5 Tips for Getting Rid of Kitchen Smells

Since I moved to North America ten years ago, I've lived in 4 different cities and homes. In all my locations, kitchen smells and food odors have been the bane of my existence. See, Nigerian food can be quite aromatic plus we do a lot of frying - fried yam, fried plantain, fried stew, fried meat, fried fish etc. If it's tasty, we can make it tastier by frying it! Great for the stomach, bad for the house when the food odors linger for days on end.

Currently, I live in a townhouse that does not have a central air system. And for 7 months of the year, it's too cold to open windows for any significant amount of time. Suffice to say, my house reeks of food most of the time; it got pretty embarrassing when company came over. Late last year, I decided to take the bull by the horn and tackle this beast and I can safely say that I'm winning. Here's a list of 5 changes I made to rid my home of kitchen odors:

  1. Maintain the Rangehood. I do have a range hood but it doesn't vent outdoors. After reading the manual (2 years late but who's counting) I realized that I needed to buy a charcoal filter for it. Installing that charcoal filter, changing it regularly as well as regularly washing the metal filter has made a significant improvement on the working efficiency of my hood.
  2. Do ALL Cooking Under the Rangehood. Deep frying is something that I do at least 3 times a week and my favorite deep fryer is the humble Fry Daddy - heats up fast and oil usage is efficient. I go through one Fry Daddy every 2 years and it's been a permanent fixture on my counter since 2008. The thing with it being on the countertop is that it's not under the range hood so the fumes of produced are not being vented through the range hood. I have reluctantly switched to deep frying with a pot on the cooktop and yes, passing all the fumes through the hood reduces the amount of fumes that spread to the other rooms in the house
  3. Consider Other Cooking Methods Apart From Frying: Gasp! My fingers shook as I typed that. Not fry? Yes! I found that even with the picky eaters in my family, I could change the cooking method of some foods and get no complaints. Case in point: Fish. Instead of frying fish, bake in the oven and finish off with a few minutes of broiling to get that crispy top. I find that baking releases less odors into the house then stovetop cooking. 
  4. Use An Oil With High Smoking Point: For any frying operation that goes on longer than 10 minutes, the smoking point of the oil becomes critical. The higher the smoking point of the oil being used for frying, the less the fumes it will release into the air.After some google research I switched from canola oil (smoking point 205 degC) to corn oil (smoking point 230 degC). I can't over-emphasize the difference this made.
  5. Use Scented Candles: I've tried different types of deodorizing things but the scented candles have been the most successful for me when it comes to odor elimination. Now in the world of scented candles, not all candles are created equally. I find that the fancy brands in discount retailers (TJ Maxx, Winners, Marshalls etc) have longer lasting smells than the supermarket brands like Glade. Second consideration; number of wicks. The single wick candles have been able to scent up a small radius of the kitchen leaving the rest of the house with odors. I've found that the 3-wick candles are able to send scent up all 3 levels of my house and currently Bath and BodyWorks 3-wick candles are my MVPs.
All in all, these are small individual changes but the sum of them has had a significant impact on eliminating kitchen smells and food odors from my home. 

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