How to Get the Smell of Frying Out of Your Kitchen

December 26, 2017

If you fried latkes or sufganiyot last night, chances are you are in the same position as our Product Manager Michael Hoffman:

Almost twenty-four hours later, your kitchen still smells like frying oil. And maybe your bedroom, living room, and clothes smell, too! (Looking forward to making dinner tonight, aren't you?)

Even though Hanukkah lasts eight nights, the frying smell doesn't have to.

Were these curly fries worth the lingering smell? (Yes!) Photo by James Ransom

Here are our tips for eliminating that deep-fried odor:

  1. Ventilate before you start. Open windows and turn on fans to direct air outwards or, if it's summer (or you're lucky enough to have air conditioning), power it up. The same goes for those of you with ranges with hood ventilation.
  2. Close the doors to nearby rooms so that the smell doesn't seep into the bedroom, living room, and bathroom, slowly but surely taking over your entire life.
  3. Clean up immediately. It's tempting to eat the hard-earned latkes right away. Yes, sneak a few for yourself, but then start cleaning (or employ a helper!) A.S.A.P. Once you've disposed of the oil, clean the pots, pans and appliaces and wipe down the stovetop, counters, and nearby walls (!) with kitchen degreaser.
  4. Boil a vinegar and water solution. Bring 1 cup of water and 1 tablespoon of vinegar to a boil in a small saucepan. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Some people add bay leaves, fresh rosemary, vanilla extract, lemon halves or peels, or cinnamon sticks to cut down the vinegar-smell (and add a pleasant natural odor). We have a whole list of other ideas for seasonal-smelling air fresheners.
  5. Leave bowls of vinegar, baking soda, or coffee grounds on your counter overnight to absorb the odors. (Cat litter would probably work too, but might smell even worse than the frying oil.)
  6. Bake cookies! What's the best way to get rid of a deep-fry smell? Overpower it with the smell of freshly baked cookies.
Deep-frying is an excuse to bake more cookies! Photo by James Ransom

How do you get rid of that oil smell? Let us know in the comments!

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This article originally appeared on December 7, 2015. We're re-running it now because with all the cooking you've been doing, there's a good chance you'll need the advice.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

I used to work at Food52. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream.


Cracker May 23, 2023
suggestion #6 works for me! 😄
[email protected] December 22, 2020
About cooking smells? After using a single/portable induction burner in fun SLT classes, I bought one & keep it outside with my grill so I can cook the delicious-but-stinky things outside...bacon, Brussels sprouts, pan sautéing. I wish I had thought of this 20 years ago!
gollygwhiz May 24, 2023
Me too!
Corinne M. December 29, 2017
Wash everything down with white vinegar and water. We always used this after our Saturday Lutefisk Dinners. Washing down with vinegar always got the lutefisk smell out of the church kitchen so it smelled sweet with no sign of lingering Lutefisk for Sunday's service.
foofaraw December 26, 2017
Put old newspaper around the stove gas/heating elements and under your feet where you'll be standing up to frying. After you are finish, discard them. Especially when we fry fish, the oil gets around everywhere and the newspaper helps to keep the mess (and the smell) contained.
MG F. December 12, 2017
Burn bread — keep retoasting until it is black and it smells burnt.
sydney December 20, 2016
Non-toxic solutions that work for me include bowls of vinegar, [lit] beeswax candles, and clean hood-vent filters. Avoid dryer sheets, industrial candles, and 'room air fresheners' if you don't want airborne industrial chemicals.
Christine T. December 20, 2016
Use a Lampe Bergere.
Gemma1122 December 20, 2016
We fry latkas outside in our backyard, on an electric skillet. It's part of our Hanukkah tradition!
Sarah J. December 20, 2016
I love that!
Linda December 17, 2016
I hate the way fish or bacon after smells. I boil whole cloves and cinnamon in a pa on the stove. Then let it simmer while I'm Clea ing up! Smells like Christmas'
Helene December 17, 2016
I cover the vessel that was used to fry w/the pan /pot cover & light a vanilla scented candle while frying.
Philip December 14, 2016
People, people, people.....what banana truck did you fall off?
Boil some water in an old pan, add a couple dashes of cinnamon, turn down to a simmer and let it simmer for 30 minutes, add hot water as needed. Your house will smell like Christmas and the fish smell will be GONE!
al W. December 3, 2016
Light candles in the aftermath while you're cleaning up. A guaranteed air purifier.
Leonora B. December 3, 2016
A small dish (about 1/2 cup) of bleach, placed on the counter, absorbs the fry smell. It works whether you put it out before or after the actual frying.
Ahuvah B. December 3, 2016
Use an oil with a high smoking point like grapeseed and deep fry your latkes - it will give off less of a fried smell and cook the latkes faster.
Chef V. December 30, 2015
Take an orange skin just peeled and squeeze the outside of the skin as to cause it to squirt the oil into the open flame on your stove. Do this a couple of times and you will be surprised at the pleasant over riding smell. Do this with the exhaust fan off.
Erin December 14, 2015
Cleaning immediately seems like a great idea, but the 400F frying oil might be a bit tricky to dispose of. Do you have a workaround? I wait until the oil has cooled completely then funnel it back into the bottle it came in for disposal.
drbabs December 13, 2015
Don't forget to clean the filters on your exhaust fan. Mine were yellow from aerosolized oil.
rachiti December 13, 2015
Air purifier. I don't have the funds for a hood on my stove so I picked up a cheap fan-based air purifier. It's not only fantastic at clearing strong kitchen odors like chopped onions (which cause me to tear even after they're in the pan) but it's also fantastic for smoke. Let's face it even when merely cooking bacon there's the potential for smoke...and this clears it faster than opening windows ever will. It lives under my kitchen table so it's out of the way until I need it.
Lin December 13, 2015
My gas grill has a side burner and so fry out there, no matter the weather!
Kristina December 13, 2015
Also tape some dryer sheets to a fan. Especially when the smell has made it to other rooms - where you can't boil stovetop potpourri.