Some great friends of ours cooked us an amazing meal in our home three nights ago. The meal included gourmet french fries cooked in a home use deep fryer. While the fries were outstanding the lingering smell three days later is not. The trash is long gone as is the deep fryer, but the smell still remains. We have throughly cleaned the countertop and surrounding area. Additionally, we have been lighting scented candles in and around the kitchen since the morning after the meal to no avail. The smell is definitely less, but upon leaving and returning home the scent hits you when you walk in the door.

How do I eliminate the lingering smell of fried food? My wife and I have never used an indoor deep fryer is this just part of the deal of home frying?

  • 1
    Use the fryer outside!
    – TFD
    Dec 31, 2012 at 22:48
  • 2
    @TFD hindsight is always twenty-twenty. :)
    – ahsteele
    Jan 1, 2013 at 0:58
  • 1
    Try various oils, I found that the smell left is eg far worse with generic vegetable oil than peanut oil... Jan 13, 2016 at 10:45
  • +1 for peanut oil. Since it had such a high smoke point it doesn't leave an oily residue on every surface in the home.
    – Escoce
    Mar 15, 2016 at 14:47
  • @ahsteele if the smell is in the house, time and fresh air are the only things that will clear it out.
    – AdamO
    Apr 11, 2018 at 15:11

8 Answers 8


Was the deep fryer below anything? Cabinet, Vent Hood? Those areas could be probably be cleaned to help.

This happens to me in my house when I fry up bacon. The only solution is fresh air and ventilation. I open a couple of windows, get a nice cross-breeze and it should dissipate over a couple of hours.

  • 5
    +1 Ventilation is the key. Micro-droplets of oil get deposited everywhere from deep frying, so unless you're willing to scrub the ceilings and walls of the entire kitchen, the only solution is ventilating. Jan 1, 2013 at 0:42
  • @CareyGregory tomorrow when it is a bit warmer will be opening up the windows.
    – ahsteele
    Jan 1, 2013 at 0:59

I use an IONIC air cleaner in my small kitchen. This completely cleans the air long before any cross ventilation. Originally I bought it for a bedroom, but in my new apartment (without airconditioner), I found it absolutely indispensable in the kitchen.


Try washing or changing the kitchen curtains, towels, pillows on the chairs, and any other porous material that was in the kitchen. The material has absorbed the smell and it will not go away unless you use soap and water. I would even consider scrubbing the wall just in case from the fumes. Don't cover smells with other scents, that doesn't solve the issue.


Maybe look into an odor neutralizing spray. There's a brand called Ozium that you can get online or at a tobacco shop. It works really well and gets most smells out. A couple years ago, a roommate of mine got a fryer for the holidays and went rampant with it and left my kitchen/apartment in the same condition. He went out, got a can of this Ozium product, and within a few minutes of spraying it around the kitchen the odor was gone.


I had the same problem, googled and found these solutions:

Dab a little vanilla extract on light bulbs when they are off. Once turned on the heat will cause the smell of vanilla to spread in the house and get rid of the smell of fried food..

Or you may try boiling citrus peels or boil cloves (whole/ground). Air fresheners also work.

  • 2
    We'd really prefer things that you know will work - have you tried all these things? It sounds like they'll mostly cover up the smell until it fades, and it'll fade a lot faster if you just ventilate well like Jacob's answer suggests.
    – Cascabel
    Mar 22, 2013 at 12:16

Boil cinnamon sticks in water or tea

  • You might want to expand on your answer. Give a little evidence/thory or a more complete method.
    – Doug
    Dec 1, 2014 at 7:22

One quick and easy way to get rid of most smells is to actually just use a spray bottle on it's finest setting so it just mists the water out. Then it's up to you if you have some essential oils that you could mix in the water. Then you just spray the whole room pointing up in the air, the finer the mist the better, the water vapor or droplets will capture those smelly food/oil particles and drop them to the ground. Now all you have to do is vacuum and shampoo your rugs but the air is nice and fresh.

But prevention is the first thing to do. Like another poster put, cook outside. But if you can't then at least close all doors surrounding your kitchen/dining area, so you don't get those smells in the rest of the house. Then turn on that vent/hood and make sure that the vent screen is clean and oil free. If it can't get through that screen it's not going to be sucked up. I also like to open one window/door across from the vent/hood just a crack to allow for cross-ventilation in the kitchen. This really seems to help the vent work better.

Splatter guards also help. And watching the actual temp of what you are cooking. Oil/foods that get too hot it will smoke.


In the summer I just open the windows and doors... I only fry on breezy summer days. But I really want latkes in wintertime, it's comfort food. The place I rent has no vent and windows are closed. I avoid half of the stink by putting the pan outside to cool as soon as I'm done. Just PLEASE make sure you cover your pan outside, so birds and other wildlife don't fall into it, I'm a wildlife rehabilitator and can tell you greased birds are a nightmare. The smell reminds me of when I grew up in NYC: all the apartment building hallways smelled like onions. I've dreamt of getting a fifth burner to fry outside but I don't think this ancient home's wiring could handle the wattage, and the ones advertised on television get terrible reviews. I've tried oven frying but it's still frying... and then I have to clean the oven, and as a vegetarian I rarely have to do that. Most foods I eat are microwave or stovetop prepped (steaming, simmer or sauté) but lord help me, I want latkes. I might leave out onions since they are the usual aromatic. One thing I am SO very glad about is finding out I'm not the only one who hates the residual stink! I am certainly not going to use toxins like Febreze, do some research on it, how it works and sticks to everything, before you poison yourself. Perhaps the only thing left is to mask it with simmering vinegar or a towel swung in the air wet with vinegar, or simmered herbs of my choice. I guess it's a "risk/benefit ratio" of the humorous kind.

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