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Removing Curry Odor

Cooking with this pungent spice can leave a lingering smell that some people can find offensive. This guide is about removing curry odor.

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June 17, 2005 Flag
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I moved into an apartment. This apartment smells of curry. I was told the previous tenant cooked with it regularly. I would like to know how I can get rid of this smell. The landlord has repainted the apartment, cleaned the carpets but the smell is still here. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

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November 22, 20060 found this helpful
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Utilizing a spray bottle with a one to one ratio of water and a live microbial agent, available at True Value or most hardware stores spray the entire residence celling, walls, cabinets, draws, glass, hoods, as well as penetrating the carpet. Be careful to test for color fastness and be careful of electrical outlets, ect. Open the windows and let air dry. Also, replace the heaters air filter with a washable filter.

You may need to repeat this process several times and continue with a maintenance spray once a week to keep the microbes active. This will break down the grease that traps the odors. It is less drastic then stripping the residence to the floor boards.

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December 6, 20070 found this helpful
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I had rented my condo and the tenants cooked with curry. After 13 months the cabinets were saturated with cooking grease and I could not rent the unit as the smell would drive prospective tenants away. I finally used turpentine to break down the grease from all surfaces in the kitchen, appliances, hardwood floors, everything. Then we had the place painted with Kilz and then final paint. This helped considerably, but the smell was still there and the unit unrentable. The final step was to have a company come in. They applied some type of microbial solution to all the walls and floor and appliances. Then ran an ozone generator for 5 days. We then aired out the unit for a day. It has been a month now and the unit smells brand new. The entire process cost almost $2300 between paint, cleansers and the ozone treatment.The microwave had to be replaced as you could not get into the workings of the unit to clear the grease. But the smell is gone. Companies that do fire restorations will be familiar with treating curry smells in homes. Its expensive to get rid of, but if you don't do the cleaning and painting, ozone alone will not work, you need to remove the source. Ozone is the final process that makes it all come together.

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January 21, 20090 found this helpful
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A professional grade ozone machine is the only proven way to get rid of the smell of curry. The machine creates ozone (O3), which is an instable molecule that quickly breaks down into oxygen (O2). The breaking down process is actually a chemical reaction that naturally neutralizes odors.

The same thing happens during a lightning storm under the right circumstances--this is the fresh smell that you may have experienced outside after a bad storm. It is not safe to be in a room while a real ozone machine is running, but the ozone quickly breaks down and you can enter again.

But if your problem is from current neighbors who cook with curry, the smell WILL come back every time they cook. Please note that apartments, houses, condos etc. are not built to be air-tight, so some smells will transfer. This is not the fault of any landlord or property owner, and the only solution is to live in a building that does not allow anyone to cook with curry (which is impossible) or to move to a single-family house. If you can't move into a house, learn to live with the smell.

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January 10, 20100 found this helpful
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You don't have to pay all that money to clean your apartment. What you need to do is find the place in the kitchen where the grease from the frying is collected. If it was over a long period of time it may just look like the colour of the cabinets but I can promise it's grease build up. It is very hard to see, usually there are little shiny yellow spots of grease on and around the stove area. The smelly compounds are contained in the grease. You need to clean the stove, fans and cupboards around the stove with a degreaser. Don't forget the ceiling.

Since it is old grease you will probably need to scrub very hard. If the surfaces can take it you could use a cleaner like Comet, otherwise you will have to scrub very hard. I can't advise you to use the scratchy Comet cleaner because I don't know what your cabinets are like - that has to be your judgment. We make curry at least once a week and after the grease is removed so is the smell.

The cleaners that came into the apartment did not do a very good job if the grease is remaining. And if the smell is still there so is the grease. If the smell can't be removed after cleaning the grease then it has permeated other surfaces in the home and will have to be removed by other means (i.e.: some of the more expensive options listed above).

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February 29, 2008 Flag
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I have just recently moved into a 2nd and 3rd floor apartment. My neighbors below cook with curry every day (twice a day) and the curry scent is so powerful in my apartment, it makes my roommate and I sick. The aroma is so strong in my sleeping room that my eyes burn from the odor. Does anyone have any suggestions as to how to rid our apartment of the smell?

Katie from Columbus OH

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February 29, 20080 found this helpful
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HI! Try one of the plug in air purifiers. Febreeze makes one that removes odors. It's small and inexpensive and doesn't "cover" up anything, it removes it from the air. Works wonders on my dog bed smell.

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March 1, 20080 found this helpful
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Simmer a small pot 50/50 mix of vinegar & water. If you could get them to do that as they cook you would never smell the odor. Works for fish and other high odor foods also.

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March 2, 20080 found this helpful
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The solution is to buy yourself a HIGH QUALITY Ozone Type of Air Purifier, (or ask your landlord to have your neighbors buy one for you!). If you run one of these on a low speed when you are home & on the highest setting when you are away, the smell will eventually disappear (& stay away) from your home, your clothes, your draperies & furnishings.

You are probably also smelling like curry when you or your partner goes into the workplace. This in no laughing matter, as I once lived with someone who made a lot of fried food & when I was at work one time I overheard a colleague of mine saying "have you noticed how she smells like stale fried food" (VERY embarrassing!) Well, I'm a vegetarian & have been for nearly 30 years, so I knew it was from my roommate's fried food... I had made the mistake of leaving my sweater & work-coat hanging on the back of a kitchen chair, so the smells absorbed into the fabrics... Ever since then, I've realized that we smell like our houses, so I'll sometimes spray myself with Febreeze right before I leave my house to meet with a client or go to work.

* The Vinegar & Water solution will also help. Vinegar can work wonders! But an ozone machine will REALLY do the trick. The professionals brought an industrial Ozone machine to our home the day after we had a home fire & that ozone machine worked miracles! ALL of the smoke-smell was gone from the WHOLE house in only 2 days time! AMAZING You need to use care though as the stronger "Industrial Ozone Generators" shouldn't be used with people in the home, but the smaller "Ozone Air Cleaners" are safe to use. We ran the huge industrial machine when we were NOT at home or (since it was a very large home) when we were on a different floor with all the doors shut. Just Google "Ozone Generators" or "Ozone Air Purifiers"...

One more thing, maybe you should think about moving to another apartment in the same complex, or better yet, it would be best if THEY moved to an apartment where they'd bother no one. Maybe the top apartment would be best for them? Maybe in the summer, when they can open their windows, it'll get better for you? Who knows, maybe the landlord can make 'opening their windows when they cook' a stipulation of their lease? (because they are disturbing others) I bet they are unaware that they're causing other peoples grief. They probably don't even have a clue, so tread lightly at first. Maybe ask them to PLEASE open a window when cooking because it burns your eyes (& if you have kids tell them the curry also burns "your kids eyes" too.)

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March 3, 20080 found this helpful
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I don't know if all stoves are required to have a vent fan, but every place I've ever rented or owned has had one. I suggest asking the neighbors if they are using the vent fan. If not, ask them to please do so. If they are already using that fan, maybe the landlord could install a more effective one. If there is no fan, find out if the landlord would be willing to install one. Good luck. I absolutely love the smell and taste of curry, but I would not like smelling it day after day or smelling it when I don't get to partake of the food. It's a strong smell that sticks with one's clothes. If your family is smelling like curry when you go to work or any of the places you go, you might want to mention to the landlord that it is affecting your work situation (if it is).

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August 14, 2011 Flag
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Guest bedroom in the bed and breakfast.I run a bed and breakfast and the rooms have full kitchens, bathrooms, and full housekeeping suites. I recently agreed to taking guests who had sold their house and are waiting to take possession of their new home just down the road. They have a huge dog which I was hesitant to agree to, but it was a steady booking for five weeks.

It was a horrible mistake as the dog hair is everywhere and the house is now flea infested and I am allergic to fleas. I know how to handle that, lots of money spent on the cats and still can't get that problem under control (until the dog is gone in another week).

However, they were cooking with curry, lots of it. And the house reeks now and especially the spare bedroom which is connected to their furnace/AC system. I have no idea as to the smell in their unit as I only go in once a week to thoroughly clean. However the one bedroom has an absolutely horrendous smell and I have a fan in the window full time and still the smell will not go away.

I have wedding gowns and bridesmaid gowns stored in that room as it was the safest place to store them, not anymore. How do I get rid of the smell? It has only been there for two weeks, but it is driving me nuts and I am worried about what will happen when the new guests arrive two days after this group leaves.

By Judy A. from Paris, Ontario

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August 16, 20110 found this helpful
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Wash everything down, including the walls, with 50/50 percent of distilled vinegar and water and also leave out a few bowls of vinegar. Vinegar absorbs scents. I also use curry and a lot of assorted other spices and the only thing that smells like those spices is the drawer I keep them in.

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August 16, 20110 found this helpful

They may have been burning insense. Just make sure they leave when they are supposed to.

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August 16, 20110 found this helpful

Oh and I make curry all the time and it does not smell beyond the meal when it is served.

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August 16, 20110 found this helpful

Yikes ~ that's one heck of a situation! It's such a shame that your kind heart & generosity have culminated in this way. I'd try the vinegar remedy above since I've had good luck with it removing tough odors in the past.

Maybe you should also ask them to pay for the flea removal & extra cleaning costs before they leave. Good luck!

PS ~ Keep us posted as to what works, and if they were decent enough to pony up for the misery they've inflicted on your business.

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