My rice smells like my room and it's kinda weird. It tastes fine but I moved the rice to another location that smells different and I can still smell the strong smell of my room whenever I sniff the rice, even after rinsing and cooking.

However, this isn't only my rice, I have oatmeal that I keep in cabinets and it smells exactly like my cabinet before and after cooking.

My main concern is: is my stuff safe to be eaten? In both cases I've eaten them both and nothing bad has happened so far, they both still taste as if they were original (hence they are also not even expired or best by date yet).

But I am wondering how they absorbed the smell. I can't find any information on grains absorbing smell anywhere.

  • 1
    I am wondering what the strong smell of your room is.
    – Willk
    Jun 16, 2020 at 20:10
  • @Willk like a basement smell or somethin idk Jun 16, 2020 at 20:13
  • @Willk cabinents like wood, smells like woody kinda Jun 16, 2020 at 20:13
  • What are you storing the grains in?
    – mfox
    Jun 16, 2020 at 20:15
  • @mfox rice is in it's original plastic bag, the opening is covered with a grocery plastic bag, the oatmeal is also in it's original container cardboard thing Jun 16, 2020 at 20:33

3 Answers 3


Anything absorbent will absorb smells. That's why fabric picks up smells easily, wood will over time, and glass won't. As I'm sure you know from cooking grains, they are quite absorbent, and that applies to smells as well.

All techniques I can think of to remove smells from other items aren't ideal for using on food, so your best bet is probably to cover it up with some strong spices. To prevent your grains from picking up smells in the future, store them in something airtight so air and smells won't permeate the container and reach your food. Open containers are the worst, tightly closed cardboard boxes and thin plastic bags are a bit better, sturdy airtight plastic containers are better still, and glass containers with metal lids are the best.

  • ah, makes good sense. I like the analogy to wood. i will try and use different containers from now on, thanks for the advice Jun 17, 2020 at 12:52

Both food items in cause, uncooked rice and oats are very absorbent and soak up on humidity quite easily. Hence why you find around the internet numerous advice about putting wet phones in rice.

You mention you store them in the original packaging with just the something covering the opening. This sounds highly insufficient.

Some plastic packaging may not be completely airtight, and a cardboard box most definitely is not. Leaving them both exposed to air with a cover over extended periods will leave them susceptible to slowly absorb any humidity and with it smells and even taste from wherever they are stored and whatever is close by.

I'd recommend storing them in something sealable and airtight like a plastic container, or ideally a glass jar with a rubber sealed or screw threaded lid.

  • thank you for the answer, it makes sense. i will find a different container for sure Jun 17, 2020 at 12:52

OK so since I am a professional at eating rice (since I'm Asian) the rice smell comes from the bag itself. When you open the bag once the scent comes out and a material absorbs it. I would recommend using a plastic box to contain your rice

  • 1
    I'm not exactly sure what you mean, the smell is distinctively from my respective areas. If I store my rice elsewhere it doesn't smell Jun 16, 2020 at 21:09

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