7 Major Sources of Odor in the Kitchen and Preventions in 2022

Major Sources of Odor in the Kitchen

Every kitchen has its own distinct set of odors that are difficult to eliminate. Many odors are present in the food you prepare, while others are brought into your home from the environment.

Most cooks become accustomed to their cooking odors after a while. But unwelcome odors can easily ruin a meal for guests or family members.

Also, some odors can be a sign of a potential health risk if they are not eliminated from your environment. The following is a list of the seven major sources of odor in the kitchen and eliminate or reduce them.

Also Read About: Best Air Purifiers for Kitchen

7 Sources of Odor in the Kitchen

So, below are the major sources of kitchen odors;

1. Garlic & Onions

Garlic, onions, leeks and scallions contain volatile sulfur compounds that produce a strong odor. Proper storage is the key to reducing odors from these ingredients. Drain off liquids, wrap tightly in plastic and store in a cool area to prevent spoiling and odor production. Also, do not store them near fresh produce as they may transfer their odors.

2. Fish

Fish, including shellfish, contain trimethylamine, which is released through their gills. This compound produces a strong odor that can easily linger in your kitchen. To avoid this problem, it is best to store fish on ice or refrigerate it quickly.

3. Spoiled Food

A common cause of unpleasant kitchen odors is spoiled food. Spoiled foods often develop a sour or musty smell, which may become noticeable during storage. However, some types of spoilage are not detected by the human nose.

These volatile compounds are not detectable by humans but can still cause off-odors in your kitchen. To reduce this type of odor problem, keep your refrigerator clean and tightly sealed. Also, properly store food, frequently check expiration dates on labels, and use fresh ingredients for best results.

4. Vinegar

Vinegar is a widespread ingredient found in many kitchens, and it certainly has its uses including killing mold. But it can also be the source of an unpleasant smell. To reduce this odor problem, simply let bowls or pans containing vinegar sit overnight before washing them.

5. Mold

Mold is another common cause of unusual kitchen odors. It can easily grow in damp areas like under the sink or around leaky pipes. Mold should always be cleaned up promptly by following the manufacturer’s directions on the product you are using.

Once mold has grown in your home, it can be difficult to rid of its presence even with regular cleaning. However, there are some things you can do to reduce odor problems caused by mold infestation. These precautions inlcude reducing humidity levels through proper ventilation and dehumidification.

6. Cooking

The last major source of odor in your kitchen is cooking. This usually means frying or sauteing ingredients, but it can also refer to boiling, baking or roasting. Like spoiled food, some types of cooking odors are not detectable by humans. Because these are created by odorless chemical compounds or not easily detected by human noses.

To reduce this odor problem, be sure to use fresh ingredients when possible. Because pre-packaged foods often contain strong preservatives and other chemicals for preservation purposes. These chemicals may cause odors to form during the cooking process.

7. Chemical Odors

The last type of odor we should mention is the unexpected chemical smell. This can be caused by any number of household cleaners and other potentially dangerous chemicals that may cause strong odors if spilt or mixed together.

To avoid this problem, you should always follow the manufacturer’s directions when using cleaning products. Also, store them in their original containers for safekeeping.


As you can see, there are several different types of potential causes for odor problems in your kitchen. So, it is essential to identify the source of each situation before trying to eliminate the unwanted smell.

Fortunately, by properly managing your ingredients and cleaning up spills quickly, you can cut down on the most common odor problems in your kitchen.