The kitchen is the place in every house where all family members spend some time each day and where something is always going on. It is also where various smells, some nice and some unpleasant form that you probably don’t want to be there mingling around days. In this guide, I share my tips on how to combat odors and what air freshener products to use to make your kitchen smell clean and fresh all the time.
- Why is it important to make your kitchen smell good
- What are the best kitchen scents?
- Best air fresheners for kitchen
- Natural kitchen air fresheners
- Tips to keep your kitchen smelling fresh
Why is it important to make your kitchen smell good
Have you ever wondered why people insist on hanging out in the kitchen and not in other rooms? Why does this place have such magnetism and become the heart of the house?
Some people explain this phenomenon by the simple fact that the kitchen is where the food and drink are, but nowadays it is not just that. Modern design gives more focus to this space; most people have an open-plan kitchen that is not only a place to prepare our meals anymore but a versatile area where the whole family can gather to work, study, chat, or have a fun time with friends.
So now that we’ve solved the mystery of how and why this space became the center of the home, it’s no wonder that it has to feel welcoming so everyone can enjoy the time spent there. Scenting our kitchen is always a 2-step process: first, you need to get rid of bad smells so odors won’t get you down, then you can add fragrances so your kitchen will smell fresh and clean offering an atmosphere where quality family time can happen.
What are the best kitchen scents?
Fragrances are always going to be chosen according to personal preference, but there are aromas that suit one room better than the other and this certainly applies to kitchen scents. You want something crisp that blends well with the smells of the food you prepared, helps to eliminate odors, and makes the area feel clean even if it is not.
Avoid home fragrance products that smell like food; sometimes it is nice to lit a freshly baked cookies smelling candle that reminds you of your grandma’s house, but it would create a weird smell experience when mingling with other food smells. The best scents for the kitchen are from the fresh and floral fragrance families! Citrus, herbal, lightly floral, fruity, and airy aromas won’t combine badly with cooking smells but provide a consistent pleasant scent.
Best air fresheners for kitchen
From the various home fragrance products available nowadays, choose one that also purifies the air so you can remove odors and add a new fragrance at the same time. Take a look at the best air fresheners I personally recommend using in the kitchen.
Cooking smells can make a house feel cozy and welcoming if it is freshly baked cookies or apple pie, but not really when it is fish or oil; these odors you don’t really want to be smelling days long and this is where we need powerful solutions. Everyone loves scented candles, but not many use them in the kitchen which is a big mistake in my opinion!
Candles do create an ambient mood in your home, but they are also excellent when you are looking to banish odors that linger in the air even after you are done with your meal. As mentioned above, don’t choose food-scented candles but cooking odor-eliminating candles that will help to replace food smell with a clean aroma.
Not everyone likes to spray air fresheners, but personally, I think they are really helpful when you immediately need to clean bad smells, so I always keep a bottle of household odor eliminator and a few scented air freshener sprays at home; they come in handy when my cooking area needs instant refreshment.
If you prefer something that provides a consistent smell, opt for an automatic version. It will release a fresh fragrance at a set time (or whenever the motion sensor is triggered if you have that type) so there always will be a fresh scent added to the air. You can control the intensity, so whenever you need a stronger aroma because you prepared smelly food or burnt something, you can simply turn it up higher.
Using reed diffusers is one of the best ways to add your house a wonderful fragrance. Since they don’t require electricity nor flame, reed diffusers are cost-effective, safe to use and the best is that they provide an around-the-clock scent.
Just like with candles, don’t choose strong fragrances; the purpose of placing a reed diffuser into the room where you cook is to remove unpleasant smells and bring in fresh ones. Go for clean, citrus, or airy notes!
Choose a stable, oil-resistant surface where it won’t get knocked over, and enjoy the nice aroma it circulates. Also, it is important to match the size of the diffuser to the size of the kitchen. If you have a small kitchenette, you should be OK with a small or medium-sized bottle. For an open-plan kitchen, get a bigger one with more reeds for optimal aroma dispersal.
An air freshener gel is another easy-to-use solution to eliminate cooking odors. Such products come in two variations; it can be gel packed into a small container or beads format, so you can choose one according to your liking.
These simple yet smart air fresheners can be placed anywhere depending on where the odor comes from and they work wonders, especially in smaller kitchens. Trust me, every household needs a few packets of deodorizing gels! Get a fragrance-free version that leaves no scent but quickly absorbs odors or a scented beads format that also releases a nice aroma into the air.
If you want to fully eliminate food-related odors and make your kitchen not only clean smelling but also free of dust, pollens, and airborne germs, you need an air purifier! Although a good air purifier that removes grease and cooking smoke costs more than the previously listed products, it is a lot more effective and lasts longer than any other air freshener, so all in all, it is a very economical choice.
Depending on the size of your cooking area, you can choose a compact version or a bigger one, but make sure it comes with effective filters – the classic models have HEPA filter that indeed improves the air quality, but for the best results, choose one that comes or can be equipped with an activated charcoal filter that will capture even the strongest odors.
Natural kitchen air fresheners
If you don’t like artificial scents and chemicals, the good news is that there are many natural solutions that will eliminate musty scents and leave your cooking area sparkling and spotless. And the best is, that most probably you already have these ingredients in your kitchen!
Spices and herbs
Besides making your food and drinks more flavorful, herbs and spices can naturally make your house smelling good and can be used in a variety of ways (even when they expired).
Here are some ideas on how to add your kitchen a wonderful fragrance using species and herbs:
- grow aromatic herbs indoors
- place dried lemongrass, peppermint, rosemary, or lavender in a decorative bowl to absorb bad smells
- prepare a simmering potpourri in your slow cooker or stove top
- deodorize your drawers with sachets filled with odor removing herbs and spices such as bay leaves, thyme, clove, anise, cinnamon, or clove
- wipe down your countertops with a homemade thyme disinfectant spray
The best all-purpose cleaner, odor absorber, and disinfectant in your cupboard! Vinegar can be used all over the house, but especially in the kitchen and bathroom where bad aromas form quickly. It is made of acetic acid that naturally helps to get rid of germs like E. Coli leaving the area bacteria-free and freshly smelling.
Find here a few tips on how I use vinegar for cleaning and scenting my kitchen:
- place vinegar filled shallow bowls in the kitchen for overnight to neutralize cooking odors and other unpleasant aromas
- prepare a vinegar disinfectant solution; it is a natural and effective all-purpose cleaner that can be used for pretty much anything (I love to use this to clean kitchen cabinets)
- vinegar removes grease and hard water stains from stainless steel sinks and faucets so they will shine again
- fix your smelly dishwasher with vinegar! Instead of commercial dishwasher cleaners that might contain harsh chemicals, you can deep clean your dishwasher using vinegar! Once in every few weeks pour a cup of it in the bottom of your dishwasher and run a cycle
- deodorize your fridge with vinegar! Spray the inside of your refrigerator then wipe it down with a soft cloth or paper towel to remove bacteria and fungi, then place a half glass of vinegar in the corner of your fridge for a few hours.
Lemon is probably the most versatile fruit in a kitchen that can be used not only to add flavor to your drinks and meals, but its acidity terminates bad smells quickly leaving your kitchen smelling incredibly fresh.
To give you some ideas on how to use lemons to clean and freshen the air in your house, here are my top tips:
- make a homemade lemon room spray
- prepare some lemon and salt air fresheners and place them on your kitchen counter
- put a few lemon slices inside your fridge to absorb unpleasant aromas
- scrub your sink with a half lemon to deodorize it and restore its shine
- rub your plastic containers with lemon to remove stubborn stains and food smell
- deodorize your pans by adding a little lemon juice to your soapy dishwater
- toss the peels into your bin to eliminate garbage odors
Probably sodium bicarbonate is the most well-known kitchen cleaner and deodorizer. Sprinkling baking soda effectively removes lingering odors; this is how I use to stop shoes smelling before I put them in the wardrobe or refresh my carpets in the living room, but I especially love to use it in the kitchen because it is eco-friendly and non-toxic, so safe around kids and animals. Sometimes it is the only thing you need to clean the kitchen, but if you need to fight tough stains, it can be mixed with other natural ingredients, such as vinegar or lemon juice.
Here are 5 ways how to use sodium bicarbonate to clean and refresh your kitchen:
- remove grease and fishy odors from your pots! Mix sodium bicarbonate with water so carbon dioxide bubbles form; stubborn stains and smells will vanish in a flash with this alkaline solution
- an unclogged drain can cause horrible odors, but you can easily break the blockage and cut the smell with baking soda and a pot of vinegar! Put a few tablespoons of it into the drain and pour vinegar on it. Let it fizz and sit for about 10 minutes, then rinse with very hot water until everything runs smoothly again
- whenever your cutting board has stains and odors, sprinkle a little sodium bicarbonate on it! Scrub it with a sponge then rinse it with fresh water. If the smell is extremely strong, spray on it vinegar or scrub it with a half lemon before rinsing; this will sure make your board freshly smelling
- make your fridge and freezer odorless! Just place a small glass of sodium bicarbonate into your fridge and it will maintain a neutral smell up to 3 months
- sprinkle a little baking soda in the trash bags when placing them in the trash can – it will effectively keep garbage odors at bay and leave your bins smelling as good as new
If you are looking for a decorative natural solution to improve the air quality in your kitchen, get a few packs of activated bamboo charcoal! It is a safe alternative to chemical-containing products and will continuously absorb not only bad smells but also moisture. You can use them anywhere and anytime!
The activated charcoal deodorizer bags are fully eco-friendly; they can be used for up 2 years. To ‘reactivate’ them, just place them in the sun once every few weeks and enjoy breathing clean air in your house!
Tips to keep your kitchen smelling fresh
No kitchen is spotlessly clean and nice-smelling at every moment since it goes through a lot every day. Cleaning all surfaces daily is impossible, but with the ideas I list here, you will know what areas need the most attention and what to do to prevent smells before they start.
Freshen up your fridge
The place where you store your family’s food and drink should be one of the cleanest in your home, so keeping your fridge hygienic and organized is a crucial part of a housekeeping routine. Regularly check your refrigerator’s content: remove leftovers and expired stuff, and wipe off waterspouts and any sticky residue with a damp cloth since they can get moldy and smelly in no time. A couple of times a year, deep clean your fridge, ideally before the holidays.
Bad smells and mold build up easily in the fridge, and they can be difficult to banish because they cling to plastic and silicone well. As I mentioned earlier, you can use baking soda and vinegar to remove smells from the fridge naturally. I also recommend using a fridge deodorizer! It will help not only get rid of musty odors but also to reduce bacteria growth and extend the life of food placed in the fridge.
Keep your bins clean and odor-free
There can be many bad smells in a house, but probably nothing is worse than kitchen garbage odors that easily seep into other rooms, especially if you have a stinky compost bin too. Even if you clean your trash cans regularly and use odor-proof garbage bags, food particles or liquid may collect in the bottom of them which causes an unbearable stench and may attract household pets.
Sprinkling odor-absorbing materials such as baking soda, charcoal, or coffee beans in the bottom of the trash cans will instantly help to get rid of the garbage smell in the kitchen but cleaning your bins properly from time to time is the only way to go in order to maintain high-level hygiene and a nice smelling environment.
Disinfect your kitchen sink
If you don’t take the time to properly clean your kitchen sink and drain, a dirty film builds up on it quickly from the food particles and grease that you wash off the plates and cookware causing odors, clogged pipes, and posing a potential health risk by offering a breeding ground for mold and bacteria.
Rinsing your sink free of food and clearing the drain of debris must be a daily practice, but to keep your kitchen freshly smelling and hygienic, thorough cleaning and sanitizing is necessary at least once a week.
Wash and deodorize your cutting boards, plastic containers, pots, and pans
Food containers, cutting boards, pots, and pans are some of those tools in the kitchen that need extra care to get properly clean, otherwise, they easily become habitats for germs. Food residue and grease can lead to cross contaminations and make your utensils and cookware stinky, so cleaning and sanitizing them is essential for food safety.
If you properly clean your cutting boards and deodorize your pots and pans, they will feel like (almost) new, and will make your kitchen look fresher and tidier and your cooking experience a lot more enjoyable!
Clean the cooker hood filters regularly
A good quality cooker hood is a must-have in every kitchen, but it requires proper care to do its job well. Dirty filters won’t do a good job and instead of removing kitchen odors, they will create a constant unpleasant smell as they become blocked with grease.
Make sure to clean your range hood filters regularly (and also the fans) using the right tools and detergents and change them according to the manufacturer’s instructions so your appliance will last longer.
Change your tea towels and sponges frequently
Nothing is worse than stinky tea towels and sponges in the kitchen. They don’t only smell but can harbor germs. Actually, these items are likely the dirtiest not only in the kitchen but in the whole house, so regularly changing or sanitizing your kitchen sponges and washing your dishcloths is crucial in order to create a clean, hygienic environment.
Wring them out well after every use, let them dry out between uses, and replace them if needed; with such simple steps, you can avoid bad smells and minimize bacteria growth.
Deep clean your dishwasher
You might think that your dishwasher is cleaning itself when running, but sadly, this is not true. Grease, food particles, and undissolved detergent build up on its walls over time which will affect the cleaning performance and allow mold and odor to form.
To get rid of the bad smell, first, you need to identify where it is coming from and what type of odor you need to banish. For example, when you experience a sewage smell, most probably need to check and clean the dishwasher drain hose, but in most situations, a deep clean will stop your dishwasher from smelling.
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