Last updated on May 5th, 2018 at 08:23 pm
Cooking with certain spices like garlic, foods like Brussels sprout or fish can leave your home smelling like food for a few hours after your meal. Even worse, if you accidentally burn your food the smell can linger for days. Sometimes you really need that smell to be out of your house before it even got there. Why the rush? Maybe you have guests coming over or you are just plain tired of the burnt popcorn smell.
Cooking releases two different types of indoor air pollution into your home, gaseous and particulate matter. Gaseous is what it sounds like – gases given off by the cooking process. These can come from the food itself or from the cooking stove. Most likely, if you are using a gas stove it burns very cleanly and does not put off any byproducts from incomplete combustion. This is more common from using grills or smokers outside.
However, the smells released by cooking your food fall into the gaseous indoor air pollutant category. It does sound extreme to label cooking smells as an indoor air pollutant, but these smells do have a negative impact on indoor air quality. If you want to read more about these specifically, we go into more detail in our article comparing humidifiers and air purifiers.
Not all air purifiers will be able to deal with smells with smells equally. Air purifiers that have active carbon filters are best suited to deal with smells and other gaseous pollutants. We have included a functional search bar in the ad below. It has been prefilled with the search term ‘GermGuardian air purifier carbon filter’ to show air purifiers that have active carbon filters. Feel free to use the search bar to explore similar products on Amazon. Be sure to check out the cost of replacing the carbon filters and factor that in when making a decision to buy an air purifier. Click on any of the images to be taken to the product listing.
Here we outline a few more effective ways to deal with odors that come from preparing food in your home. There are two broad categories that common techniques fall into; masking the smell in some way and removing the smell entirely. We will go into both and highlight some advantages or disadvantages for each. If you have any of your own techniques feel free to leave them in the comments below!
One of the simplest ways of getting rid of cooking smells is to simply open the window. If you’re a good cook, the aroma of your meal may inspire your neighbors to home cook their next meal. If you’re a bad cook… hopefully there is a strong wind that day. Advantages here include the low cost – literally free! The only real disadvantage here is that this method is entirely weather dependent. If it is too hot or too cold, raining or snowing outside you will need to think twice about opening the window to get a burnt smell out of your kitchen.
Fans, Fans, Fans
There are several different methods that use fans to get cooking smells out of your home. We put window fans and range hoods with exterior exhausts in this group. Depending on the layout of your home the exhaust fan in the bathroom may be effective as well.
The important thing to note here is that the fan moves air out of your house. Tower fans or something similar will simply move the cooking smell around your home and do little to reduce the smell.
Range Hoods and Window Fans
Range hoods with exterior exhausts and bathroom exhaust fans will be able to operate regardless of the weather outside. This gives them an advantage over most window fans and the simple open window technique. If your home does not currently have an exterior exhaust you will want to consult a qualified contractor to see if installing one is a practical solution.
We did an extensive review of window fans in this article. All the window fans mentioned are tested by their manufacturer and certified to be used while it is raining outside. That feature is unique and not present in most window fans on the market today.
Masking the Smell
There’s two options here. You could use things like candles or air fresheners to cover up the smells left over from your last meal. If you happen to be cutting onions, lighting a candle is NOT helpful to cut back on your tears according to Lifehacker. Their article does admit that candles are a great way to cover up the smell of the onions.
The advantage here is that candles are much less expensive than buying an air purifier or window fan. Plus you can pick your own smell with a candle.
Disadvantages include the slightly increased risk for fire while burning a candle. There’s also the fact that smells may linger for a few days. Burning a candle for several days is not a great solution to getting odors from cooking out of your home.
Filtering out the Smells
In this section we talk about three different ways you can filter the air in your home to remove cooking odors.
The biggest filter in your home is often the filter that is part of the furnace. As your furnace moves air around your home it passes through a filter to help clean the air. This filter can help remove smells over time but won’t do much in the short term.
Better air filtering appliances include a filter in your range hood, pictured on the left, and standalone air filters. Here we make the distinction between range hoods that have an exterior and interior exhaust. In this section we talk about range hoods that take in air above your stove and draw it through a filter before propelling the air out the top. The smell causing chemicals, molecules and suspended liquids mostly remain trapped in the filter.
Standalone air purifiers usually have much better filters than those found in range hoods. Things to consider here are whether or not the filter is a HEPA filter and if you can place the air purifier in your kitchen without getting in the way while you cook.