While home cooking can make a home smell incredible, some foods (like fish) are simply unpleasant to have to linger for days on end. In a quest to make a home smell nice, vinegar can be used to neutralize even the toughest of bad odors and make way for fresher home fragrances – and you don’t even have to clean your kitchen with it for it to work.  We break down why a bowl of vinegar next to your stove makes such a difference to cooking odors 

Why you should keep a bowl of vinegar next to your stove 

Keeping a bowl of vinegar next to your stove is not to do with being able to make salad dressing in under two minutes, but rather to help neutralize bad cooking odors as they arise – and before they have the chance to hang around.  There are a few ways you can use distilled white vinegar to get rid of smells, but the easiest is to place a small bowl right beside the stove – it quite literally involves no effort at all. Leave a bowl of vinegar out overnight,’ advises Saskia Gregson-Williams, cookbook author and founder of Naturally Sassy (opens in new tab). ‘In the morning, the vinegar will have absorbed all the unsavory smells and your kitchen will be as fresh as a daisy.’ White vinegar is made of acetic acid which perfectly neutralizes the alkaline scents that we call bad odors. You can also add white vinegar to laundry to help deodorize clothes too.  If you are wanting to tackle bad smells as you cook to prevent them from permeating your kitchen surfaces, then leaving a bowl of vinegar directly next to your stove as you cook can help to mitigate some of the strongest smells as they arise. When using this method, you may have to change the vinegar out every few days to maintain its effectiveness meaning it may cost you more over the long run than only treating smells that aren’t dissipating on their own.  Despite being a useful hack for everyday cooking, some acrid smells such as from burnt food can be harder to get rid of in kitchens, however, meaning your little bowl of vinegar can’t manage the task on its own. ‘Give your kitchen a steamy makeover by boiling a pot of water mixed with equal parts vinegar,’ Saskia advises. ‘The steam will lift away any pesky cooking smells that have been hanging around.’ This specially formulated white vinegar with cleaning strength at 6% acidity lifts grime and breaks down grease, mineral deposits, lime scale, and built-up film for a clean space with no residue left behind and no rinsing required. The Complete Book of Home Cleaning is a complete, eco-friendly guide to cleaning your home. From establishing routines, making schedules, and DIYing green cleaning solutions to help keep every area of your home neat, safe, and spotless. If the smell in your kitchen persists, however, then a little bit of elbow grease may be required, Saskia says. ‘Fill a spray bottle with two cups of water and one to two teaspoons of vinegar and spritz it around the kitchen – it’s like a breath of fresh air in a bottle!’ While you can spray undiluted vinegar around the kitchen for particularly potent smells, this may just replace one scent with the pungent essence of vinegar, so adding some water (or even an essential oil) can make it a little less potent.  The good news is this will also help clean a kitchen at the same time – just make sure to check which things you can clean with vinegar first to prevent causing any damage to paintwork or surfaces. ‘Remember to also keep any windows and external doors open to allow fresh air to circulate and dissipate any odors, especially when cooking pungent foods,’ Saskia adds. ‘With these tips, your kitchen will be smelling sweet in no time.’

Why does white vinegar remove odors? 

White vinegar is primarily made up of acetic acid, a compound that reacts with and neutralizes alkaline smells that we know as bad odors. When used as either a spray to clean down surfaces, or put in bowls around a smelly space, the vinegar absorbs the smell over time 

Does boiling vinegar get rid of smoke smell?

If your room is suffering from a persistent smoke smell, then boiling vinegar can help to get rid of the lingering smell – just make sure to dilute it with water first to prevent pure evaporated acid from burning your eyes and throat. An alternative way to deal with the smoke smell is to leave bowls of vinegar sitting around the space to absorb the smell over several days. It also helps to wipe down surfaces such as doors, tables, and walls with vinegar to help remove the smell more quickly. 

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