Managing Kitchen Odors

This week’s post was inspired by a little mishap with the blender the other day that led to a small explosion. What began with the wonderful aroma of garlic, onion and and fresh herbs turned into a much more funky odor over the next couple of days when it was discovered that some of the bits had actually fallen into the downdraft kitchen vent (you know, the kind that are flush with the stove, not the ones that rise up).

While we may love spending time in the kitchen, the room rightly has a reputation as being an odoriferous one. While you can create a finely crafted dinner that smells wonderful, the moisture and grease that are byproducts of the cooking process can lead to a mess if not handled properly. This is especially a concern as we move towards the winter and large holiday meals are cooked. Here are a few ways to ensure your kitchen doesn’t accumulate odors over time.

Close Doors to Other Rooms

While cooking, you should always use a range hood to vent odors outside. Another great idea is to close off the doors to other rooms, especially those with a great deal of carpeting or fabric upholstery. Fabric and carpet tend to absorb odors, so by closing off other rooms you lessen the frequency with which you will need to clean them for odors.

Closing doors helps isolate odors to the kitchen, easing cleanup.

Use a Splatter Shield

Oil is very good at carrying odors, and the walls and backsplash near a stove are notorious for acquiring oil splatter. Use a fine mesh shield over frying pans to prevent oil from splattering out of the pan. It is best to immediately clean the area around a stove after you cook, since it is much easier to clean than if you wait.

Range hoods are important, and can come in many colors.

Promptly Remove Food Scraps

Some food scraps, like fish skin, spent cooking oil or garlic, can begin to stink almost immediately after use. Although putting food scraps in the trash can help, the odors may still seep into the kitchen. For these items, taking them out of the house as soon as possible can be important. Although fatty items like meat and seafood products or oils should be thrown away, smelly vegetable matter like onions or garlic can be taken directly to your compost system.

Stinky foods can make great compost for the garden!

Clean the Dishwasher Trap

Modern dishwashers are great devices, which can clean your plates and pans better than a person while using less water. In the course of doing so, however, the trap at the bottom of the machine will collect food debris and begin to smell over time. Clean out the scraps occasionally, and run a “rinse only” load with a bit of vinegar to neutralize the odors if necessary.

Cleaning the dishwasher trap prevents food odors from forming.

Boil Vinegar

Sometimes, even if every surface in the kitchen appears clean there can still be lingering odor. Boiling a small mixture of half vinegar and half water for a short time will help neutralize odors. The vinegar will bind to the aromatic molecules and eliminate their smell. Don’t worry, the odor of the vinegar itself will dissipate in a few hours, leaving a fresh feeling kitchen.

A clean kitchen is a happy kitchen!

Like most items of household maintenance, a bit of prevention and everyday care can keep a kitchen free of odor without time-consuming major cleaning. Still, this is a great time of year to give the whole kitchen a once over and make sure it’s in top shape before the holidays arrive. If you have a question about any of the wonderful log kitchens featured in this post’s photos, please contact Real Log Homes.