Food that has been seasoned with curry can have a memorable impact on the taste buds. But if that same smell is allowed to permeate your cupboards, it can take over the entire space and leave it smelling like curry.
Not only does that dominate the entire cabinet, but the smell can also actually get into other spices being stored in the same area. The spices and other items will begin to absorb that curry odor, ruining the flavor in the process.
Curry tends to be quite difficult to get rid of. This is because curry is made up of very aromatic spices. When someone cooks with curry, it is very apparent and the same goes for that curry smell in cabinets and cupboards.
If that weren’t enough, curry can also work its way into the interior portion of the wood, making it that much more difficult to get out. Don’t worry, it’s possible to get the smell out but it might take a little bit of work depending on just how strong the curry smell is.
Getting Rid of Curry Smells
The first thing that you need to do is to take out everything from the impacted cabinet area. When you have moved everything to another area, you will need to clean out the interior of the cabinets. Use an all-purpose cleaner and a rag to get rid of any potential residue that the powder may have left in the space.
When you’re confident that all of the curry powder has been wiped away from the cabinet space, now it’s time to implement something to absorb the smell. Fill a small bowl with some activated charcoal or baking soda and place it into the cupboard, closing the door after you’re done.
This is important: leave the bowl in the cabinet area for three days so that it can properly absorb the smell. Curry smell is very strong and requires the proper amount of time to absorb all of those embedded smells.
Should the curry smell be there when you remove the deodorizer, try spraying the inside of the cabinet using some sort of industrial solvent deodorizer. These are typically available through janitorial supply companies and are meant to remove heavy-duty smells much worse than curry.
If you do implement an industrial deodorizer, make sure that you follow any manufacturer instructions. This is because the chemicals involved can have different impacts on different materials. You could be in for a harsh surprise if you just decide to wing it.
Should the curry odor still persist, you’ll need to get really serious and sand the interior of the cabinet using a fine-grit sandpaper. The sanding is meant to take out any of the curry smell that penetrated deep into the wood. Make sure that you vacuum up any of the dust created from sanding out of the cabinet.
When you’re finished sanding, it is time to apply a clear sealer to the interior of the cabinet. The sealer will help to contain any of the curry odor that may still be sitting inside the wood.
When the sealer has properly dried, apply your solvent deodorizer for a second time just to ensure that the smell has been dealt with.
How to Combat Curry (and Other Kitchen) Odors
Now that we see just how difficult it can be to get curry out of cabinets, you may have come to a conclusion. That conclusion is that it is far easier to prevent the smell of curry from permeating a cabinet rather than dealing with the problem later.
1 – Ventilation
The good news is that there are quite a few things that can be done to combat strong kitchen smells, curry included. The first thing to do is isolate your kitchen and provide proper air flow.
Close any nearby doors so that the smell can’t drift into those rooms and permeate the fabric within. With a strong smell like curry, the last thing you want is to have to deal with that strong smell in your blankets and pillows.
When you’ve closed off all the doors in the area, open up any windows and introduce a fan into the cooking area. Whether this is a ceiling fan or a hooded vent over your stove, the idea is to push the air out of the room or to pull it out through the vent. If you don’t have a vent, open windows will work fine.
Even if it doesn’t completely eliminate the smell of curry from your kitchen, it should at least work to cut down the potency of the smell and make it easier to get rid of when you’re done cooking.
2 – Use Odor Absorbers
Even if you do open the windows and use a fan, it couldn’t hurt to have another odor combatant in the mix.
Remember, strong odors are extremely difficult to get rid of after the fact. Any steps that you can take to prevent the smell may actually be far easier to do than to try to get rid of it later.
That said, there are quite a few things that you can implement to absorb the smell of curry. The aforementioned baking soda has natural odor absorbing qualities. Keeping a bowl of it near the stove can be a great way to suck up some of that strong smell.
There are also air purifying bags, charcoal bags, and even an air purifier. If you like to cook a lot and frequently use strong scents, it could be a good idea to invest in something to help cut down those smells over time.
3 – Combat it with Another Scent
Another great way to combat the smell of curry is to implement another strong smell to battle it. If you keep the windows open, it isn’t a bad idea to work to tip the balance of smells the other way by using something like a neutralizing candle.
These candles are expressly created to help mitigate strong smells while producing a lightly scented herbaceous or citrus smell. Whatever the choice, it will work to mitigate the smell of curry while introducing a fragrant, welcoming smell to your kitchen and home.
4 – Stay Splatter Free
One of the biggest ways that strong scents permeate a home is through splashing or staining.
When cooking, it is only natural that some of it splash and get onto the stove or countertops. When this happens and it isn’t cleaned up in relatively short order, it can soak into the material and become incredibly difficult to get rid of.
If you are a frequent splasher, it might be a good idea to invest in a splatter guard. There are also some splatter screens out there that have an activated carbon filter to help greatly reduce and mitigate strong cooking odors.
Even if you don’t want to invest in something like a splatter screen, make a habit out of wiping down the stove and nearby countertops during and after cooking. It may not work to completely rid the area of those strong smells, but it should work to at least mitigate the issue.
5 – Clean as You Go (and Right After Cooking)
While cleanup is not something that we look forward to doing, there is a very good reason for doing so. When those tough stains and smells are allowed to ingratiate themselves into cookware and countertops, they can seem impossible to get rid of.
Wherever possible, clean up as you cook. Wipe down surfaces, rinse out any dishes that you’re done with and put them in the dishwasher, and so on. This works to help mitigate the chance of those scents building up and also makes cleanup at the end of the meal seem a lot less daunting.
Speaking of the end of the meal, it may feel tempting to let those dishes hang out in the sink until the next morning, but don’t do it. All this does is let those strong scents and flavors absorb into the dishes and your kitchen.
Rinse things off and at least put them in the dishwasher so that the odors don’t have a chance to really leave their mark. You will be thankful that you took the 5 or 10 minutes to clean and didn’t let it wait for another time.
6 – White Vinegar Is Your Friend
Whether you have an existing scent that just won’t go away or you plan on using a strong scent in one of your upcoming meals, having white vinegar around is your biggest weapon. If you use it while cooking, white vinegar can help to neutralize even the strongest of smells.
If you waited too long and those smells are now stuck in your house, white vinegar is a great household cleaner that can help to neutralize even the worst of smells and stains. Keep some white vinegar in your home for a rainy day (or an awful stain/smell) and you’ll be prepared to handle anything that comes your way.
I have two Associate’s degrees, one in Medical Assisting and the other in Computer Technician, and I am roughly five classes from a bachelor’s degree. Though I never ended up working in the medical field, I have five and a half years of experience in IT. I recently became a stay-at-home mom to my two young boys, and I’m so excited to start this adventure with them! In my spare time, I love to bake and read pretty much anything I can get my hands on.