As a fresh homeowner, all you want to do is move in, curl up, and relish in your cozy, new-to-you domicile.
There are some things that put a halt to these plans—sometimes pushing the actual move-in date until the very end of the process—and much to do with the previous owners.
If they were big home chefs, you might still have the ghosts of dinners past in your home, and they just won’t leave. And, one of the kings of lingering cooking smells?
A delicious dish with a plethora of spices—yet only to be enjoyed the day of. Any smells that seem to stick around just aren’t welcome.
Before moving into your new home, you’ll want to get rid of these unbecoming odors and replace them with fresh, clean air.
And, it’s easier than you’d think.
After a decade of renovating my rental units, I’ve become somewhat of an expert at removing lingering smells like curry.
Using a vinegar-water mixture to clean all surfaces in your kitchen and washing/replacing all home appliance filters will dramatically reduce lingering smells in your home.
Although the method above should remove most curry smells in a home, I recommend reading on if you’re looking to go full curry-smell-buster!
Replacing Items in the Home
Odors—especially kitchen odors, especially curry—stick to every possible surface imaginable. The combination of oil and heat helps the curry to become airborne and invade the surfaces in your home.
If your home comes with anything at all inside—namely, materials in fabric such as curtains—your best bet is just to throw them out.
If you really want to start fresh and get that curry smell out, it’s no use cleaning something that may not even stick around for the long haul—and bring the odors along with it.
This includes any kind of air filters your home may have. Check your air conditioner units, range hood filters, main heaters, etc., for anything that filters the air, and replace it immediately. Find the sources that caused the smells in the first place.
You may even want to look into replacing kitchen appliances such as the microwave or range hood.
In a recent article, I discuss the importance of using the right range hood.
No Surface Left Behind
Again, the meals cooked in your kitchen will hold on for dear life to any—I mean any—possible surface.
If the smell is too strong, you’ll likely want to clean every room of the house to eliminate the odors of your previous owners’ dinners totally.
Follow these cleaning steps to get started de-curry-ing your home:
- Before getting started, ensure all the windows in your home are open. The vinegar vapors can be irritating to the skin and eyes.
- Put a mixture with the ratios of 1 cup of water to 2 tablespoons of white vinegar into a spray bottle.
- Spray and wipe down all shelves, tables, counters, and other surfaces. This includes doors and windows. Wipe down all sides, not just the top horizontal surface.
- You’ll want to get especially invasive in the kitchen. Wipe and scrub down all appliances vigorously. Make a separate mixture of 1 part water to 1 part white vinegar to use in these high-curry-traffic areas.
Be sure to check the sides of your range for grease and food debris that has slipped down the gap between your range and countertop. You’re in luck because I discovered the best hack to stop food from ever falling down that gap.
- Spray all the walls with the more diluted mixture until lightly damp. Don’t wipe down—let the vinegar mixture air dry.
- If you’re looking to go full Rambo, a robot vacuum and mops can also be helpful tools to help eliminate the smell from floors. Without lifting a finger, you can schedule it to clean how many times you want a week. In this recent article, I write about how robot mops can replace 95% of your mopping.
Hands-Free Cleaning Solution
The Roborock S7 is one of the smartest robot mopping and vacuuming combos in the market. It provides an extremely convenient, totally hands-free cleaning experience. Using the Empty Wash Fill Dock, you get automatic dust emptying, mop washing, and robot water tank refilling. The dock even cleans itself too
Are you down with TSP, yeah you know me! If the build-up is a bit more stubborn, I use water and TSP mixture. TSP works wonders! I call it the grease killer. I always keep either a granular one in the box or the spray bottle around.
You can get a box of TSP here on Amazon. If pretty inexpensive.
How to Use Good Microbes to Eliminate Smells
At most hardware stores, you can find a product advertising “Live Microbial Agent.”
This product contains live bacteria that literally eats and processes existing pollution—including odors—in the air.
- Again, you’ll want to keep your windows open for this process.
- Mix the microbial agent with equal parts of water and transfer it to a spray bottle.
- Spray your entire home with the mixture—including walls and carpets—and let it air dry for two days.
- This process can be repeated as many times as necessary before moving on.
Purify the Air in Your Home
Your last step before a curry-free home is to clean the air. This has been lightly occurring throughout the cleaning process, but this is the last big push to get rid of any last stubborn odors.
Creating a simmer pot can purify the air and bring in a fresh, new-home smell.
This process can be done multiple times with multiple ingredients to first deodorize and then perfume your home.
It’s recommended to start with a mixture of only white vinegar (you can dilute it with water if the scent is too strong). You’ll want to keep your windows open for this.
However, there are a variety of other mixtures that both purify and perfume your home. Choose them in any order to desire, but it is recommended to start with one simmering pot that contains white vinegar to some degree.
Here are our favorite simmer pot recipes:
● Simple Vinegar: Add white vinegar—that’s it.
● Spiced Vinegar: 3 cups vinegar, 1 cup water, and six sticks of cinnamon.
● Lemon Water: 1-quart water, one lemon (sliced)
● Summer Fresh: water (fill the pot), ¼ cup dried eucalyptus leaves, ½ cup fresh ginger peels, two lemon rinds
● Autumn Leaves water (fill the pot), two tablespoons cloves, two sticks of cinnamon, 5-star anises, and one orange peel.
● Christmas Morning: water (fill the pot), a handful of pine needles (or 3 sprigs of evergreen), 2 sticks of cinnamon, 2 tablespoons of cloves, 2 bay leaves, 2 orange rings, 2 lemon rinds.
Remember that you can mix and match any ingredients that call out to you.
It’s also good to know that the vinegar acts as a solvent in the simmering pot—this means that any essential oils extracted from the ingredients you add will be more aromatic and more easily dispersed.
Once you’ve chosen and gathered your ingredients, follow these steps to activate your simmer pot and complete the last step of eliminating the curry odors from your home:
- Ensure all internal doors in your home are open to allow airflow from the simmering pot throughout your home.
- Place all your ingredients into a pot.
- Turn your stove’s heat to high and bring it to a boil.
- Once at a boil, lower the heat to a simmer.
- Let simmer for about 4 hours minimum (you can keep it on longer, but watch out for ingredients that get burnt—this could reverse the simmer pot effect. Be advised that some ingredients, namely the more fragrant, perfuming simmer pots, may only be effective for about an hour).
- Make sure the pot doesn’t go dry. If the water level gets low, replenish the pot with more water and/or vinegar.
- Optional: Once your simmer pot is at room temperature, you can deposit any remaining liquid/ingredients into jars to be placed around your home to further purify the air.
Using Paint to Remove Smells in the Home
Although painting can be a pricy endeavor, it is one of the ultimate ways for helping to get rid of smells in the home.
I would use paint in conjunction with wiping your kitchen and cleaning/replacing your filters.
Smells can travel throughout the home and permeate into the existing paint.
Giving your home a fresh coat of paint will trap any lingering odor.
Pro tip: I highly recommend wiping your walls before painting. This will remove oils, dust, or dirt on your wall’s surface.
By doing this, your paint will adhere to the wall better. I’ve been using the paint and primer in one for many years, and it works fantastic!
I’ve been using the BEHR product from Home Depot for years, and I’m extremely happy with it.
When I paint my home with 2-in-1 paint, I actually feel like I’m making progress due to using the actual paint color, and I don’t get stuck with extra primer.
Add Professional Deodorizing to Your Offer to Purchase
If you’re not ready to try to remove smells from your home after purchase, consider making it part of the offer. This works better in a buyer market, I wouldn’t recommend this clause in a hot real estate market.
I’ve sold homes in the past where the buyer requested that I do certain items to the house before the deal was closed.
Be mindful of the type of market you’re in. If the seller is getting multiple offers on the home, you might want to reconsider asking for any kind of professional home detailing or deodorizing.
If you truly love the house and don’t want to risk losing the home, it’s better to tackle the odor yourself with some of the above-mentioned techniques.
Recommended Read: Do Air Purifiers Work on Pet Odors?
Always consult your agent first if you’re considering something like this. They will recommend a suitable course of action.