Dear Home Ec 101,
I love having my home grown bacon or sausage on the weekend, but how do I get rid of the horrible grease smell after I have enjoyed breakfast?
The aroma of cooking food is a mixed blessing at best. The odors drift throughout the house as an aerosol or a suspension of solid particles in a gas. Think of it like aerosol hairspray, only with tiny droplets of bacon scented grease. This grease floats around until it bumps into something solid where it enjoys its new role as a scented dust magnet. Yay! Fun.
Running the range hood can help, as some of the grease particles will be trapped by the filter, but if it’s not vented outside, just spits the escapee grease particles back into the kitchen.
To cut down on the number of free floating particles released into the air, use a spatter shield when frying.
Moving as much air outside as possible can help, too. If the kitchen has a window, a fan set to exhaust can help move the air and floating grease outside where it belongs. This method is very helpful, but not as effective as a properly sized and vented range hood.
Air purifiers are also quite helpful with removing cooking odors. These units typically draw air over a charged plate that attracts particles, once the particles are stuck, they can’t drift around carrying offensive odors.
As a home owner, when it comes time to upgrade the kitchen, don’t underestimate the benefit of installing an exhaust fan that has the appropriate size and power for your cook-top or range. Not only will it keep the kitchen cooler and reduce odors, it will help prevent the annoying buildup of grease on kitchen furniture.
Sometimes I see the suggestion to dampen a kitchen towel with dilute white vinegar and twirl it around the room to gather some of the grease particles. White vinegar is great at removing odors, but I haven’t tried this and my guess is more than anything it gives a person a sense of having done something. Your mileage may vary.
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