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How to Cook in Your Apartment without the Smoke and Smells

April 02, 2020

The Joy of Odorless Cooking

Tens of millions of tenants fancy themselves as good cooks. They may not have much training but they like the idea of putting together a fresh, tasty meal for themselves or family.

And it seems the tastiest food and recipes involve ingredients that fill the room with a little too much aroma.

Due to the Covid 19 pandemic, hundreds of millions of people are at home all day. That means more meals are being prepared and cooked at home. For apartment buildings, it equates to increased electrical usage, more smoke from cooking, more refuse, and more water and utility usage. It may increase tenant complaints too.

15 Tips to Keep Your Cooking Tenant Friendly

We’ve got 15 helpful tips to aid to help apartment dwellers avoid producing a lot of smoke and odors while cooking. A few improvements in how tenants cook can go a long way to keeping all tenants happy.

Cooking Pungent and Stinky Foods

It’s human to launch into cooking for the joy of cuisine without considering how the heat, fumes and smoke will exit your unit. Many apartment buildings or houses with multiple rental suites weren’t designed to handle intense cooking output.

In either environment, an open window or kitchen range fan might not be enough to contain the smoke and smells.

The nose is a powerful sensory organ and it won’t take much smoke or smell lofting up or in someone’s apartment to start a complaint by a tenant. After all, strong odors often cling to linen, furniture, drapery, towels, and even clothing.

After you’ve paid your dry cleaning bills, a new smell of intense fish or cooking spices in your work clothes would definitely create a response.

Other Tenant’s Health is Important

The smoke from a balcony barbecue or flying pan can affect some people’s breathing as well, just like a nearby open backyard firepit.  The closeness of apartment living today necessitates being considerate of other’s health and comfort. It’s often up to the landlord to settle disputes and complaints. Landlords need policies and strategies to prevent heated situations between tenants.

The Fair Housing Act may allow tenants to prepare and cook foods they like, yet some jurisdictions (New York City) may have strict guidelines about the fumes from cooking.

Obviously in an apartment, intense smoke can set off fire alarms, which could conceivably result in fines or eviction is persistent. In one case, the affected tenant in the UK sued the landlord over “extreme cooking smells.”

The Worst Smokey and Smelly Foods?

There are some foods that give off such strong odors or smoke, it is difficult to contain them.

That list would include common ones such as: garlic, onions, bacon, fish, broccoli, hamburgers, steak, curry, cumin, brussel sprouts, asparagus. There are plenty of ethnic dishes being cooked that contain thousands of ingredients that curl the nose.

15 Ways to Control Cooking Odors in Apartments

We thought we’d offer out top 15 tips on carefree cooking, while mitigating any fumes that might disrupt our neighbors enjoyment of living as well.

  1. use smaller amounts of garlic, onions, spice
  2. cook less smelly varieties of fish
  3. cut out the stinky parts of fresh fish
  4. soak the fish for 20 minutes (“America’s Test Kitchen recommends soaking the fish in milk for 20 minutes and patting it dry to remove any fishy odors. The casein in the milk binds to the trimethylamine, so the offending compound is drained away with the milk” — from
  5. use olive oil to fry your foods
  6. don’t burn your bacon, hamburger
  7. cook at lower but still safe temperatures
  8. use a spatter control screen
  9. avoid oversteaming your stinky vegetables
  10. avoid boiling food
  11. use a range fan on high setting even if it’s noisy
  12. open windows and use a fan to push the exhaust air outside
  13. use a large electronic air filter on your kitchen counter
  14. bake your food instead of frying
  15. put out a few bowls of white vinegar or baking soda

There you have 15 ways tenants can create a safer, more healthy meal, while respecting tenants wishes for clean, non-odorous air in their apartments.

Are your kids bored?  See our tips on kid friendly activities and more on the value of playtime for kids living in apartment buildings.

Find more interesting blogs about property management here on Let this be your homepage for the house and apartment rental market.


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