7 Effective (And All-Natural) Methods to Banish Cooking Smells When You’re Trying to Sell Your Home

While nothing beats some great home cooking, that might not necessarily be the case if you’re trying to sell your home…especially if the smell of your dinner lingers for days (or weeks) after you’ve finished the meal.

Truth is, cooking at home can result in some pretty stubborn odors in your kitchen. So, how can you get rid of all these lingering cooking smells and make sure your house is in pristine smelling condition?

For starters, turn on the range hood fan right off the bat, to ventilate your kitchen while you cook. And don’t be tempted to light scented candles that will just add another heavy layer of odor. Instead, Realtor.com suggests trying one of the following methods, which have been proven to banish stinky cooking smells quickly.

1. Slow boil a simmer pot

Try combating less-than-favorable cooking odors with a simmer pot of several aromatic blends based around citrus, which cuts through unpleasant smells. Combine the ingredients—either orange, cinnamon sticks and cloves; lemon, rosemary and vanilla beans; or orange, cranberries and pine twigs—with three cups of water in a pot.

Bring it all to a boil and then lower the pot to a simmer. The fresh and slightly sweet scent will cut through other smells and linger pleasantly in the room. But be careful: Once the water evaporates, the citrus can easily burn.

2. Break out the essential oils

A wonderful way to neutralize offensive smells is by introducing purifying essential oils in your kitchen. Use a spray bottle filled with water and about eight to 10 drops of either lemon, eucalyptus or lavender essential oils. Then lightly mist the mixture into the air.

For a quick, pleasant scent, you almost might want to create a DIY diffuser by soaking some cotton swabs in vanilla and then placing them around your countertop.

3. Neutralize with vinegar

If a cooking smell really persists, step up your game and clean your kitchen cooking surfaces and countertops with vinegar, a highly effective cleaner and deodorizer.

An acid, vinegar degrades the other lingering odors. Let the vinegar soak into surfaces for 15 minutes, and then clean again with soapy water and rinse with lots of clean water.

4. Clean up quickly before and after dinner

Cleaning up immediately after cooking prevents smells from aging and becoming more pungent on your kitchen surfaces. Place all strong-smelling meat and vegetable castoffs—such as onion peels, fish skin, and garlic—into a plastic bag inside a closable trash can.

Take the trash outside rather than leaving it in the kitchen overnight. Rinse all cutting boards the minute you’re done with them.

If you’ve cut garlic, onions or other strong-smelling foods on a cutting board, the scent can seep into the surface and last for days if not cleaned properly and quickly.

Stick plastic cutting boards in the dishwasher for a deep clean, and use half of a lemon sprinkled with salt to clean wooden cutting boards. And after the meal has been served, rinse and wash all the dishes as soon as possible.

5. Absorb strong odors overnight

If you’re too exhausted after cooking a huge meal to do a massive kitchen cleanup, let items from your pantry work for you while you sleep. For example, try leaving a small bowl of white vinegar, coffee grounds or baking soda out overnight on the counter.

Another nighttime tip? Be sure to close your bedroom and closet doors before you turn in because these rooms are full of odor-absorbing fabrics that will cause smells to permeate your home.

6. Deep-clean the drain

Many of those displeasing kitchen smells may be coming from your sink, where odors can get trapped, so be sure to freshen your kitchen drain monthly.

Simply place about half a cup of baking soda into your kitchen drain, then pour one cup of vinegar into the drain. Let sit for 15 minutes, then run hot tap water for 60 seconds.

7. Manage the microwave

The microwave is guilty of trapping odors in the form of splattered sauce and hardened food scraps, so make it a habit to clean the inside of your microwave a couple of times a week.

And if you have lingering smells in your microwave, use a few drops of lemon essential oil and wipe down the interior of the appliance.

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