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What's That Smell? How to Keep Your Kitchen Smelling Fresh!

Updated on December 3, 2011

When your guests first walk into your home, you certainly do not want them to scrunch up their noses in horror at the scents that assail their noses. Honestly, you probably do not want those nasty smells to be in your home either, even if you are the only one at home. Your kitchen can be one of the main sources of noticeably foul smells in your home, especially since most kitchens are very near to the area where you entertain most of your guests. It is important to keep your kitchen clean and smelling fresh so you don't gross out any guests that may stop by.

The first step in having a fresh smelling kitchen is to have a clean kitchen. When your kitchen is clean, you cut way down on any smells that are being emitted from old food and dirty dishes. If your kitchen has an odd odor to it, start with cleaning to see if that helps to get rid of the foul odor.

  • Wash and put away any dirty dishes
  • Wipe down all of the countertops and stovetop
  • Clean out the microwave (if you have one)
  • Wash all dishtowels and cloths
  • Dust the baseboards, tops of cabinets, and wipe down the front of all cabinets
  • Sweep and mop the floor

After you have the kitchen gleaming, your kitchen will more than likely smell clean and fresh. Lighting a beautiful candle, or setting a candle on a candle warmer will also add a great smell to your kitchen. There is also a wide array of air fresheners that can help to keep your kitchen smelling amazing - even when it isn't perfectly clean.


At times, even if you have an extremely clean kitchen, there still may be an odor that you can't seem pinpoint the exact location that it is coming from. Some of the main culprits can be the garbage disposal, trash can, refrigerator, or old food rotting in your cupboards.

  • Garbage disposals can have food particles stuck in the gears, or in little pockets that don't always get flushed out when you turn the water on. When the food just sits in the disposal for awhile, it can start to rot, and let off horrific odors. Sometimes it is hard to tell where this odor is coming from, but if you lean in and sniff your drain, if there is an will know . One of the best ways to combat this stench is to cut up a lemon, and grind it down your disposal (not all at once!) while you run hot water down with it. The hot water and lemon will help to release any food that is stuck down there, and the lemon also gives off a fresh, clean scent.
  • Trash cans can also be a source of unwanted odors - especially if the trash does not get changed every day. Think of all the different pieces of trash that get thrown in every day! There are many different different kinds of food trash: egg shells, platters that frozen meat was on, rotten produce, and food scraps, just to name a few. Then you have all of the other trash that can cause a stench but isn't food, such as containers that food used to be in or on, dirty napkins, and fast food wrappers. It is a good idea to take out your trash every day, or at least every other day, and wash your trash can out every couple of weeks to get any food that has gotten stuck on it washed off.
  • If you have old food sitting in your refrigerator, the smell can gradually make it's way into your whole kitchen, especially when your open up your fridge door. Food items can easily be forgotten about and get shoved to the back of your refrigerator, or spilled without anyone noticing. It is a good idea to go through your fridge every month or so to throw away rotten or expired food, and clean up any messes that may have occurred.
  • Once, my kitchen had a very odd smell that I had a terrible time identifying. I couldn't figure out where in the world it was coming from, but it was starting to stink up my whole house. I started opening and closing cupboards trying to figure out where in the world the horrific smell was coming from. I finally located the cupboard the smell was coming from, and figured out what the smell was: a putrid, rotting onion. I was thoroughly grossed out! I had completely forgotten about the onion, and it had been up in my cupboard for who knows how long. The lesson in this story is, try to keep track of the produce that you buy, or keep it in the specially made green bags that help to keep food fresher longer.

Having a fresh smelling kitchen is homey and inviting to your guests. Unlike a foul smelling kitchen, it will not scare them away from your house and make them want to leave, but instead help them to feel welcome and at home.


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    • Donna Janelle profile image

      Donna Janelle 6 years ago from Oklahoma

      I am not sure about putting coffee grinds in your garbage disposal eventsyoudesign. I have never tried before. I do put orange and lemon peels down my drain occasionally; it gives off a nice scent, and I don't believe it does any harm! :)

    • eventsyoudesign profile image

      eventsyoudesign 6 years ago from Nashville, Tennessee

      Can you tell me if it is safe to put coffee grounds in your garbage disposal? Thanks for another informative article.

    • Donna Janelle profile image

      Donna Janelle 7 years ago from Oklahoma

      Thanks Micky!

    • Micky Dee profile image

      Micky Dee 7 years ago

      Great tips Donna. God bless!