How can I prevent my clothes from smelling like the fragrant and delicious food Food52 is helping me cook?

Kind of an embarrassing question, but one I'm sure others could benefit from getting answered as well. I love to cook- particularly stir fry with plenty of garlic and onions. As captain obvious, I noticed that the clothes I was cooking in would inevitably carry the aroma of onions and garlic for days after- so I'm very careful now to only wear clothing that I don't plan on wearing out whilst cooking. However, I'm finding that everything smells now, even clothes kept in a different room with the door closed. My coat, my work clothing, my pajamas...any ideas? Open a window? Exhaust fan maybe? Just accept that I smell like food?



smonfor February 2, 2015
Return to the past! Women used to put a hair covering over their hair to preserve their style and keep the smells out - they would also wear a house dress or an apron and then change after their "chores". After cooking - a short, 3 minute airing is usually enough to take care of the heavy smells and freshen a room and won't make things too cold in winter when only done once or twice a day. Or you can always light an infuser with your favorite herbal/spiced scent if you wanted something other than the food smell.
Susan W. January 29, 2015
I so get this. I love the smell of food cooking, but I don't like it when it absorbs into my clothes. I live in an apt that has the worst exhaust fan ever. In fact, it seems fake. It makes fan noise, but it seems to remove nothing. My apt is actually quite large, but is closed off and tiny.

My solutions are to open the window in the dining room attached to the kitchen. I have set a fan pointing out next to the window. I think it helps. My best solution is that because I have electrical outlets out on my deck, I can do all of my slow cooker meals outside. I convert most braises, soups and stews, and stocks to a slow cooker method. I also use my gas grill as an oven. These all also work great in the summer when it's so hot I can't bear to turn my stove on. Last but not least, I tend to not cook in my cutest clothes. I tend to wear what I wear when I am cleaning or gardening.
Liza's K. January 29, 2015
In response to the question about reducing the odor from your sweat - unfortunately, the only thing you can do is drink a lot of water and hope it works. There is no magic juice or supplement.
Knockout January 28, 2015
This is an issue for me too! One way I have found to help mitigate the vague garlic, onion, dirty hippie smell is to glove up when handling/chopping garlic or onions. I purchase nitrile gloves from Costco. It has helped tremendously. I tried every remedy for getting garlic/onion smell out of my skin, and this has proven the best solution. It doesn't keep the smell out of my clothes completely, but the oils not absorbing into my ski has been very effective.

Good luck!
Maedl January 29, 2015
If the problem is garlic or onion smell on your skin, you can rub lemon juice--or the used lemon shells--on your hands. However, this is not a good idea if you have cuts (including paper cuts).
Pegeen January 29, 2015
Using gloves to create a barrier helps keep the smell from seeping into your hands. But if you're life me and scarfing down garlic bread, or pasta sauces and lots of other dishes with garlic and onions, there's still the issue of breathing and sweating the stuff out. :-) Does anyone know of a vitamin or maybe a juice combination that helps minimize the compounds that create the odor?
Susan W. January 29, 2015
Pegreen, I find eating fresh parsley stems helps a ton. There's something about the chlorophyll that neutralizes the alliums. It may be a wives tale, but I think it helps.
QueenSashy January 28, 2015
Well, here is the thing... As much as I agree with all of you guys, there is no better feeling than when you cook a great dinner, and then take a shower and then feeling all fresh and new, jump into a fresh set of clothes. And eat your nice dinner. I do not mind when the apartment smells, but I do mind the clothes. You can keep a set of clean t-shirts in a ziploc bag in the closet, and they will be "uncontaminated". Problem solved :)
Girlfromipanema January 29, 2015
Especially work clothes- maybe a garment bag. Thanks queen
ChezHenry January 28, 2015
Cook naked and seal off your closet better!
petitbleu January 28, 2015
I have the same problem and have come to accept the fact that I just smell like yummy food. For very smelly things, we turn on the exhaust fan, open a window, and have a fan set up in the kitchen to blow the aromas towards the window, but the smells are still noticeable. Last weekend, I unrolled my yoga mat at the studio and the smell of braised mutton hit me in the face. It made me hungry :)
Erin K. January 28, 2015
The yoga mat comment is hilarious, and so true! I only go to the steam room at the gym when it's empty because I. sweat. garlic.
petitbleu January 28, 2015
Haha! Yes, Erin. So much garlic. No regrets, though. A girl's gotta eat!
Maedl January 28, 2015
I'd rather smell like food than like Febreeze or perfume.
Meaghan F. January 28, 2015
Make sure your exhaust fan stays clean, too - turning it on won't help if it's clogged with grease. I usually soak the screen of mine in a baking soda solution once a month or so.
dinner A. January 28, 2015
Try wedging a small box fan in your partly open kitchen window, oriented so that it pulls air from the kitchen to the outside. This is both very efficient at sucking cooking fumes out of the kitchen and I think chills your kitchen less than just leaving the window open. Certainly also use any exhaust fan that's built in over your stove as well.
Pegeen January 28, 2015
If you often eat a lot of garlic and onions, the aroma partly be coming through your body, which would help explain why you're smelling them even when your cooking clothes are kept in a separate room with the door closed. Those foods break down into compounds that are eliminated through the pores of skin (sweat), breath and urine. There are others such as broccoli and brussels sprouts.

I love marinated mushrooms and once treated myself to half a jar marinated in garlic, vinegar, oil, herbs. For the next two days, my family ran into other rooms when I was around. :-)
Pegeen January 28, 2015
typo: "... the aroma may partly be coming through your body..."
Girlfromipanema January 28, 2015
Oh my gosh, thank you Pegeen, that may be it. I need to invest in some good perfume!
Liza's K. January 28, 2015
I live in a studio apartment and also have this problem. I turn the exhaust fan on when I cook anything that is smelly and also leave the window open (even when it's terribly cold out). I also keep Febreeze handy as it tends to help get the odors out of fabrics when used immediately.
Girlfromipanema January 28, 2015
Thanks- it's not even a studio (1 bedroom) but the smells still get through. I'm loathe to open the window right now because it's so cold, but looks like that may be best. Thanks!
Jesu G. April 2, 2021
Please is this febreeze working for you as I also stay in a studio apartment, my clothes smells like food always
Chef L. January 28, 2015
A full front apron might also help.
drbabs January 28, 2015
Sounds like you need a good exhaust fan. But there are worse ways to smell.
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