How to Get Rid of Bad Smell in Kitchen Cupboards | 2023 Updated Guide and its partners may earn a commission if you purchase a product through one of our links.

Food aromas can be especially appealing while cooking, but can very quickly become unpleasant when they tend to linger the following day and further than that. Many people struggle to get rid of lingering unpleasant odors in their kitchen cabinets. So here are several tips and tricks to help you get rid of the bad odors in your kitchen.

Natural Remedies

There are several natural remedies, some of the natural solutions are as follows:


Vinegar has deodorizing properties and also enacts as a cleaning and disinfecting item. It’s used in the top floor cleaners as well.

  • Fill in a bowl of water and add either white vinegar or cider vinegar to the bowl of water.
  • Then place it in the malodorous kitchen cupboard.
  • The unpleasant cabinet odor should be gone within a day.

If you dislike the strong smell of vinegar, you can also add a few drops of fragrant essential oils to the mixture of vinegar and water. All of which have further antibacterial agents. The smell of vinegar dissipates soon after its use.


Charcoal can also help you get rid of that unpleasant odor in our kitchen cabinets.

  • You can take a whole lump of charcoal and then place it in your kitchen cabinet. The lump of charcoal will absorb the bad odor, and within no time, your kitchen cabinet will be free from the lousy lurking cabinet odor.

Silica Gel

Silica gel is another natural component and a naturally occurring mineral that can help you get rid of musty smells, especially if you live in an area that often has damp weather (see how to eliminate mold smell). Also, the gel can help absorb all the residing bacteria, which are creating unpleasant smells in your kitchen cabinets. All you have to do is place a few packets of silica gel in your kitchen cabinet and let it do the rest of the work.

a person holding natural cleaning remedies on a plate

Baking Soda

Baking soda is another inexpensive remedy to help cut through disgusting odors. It’s the most commonly used ingredient whether you’ve to clean your vacuum or get rid of smelly cabinets odor.

  • Place an opened box of baking soda in your foul-smelling kitchen cabinet. You can also sprinkle baking soda in your kitchen cabinet. To deodorize and clean at the same time, create a mixture of water and baking soda and using a cleaning cloth scrub the insides and outsides of your smelly cabinets with the mixture. White or cider vinegar and baking soda are also effective cleaning mixtures.


Oats can also be enacted as a component that effectively helps get rid of bad odor. Very few people know about this unexpected use of oats. To get rid of the foul smell in your kitchen cabinet, place a shallow bowl of oats in your kitchen cabinet or anywhere you wish to get rid of the bad smells. The bowl of oats will then mechanically draw in the bad smell.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds work great when trying to eliminate the lingering bad smell in kitchen cabinets. This remedy will only work if unbrewed coffee grounds are used. Place an open packet of un-brewed java coffee grounds in your kitchen cabinet. You can also place a bowl of unbrewed grounded coffee beans. The rest of the job will be done by itself.

Lemon Juice

Lemon is a great fruit to get rid of bad smells; it helps neutralize the musty smell of your kitchen cabinets. You can add a few drops of lemon juice to a small dish and place it inside your kitchen cabinet. This remedy will not only help get rid of bad odors in your smelly kitchen cabinets but will also neutralize that smell and keep your kitchen cabinets smelling fresh and pleasant.

rubber gloves and natural ingredients


Spices can help cover a bad smell instead of neutralizing the musty smell of your wood cabinets. Also, spices such as cinnamon, cloves, and allspice can be used.

Chemical Remedies

At times, depending only on natural remedies may not be enough. Especially if your kitchen cabinet is in a very bad condition and won’t respond to simpler solutions, no matter what you do, the bad odor won’t seem to go away.

In such a case, you can try creating a solution of ½ cup of rubbing alcohol and 1 pint of any mineral oil and mixing it. Using a cleaning cloth, wipe down the outsides, and especially the insides of your kitchen cabinets thoroughly.

This concoction of rubbing alcohol and mineral oil will not only help get rid of the bad odor almost immediately but also prevents any new odors from forming. It preserves the kitchen cupboards or cabinets and also adds an extra layer of protection for new bacteria. Even when the natural remedies or the solution mentioned above does not work, one should only then move on to a much stronger solution. It must be kept in mind that one should only try the following remedy when all the other initial treatments have failed to work and proven to be ineffective on the bad smells.

A much stouter and effective approach is to use bleach. Pour some amount of bleach into an open-mouthed container and then with the help of a cleaning cloth, soak it into the bleach and then carefully wipe down both the insides and the outsides of your kitchen cabinets. A much safer and nifty tip is to use the help of a spray bottle and spray the insides and outsides of your kitchen cabinets with bleach. Let the bleach soak into the kitchen cabinets for at least 15 minutes. Then with the help of a sponge, wipe down the surfaces of your kitchen cupboards.

Make sure to be wearing gloves and old clothes and protection gloves when handling or working with bleach. If the strong smell of bleach is irritating you, you can add a few drops of any essential oil into the container or spray bottle to mildly temper the harsh smell. You will most likely find several of the items mentioned above around your kitchen or your house. You can try one remedy at a time to see which one works best for you and your kitchen cabinet and which is more effective, instead of trying them all at once. Make sure you try the simpler remedies at first if they prove to be ineffective only then move onto the much stronger approaches.


1. What causes kitchen cabinets to smell?

There are a few possible causes of the smell in your cabinets. Mold or mildew as a result of excess moisture is the most common cause. Depending on how your kitchen cabinets are configured, oil from your burner can also cause bad odors.

2. How do you deodorize cabinets?

To deodize your cabinets, I use a mixture of vinegar and baking soda to deodorize my cabinets. I just sprinkle it on the shelves and let it sit for a few hours before sweeping it up. The vinegar smell goes away pretty quickly, and it gets rid of any lingering smells in the cabinets.

3. How do you get rid of musty smell in cupboards?

There are a few things you can do to get rid of a musty smell in cupboards. One is to clean the cupboards with a bleach solution. Another is to put a bowl of vinegar in the cupboard. The vinegar will absorb the smell.

4. How do I get rid of a bad smell in my closet?

There are a few things you can do to get rid of a bad smell in your closet. First, try airing out the closet by opening the door and windows. You can also put a bowl of baking soda in the closet to absorb the smell. If that doesn't work, you can try using a deodorizer or Febreze to get rid of the smell.

5. Why does my closet have a smell?

There could be a few reasons why your closet has a smell. One possibility is that you have stored old clothes in there for a long time, and the fabric has started to decompose, giving off a foul odor. Another possibility is that you have something rotting in there, like old food or a dead animal. If neither of these explanations seems to fit, it might be that there is something wrong with the ventilation in your closet, and it's not getting enough air circulation.

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