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Cooking in an apartment

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Initial post: May 1, 2012 11:09:39 PM PDT
Hi- does anybody have a really good solution for cooking odors- I'm Indian and have eased up on cooking at home as the smells really permeate everything- like cigarette smoke. Thanks

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 6:50:30 AM PDT
MommaCat says:
I'm guessing that opening the windows isn't helping? After living with a smoker for too long, the only suggestion I have for that is smokeless ashtrays World's Best Smokeless Ashtray + Bonus 6 Pack Filters and trying to smoke outside sometimes. As far as cooking odors, use your garbage disposal instead of your trash can as much as possible and keep the disposal clean by dropping ice and lemon or lime peels in and running to clean it out.

Posted on May 2, 2012 7:00:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2012 7:06:15 AM PDT
Edit- summary of suggestions: activated charcoal, baking soda, air purifier with charcoal filter

I love Indian food but don't cook it much (I did make Dahl Makhani last night though). Not in an apartment either, but I do not have a great kitchen exhaust fan either.

So, for what it is worth, when I have stronger lingering cooking odors, I use an Oreck air purifier. My air purifiers are Oreck because a dealer is nearby and I snag them at sidewalk sales, but they are good air purifiers. They don't need those replacement filters that some brands need that can be hard to find.

The Oreck does need the charcoal filter installed to filter odors; it can operate without this filter, so I keep a package around to use when I need them.

A low tech help is putting baking soda in a large, flat, open container like a cookie sheet, and leaving it in the area. I've had left-over large charcoal filters for other brands of air purifiers (that I no longer own) that I put in the area of the odor. Perhaps a pet store or hardware store sells activated charcoal to use for this purpose.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 9:54:04 AM PDT
thanks Momma Cat-my husband does smoke! but outside- the lingering smells are more from the stuff in the air while cooking which my colleagues at work have commented on.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 9:56:17 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 2, 2012 9:56:45 AM PDT
thanks April- I did have a filter once- not Oreck- was noisy as heck... I'll look into Oreck. Baking Soda will be my next try when I break out our holy trinity of ginger/garlic and onions

Posted on May 2, 2012 10:50:57 AM PDT
i like liverwurst and onion sandwiches as well as wearing perfume, but they give my co worker headaches. So i stopped using them at work because I didn't think that I had the right to inflict chemcicals on others. Now I'm allergic to lots of things and wish others were considerate too.

You could leave bowls of water vinegar around to absorb smells, use the stove fan, and I think burning vanilla candles minimizes smells too.

It helps to invite neighbors over for your yummy but scent rich food.

I know that when I burn popcorn at work I wipe the microwave with vanilla extract.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 10:52:37 AM PDT
MommaCat says:
I wish my c0-workers were as sensitive as you!

Posted on May 2, 2012 11:00:34 AM PDT
Vanilla candles are a great idea and I am going to try them. Make sure they are soy wax.


In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 12:17:52 PM PDT
Kessa says:
Have you tried a squirt bottle with a mix of Vinegar & Water? Just spray it around the house when odors from food & such... Vinegar is a great neutralizer for odors.

When the Vinegar dries, you will not be able to smell it.

Posted on May 2, 2012 2:05:29 PM PDT
Also, don't forget to invite others over for your Indian feasts in celebration of .....something innocuous like the day you moved into apartment 318! If people know and love you they will forgive your stinking the place up occassionally.

Vinegar absorbs all kinds of odors, including paint so I assume it works on curry too.

Also I clean the microwave by wiping it out with papertowels dipped in vanilla extract. It smells nicer than garlic or what have you.

You people on this page have intersting names.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 2:23:31 PM PDT
Kessa says:
Vinegar absorbs all kinds of odors, including paint so I assume it works on curry too.
My parents once called me & said that a skunk sprayed their house & the smell was just awful. I suggested the Vinegar/Water thing. They tried it & said that the smell was gone - they were shocked. LOL!

It is also one of the only things that can get cat urine smells out.

In reply to an earlier post on May 2, 2012 2:32:34 PM PDT
MommaCat says:
Apt 318? I think I know what book you just read Mom!

Posted on May 2, 2012 10:13:28 PM PDT
Trend says:
Odo Ban is good. It's sold at Home Depot. I think Amazon sells it, too. It comes in a big gallon container. It's concentrated, so you mix with water in a spray bottle.....does a great job eliminating odors. I wish I was your neighbor. I'd be knocking on your door begging for food.

Posted on May 3, 2012 12:44:52 PM PDT
u guys rock-thanks for the ideas

In reply to an earlier post on May 9, 2012 8:19:45 AM PDT
Check out "Lampe Berger". (Your don't pronounce the 'e' on Lampe and 'Berger' is pronounced 'berjay'.

Don't know what your price range is, but there are very many vessels (lamps) in a range of prices and all kinds of liquid fragrances to choose from. There is also a fragrance-free liquid available.

It works kind of like an oil lamp, because it uses a wick to carry the liquid up to the top of the vessel. But the wick does not stay lit for more than a minute or two. First you light the wick; the burning wick heats a tiny round porcelain block; then you blow out the flame on the wick; then the very hot porcelain piece works to evaporate the fluid as it is sucked up by the wick. It's the evaporated fluid that eliminates odors, replacing unwanted odors with either no fragrance or a more pleasing fragrance. You only keep it going for fifteen minutes.

I've got several lamps (vessels) in several rooms and many bottles of fragrance, so I'm able to switch fragrances when a vessel empties of fluid. There are fragrances available for different seasons of the year, fragrances to clear the air in kitchens and bathrooms, fragrances to create moods in the bedroom, fragrances to lend a subtle atmosphere at your entry way.

Obviously, I'm using these in a house, but I first used the Lampe Berger when I had an efficiency apartment. You can get by with one lamp and one fragrance, and the fluid lasts quite a while. It's very effective for getting rid of cooking smells.

Posted on May 9, 2012 1:26:17 PM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
It would be nice if more builders installed real ducted exhaust fans in apartment kitchens, rather than the crapola kind that merely draws the fumes through a mesh and blows the result back into the rooms. In my opinion, someone should face jail time for making deceptive crap like that.

Posted on May 9, 2012 5:19:13 PM PDT
ParrotSlave says:
OldAmazonian, You will also notice that, where the utilities are not included in the rent, that the air conditioning and other electrical appliances are all the most energy-grabbing ones in existence, since they are much cheaper for the builder.....

M. Maltbie, there is a difference between (1) trying to cover up a cooking odor, i.e., masking it, and (2) actually getting rid of the odor. Cooking odors are actual molecules of various chemicals given off during the cooking, and adding more molecules to the air just makes the pollution worse. Some of these chemicals in the air are low molecular weight substances and highly volatile, while others are larger molecules and more likely to settle on environmental surfaces. These molecules mix with the air and may deposit themselves on various surfaces, such as drapery, clothing, house dust, etc., where they may linger for years, so you need to get rid of them as they are generated, which is the rationale for having exhaust fans above stoves. One way to get rid of cooking odors is to exhaust the air somewhere where the odor will not be a problem, which, unfortunately, is not going to work in the apartment situation. It may exhaust all the air from your apartment, but now all your neighbors smell it because it is everywhere. Another way is to remove the offending molecules from the air:

in order to do that, you have to have to have a decently large intake fan system, large enough that all the air will be circulated through whatever system you are using. A simple charcoal filter will help, since activated charcoal will adsorb the obnoxious chemical molecules. But most of the ones you see are children trying to do a man's job: you need something like the Airgle Purepal AG950, with 15 pounds of activated charcoal. THAT will remove cooking odor like none of those puny quarter or half inch think layers of charcoal prefilters you normally think of. I think of most of the other ones as placebo air purifiers: yes, they have some efficacy, but they're not for serious work (

I continue to be baffled as to why so many people insist on adding yet more molecules of various odor-causing substances to the air when there's a bad smell: sure, trick your brain into thinking that the "only" odor around is that one you just added--how wonderful. All those other odor chemicals are still there, still be-bopping around, still settling on your clothes, etc. Their solution to pollution is yet more pollution, which makes absolutely no sense. Or, excuse me, it may not make sense, but it makes dollars for the manufacturers of the odor masking substances.

Posted on May 10, 2012 8:17:47 AM PDT
I suggest buying an inexpensive fan that will fit into the nearest window to your kitchen. Face the fan outwards and run on high while you are cooking. This will definetly keep the odors indoors to a minimum. I do this trick whenever my husband wants his steak blackened with cajun spices which always get my sinuses in a tizzy. It works really well since you are actually getting rid of the odors rather than covering them up. Spraying air fresheners and the like mask the odors temporarily and just add to the myriad of smells already there. If you are going to use air fresheners, use them around the outside of your apartment door so that the other tennants will smell that instead of the cooking odors. Something scented with apples & cinnamon will make people think you are baking a delicious pie.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 10:38:15 AM PDT
ParrotSlave--I'm baffled by your criticism of my solution to the OP's problem, coupled with your lack of a solution to the OP's problem.....

I thought the OP--living in an apartment--probably doesn't have access to the smell of fresh air and probably doesn't have the means or the space to purify air. The OP probably can't open the windows and doesn't even have a sliding glass door to a balcony. I offered a decent solution for problem odors in the confines of a small apartment.

Almost everthing has an odor. Fresh air has an odor. The grease particles (not molecules really) be-bopping around in everyone's kitchen have an odor. Popular Indian spices have an odor. Whether you call the smell "odor" or "fragrance" or "good" or "bad" is determined by the society and area in which you live. Really, what else do you do, but replace one odor with another one? (And, excuse me, you need a refresher course in chemistry: Air fresheners are NOT adding "yet more molecules" to the air...)

I agree with you that air fresheners, including Lampe Berger, "fool" your nose, but what else is one to do when in a tight little apartment?

So you know a lot about air purifiers and you felt the need to broadcast that fact. It's not wrong to interject your wisdom into a discussion like this, but if you're really not answering the OP's question and you're not part of a viable solution, you shouldn't be critical of comments that are on track.

Posted on May 10, 2012 11:12:51 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2012 11:14:08 AM PDT

Cut-to-Fit Carbon Pad for Air Purifiers

Cheap activated charcoal filters for use with air purifiers, but just sit them out by themselves and the do wonders absorbing odors.

I mentioned early in this thread that I used extra charcoal filters to get rid of odors. They work. They are cheap and worth trying. Should do fine for a kitchen.

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 11:33:55 AM PDT
OldAmazonian says:
So how do the odor molecules find these charcoal filters if the filters are just sitting out by themselves?

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 4:47:14 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on May 10, 2012 4:47:38 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on May 10, 2012 5:20:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2012 5:21:31 PM PDT
BklynBlonde says:
Like one of the commenters said below Lampe Berger's work quite well after a heavily scented meal - I cook curries as well but not as often because in apartments they DO linger no matter what - but the Lampe Berger's will work well - you can move it from room to room if your apartment is small enough and not so large. Also - the vinegar trick helps - but I buy large quantities of white vinegar to have on hand for this and when I make a curry, after the meal I put three little bowls of the vinegar out in different places in the apartment to help dissipate the scent. And the nicest solution of all is to take a pot of water, pour a good "glug" of the vinegar in - then add some cinnamon sticks and a bunch of lemon peel (I actually make several peels and toos in the eater and then quarter a lemon - and I simmer it on the stove after dinner. It smells GREAT and helps a LOT.

Posted on May 10, 2012 6:40:55 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on May 10, 2012 6:43:38 PM PDT
Here's a small solution to help keep your clothing mostly free of the apartment odors.
Get a tiny fan and keep it running in your closet unless your clothes closet has a lot of clutter on the floor.
And also keep a very large, open box of baking soda in there. Keep the fan on the floor, run it on low and point it up at your clothes. It really does work. Leave the door open an inch or so to keep the air circulating.

I found that when living in an apartment keeping the air circulating as much as possible kept it fresh. I also liked to leave a floor fan running as much as possible. It's really, really difficult when you live in an apartment with no access to fresh outside air.

In reply to an earlier post on May 11, 2012 6:30:19 PM PDT
SilverBabs says:
amen bruther
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Discussion in:  Cooking forum
Participants:  17
Total posts:  29
Initial post:  May 1, 2012
Latest post:  May 16, 2012

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