On cold days you can be faced with a dilemma: open your window to expel food odors or keep it closed to save heat. Is ventilation really necessary during cooking and what are other tips to keep food smells out?

Sauerkraut, cauliflower, garlic: smells are part of the cooking process, but when guests arrive or when the meal is finished, you want to get rid of them. Even though the heating is glowing nicely, Diet Groothuis from The big poetry book insists: during cooking you have to ventilate well if you want to expel food odors.

Without ventilation, the scent lingers easily. "Houses that are being delivered nowadays are often heavily insulated for environmental reasons," says Groothuis. "I also call them 'damp-proof' houses. Everything stays inside. Compare it to running in a rain suit. A ventilation grille or a window open during and after cooking is really no superfluous luxury."

Not only odors, but also harmful substances get stuck if you keep the windows closed, says Henke Groenwold, spokesperson for the GGD's environment and health department. "Think of nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide. It depends on how you cook; more harmful substances are released with gas, less with electrical and inductive cooking. Also, a lot of moisture enters your house through the water vapor released during cooking. Good so ventilate, otherwise you may suffer from humidity, mold and the associated complaints. "

Constantly keeping everything closed is not always more environmentally conscious

Keeping your window or ventilation grille constantly closed to save heat seems more environmentally conscious. But opening something up is not as bad as you think, says Groenwold. "If you keep everything closed, it will quickly get damp in the house. And it is precisely that moist air that feels colder and harder to get. It is possible that you will start firing extra, but that does not help: that damp air has to be removed. Ventilation is therefore correct handy. "

"Chemical odor control agents are bad for the environment and the wallet." Diet Groothuis, author of The big poetry book

This can be done by opening your windows for five to ten minutes, sliding your ventilation grille open - provided that the grille is properly cleaned, otherwise it makes no sense - or using a ventilation system.

Ventilation systems are common in new, often well-insulated houses, says Groenwold. "As GGD we often see that people do not know how to deal with ventilation systems. Often they have not been given a good explanation and they put the system on a low position or pull the plug out because of the noise. But in these houses there is ventilation very important. When cooking, it must be at the highest setting. "


  • Ventilate your house well during and after cooking to eliminate food odors
  • This way you also avoid the influence of harmful substances
  • In addition, poor ventilation ensures high humidity in your home
  • That moist air has to be removed: extra heating does not help
  • Everything lingers in new, well-insulated houses
  • Ventilation systems must be at the highest setting when cooking
  • Dispel stubborn food odors with trays of cleaning vinegar
  • For a quick, tasty scent: spray essential oils

Trays with cleaning vinegar against the odor

Some intense food odors may linger despite ventilation. Groothuis recommends cleaning vinegar for this. "It's that simple," she says laughing. "I put a container with cleaning vinegar in it. The most effective thing is to open a container of vinegar and open the window."

"Go out the door for a moment and when you return, the food smells will be less. Will the smell still linger? Place several trays of cleaning vinegar and leave them overnight."

If you want to get rid of the odor very quickly because the guests are almost at the door, Groothuis recommends spraying essential oils around. "Mix the oils with water in a spray. I also have a bottle like that on the toilet."

Groothuis is not a fan of chemical odor controlers, sprayers and odor sticks. "All those chemicals are bad for the environment and your wallet. Chemical compounds are also unhealthy. It is filthy junk. Rather use natural resources."