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Discover 5 Places Odors Lurk in your Kitchen & How to Clean Them for Good [+1 Bonus!]

by Ann Ferguson

Have you ever walked into your clean kitchen only to get a whiff of something awful? You just cleaned it, so how is that possible?

It turns out that there are several places where food odors can linger in the kitchen and where residue and other bacteria grow. But they’re hard to find. These places are often in your appliances or the gaps in your kitchen!

Don't worry; you don't have to stick with the smell! We'll show you where those odors are lurking in your kitchen and how to fix them!

1. Stinky Oven

Person cleaning oven

You may not realize it, but your oven can be a source of more smelly odors than you think. If you don't clean it regularly, food residue, fat deposits, and grease can build up, causing an unpleasant smell. And the worst part is that sometimes the buildup is invisible, so you’ll need to follow these steps to clean it out:

  • Remove all the racks from your oven and wash them in hot soapy water.
  • Using a sponge or cloth, wipe down the inside of your oven. Be sure to get all the nooks and crannies!
  • Next, mix one part baking soda with two parts water to form a paste and spread it over the inside of your oven, then let it sit for 15 minutes.
  • After 15 minutes, use a damp sponge or cloth to wipe away the paste.
  • Finally, put the racks back in your oven and turn it on to 400 degrees Fahrenheit for about 20 minutes. This will help to remove any lingering odors!

Remember, don’t use the self-clean option on your oven, as the dried-up grease and fat deposits can cause a fire hazard. And don’t forget to clean the outside of your oven, especially if you cook daily!

2. Eau de Garbage Disposal

Water running down garbage disposal

Have you noticed a smell near the sink? Your garbage disposal can be the cause! Sometimes food materials cling under the blades of the disposal and cause your kitchen to reek. But don’t worry; with regular cleaning, you can fix that. Just:

  • Turn off the power to your garbage disposal.
  • Put a cup of ice down the disposal, then ½ cup of table salt.
  • Turn on the water and run the disposal.

You can also pour a mixture of baking soda and vinegar down the drain from time to time or squeeze half of a lemon. Alternatively, you can use a garbage disposal cleaner.

3. Not-So-Clean Dishes

Woman studying clean glass as if it’s still dirty

Something that’s supposed to do the cleaning shouldn’t need cleaning, right? Wrong. Your dishwasher is a prime location for odors to lurk since the moisture attracts stinky mold and mildew. And since not all foods break down during the wash cycle, sometimes there are rotting food bits lingering in the nooks and crannies — yuck!

So, you’ll need to run a cleaning cycle regularly to eliminate any bad odors and make your dishes come out looking (and smelling!) clean. And all you need is vinegar since it completely breaks up leftover food and grease residue. Place two cups of vinegar in a measuring cup on the top rack of the dishwasher and run it once a month to avoid any buildup!

4. Mind Those Gaps!

Another place where odors can lurk in your kitchen is in the gaps between your countertops and appliances. These gaps can be a breeding ground for bacteria as food bits fall into the gaps and start to fester, which causes an unpleasant smell. And even if it looks clean, fat deposits and other traces can remain hidden and cause your kitchen to smell.

To clean out the gaps, grab a butter knife, yardstick, or broom handle, wrap it in a paper towel lightly sprayed with kitchen cleaner, and clean the gaps. You can also use a microfiber cloth instead of a paper towel.

Pro Tip: Avoid the problem altogether by buying gap covers to place between your appliances and the counters!

5. Food Stinks

Woman pinching nose while removing spoiled food from fridge

One of the main sources of bad odors in the kitchen is the fridge. These smells often happen because of spills, spoiled food, and lingering bacteria. So, make sure to clean up spills immediately and throw out spoiled food as soon as you’ve noticed it’s gone bad.

And if you still can’t get those odors to stay gone, you can try putting activated charcoal into two paper bowls or charcoal bags and place one in the fridge or freezer. Or, if you want a sweeter smell, roll two pages of newspapers into loose paper balls, add one drop of vanilla extract to each, and place them in the fridge and freezer, respectively.

Don’t forget to clean your freezer on a regular basis, too!

6. [BONUS] Other Places

Besides these main locations, there are other sources of awful smells in the kitchen. Of course, your trash can is an obvious one. But if you have a clean bag in the can and it still stinks, then it’s time to give it a good cleaning! Use a disinfectant spray on the inside of the can and let it dry to kill any bacteria and germs.

Another source is your silverware tray! Either the silverware isn’t fully cleaned, or at times crumbs fall from the counter into the drawer. Either way, the smell can get bad. So, once a month, remove all the silverware from the tray, dump out the debris, then use a two parts water and one part distilled white vinegar mixture, dampen a clean cloth with it, and wipe out the container.

Pro Tip: If the silverware tray is dishwasher safe, run it in a load with your dishes!

Squeaky Clean Kitchen

Happy family cooking in kitchen

There you have it! These are just a few of the places where odors can lurk in your kitchen. By following these simple tips, you can keep your kitchen smelling fresh and clean — no more funky smells! But if all the cleaning in the world still has you dissatisfied with your appliances, don’t wait; check out what we have at C & J Electric Maytag Home Appliance Center !

And if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to give us a call!