5 ways to minimize unwanted cooking odors

How to enjoy holiday cooking without lingering odors that affect your air quality.

Now that holiday eating season is upon us, it’s time to talk about the effect cooking odors have on indoor air quality and overall quality of life. While a lot of the foods we prepare smell delicious while cooking, the odors left behind are not as appealing the next day. Bacon fat, fish, and curry are just a few of the main offenders. Beyond unpleasant odors, some smells can actually be harmful to your health.

Try these 5 odor eliminating tips in your home:

1. Shut your doors

Grease and odors quickly absorb into fabrics making them difficult to clean. Keep bedroom and closet doors closed before and during cooking to avoid bedding that smells like fish.

2. Purify your air

The best way to avoid odors is to get them out of the air as quickly as possible. In addition to opening windows and using the kitchen vent, selecting a SmokeStop™ filter for your Blueair purifier can remove cooking smells from the air. The filters use the activated carbon, formulated with magnesium dioxide and copper oxide, works in the form of hundreds of pellets to absorb odors, smoke and VOCs from your indoor air.

3. Clean as you go

A good rule for any home cook is to clean equipment and surfaces as you go. Not only do you avoid a sink full of dishes but it also helps control odors. Wipe up splatters on the stove and countertop, and wash greasy cooking pans as soon as possible.

5. Spice things up

Simmer some of your favorite spices like cinnamon sticks, cloves and citrus peels in some water on the stove to freshen your air naturally and cover up any lingering odors.

Cooking odors and your health.

Some classes of odors and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released while cooking can also be harmful to our health. Once released into the air, they cling to fabrics and surfaces and can linger for days. The way we cook and store food can release smelly sulfurous, nitrogenous, volatile fatty acid, aldehyde, hydrocarbon, and alcohol compounds. Repeated exposure to indoor air pollutants, especially in an enclosed space with poor ventilation, can bring on headaches, fatigue, dermatitis, and more -many of the same symptoms often used to diagnose Sick Building Syndrome (SBS).

VOCs released during cooking can bring on headaches, fatigue and more serious conditions.

The most common ways to mask odors are air fresheners, HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems, and natural ventilation like ceiling fans and opening windows. While these efforts work to some extent, they don’t fully eliminate all of the odors. One of the most common pollutants released during cooking are aldehydes, which irritate our eyes and skin. While preparing foods, the level and type of VOCs emitted are strongly affected by ingredients, cooking oils, heating fuels, and how you are cooking the food.

Beyond the annoyance of lingering odors, other hazardous pollutants, like carcinogens, can be released during different stages of cooking. These types of compounds can cause everything from headaches to respiratory diseases such as lung cancer in nonsmokers.

For more on managing your indoor air quality while cooking, read the full study done by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, which used pan frying a mackerel to test which stages of cooking released the most noxious VOCs.

To keep your indoor air pure and pollutant free while cooking, select the Blueair purifier with the added SmokeStop filter that is right for your home.