Bad odors in your kitchen are embarrassing and unpleasant, but everyone has to deal with them at one time or another.  First you need to identify what is smelly, then you can get rid the odor.  Here are the most common kitchen odor culprits and how to get rid of them.

  1. Garbage: Most nasty smells originate from the garbage or trash can.  Simply taking the garbage out will alleviate the nasty smell.  Often a bag will break or leak and you’ll be stuck with a sticky can, even after you take the garbage out.  Grab your rubber gloves and wash out the garbage can with hot soapy water.  You can follow with a vinegar rinse for extra odor fighting power.  Want to avoid nasty smells in the first place? Do not throw fish, or the paper the fish was wrapped in in the garbage anytime.  Just don’t.  Take all fish and fishy things straight out to the trash.Down size your trashcan.  Instead of having a giant trashcan you only take out once a week, buy a smaller trashcan that you will have to take out more frequently, like two to three times a week.
  2. Garbage disposal:  the garbage disposal is suspect number two.  Run the garbage disposal with a couple ice cubes and then pour some vinegar in the disposal while it is still running.  The vinegar will help get rid of the bacteria that is likely causing the smell.  To prevent odors, run a little baking soda down the disposal when you are done doing dishes.
  3. Random Mustiness: You probably have a leak.  Check under the kitchen sink cabinet.  If you see or feel damp spots, you have a leak that needs to be fixed.  Either read up on DIY Kitchen plumbing or call your plumber.  Left untreated, plumbing leaks can lead to mold infestations and damage your floors and cabinets.
  4. Towels and Sponges: if your musty smell is not coming from a leak, it is probably from a sponge or towel.  Change sponges monthly (at a minimum) and disinfect several times a week.  You can disinfest sponges by running them in the dishwasher with your dishes, microwaving them for two minutes, or washing them in hot water with a little bleach.  I your sponge smells, throw it away.  Wash dishtowels at least once a week is hot water.  Make sure you dry your dishtowels thoroughly between uses and switch them out.
  5. Refrigerator: the refrigerator should be one of the cleanest appliances in your whole home.  After all, the dishwasher is where your food lives!  Unfortunately, refrigerators get dirty and it is easy to put off cleaning them.  If you are noticing a foul smell, do a through check for any old or expired food items.  Best Practice:  do an old food sweep once a week on trash day.  Once you have thrown out old food, wipe down the refrigerator with vinegar and hot water paying special attention to any sticky spots.  Keep an open box of baking soda in the refrigerator to ward off strong odors.
  6. Dishwasher:  Even the dishwasher needs to be cleaned sometimes!  Just run the empty dishwasher with two cups of white vinegar.  It will be clean and fresh again.
  7. Lingering Food Smells:  While you might love salmon or curry, the smell can get old after a couple hours,(or days!)  Use the vent fan and open windows when cooking aromatic or smoky foods.  Eliminate lingering cooking smells by thoroughly cleaning the stove and cooking areas and setting a bowl of vinegar on the counter util the small dissipates.