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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By JJ Henry09/15/2011
I love apartment living, but the downside is you don't know anything about the people that lived there before you. So many times I have moved into apartments that just had horrendous smells. Sometimes it was heavy cigarette smoke odor, pet urine smells, burnt food or other smells that are just unidentifiable.
I tried a few things, but I found this odor eliminator that worked really well that was recommended to me by my mother. It works great and is safe around kids and pets because it is environmentally friendly. You can find it at http://www.biocidesystems.com/roomshocker1.html
By John Smith (Guest Post)02/21/2008
I have a solution, move out... so you won't smell it. We smell it at work all day and it's extremely potent. Sometimes I have to go outside for air.
By raz (Guest Post)07/31/2008
I cant get rid of smell it smell ever so bad. I go sleep and still smell it then dream about curry. I think it serious problem. I did everything in the kitchen and it smell worse. omg I wanna cry. I cant afford to move, since I'm ever so poor . Please if you smell of curry do house swap with me you can get familiar smelling house for free=]
By Straight talk (Guest Post)01/21/2009
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.
By Dave (Guest Post)08/26/2007
We just moved into our apartment and the smell of curry is pretty strong. I have wiped down the cabinets and surfaces. All of the appliances are new except the microwave which is over the stove. I am pretty sure (hoping) that getting a new microwave will help fix our odors. The carpets and walls have been painted and it is really just the kitchen area that smells. I am also going to try the boiling technique. Any other suggestions?
I sometimes cook curry myself and I have been trying this technique for a while.. this will not eliminate the odor but reduces it significantly. Since the smell is generated from vapor, I figured vapor will kill it. I put a couple of cups of water in a pan and spray some cologne or perfume in it and boil the water until the pan dries out .. I have also tried cinnamon, clove but the most effective is cologne ... also good quality insents will cover the smell but still not as effective as the cologne technique .. Good Luck
By Ryan (Guest Post)11/13/2008
I don't know how long the previous tenants were in my apartment, but I found that a full bottle of extra strength Febreze over about a week did the trick pretty well. It doesn't seem to be working as well on burnt food smell though.
By Anna from Maine (Guest Post)06/19/2005
When I have bad smells from cooking that linger (like onion & garlic or deer meat or liver) I take a sauce pan, put a quart of water in it, add a cup of apple cider vinegae, a couple of tablespoon full of cinnamon and 6 whole cloves of 1/2 teaspoon full of ground cloves. Put on stove and simmer for several hours, watch that pan does not go dry. The vinegar & cinnamon are natural deodorants.
By James (Guest Post)07/22/2007
I have been there already; I have gone to the end of the internet for a solution and could not find one. . . until now. Let me tell you my story. I moved into a condo that had cooking odors from spices and oils. I cleaned, I changed carpets, I painted, I bough all kind of devices such as air cleaners, ozone generators and ion generators. Nothing helped, the odor never went away. I decided it was time to call professionals, 3 different companies came over to test the quality of the air and gave me their suggestion to the problem. This costs me a fortune and their suggestions was more expensive then their tests. One company told me that the air is so bad I must move out, the only way to fix my problem was to break all the walls and ceiling, clean them and rebuild them. An extreme solution that was unacceptable to me. So I called another company, they offered me to buy a UV lamp and install it in my ducts. This special device with UV supposes to kill everything in the air. They guaranteed their device would work, so I got it installed. The device did not work, and the company refused to refund me. They all ran their own air quality tests, the they all got different results. At the end, I came to conclusion that companies that offer air quality tests, make tons on money just based on fear. If they have a product to offer they will scare you death so you will buy it. I was getting desperate, and came to conclusion that the odor cannot be removed not even by a nuke. A friend of mine called me one day and told me he knows someone that deals with odors. I called him. He told me that there is a new company that is specializing in removing odors without breaking anything. I was already frustrated, so when I called the company I was a bit rude and said that I am not paying a penny until the odor is removed for 30 days. They accepted the challenge and came to my condo. They had 2 huge machines with them,they were ozone generators. I protested and said that I have tried ozone generator before and it did not work. They explained me that the ozone generators machine offered to the public and simply not effective due to their low output. They explained that the ozone generators machines they have emit extremely large quantity of ozone that would break any type of carbon based organism or compound. Later I did a lot of reading about Ozone to understand how it works. Justgoogle it to find out the details. Anyways, they told me I have to leave the condo while they ran the machines. The machines pumps ozone everywhere - not only in the living area but also between the walls and within the ceiling and also in the kitchen exhaust. They have these special tubes coming out of the machine that you can inject anywhere you want. I left my condo while they ran the treatment because it is unsafe to breathe pure ozone. After 3 hours I came backand the condo smelled completely like ozone. I could not smell the odor anymore. They told me the ozone will break into oxygen very quickly and after that the condo would be odor free. They wanted no money; they asked that I will call them after a month. It has been one week now and there is no odor. I believe they have actually solved the problem I have been trying to solve for over 2 years. The treatment is called "Ozone Shock Treatment", however there are a lot of different ways to do it. I did not mention any company names here so you will know my motives are not to sell or promote. I am just telling you the truth, nothing worked except the shock treatment. Don't aste your money on air tests and devices. I recommend you do this shock treatment and take it from there. Save yourself the pain I have been going over. I know were you coming from and I hope this little story helps.
I was told by a real estate agent that it's actually the smell from frying food and essential oils lingering in the kitchen and it's not possible to remove it. Perhaps if you think of it in terms of grease molecules instead of curry, you will find a new approach to solving the problem.
It's nice to see so many solutions provided for this problem but I think many did not stop to consider that they were being downright racist. If you have a personal problem with someone, maybe you could go and talk to them(provided they are still around). Tell them in a nice way that something about them(smell) is causing you a lot of trouble. Maybe they will take measures to correct it. It would be hard for Indians to realize that their food causes so much pain to others. You should know they might equally dislike how your food might smell. Do stop to consider.
By Neagle (Guest Post)11/22/2006
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.
By Carlitos (Guest Post)03/16/2008
My Physics teacher smells like it everyday in class, shes Indian, but what my family does whenever we move into a new home is burn sage, and let it burn until it ashes. Continue doing that periodically and your house will start smelling completely normal and fresher.
By Jo (Guest Post)06/17/2005
Try putting containers of vinegar around the apartment.
By Tommy (Guest Post)07/19/2008
I Just bought a house from a chinese lady. My neighbour is an Indian and she is very friendly.
I didn't know she likes to cook potent curry till I moved in. Every morning when I wake up, I open the window to nice greenery and sunshine, and when I take a deep breath, I smell nothing but potent oily curry smell. I spend like 50k renovating my new house and now I having second thoughts about staying there. Help! How can I prevent the curry smell from my neighbour from drifting over?
I stay in a HDB flat, side by side with my Indian neighbour, who stays at the corner.
I feel like partitioning the window with an extended wood separator between hers and my kitchen window.. you think it will help?
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).
By amita (Guest Post)10/17/2006
Wash walls & floor & cupboards with warm water, dish soap.
I can imagine that is it overwhelming! I am not being unsympathetic, but maybe until you get rid of the smell, this might be a little bit of comfort.
Since curry powder contains tumeric, you are breathing in one of the most powerful anticancer and anti-inflammatory elements known to mankind. Drug companies are rushing to find a synthetic copy of tumeric (cucumin) to sell. When the Dow carcinogenic chemical spill occurred a couple of decades ago, they expected tremendous numbers of cancer cases. Surprise! The tumeric in the curry protected the people. I take it in pill form. It's also a powerful anti-dementia herb, and Studies are being done re breast cancer right now.
I probably wouldn't care for the smell, and I love curry. But not every day. ;) Ozone purifiers are not recommended for use while you are inside the room by the EPA and Canada, etc. They have been linked to causing or making lung problems worse.
Boil about three cups of white vinegar (may add some water) on stove and let steam disperse into the air. Don't stand too close. Wipe down everything (cabinets, stove, countertops, floor) with white vinegar. If you feel it's in the carpet, sprinkle baking soda on carpet, let sit at least 20 minutes or overnight, then vacuum. You must vacuum to get the smell out of carpet.
By (Guest Post)06/18/2005
Incense does wonders on removing odors. I don't know about the ones that are probably there forever, but eventually, if you burn enough incense, you will smell that and not the curry.
By (Guest Post)01/02/2009
Wow- I'm just trying to get rid of the smell from last night's dinner. Holy Cow -- I'm not cooking with this stuff again. No matter how good it might be. I bet some of these people have PTS just thinking of eating Indian. I suppose we have to leave the occasional curry meal for dining out.
By L. MacK (Guest Post)03/28/2008
When they were building Paradise Island in the Bahamas they housed workers from India in an older hotel where they lived for the duration of construction. When construction was finished and the construction workers went home the owners of the building found that it was impossible to get rid of the smell of curry. The final solution was to implode the building and start all over again. Interesting. I had one tenant for a month in my apartment last July and I still smell the curry she cooked with nine months later.
No one has mentioned the legal position of people making overpowering and lingering smells in apartment buildings. Is there something in the lease/contract which prohibits contamination of premises; it might come under 'nuisance' neighbours. Perhaps, when taking on a tenant, one could specify some restrictions. I know that my contract says that the apartment must be kept aired at all times. However, the cooking smells mentioned are impossible to remove. Any agents or managing agents or landlords have any answers/suggestions?
wash kitchen walls & cabinets with TSP a cleaner for walls it worked for cigerrete stains and smell...and it
does not cost much. I put it on mop and zoomed thru cleaning of walls. and spray lysol into Vents around. put large containers of vinegar like a flat
dish and it will absorb odors. burn incense of your liking to linger around if nothing else works. good luck.
Demand that the manager fix it or you will move.
By Christine (Guest Post)12/01/2008
I live in a building that is housed with Indians. My current neighbor cooks 24/7 and the smell is so bad that we have been awakened in the middle of the night from the cooking. Management will not do a thing! My house smells so bad. That when I took a shower yesterday my hair smelled like curry. What do we do?
By S Blackman (Guest Post)04/06/2008
We have removed curry from several apartments. It is a very hard smell to remove as the oils cling to every surface in the kitchen and usually get in the duct work. Use a micro agent along with OdorSweep and you can remove the smells in 6-8 hours for around $400-500. Just google odorsweep.
I am moving to a new place next weekend and found out when I picked up the keys last Sunday that the curry smell I noticed when I first saw the place was NOT (as I then assumed) because the tenants just finished lunch. The place still reeked of curry so bad I thought I was going to vomit. I wanted to die! How could I possibly live there? I had already signed the contract!
I went out and purchased two strong spray deodorizers and a plug-in carbon filter just to make the air breathable while I took some room measurements, but half a can of Lysol spray cleared the air for about 3 minutes. Then I had to repeat and eventually evacuate the premises. What could I do?
My fear turned to sheer terror when I read this & other web posts w/equally disturbing comments about how hard is to get rid of the curry smell. I did some research on ozone generators and, in a panic, bought one right away.
In the meantime, I hired a great maid I know and her friend and the three of us spent a whole day scrubbing the kitchen and washing ALL the walls. It was very true that the problem was the cooking oil/grease: the cabinets, walls & the range were all sticky as a post-it note. Someone had supposedly "cleaned" the place already, but not to any standard of habitability. The carpet looked like the coat of a feral dog and was full of stains.
Well, I'm happy to report that curry smell can be conquered with lots of grease, elbow grease! We worked fastidiously at removing the grease and grime from all surfaces and after most of the grease was gone, the smell was mostly gone too.
However, to reach this stage, I had to:
a) Had the carpet cleaned again by a good, strong method (I used Chem Dry)
b) Wash all the walls with a strong TSP solution
c) Move the range out and clean the sides and back (mine was disgusting! Dripping w/grease everywhere!). Be careful: if the gas duct is short, don't pull on it! You could create a gas leak and blow the place up later. You may need to disconnect the gas line of course shutting off the gas supply first. If you've never done this before, call someone to help you: is very important to make sure is sealed tight afterward or you may end up with a small but lethal gas leak.
d) Move the fridge out and clean behind it.
e) The cabinets were an infinite supply of grease: we used about 1/2 gallon of 409 cleaner, made about 10 passes with sponges, scrubbers, you name it! A super-strong TSP solution helped a lot, but it irritates skin & eyes on contact, so wearing protection is a must.
f) Last step: I had a professional company come and put apart the range-hood after I opened the cover and found a pool of smelly dark grease and the hood's fans smothered w/the same gunk. I didn't want to put the whole thing apart without knowing what I was doing. I was there when they cleaned that up and I was glad I didn't have to touch that black, stinky, opaque, nasty slime covering everything. It was just-gross. But after three more hours of two people working at it, it was finally quite clean.
After all this steps were taken; three days & about $1,000 later, I can say the smell is 99% gone. Yeay! Today they are painting. We'll see if that takes the other 1% out. Now at least is good enough for me to move in. Sunday I could smell the curry from the garage and I was not moving into that place.
And the ozone generator? In my frenzy, I had actually forgotten all about it until it was delivered today! It is still in the box. If the lingering curry/grease smell survived a day of painting and venting the house, the ozone generator will be unpacked and put to the test. I'll post the results here. Thanks everyone for the great tips!
By Mike (Guest Post)07/16/2005
I am sorry to tell you, there is no way to remove it. I had tried everything they suggested. These will only work for a day or two, but then the curry comes back. I had the same problem, the soltuion was to move. The problem is that the spice is within an oil that is within the walls and doors and cielling.
Let me tell you ... I learned my lesson.
By Bill (Guest Post)12/06/2007
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.
By Cameron (Guest Post)10/02/2008
I am a landlord and have had some tenants with this same exact problem with the smell of curry in the kitchen and they have come to me to fix it. I have washed down the entire kitchen with ammonia, a natural grease cutter which has worked well to clean all of the oil off but it still smells, and have done a second wash of 409.
I have not tried the vinegar approach yet but plan on ding that and I am planing on panting the walls. I see that someone has had a cleaning service and has commented on how they used some sort of balls and it smells new. Does any one know about that and has anyone actually had any luck with the vinegar?
By Cecilia Gomez (Guest Post)01/20/2006
You need to replace the carpets and prime all the walls and subflooring. Wash down all the surfaces in the kitchen to dissolve the grease particles. We also tunerd on an ozone machine in our condo for a week. The place has to be uninhabited while the ozone machine is on.
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