Thinking ahead means you can fend off an "eau de kitchen" with little effort and remain scent-free all day long – even with the most aromatic ingredients.

Zee Krstic
June 26, 2017

While there is nothing better than sitting down to a lavish breakfast or brunch, there’s nothing more likely to ruin your day than taking more than just leftovers with you after eating. We’re talking about that egg-like stench that is often served up as an unintentional side of your omelet or scramble, and that scent can follow you around throughout the rest of your day.

You’ll find it hanging around your clothes, clinging to your hair, or even radiating out of your pores, depending on what you ate in particular.

Breakfast is just the beginning – there’s a laundry list of foods and meals that will not only stink up your kitchen but also overwhelm any nearby clothing items and even permeate your hair. And it doesn’t even need to be your own kitchen, as this is true of restaurants as well.

How on earth can you avoid smelling like a grease-bomb while you fry up some chicken? Or dodge the unpleasant aroma of lemon-garlic-rubbed salmon in a pan?

There are always a few steps you can take to prevent any transfer of scents, even if you are stewing the most perfumed curry there is.

1) Layer Up

Photo: Caitlin Bensel

If you find yourself working with ingredients that will let out a particular bouquet of scents you don’t wish to carry around all day, invest in an apron that will act as a barrier between you, stains of all kinds, and the deadliest of odors. Another tip from professional chefs is choosing a select few pieces of clothing that you designate as solely for the kitchen – you can change in and out of these items as you come and go, keeping any chance of retaining smells to these items and not your whole closet.

2) Get Exhausted

There’s an exhaust over your stovetop for a reason! Use the exhaust to minimize the chance of you magically smelling of the fillet of fish you’re sautéing around your family and friends later.

3) Handle Well

Photo: Randy Mayor

A set of nitrile gloves will go a long way to keep a stench off your skin when handling particularly aromatic ingredients. Nitrile is a great alternative to latex and vinyl, and more comfortable, as well. Stop wiping your damp hands on the back of your pants and invest in some of these.

4) Dryer Magic

If you find that clothes have already taken on an unnatural scent from your last meal, don’t throw them into the washer just yet. A few dryer sheets or your DIY satchel of herbs can help to remove odors in a dryer in as little as 10 minutes. Alternatively, simply hanging your clothes near a ventilated space overnight can do the trick as well. 

5) Hair Care

Ray Kachatorian

Unfortunately for chefs and home cooks alike, hair is a prime reason why you might be smelling foul after cooking or eating a particular meal. You can avoid having to rinse and repeat after meals with a chef’s hat, wrap, or even a baseball cap. At the very least, pull your locks into a tight bun or knot away from your face and the food you are cooking.

6) Don’t Sweat It

Photo: Ekaterina_Lin/Getty

Garlic, onions, curry powder – all lovely ways to add flavor to your meals without a ton of calories. But all of these foods are heavy when it comes to sulfur, and the chemical is a prime factor for smelling quite unpleasant. Absorbed in your bloodstream, it will exit back out through your lungs and your pores as you sweat. And not to mention that these items all add to an overwhelming stench hanging around you and your clothing when cooked. Avoid these ingredients if you're planning on exercising or going to a sweat-inducing activity later.

7) Steam Roll Odors

Photo: Jamie Chung

A quick steam of clothing after dining in a pervasive setting can effectively neutralize any aromas from delicious dishes – and if you don’t have a steamer, don’t fret. Take a hot shower and leave your clothes hanging nearby, and both you and your threads will feel refreshed as ever.

8) Go On the Defense

If you know you are going to tackle a fragrant meal in the kitchen, you can preemptively strike by prepping a small batch of cinnamon, brown sugar and butter to be baked before you fry onions or garlic. If you’re using the oven, you can alternatively simmer citrus peels (lemons or oranges) in a saucepan with water while you cook. Beyond your go-to baking soda, another stationary fix for smelly cooking is white vinegar: leave the vinegar in small bowls around your cooking space to negate any other pungent smells elsewhere.

9) Stainless Steel

If dish soap isn’t helping you get rid of a stink on your hands or skin, rub a stainless steel utensil, such as a spoon, all over the affected area. This will help noticeably minimize the damage in a hurry.

10) Splurge On This

Courtesy of Amazon.

Technology exists for a reason, and this small, portable gadget can help put your mind at ease when working with odorous foods in your own home.