Did you step away from the stove a little too long only to return to a house filled with smoke from cooking? Instead of reaching for the air freshener to cover up the stench, focus on removing the source and airing out the house. Natural air cleaning solutions help neutralize the stinky odors to make the air easier to breathe.
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Control the Situation
Before worrying about the odor, verify that the situation is under control. If your kitchen fills with smoke when cooking, make sure there isn't an actual fire. Burnt food often smokes without catching on fire, but you don't want the situation to get out of hand if there are flames.
Remove the pan from the burner. Let it cool and make sure the food is no longer burning or producing more smoke.
Air Out the House
Burnt food smoke inhalation isn't good for your lungs, so start by clearing out the smoke. Open windows if possible to give the smoke and odor a place to go. Run ceiling fans and use box fans in the windows to help pull the smoke and odor out of the room faster. You can also run the vent on your fan hood and the exhaust fans in any nearby bathrooms.
Remove the Source of the Smell
You can't get rid of the burnt pan smell in the house until you remove the burnt food. Once it cools completely, dump the food into a trash bag, seal it and take it out of the house to the trash can or dumpster.
If the pan is salvageable, soak it in hot, soapy water to release the burnt-on food, then scrub any remaining food off. Boiling water and vinegar in the pan can help soften the burnt spots. Scrubbing the pan with baking soda can also help clean it due to the gentle abrasive quality of the powder.
Neutralize the Burnt Pan Smell in a House
Air fresheners and candles just add scent to the mix without actually removing the bad smell. The combination of the burnt, smoky odor and the fragrance can sometimes smell worse than the burnt odor alone. Natural products can help remove the odor from the air.
Bring water and white vinegar to a boil on the stove, and reduce the heat so it simmers. You can also add whole spices or fresh lemon slices to the boiling water for a natural scent. Coffee grounds and baking soda placed out in a container can help soak up bad odors.
Wipe Down Surfaces
Smoke particles can stick to all areas of your home, which makes the smell linger. Thorough cleaning of all surfaces in your kitchen helps remove the odor. Wipe the stove, countertop, cabinets and walls with a warm, soapy water mixture or all-purpose cleaner. Choose cleaning products that are safe for specific surfaces, such as wood cabinetry or stone countertops.
Wash Fabric Items
Odors and smoke particles can also settle on soft coverings in your home, such as curtains, tablecloths and flooring. Wash those items according to their care instructions to release the odors.
If your carpets or rugs take on the burnt odor, sprinkle baking soda over them. Give the baking soda a few hours to soak up the smell. Vacuum the carpet well to remove all of the baking soda.
Shelley Frost combines her love of DIY and writing in her freelance career. She has first-hand experience with tiling, painting, refinishing hardwood floors, installing lighting, roofing and many other home improvement projects. She keeps her DIY skills fresh with regular projects around the house and extensive writing work on the topic.