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How to Get Rid of Garlic Smell in Cupboards

Updated February 21, 2017

Garlic, with its numerous health benefits, has a strong, pervading, pungent odour that is unpleasant to say the least. Whether garlic has seeped into your refrigerator, cupboard or is emanating from your breath and skin, it can repel anyone who gets a whiff. If you don't want to hold your nose every time you reach into your cabinet, find a way to permanently get rid of (or mask) that lingering garlic smell.

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  1. Remove the actual garlic from the cupboard. Garlic has a very pungent aroma, which is only amplified in small, enclosed spaces. The best place to store garlic is either on an open-air counter top, or inside the crisper drawer in your refrigerator. If you must store garlic in the cupboard, keep it in an air tight plastic container, and keep the garlic itself wrapped in plastic. Sprinkle baking soda inside the interior of the plastic container. Pull the container out of the cupboard to open it and don't put it back in the cupboard until the lid is once again firmly secured.

  2. Wash the interior of the cupboard down with white vinegar. White vinegar is known to eliminate, rather than mask household odours. If the smell of garlic still remains, place a small bowl of white vinegar in the cupboard. It will continue to absorb any lingering odour.

  3. Put a box (or a lidded plastic container with holes punched in the top) filled with baking soda in the cupboard. Like vinegar, baking soda is also noted for absorbing foul odours. If you are going to keep garlic in the cupboard, and are using baking soda to absorb the odour on an ongoing basis, change the baking soda once per month to maintain maximum freshness and absorbency.

  4. Mask the odour. According to Good-Housekeeping.com, wrapping fresh coffee grounds in a bit of cotton and storing them in the cupboard may be strong enough to neutralise the smell of garlic. You can also try soaking a cotton ball with vanilla, lemon, orange or peppermint extract or clove oil and putting it in a small glass jar with holes punched in the lid. Store the jar in the cupboard to mask the strong odour with one that is more pleasant.

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Things You'll Need

  • Plastic
  • Plastic container
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Fresh coffee grounds
  • Small glass jar
  • Vanilla/lemon/orange/peppermint extract
  • Clove oil

About the Author

Oubria Tronshaw specializes in topics related to parenting and business. She received a Bachelor of Arts in creative writing from the Santa Fe University of Art and Design, and a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from Chicago State University. She currently teaches English at Harper Community College in the Chicago area.

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