Often when I cook on the stove top, it will involve something fragrant like garlic, onions, seared meat, etc. I'm fine with smelling it while it cooks, but it seems to permeate the air and linger for hours afterwards. To make matters worse, my house has an open floor plan, so the smells spread to the living areas as well.

I have tried running the vent fan, which is connected to the outside, but it doesn't seem to make any difference. It's also very noisy, so it's not pleasant to use. (Maybe something is wrong with it?) It gets cold here for every season except summer, so opening windows is not ideal. I clean up the dishes while or immediately after cooking, so it's not a dirty kitchen that's causing the smells.

What can I do to prevent these smells or get them to dissipate promptly? I own my home, so solutions that involve modifying or replacing something are fine.

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    Possible duplicate of How do I eliminate a lingering smell of fried food? – moscafj Nov 27 '17 at 1:03
  • I believe the answer is contained in the question above, even though your question is not specific to "fried." – moscafj Nov 27 '17 at 1:04
  • Thanks @moscafj I checked for duplicates before posting, but didn't see that question. I think my question is a bit different, though. My house doesn't smell like oil afterwards, so I don't think it's due to oil splattering, like it is for deep frying. I also do not want to open a bunch of windows, and am asking about a stove top with a hood over it, which I'm guessing doesn't help much with a counter fryer. – Kat Nov 27 '17 at 23:00
  • basically the answer is fresh air and ventilation. It applies to your question. So, I do believe it is a duplicate. The community can weigh in to support that assertion, or leave this question open. – moscafj Nov 28 '17 at 13:09
  • @moscafj my view (which is why I answered) is that "How do I eliminate a lingering smell...?" is a different question from "How can I prevent a smell from building up so that it lingers?", the latter being the question here (and the easier question). – Chris H Nov 28 '17 at 16:37

When using a hood you need to think about where the fresh air comes in to replace the extracted air. It has to come from somewhere. If the rest of the house is completely sealed the fan will be useless.

Opening ventilation close to the source of the smell can mean that air is drawn from the inlet to the hood bypassing the cooking. So what I find most effective is to leave open the trickle vents over the windows in the living room, and close the ones in the kitchen (not exactly open plan but open double doors in between). Leave the fan on from when you start cooking until after the heat is turned off, by which time most foods will be covered, and the waste dealt with.

Cleaning or replacing (as appropriate) the filters in your cooker hood can improve airflow quite a bit and may even reduce the noise. Unfortunately they usually are noisy, but mainly for the cook. In an open plan house that's an issue because you probably want to hear your guests.

  • I think you are onto something with the filter. Upon inspection, it is pretty filthy. I'm not sure what trickle vents are, but I'll try cracking a window in the living room. Hopefully between the two, it'll fix the issue. – Kat Nov 27 '17 at 23:05
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    Trickle vents are common in much of Europe, especially where air conditioning isn't common. They allow just a little air into a house, and are normally part of the window frame. Our modern windows and doors otherwise seal quite tight; combined with central heating, condensation can be a problem without a little fresh air – Chris H Nov 28 '17 at 6:50

You can place a bag of activated charcoal in your kitchen, this absorbs all the odors and your home won't smell even if you are making something extremely funky


In my experience, I find that cross ventilation during cooking helps.

Also cook nice smelling spices, like cinnamon, and citrus, like lemon. Let these nice aromas fill your house.

Another option is to burn beautiful smelling candle in your house. This always works for me.


Whenever I'm cooking something that is likely to have a strong smell to it I leave a bowl with a small pour of distilled white vinegar in it on the counter during and after preparation. Leave it out on the counter overnight afterwards and it should help neutralize any leftover odors.

  • But vinegar smells terrible. Won't having it out make the place stink like vinegar? – Kat Dec 1 '17 at 20:52

Vinegar helps! It does not smell like vinegar so much as absorbs the offending odors. After several hours, remove it as the vinegar smell may start to take over.

A good candle works but backed up with a few moments of high quality incense is even better.

I second boiling a pot of water with spoonfuls of cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, orange peels, lemon -- you can buy cheap spices for this purpose.

For the life of me, I do not understand the appeal of "open floor plans" for this very reason! I love cooking -- with garlic and onion! -- roasting veggies, and so on, and the stench that permeates the house is ok in the kitchen but I don't want it lingering in the rest of the place. I LOVE a separate kitchen! :)

  • I'm a little confused -- what are doing with the vinegar to remove the smell? – Benjamin Kuykendall Aug 3 '20 at 2:30

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