9 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Cooking Smells (They're Easy & They Work!)

9 Natural Ways To Get Rid Of Cooking Smells (They're Easy & They Work!)

Curry may be one of the UK's favourite meals, but gosh does it stink the house out! If you want to get rid of cooking smells you've come to the right place.

We're big fans of experimenting with Worldly flavours here at Expert Home Tips, and over the years, we've come up with some reliable tricks for disguising even the strongest of cooking smells.

Thai Green Curry, Crispy-Skinned Salmon, Chicken Tikka Masala - learn how to keep the taste but ditch the odour with our clever tips.

1. Use potatoes

get rid of cooking smells
Get rid of those potent smells! ©Monicore

Who knew certain foods could actually eliminate the smells of other foods?

Potatoes are wonderful at absorbing odours. All you need to do to keep cooking smells at bay is sprinkle a little salt over some halved potatoes and place them on dish in your kitchen. 

2. Chefs' candles

My mother always had a Chef's Candle in her drawer in the kitchen.  When I was younger, I could never understand why it didn't seem to smell of anything nice - what was the point?

Of course, after now having one in my own kithchen, I understand! Chefs' Candles are designed to neutralise odours rather than emit their own.

They're an indispensable item in any kitchen, and a great solution to banishing odours when you've not got a lot of time on your hands.

3. Soak chopping boards

peeling garlic clove

If you're really struggling to get rid of cooking smells in the kitchen, it's worth baring in mind they could be coming from utensils as well as being in the air.

A particular culprit is wooden chopping boards. Juices from meat and vegetables can seep deep into the ridges, making them hard to remove.

Our trick?

Soak wooden chopping boards overnight in hot water with a drop of bleach. They'll completely sanitise them as well as removing any trace of cooking smells.

4. Boil cinnamon

Mulled wine has the ability to flood the house with the smell of Christmas. Unlike most potent cooking smells, this is an odour we don't mind.

To flush your kitchen of nasty smells and replace them with a gentle cinnamon aroma, boil a few sticks in a pot of water for 5 minutes, and leave to cool.

5. Coffee grounds

healthy curry
Who doesn't love a curry?

Are you a coffee lover? Then you're in luck.

Turns out coffee not only peps you up in the morning, but can also banish lingering cooking smells from the night before. Fill a small bowl with your leftover coffee grounds, and leave it on the kitchen counter to neutralise smells.

TOP TIP: Coffee grounds are also great for smelly hands! If you've been handling fish or garlic, rub your hands in coffee grounds to get them smelling fresh again.

Did you like this tip? Be sure to check out our other uses for coffee grounds too!

6. White vinegar to get rid of cooking smells

If you read Expert Home Tips regularly, you'll no doubt have discovered our many uses for vinegar.

Besides being a great cleaner, white vinegar is also marvellous for neutralising odours around the home - including the strongest of smells in the kitchen.

As with all of of our vinegar hacks, you don't need to put a lot of effort in to experience a powerful effect. Simply simmering a cup of vinegar in a pan on the hob for around 15 minutes is enough to banish any lingering smells.

7. Boil citrus peels

Cooking with lemon this week? Before juicing, be sure to peel some of the skin - it's a great natural deodoriser to use in the kitchen.

Pop some citrus peels into a saucepan of water and simmer on a low heat for an hour or so.

Check out our other weird uses for lemons for more great ideas.

8. Bicarbonate of soda

Bicarbonate of soda is another one of our hero kitchen ingredients that can be used throughout the home. We've already shown you how to deodorise your sofa using baking soda, and today, we're showing you how to use in to banish smells in the kitchen.

It's the easiest way to get rid of cooking smells on our list. All you need to do is fill a bowl up with bicarbonate of soda, place it in your kitchen and leave it to do its magic.

Discover how to clean your house with baking soda in our other article. 

9. How to deodorize a fridge

clean fridge door
Phwoar - what a smell!

Do you often feel like you need a gas mask just to open the fridge? Leftovers and - yep, you guessed it - cheese can really stink the fridge out over time.

Luckily, many of the ideas for banishing general cooking smells will also work in your fridge.

Our favourites are popping a bowl of coffee grounds or bicarbonate of soda on one of the fridge shelves. It's inexpensive, easy, and it really works!

Do you have any unusual remedies for banishing cooking smells in the home? Let us know in the comments

Stephanie C


Lover of all things fashion & foodie...I look to satisfy my tastes without obliterating my budget. Wannabe interior designer, I'm an avid cushion cover maker and charity shop hunter.

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  1. Author Amanda Hannah on July 6, 2018 at 8:03 am

    I'm looking for the best way to get rid of nasty cooking smells from inside a microwave. Are there any suggestions? TIA.

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 10, 2018 at 9:42 am

      Hi Amanda, Have you, first and foremost, cleaned your microwave? Half-fill a microwaveable glass bowl with water and add 2 lemon-halves, squeezing them slightly before you do. Microwave on high for 5 minutes, then wipe the microwave clean - it should look and smell much cleaner!

  2. Author Aysha on July 6, 2018 at 8:40 am

    For bad smells (garlic, ginger etc) on hands, use a teaspoon like a bar of soap to rub them under a running tap. I don’t know why it works but it really does!!

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 10, 2018 at 9:40 am

      Hi Aysha, What an interesting tip! Thanks so much for sharing - we can't wait to try this :)

  3. Author Nadine on July 6, 2018 at 9:08 am

    Leaving half a lemon in the fridge eliminates smells too.

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 10, 2018 at 9:31 am

      Hi Nadine, Great tip! Thanks for sharing :)

  4. Author Rosemary Richards on July 6, 2018 at 10:00 am

    Do you add water to the bicarbonate of soda in fridge or leave it dry?

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 10, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Hi Rosemary, You don't need to add water to the bicarbonate - the powder alone will absorb odours. I hope that helps :)

  5. Author Elaine on July 6, 2018 at 10:38 am

    can you please tell me is it raw uncooked potatoes for removing smells in kitchen.

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 10, 2018 at 9:32 am

      Hi Elaine, Yes that's correct - cut a raw potato in half, sprinkle with salt and leave on your worktop to absorb cooking smells.

  6. Author Ravin on July 6, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    Another tip especially for the fridge: Place a piece of charcoal in the fridge and it will neutralise all odours (works great for cheese that have a potent smell!)

    1. Author Stephanie C on July 10, 2018 at 9:23 am

      Hi Ravin, What a fab tip! Thanks a lot for sharing :)

  7. Author Jr Thorne on August 25, 2018 at 9:41 am

    Hi How long will the bicarbonate soda, last in the fridge, before it needs replacing? Thanks

    1. Author Joanne A on August 28, 2018 at 10:39 am

      Hi Jr Thorne! We'd suggest keeping the bicarbonate of soda in the fridge for at least 24 hours. It is up to you how long you keep each batch in the fridge for. As a rule of thumb, if you notice smells coming back then you know it's time to replace it.

  8. Author Amanda on April 21, 2020 at 11:04 pm

    I live in a really small house and notice the food smell in my bedroom especially in my sheets. Any suggestions...

    1. Author Joanne A on October 26, 2022 at 12:28 pm

      Do you have doors on your kitchen and bedroom that you could keep closed when cooking? You could also add a draft excluder to stop smells from travelling.

  9. Author Kimmy Kervel on March 23, 2021 at 10:29 am

    This is mind blowing, thanks for sharing this precious information with us

    1. Author Joanne A on March 25, 2021 at 11:02 am

      You're welcome, Kimmy!

  10. Author Jean reynolds on March 30, 2021 at 11:10 pm

    I have fish smell in my freezer and fridge from some frozen fish that thawed when the power went out. I cleaned it out but cant get the smell out.

    1. Author Joanne A on February 3, 2023 at 11:36 am

      To remove fish odour from your freezer and fridge, clean the interior with equal parts warm water and white vinegar, and place bowls of activated charcoal, baking soda, or white vinegar inside to absorb odours. For persistent odours, try using a solution of baking soda and lemon juice, leaving bowls of ground coffee inside, or airing out the appliance with the door open.

  11. Author Jean Davies on July 17, 2022 at 11:31 am

    after handling smelly foods like onion, garlic etc. I always was my hands and stainless steel tap with soapy water. This gets rid of smells and shines the tap.

    1. Author Joanne A on July 20, 2022 at 5:29 pm

      Great idea!


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