7 Things That Can Cause Bad Smells in the Kitchen (And How to Fix Them)

Written by Camilla Jessen

Jun.11 - 2024 6:50 PM CET

Photo: Shutterstock.com
Photo: Shutterstock.com
It is not uncommon to open the refrigerator and be greeted by a strong smell.

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Have you ever walked into your kitchen and been hit with an unpleasant smell?

Since cooking takes place in the kitchen, it's common for both good and bad odors to linger. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to tackle these smells.

Here’s a rundown of what might be causing those odors and how you can keep your kitchen smelling fresh.

1. Tea Towels

Tea towels can get pretty musty if they stay damp too long. To avoid that, change them out regularly and make sure they’re dry before you use them. Also, ensure your dishes are clean before drying them to prevent food residues from sticking to the towels.

2. Trash Can

Trash cans are often the main culprit for kitchen smells. To keep them from stinking up your kitchen, toss strong-smelling leftovers, like fish cans or takeout boxes, directly into the outside bin. Also, give your trash can a regular clean and disinfect to keep odors at bay.

3. Refrigerator

Who hasn't opened the fridge to a terrible smell? It usually means something's gone bad. After you find and toss the culprit, place a small open container of coffee grounds or baking soda inside the fridge. They’ll help soak up any lingering odors.

4. Sponge or Cloth

Sponges and cleaning cloths can get pretty gross if they’re not changed out regularly. Make it a habit to replace them often. You can also disinfect sponges by microwaving them for a minute or soaking them in a disinfecting solution.

5. Drain

Kitchen sink drains can get smelly from all the food particles and grime that build up. To freshen it up, pour some baking soda down the drain, followed by vinegar. Let it sit for a bit, then flush it with hot water. This helps clear blockages and neutralize odors.

6. Dishwasher

Your dishwasher can start to smell if food scraps are left on the dishes. Scrape off big pieces of food before loading your dishes. Also, clean the filter regularly and run an empty cycle with vinegar or a dishwasher cleaner to keep it smelling fresh.

7. Cooking Smells

Cooking can leave strong odors in the kitchen. Open some windows and use the exhaust fan to air it out. If the smell lingers, try placing a bowl of coffee grounds or sliced lemons in the kitchen. They’ll absorb and neutralize the odors.

Pro Tip: Use Lemons as Natural Air Fresheners

Lemons are great for tackling kitchen odors. Just heat some lemon peels in a saucepan to release their fresh scent, which can help mask and get rid of bad smells. Plus, it leaves your kitchen smelling nice and citrusy.

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