it with these simple methods, and keep your kitchen smelling fresh and ready for the next dish at all times.