Removing Cooking Odors from Your Home

About six weeks ago, the kids and I headed to our little town’s farmers market.  Although the markets in Austin are open year around, the one in our community is only open during the summer months.  I thought the kids would get a kick out of going to the market and picking out a few vegetables for us to make with our dinner that night.

Zack, who is 7 years old, fell in love with the bunches of fresh carrots with the leafy stems still attached.  The poor kid had only eaten baby carrots out of a bag – never fresh from a farm or a garden.  Seeing the delight on his face while he tasted a delicious, fresh carrot was a life-altering moment for me.  I needed to do a better job making sure my kids were eating farm fresh, local foods for both the health and flavor aspects.

That night, I went online and purchased a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) share from a local organic farm.  They have a great reputation in the community and their produce is always beautiful. Even better, they deliver in my neighborhood, so each Friday afternoon a box of veggies that were pulled from the ground that very morning is delivered on my doorstep.  It’s pretty amazing.  Each Monday, they post pictures of what will be coming in the box that week (they deliver to different areas throughout the week), and this is what I’m expecting in a few days.  I’ll definitely be making Grandma’s Southern Summer Squash this week!

CSA Box from Johnson's Backyard Garden in Austin, Texas

The introduction of more local produce has meant a few things for our family.  First, we are eating better.  I do cook with a lot of butter, but that has to be better for us than the junk we were eating before (or at least that’s what I tell myself).  Second, I don’t have to go to the grocery store as often. And most importantly, we are cooking a lot more and trying a lot of things that we normally would have ignored.

All of that cooking has brought about a lot of dishes to wash – and a lot of odors in our home.  Although tasty, some things I’ve made haven’t left the greatest odor in our house.  Cabbage, Brussels sprouts and cauliflower are some of the biggest offenders.  Even when it’s just something like beans cooked with garlic, the odor will linger for days.  I have a really sensitive nose, and no amount of kitchen cleaning or Scentsy burning can take away that smell.

So this month, instead of smelling last night’s dinner every time I walk into the house, we decided to replace our furnace filters with the Filtrete Odor Reduction Filters that 3M sent to me.  My hope was that they would help to trap the kitchen odors in the filters instead of just masking the smell like candles and air fresheners do.  We have three separate ceiling intakes (with three different sizes!) throughout the house, so I went ahead and replaced them all with the Odor Reduction filters instead of just the one near the kitchen.  Well, Emma and I replaced them.

The family on the packaging seems happy with their filters, don’t they?  In fact, they remind me a lot of our family – Mom on the computer, Dad making dinner, a dog in the kitchen.  The biggest difference is that my dog would have already jumped up on the counter to eat the cherry tomatoes and lemons that Dad left out.  Rookie mistake with a giant dog, Dad!

Filtrete Odor Reduction Filter

What makes these filters special is that they have a unique, two-sided design.  One of them captures large airborne particles (like allergens and dust) and the other side removes household odors (like cooking, cigarette and pet odors).  They definitely look different that other filters.  In fact, they really look like something I’d decide to hang on a feature wall.  But don’t worry, I won’t.

Filtrete Odor Reduction Filter

Filtrete claims that these Odor Reduction filters start to remove even the strongest odors just minutes after the furnace fan is turned on.  To put that to the test, I installed the filters shortly before we cooked an extremely stinky dinner – black pepper and garlic hamburgers, baked beans and kale chips.  It was delicious, but I knew that the garlic and kale odors were going to linger for a while.  I didn’t think the filters were going to be a magic solution, but I thought they would at least help.

And they did!

This morning when I drug myself out of bed and over to the coffee maker, I was surprised to find that the kitchen area only slightly smelled of kale, and I think that’s because there were some leftover chips in the garbage can.  Upstairs in my office, I can’t smell it at all. It’s pretty remarkable, because the kale chips had an odor similar to baked Brussles sprouts when they were in the oven.  I thought it might just be my imagination, but I noticed that the filters get good reviews on Amazon (which I generally trust).

If you cook a lot, have pets or a smoker in your home, I really think you should give these a try to see if it helps in your home.  They retail for about $16 each and last up to three months.  I found a $6 off rebate when you buy three Filtrete filters, so make sure you print that out if you buy three or more of them.

I’m still going to burn my Scentsy scents because I just like the way they make my home smell, but now maybe they won’t compete with the cooking odors.  Score!

 Find Filtrete on:

Want to win $30,000 worth of home inspections, repairs and renovations?  Heck yeah, you do! One grand-prize winner will be selected by HGTV’s Mike Holmes, and four first-prize winners will win $5,000.  To enter (through June 30, 2013), visit and “like” the page to visit the contest page.  Then, explain in 1,000 words or less why YOUR home is deserving of a Healthier Home Remodel.  You can also submit up to two photos.  For more details, view the official rules.

Disclosure: This is a sponsored post for Filtrete. I am proud to work with 3M and will be sharing more home maintenance information from 3M Filtrete in future posts. I was given key messages to share, but all the words and thoughts are my own.  I have been compensated for my time and for this post.

Filed Under: Giveaways & Product Reviews

About Lindsay Ballard

Lindsay Ballard is a former college mascot turned political geek turned DIY fanatic who is conspiring to live in a Technicolor dream world. Her designs are bold and graphic, while her spirit is fun and full of color. Lindsay chronicles her projects and design ideas here at Makely, where she shares daily tutorials and inspiration. Lindsay lives outside of Austin, Texas with her husband (Tom), children (Zack and Emma) and dogs (Jack and Duke).


  1. Susan form Michigan says:

    Lindsay, We have a hot air heating system which doesn’t use filters, do you, or your readers have any ideas on how to get rid of cooking smells for me? In the summer we do all our cooking outside, but in the winter some of the stronger odors linger.
    Thanks, Susan

    • Hey Susan! I don’t know how a hot air heating system works, but I wonder if there’s anyway to put some activated charcoal somewhere. Is there an intake on your floor or ceiling?

  2. Julia @ cuckoo4design says:

    Haha, I’m still going to burn my scentsy scents too 😉
    And wow, $30 000 prizes. That’s so awesome!

  3. Just curious, is your CSA through Greenling? I’m in San Antonio and have waffled over biting the bullet and ordering the local box for years.

    • Hey Angela- No, we’re through Johnson’s Backyard Garden. I will say that my friend who is a big foodie and runs a farm to market blog said that she hasn’t heard good things about the Greenling local box – there have been several people who said that their produce was in bad condition when they got it.

      • Good to know – I’ve ordered Thanksgiving turkeys from them with success but never produce. I guess it shouldn’t be *that* big a deal for me to get my butt out of bed on a Saturday morning and hit the actual market more than once a year.

        Also, I have never seen anything like those purple peppers in your box – but I’ve officially decided they are the coolest things ever.

  4. We love this idea for getting rid of cooking orders. . . Fill the Little Dipper Crockpot with water to the rim and dump in a bunch of baking soda. Stir. Plug in. By morning the cooking odors are gone! Works for everything from fish to brussel sprouts! I keep a white Little Dipper just for this use. My black Little Dipper is used for cooking. That way I don’t have to worry about removing baking soda residue before heating food.