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An overcooked pot could lead to a lot of hard cleaning work

A friend of mine recently had a long weekend planned. With three days of rest and relaxation planned, she decided to cook a romantic meal for her and her husband. She put chicken in a pot and placed it on the stove. She was short of herbs, so popped next door to borrow some from her neighbor.

Two glasses of wine and two hours later, she returned home to a smoke-filled kitchen. Instead of a weekend doing nothing, she spent the next three days getting rid of the burnt smell.

Air freshener won’t clean the air

The first thing my friend did was to turn off the hob and open the window. That’s a good move – fresh air is essential. Use fans to help direct the smoke out of the house. If similar happens in your kitchen, you should also turn on the exhaust fan. Once it’s safe to pick up the pan, dispose of your burnt offerings. Bag it all and get it out of the home as soon as possible.

Whatever you do, don’t get out the air freshener. It won’t work. At the very best, you will simply cover the burnt smell for a few minutes. It will return with a vengeance.

Neutralize the burnt smell

To neutralize the smell, put pots of vinegar or lemon juice around your home. If you don’t like the smell of vinegar, you might try soaking cotton balls in vanilla oils and leaving them around your home. However, this won’t be enough. You’ll need to clean your furniture, fabrics, and carpets. The smell of burnt food is carried in smoke, and if you don’t clean up properly it will linger for eternity.

Scrub your kitchen

Every item in your kitchen will need to be cleaned thoroughly. You’ll need to empty cabinets, and wash every plate, pot, pan, utensil, and item of cutlery. It’s a big job. But it doesn’t stop there.

With the cabinets empty, scrub every shelf and door. Use trisodium phosphate (TSP) to do this. Use the TSP to clean down all surfaces, too. Get in behind all your white goods and wash down the walls from ceiling to floor. And don’t forget the ceiling. Take light fittings apart, and scrub them, too. Be prepared to repeat this whole process at least twice. After using the TSP, scrub down with an all-purpose cleaner.

A word of warning here: don’t use TSP on metal.

Carpets, curtains, and clothes

Now for fabrics and soft furnishings. They all need to be cleaned. Curtains will need to be removed and sent to dry cleaners. To clean smoke smell from carpets, you may find that sprinkling them with baking soda and leaving overnight before vacuuming, then placing pots of vinegar around your home for at least three days does the trick. The best course of action is, of course, to use a professional carpet clean on location.

All soft furnishings will need to be deodorized, as will any clothes that have been contaminated with the burnt smell – after you have spent the whole weekend with your washing machine running 24/7.

A lesson learned

My friend learned a big lesson the hard way. The best way to avoid a smoke-filled kitchen, and horrible burnt smells around the home, is not to leave any pot unwatched. Don’t let yourself be distracted. If you need extra ingredients, gather them before firing up your stove.

If you do have an accident in the kitchen here in NJ, and don’t relish spending your long weekend cleaning up and getting rid of the burnt smell, contact Porter’s Cleaning today – we’ll be happy to provide a no-obligation quote for any clean-up and restoration work that may be needed.

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