5 Quick Ways to Get Rid of Kitchen Smells Before Guests Come Over

Try out these tricks if you need to eliminate odors fast, cleaning experts say.

You and your family spend a significant amount of time in the kitchen: It's where you head first in the morning for coffee, where you prepare dinner at night, and simply a comfortable communal space. Because it gets so much use, it's only natural that the kitchen develops unpleasant odors at times. But while life gets busy and cleaning takes a backseat, it's crucial to address and get rid of kitchen smells before guests come over.

"Guests often hang out in a kitchen or dining area for tea, coffee, or food while chatting, and unpleasant odors can create a negative first impression and ruin the guest experience," Angela Brown, professional house cleaner, founder of Savvy Cleaner, and host of the daily show Ask a House Cleaner, tells Best Life. "Icky smells in the kitchen tell guests your home is uncared for or neglected, while delicious smells can be enticing, as they create the impression of cleanliness and a welcoming environment."

To get rid of any kitchen odors fast, cleaning experts offer a few key tricks of the trade. Read on to find out their top five recommendations.

READ THIS NEXT: The 6 Best Home Scents If You're Having Guests Over, Experts Say.

Quick Ways to Get Rid of Kitchen Smells

1. Grab an odor absorber.

Pouring vinegar

Using a natural odor absorber is one method you can try in a pinch, experts say.

"If you've got 24 hours to get rid of any smells before your guests arrive, I'd recommend leaving a bowl of baking soda or vinegar out overnight as they are good at absorbing odors," says Emma Rostron, CEO at domestic cleaning and home services company One Less Thing.

You'll just want to make sure that you throw the contents out in the morning, according to Rostron, as the solution absorbs the unpleasant smells.

Odor absorbers can also be introduced to your daily routines, which is a quick and easy way to stop odors from forming in the first place.

"Keep charcoal or baking soda in inconspicuous areas in the kitchen to absorb lingering room odors," Brown suggests. "These can be hidden above counters, in cupboards, behind plants, behind cookbooks, in drawers, in the fridge, etc."

2. Get proper ventilation.

turning on exhaust fan
New Africa / Shutterstock

It may seem like common sense, but ventilation and air circulation are key in clearing kitchen odors.

"To get rid of odors, the most important thing is to have proper ventilation in your kitchen," Ben McInerney, founder at Home Garden Guides, explains. "You can improve ventilation by opening windows, turning the exhaust fan on above your stove, or using a stand-alone rotating fan."

Leaving the windows open can also be helpful when used in conjunction with an odor absorber, Rostron says—and your guests may enjoy that breath of fresh air!

READ THIS NEXT: 5 Things You Should Put Away in Your Kitchen When Guests Come Over.

3. Check the fridge.

Woman cleaning fridge shelf

If you've tried general tactics to eliminate odors with little success, you'll need to do some investigating before company arrives. According to Rostron, the fridge is one of the most common origins of bad smells, but interestingly enough, it's not always because of spoiled food.

"Of course, make sure you remove any food that's gone stale, or any vegetables that are beyond consuming—this is a good practice anyway," she says. "But if the smells remain despite a good clean, I'd recommend looking at the back of the fridge where the coolant lies."

Rostron explains that bits of food can become lodged in the holes where cables come through to the fridge. "If that's the case, all it takes is a simple cleaning to dislodge any debris," she says. "Make sure not to use any harmful products, though, like bleach—remember, your food will still be stored in there!"

4. Give the sink some TLC.

dish towel alongside metal sink
Studio Light and Shade / Shutterstock

Another common source of odors is the kitchen sink. While you wash your hands and dishes here, the sink itself also needs to be sanitized, cleaning experts say.

"The sink, the drain, and the connections between them could have bits of food waste stuck in them—when the water pours down the drain, it'll push the air out of the vent, sending nasty odors everywhere in the room," Rostron says. "Make sure to use a good drain cleaner to pour down the drain and leave for 15-30 minutes (or however long it says on the label). After the time has passed, pour some boiling water from the kettle down the drain."

Rostron suggests repeating this process until the emanating odor dissipates, which is simple enough to do before entertaining. But if you want to get ahead of the issue, McInerney says that you should clean your sink at least once a week, especially if you have a garbage disposal.

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5. Be prepared.

Woman Holding A Lid to a Pot with Other Pots on the Stove
lenetstan / Shutterstock

If you have some time before your next gathering or party, cleaning experts also say there are a few things you can do to keep your kitchen smelling fresh at all times.

Brown recommends investing in oven liners, which are easy to clean after baking.

"When baking pies, yams, pizzas, casseroles, or anything else that can drip, ooze, or bubble in the oven, a fiberglass oven liner will catch the overflow without it sticking to the bottom of the range," she says. "Immediately after cooking, when the oven is cool, remove the liner and empty the spilled food in the garbage. Wipe down the oven liner and put it back in the oven for the next use."

She also recommends keeping lids on trash bins (and emptying and wiping them down regularly), using lids and pot covers when cooking on the stove or using the microwave, and introducing some greenery or flowers for "natural fresh smells."

In general, Brown adds that a good, deep clean never hurts—but you should avoid trying to mask the odors.

"Regularly cleaning surfaces, including floors, countertops, appliances, and fabrics like curtains or seat cushions will help keep your kitchen smelling its best," she says. "And remember that 'clean' doesn't have a smell; spritzing cleaning chemicals for 'a clean smell' only aggravates those with chemical sensitivities and allergies."

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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