Can Air Purifiers Remove Cooking Odors?

If you’re someone like me that loves cooking a range of different meals, you’ll know about all the different smells that end up releasing into the air. And while most of the food I make smells really good – I don’t want it to end up on my clothes, which I often dry in the kitchen.

This leaves me smelling like the food I cooked at work, which isn’t something I want.

And when searching for solutions, I saw one home cook on Reddit recommend an air purifier. But as far as I could remember, air purifiers were designed to clean the air indoors from irritants – not from cooking odors.

So, I went and did some more research, and to my surprise – I quickly came across the answer and ended up buying a special type of air purifier that can help me with the cooking odors that are released into the air as a result of my cooking.

So, if you too are wondering whether or not air purifiers can help with cooking odors – in this article, I will tell you more about it. Aside from that, I’ll also tell you exactly what you need to look for in an air purifier that can take care of cooking odors, so you don’t end up buying the wrong unit.

Can My Air Purifier Remove Kitchen Odors?

Yes, your air purifier will be able to remove kitchen odors – as long as you have bought the air purifier in the first place. What I mean by this is that you need to have an air purifier with an active carbon filter. This is because this type of filtration system is great against gasses, VOCs, and odors – such as that of your cooking.

That being said, if your air purifier has a real HEPA filter – it will not be able to help you free the air from all of the cooking odors present in the air. The great thing about air purifiers these days is that you don’t need to pick either-or.

My air purifier for example features both a real HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. That way, it not only takes care of all the cooking odors in my home but also all the irritants in the air that normally cause me allergic reactions.

If you’re looking for an air purifier that can solely take care of your kitchen odors – I think that’s a waste of money. You can simply open the windows, and the fresh air from outside will quickly clear up the smell in the air from your cooking. But then again, if it’s cold out and you don’t want to make your entire house cold – an air purifier with an activated carbon filter will come a long way.

What To Look for in a Kitchen Air Purifier

If you‘re buying an air purifier specifically to remove kitchen odors, you can’t just get any model. Sadly, most air purifiers are designed to cleanse the air. This means removing pollutants and particles like dust and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). Their primary purpose isn’t to eliminate odors, so not all models can get the job done.

However, there are plenty of options on the market that can help you remove the delicious smell of your food before it spreads around the house and settles into the fabric of your clothes.

While I can’t direct you to any particular mode because everyone has different needs and budgets, what I can do is tell you exactly what you need to look for.

A Carbon Filter

This is the most important factor to keep in mind when shopping for an air purifier if you want to eliminate cooking odors. I highly recommend only going for air purifiers with some sort of carbon filtration system if you want to remove odors from your kitchen effectively. If the air purifier doesn’t have a carbon filter, it won’t be able to clear out odors as well as you’d like.

Carbon filters are great pieces of technology. They are precise enough to filter out very fine particles like smoke and VOCs. However, their biggest advantage is that they can filter out odors, which is exactly what you’re looking for.

High Fan Speeds

While the carbon filter is probably the most crucial feature you need in an air purifier to take care of those cooking odors, I also recommend getting a unit with a large purification capacity and high fan speeds.

This way, your air purifier can capture as much of the odor in the kitchen and eliminate it before it spreads around your house. Aside from that, when the air purifier blows around a lot more air around the room – it doesn’t allow any of the cooking odors that are yet to be purified from settling on your kitchen walls, clothes, and furniture.

Automatic Detection

One really awesome feature that I think every air purifier should have is an automatic detection sensor.

This sensor is great for several reasons – one of which is turning the air purifier on and off as necessary depending on the air quality in the room.

For instance – if the sensor can sense a high level of gasses such as cooking odors in the air – rather than you going and turning the air purifier on – the sensor will automatically trigger the unit and make it run.

This is far from a necessary feature, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t useful. Remember, air purifiers are there to make your life more convenient.

So, if you aren’t a fan of constantly tweaking the settings or don’t want to touch the LED display of your air purifier with dirty fingers, then I highly recommend looking for an option with an automatic detection sensor.

A HEPA Filter

If you’re getting an air purifier – even with the sole goal to purify kitchen odor – I’d still recommend you to look for a unit that also features a real HEPA filter.

There are plenty of great options out there that have both types of filters – one of which is the LEVOIT Core 300. It’s not only cheap but also extremely effective against gasses and solid particles.

How to Make the Most Out of Your Air Purifier

Buying an air purifier with a carbon filter and letting it be in your kitchen isn’t good enough. And while that will certainly do the job – there are things you can do in order to optimize it and really reap the benefits of your brand new unit.

In the section below, I’ll share with you my first-hand experience of what you can do to make the most out of your air purifier.

Conduct Regular Maintenance

Like any device or piece of technology, air purifiers too require some level of maintenance.

For the most part – all you’ll really need to do is clean the unit from time to time and make sure that it isn’t starting to clog up.

I’d recommend you to clean your air purifier every couple of months depending on how often you make use of it.

If you have an air purifier with a dual filtration system, you should clean the real HEPA filter between 1-3 months and change it every 12 months.

When it comes to the carbon active filter, you can’t clean those, so you should be prepared to replace it every couple of months too depending on usage.

Place the Unit in a Suitable Place

Placing your air purifier anywhere in the kitchen and just letting it be isn’t a bad idea but you can do better.

If you’re cooking and want to purify all the odors right away – I’d recommend you to place the air purifier close to where you’re doing all the cooking.

That way, the large majority of the odor will go through the air purification filter and be eliminated before it spreads elsewhere in the room.

Keep Your Air Purifier On All the Time

If you want to make the most out of your air purifier, you need to keep it on for as long as possible. And though this might sound like a very big waste of energy – it actually isn’t.

I had the exact same feelings as you until I did some research and found out that air purifiers are actually designed to operate around the clock.

Not only that but I also did a little more digging and calculated how much electricity my air purifier uses based on my needs.

If I used my air purifier for 18 hours per day for 30 days straight – that will only cost between $3 and $7 extra, which is a worthwhile trade-off in my personal opinion.

Other Ways to Remove Cooking Odors

Though I didn’t get my air purifier to strictly remove cooking odors – it was a game-changer for me. I wasn’t a particularly big fan of my clothes or hair smelling like food every night after dinner – but now that I have the air purifier on while cooking – that is no longer something I need to worry about.

However, even though you have your air purifier on, there are other things you can do on top in order to further remove any cooking odors around your kitchen.

Below, I will share some of my favorite ways to minimize the cooking odors on top of using the air purifier.

Clean Pots and Pans Regularly

The first tip I can recommend is deep cleaning your pots and pans regularly. The pots and pans you use when cooking hold the odor of whatever food you cooked.

While most of these odors dissipate after a while, there are some that really stick to the pot, and the longer you let it sit, the worse it gets.

But if you make sure to deep clean the pots and pans immediately after cooking, you’ll find that you get rid of the odors right away.

The benefit of eliminating the odors right away is that they don’t get the opportunity to cling on to curtains and other parts of the house that the air purifier will have a hard time getting to.

Use Vinegar and Baking Soda

If the odors have really stuck to the walls, then you won’t be able to do much with an air purifier. This is because the smells are no longer in the air and because of that – the air purifier won’t be able to get hold of them. So, you have to comprehensively clean the kitchen walls if you want any chance at effectively removing the odors.

I found that one of the best ways to remove the different scents from the walls is by using a mixture of baking soda and vinegar. These two ingredients make a very powerful cleaning agent and are one of my most treasured life hacks.

Using vinegar and baking soda won’t make your walls smell sour. However, if you want the walls to retain a fresh odor, I recommend scrubbing them down with baking soda and vinegar then finishing the job with your favorite household cleaner.

Proper Ventilation

Additionally, you want to make sure the kitchen is properly ventilated each and every day. This is how you can ensure that the smells leave the kitchen as soon as possible and don’t have time to get stuck into your furniture, clothes, and your kitchen walls.

So, I recommend opening windows to let the air out and turning on the fan to allow better circulation. Opening the windows while you’re cooking is an even better idea, which is something I do quite often. In such a case – I don’t even bother turning the air purifier on.


Everyone loves the smell of delicious food, but not when it gets deeply integrated into the fabric of our clothes and furniture. In order to prevent that, you need to properly ventilate your kitchen and make use of an air purifier.

And not just any air purifier but a unit with a carbon active filter. This type of filtration system is great with battling gasses, cooking odor, and other unpleasant smells.