8 Tips On How to Get Rid of Cooking Smells in a Small Apartment

Does the smell of fried fish linger in your home for hours? If you’re expecting guests, this can be a big bummer. No matter how much you spray air fresheners, it will not mask the cooking smell entirely. Worse, it will make the scent more profound. Many homeowners ask: how to get rid of cooking smells in small apartment?

The smell of onion, garlic, fish, and so on can ruin the ambiance of your home. For a powerful cooking smell, you can do the following:

1. Clean up the kitchen right away

Usually, the cooking smell lingers because its source is still around. Right after cooking, it’s best to clean up. This way, the smell will not linger in your kitchen or even spread around the house.

Aside from washing pots and pans, you should also wipe your stove and counter of any splatters. Also, get rid of all wastes and seal them in a trash bag.

Is your garbage disposal emitting the bad smell? Simply throw a lemon at it. This will freshen up the area without using any abrasive chemicals. If you think that the whole fruit is a waste, you can throw the peels instead.

2. Boil your favorite spices

If the smell is really tough, the next best choice is to boil your favorite spices in a pot of water. Dunk some cinnamon sticks, fruit skins, and lemon slices into the water and let it boil. Once the water is boiling, keep the fire down and leave the concoction simmering.

Feel free to add more spices and herbs on the pot. You can even boil an entire potpourri so the smell will waft all over the house.

This will help mask the cooking smell without spraying air fresheners incessantly. Also, the natural scents of the spices are effective in defeating almost any smell from your kitchen.

3. Use lots of charcoal filters

Another option that you can try is charcoal filters. You can purchase charcoal filter bags and hang them all over your house. Take note that you need to use multiple charcoal filters, especially if you have a large home.

Charcoal is known to be very effective in trapping various odors. This is the reason why it’s used on various filters, especially on air filter devices.

If you’re looking for charcoal filters, we recommend the set from BASIC CONCEPTS. This is a pack of four charcoal bags containing 200 grams of activated charcoal each. You can purchase multiple packs so you can have your house covered. Most of these are useful for up to two years.

4. Utilize an air purifier

How to stop cooking smells from going upstairs? Another effective way to get rid of the cooking smell is to turn an air filtration device on. However, this will only be effective if your air filter device has an activated charcoal filter. It’s the charcoal filter that will trap the smell.

The other filters are for dust and other airborne particles.

Also, you should size up the air filtration device to the size of your home. A small air filtration device in a large room will take very long to filter the smell. In the end, it will not be able to get rid of all the cooking smell since the small charcoal filter can get used up fast.

5. Bake some goodies

If you don’t have any fragrant spices handy, you can replace the scent instead. Does your home smell like fish? Onion? You can bake some cookies and other pastries to replace the awful smell. This will make your home smelling toasty and delicious.

Choose to bake food that has a wafting smell that will overpower the previous cooking smell you want to get rid of.

This method is effective, but it will take time and resources. Nevertheless, it’s a good excuse to indulge in some sweet treats without being guilty about it.

6. Diffuse some oils

Once you have cleaned up and filtered the air, you can diffuse some fragrant oils to restore the scent of your home. Lavender is the most common option due to its mild floral scent that suits almost all homes.

If you don’t have oils, you can light up scented candles. You can choose the scent that you love: Moroccan Spice, Citronella, Apple Pie, and so on.

What if you don’t have a diffuser? There are still ways to apply your favorite essential oils. You can drop it on used tea bags that you will hang around the house.

In this post, we discussed more ways on how to diffuse oils without a diffuser.

7. Keep the area ventilated

If you don’t want to go through the fuss of diffusing the place or boiling potpourri, you can do it the old-fashioned way: ventilation. You can crack the windows open or keep your vents running. Usually, this will help a lot to remove most of the smell.

Take note that if you use the vents to get rid of cooking smells repeatedly, it will need regular cleaning. This is to prevent the smell from building up on the ducts and recirculating later on.

8. Leave a bowl of vinegar overnight

If there are still hints of cooking smell left after doing all of the above, you can leave a bowl of vinegar on your countertop overnight. The vinegar will dissipate and defeat the bad smell.

How to remove curry smell from house fast? For those who want faster results, they can boil a 1:1 solution of vinegar and water. This will speed up the evaporation of vinegar. Don’t worry about the sour smell because it will soon go away after a few minutes. Leave the vinegar solution simmering for a few minutes before turning the stove off. You can leave this solution too overnight even after it cools down.


Cooking smells can linger in your home for long. You can the steps we discussed above so your home will not smell like food all day long. The mentioned steps are simple hacks that will make a big difference.

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