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Some of life’s best memories are made in the kitchen. Delicious food has a way of bringing people together, and a warm, inviting kitchen is the heart of any gathering. The trouble is when mouthwatering dinner aromas overstay their welcome, turning your sink, fridge, or trash can into a hazmat-suit-worthy biohazard. Whether you’re an everyday chef or you save the stove for special occasions, you can use these tips to rid yourself of that pesky kitchen stink.

Dirty, overflowing kitchen sink drain

Deep clean a smelly sink

Stinky sinks are usually caused by food buildup in the garbage disposal and drain pipes. You can clean things out by pouring a mixture of one part baking soda and two parts white vinegar down the drain to loosen up any stuck-on food. Then, pour plenty of hot water down the drain to flush things out.

Other tips to keep your sink smelling fresh:

  • Wash any food residue or grime from your sink and drains after doing the dishes.
  • Wring out sponges after use to prevent bacteria mildew growth.
  • Throw away any old, smelly sponges.
  • Run a few pieces of lemon, lime, or orange rinds through your disposal to fill your kitchen with a light, citrusy scent.

Smelly trash can full of kitchen garbage

Deodorize a stinky trash can

If your kitchen smells bad, your trash can could be the culprit. Bad smells in the trash can come from two main sources: decomposing food and odor-causing bacteria. If you start smelling something funky every time you get within a few steps of your trash can, try taking your garbage out more often. If there’s a lot of older or stinky food in the bag (like after you clean out your fridge), empty the trash right away to keep the smells from taking over your kitchen.

To prevent grime and bacteria buildup, wipe down the inside of your trash can when you take out the garbage. Drop a dryer sheet, sprinkle some baking soda, or spray some disinfectant or air freshener in the bottom of the bin before replacing the liner.

Dirty, smelly refrigerator drawers

Freshen up a funky fridge

When you keep all your perishables in one place, they’re bound to cause odors from time to time. To freshen up a smelly fridge, first go through all the drawers and shelves, throwing away any food that’s too old to eat. Then, wipe up any crumbs or spills. For a deeper clean, empty the fridge and use a sponge to wash every surface with a baking soda or bleach solution, taking extra care to remove any caked-on residue.

Once your fridge is sparkling clean, you can prevent future smells by storing food in airtight containers and putting an open box of baking soda on a shelf to absorb any odors.

Other tips to make your kitchen smell good

To banish even more bad smells from your kitchen, try:

  • Cleaning grime and food spatter from your microwave at least once a week;
  • Deep cleaning your dishwasher at least once a month;
  • Washing and vacuuming kitchen mats and rugs regularly;
  • Keeping fresh herbs in your kitchen as a natural air freshener;
  • Using an air purifier to tackle odor-causing particles in the kitchen and the rest of your home.

No matter how clean you keep your kitchen, you’ll probably still deal with stinky odors every now and then. It’s the nature of working with fresh food! With regular cleaning (and maybe a bit of help from an air purifier), you can prevent odors from lingering and keep your kitchen smelling fresh and clean.

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