super tiny kitch in nyc apt., no ventilation--disgusting cooking smell. without having to spray perfume, febreeze or anything else, how can i

eliminate the smell from using a cast iron griddle pan? my entier apt. stinks to high heaven since last night. would move out if i could. windows wide open, door open, nothing is helping!

  • Posted by: barb48
  • November 2, 2015


nancy E. November 11, 2015
Farberware makes an amazing splatter screen that has charcoal imbedded it it. Not only does it keep your stovetop clean, it also sucks up about 80% of the odors from cooking. I love mine as I also have no ventilation
Michele November 10, 2015
I feel your pain. I have a monster range that gets away from me sometimes and an extractor that is just about industrial and I often have the same problem. Only with the griddle pan, and not the flat cast iron pans. I concluded that it is oil or residue that didn't get cleaned off, which as you aren't supposed to really clean them becomes a chicken and egg. I suggest doing the salt and lemon clean, watching your oil, and (most important) putting a small fan to blow across and out the window. You need to move the air not just invite fresh air in.
Jenny M. November 3, 2015
A chef once gave me the tip to throw some herbs on to the pan when frying stake when the smell would NOT be so bad
Patricia November 2, 2015
Have you heard of, or tried, a lampe bergere? Whether you buy an entry level, or opt for a fancier one they work exactly the same way - and I think they're terrific for removing cooking odors. Fuels are plain & fancy too- from neutral to fragrances as beautiful as expensive French perfume.
Rachel November 9, 2015
Yes to the Lampe Berger!!! I'm so glad someone else uses these, they're an incredibly underrated product. I have the Bingo Noire:, but you can get anything to go with your decor.

You don't need to buy the expensive oils they sell, though. I use 94% rubbing alcohol in mine and it purifies the air and gets rid of any odors very quickly.

Also, your cast iron pan doesn't need soap. Just add some water and allow it to heat a bit to take off any stuck-on bits. Allow it to cool and scrape with a bench scraper if needed. Wipe w a paper towel.
dinner A. November 2, 2015
The next time you use the griddle (or cook anything else you think might be smelly), try propping a box fan inside the closest window to your stove, facing out (so it sucks air from your apartment to the outside). I've found this to be pretty effective, much more so than simply placing a fan near the window.
I would put my vote with others who suggested that the smell was caused by burning oil. Whether extra virgin or not, olive oil will start to smoke at a lower temperature than you might often want to use your griddle. If you want to have the flavor of olive oil, try cooking in a minimum of a neutral-flavored oil with a high smoke point, and then brushing or drizzling with olive oil afterwards.
nutcakes November 2, 2015
I recently tried Fresh Wave Crystal Gel natural odor eliminator and it seems pretty nice. Others have reported it works well in a closed space like a basement so maybe that will work. It's a little expensive.
AntoniaJames November 2, 2015
I find that vigorously zesting a lemon, holding the lemon up in the air, and doing a bit in one place, then moving your bowl to different surfaces in your kitchen or dining area or even living room if it smells there, or up onto a shelf temporarily, etc. can make a big difference. You might need to go through three or four lemons. Leave bits of freshly grated zest on saucers in various places for a day or two. ;o)
barb48 November 2, 2015
Thanks for all of these helpful tips. Honestly, I think I did use olive oil, but not extra virgin. Also, I'm possibly the wrong person to use a cast iron pan. I have been cleaning it with a small brush and a little bit of dish soap, as the thought of cooking on it w/out being clean is a bit scary to me. I also lightly oil it with canola after drying, but even when wiping it on, black stuff comes off on the paper towel. Is there a "best brush" for cleaning cast iron?
ChefJune November 2, 2015
You have ruined the season on your pan. You cannot scrub a cast iron pan after each use - or after any use at all! You season the pan thoroughly - do you know the proper way to do this? - and then you don't wash it again. Ever..
ChefJune November 2, 2015
After reading quite a few of the suggestions, I'm also thinking your pan is not properly seasoned.
As well, what were you cooking, and how high was the heat under that pan that you used olive oil in? Olive oil does not have a very high smoke point. Not sure why one would use that for grilling steak. Peanut oil has a very high smoke point, or safflower oil - which is neutral in flavor..
rt21 November 2, 2015
Fabreeze also makes an unscented does help
Susan W. November 2, 2015
I live in an apt with a horrible vent hood. I set my cast iron pan outside on my deck before I even sit down to eat. I don't know if that's possible for you, but it really helps.
Droplet November 2, 2015
Make this : , with some extra water and let it simmer for longer on the stove, and all will be well again.
A November 2, 2015
Lots of candles- scented or non, your choice; simmer cinnamon sticks and orange or lemon peels; bake something aromatic; spray vinegar on stinky spots. When I cook with cast iron it doesn't smell bad- did you burn something or is the griddle seasoned with rancid oil? You may want to use kosher salt & hot water to clean the griddle and remove any baked-in odors
Matilda L. November 2, 2015
You could also try those odor-absorbing sponges you can buy at the hardware store--a friend used them around his apartment after a small fire to get rid of the smoke smell and he said they did the trick.
stacy November 2, 2015
You could try putting bowls of baking soda around the kitchen and rest of the apartment, that will absorb some smells. You could also put a cup with a tablespoon or two of vanilla extract in the oven at 300 for an hour. Or make cookies. This is a good time of year for mulled cider, that will make the kitchen smell good as well. I think you can make a DIY fabreeze with some water, alcohol or witch hazel, and some essential oils - it won't smell as chemically as febreeze. Also, have fans pointed at the open windows to increase air flow. You can wash down the walls and sprinkle baking soda on carpets and vacuum it up as well.
barb48 November 2, 2015
thanks, but is this what folks have to do each time they cook with a cast iron pan on stove?
stacy November 2, 2015
I cook on a cast iron frying pan often, and don't end up with a smell afterward. Our stove doesn't have an exhaust hood or whatever above it. What were you cooking? Is your cast iron properly seasoned? It shouldn't have such a lingering smell, no matter how small your kitchen.
Nancy November 2, 2015
I don't get a nasty smell every time I cook on stove-top with cast iron pan.
Was the seasoning oil in the pan unusual and giving off an odor?
What food were you cooking and is that naturally high in smells?
Could something else have gotten into the pan to create the odor?
barb48 November 2, 2015
it happens each time I use cast iron griddle. this time, steak and zucchini. maybe I had too much olive oil on pan, as I brushed with that before turning on heat and had also brushed oil on food?
Stephanie November 2, 2015
Perhaps consider an oil with a higher smoke point. Try canola oil, ghee (clarified butter), or avocado oil and if you don't experience the same issue, you have your answer!

For the aftermath, I agree with lemon or orange peels and aromatics. Easy and pleasant.

Also, as much as it's a pain, I find that cleaning up immediately helps with odors. Not just the pan itself but the stove and surrounding countertops too, lest any oil and food particles have splattered.
Nancy November 2, 2015
Agree with Stephanie on smoke point/ burning point of your oil as possible contrubiting cause. See this article for overview and suggestions:
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