Cooking is a popular activity for couples and an essential task for families. So, what do you do if your kitchen doesn’t have a range hood? There are a few modifications you can make to take the place of an exhaust fan or range hood.
One of the least expensive things you can do to alleviate the mess created by the lack of a range hood to extract the grease and splatters when cooking is to use a grease guard. These splatter screens sell for less than $10 and keep grease contained to the frying pan while cooking something that might splatter grease all over your stove or cabinets. It will keep grease from covering your appliances and surfaces and make clean-up quick and easy. You can find grease guards at any of the big box stores and even grocery stores often carry this cooking essential.
Another option to try if you have windows in your kitchen is to use a window fan. You can install the fan in the window backward and it will draw the steam, smoke, and smells away from the stove and out into the air. Some fans even offer an exhaust mode which allows you to flip a switch and change the direction of the air flow. Although this won’t help much for the grease spatters, if you use it in conjunction with the grease guard – your problem might be solved.
If placing a fan in the window is not an option, you can also try using the more expensive HEPA air filtering devices. These are small units that you can place on a cabinet near the stove and it will suck in the smells and smoke created when cooking. There are a variety of sizes and power levels you can purchase depending on how much you cook and how often you will need to use the device. Again – it won’t help with grease, but if you don’t want to stink up the house when cooking fish or cabbage, this will help. Just remember, depending on how much you cook, you will go through the air filters quickly and the expense might add up.
A somewhat radical option, yet an option that may save you time in the kitchen in the long run, is to cook with a crockpot or find alternative ways to create meals. Instead of frying bacon, cook it inside the stove. When you need to boil water, keep the pot covered and the steam contained. Create casseroles and even pot roasts and veggies in a large crockpot which doesn’t require venting and requires very little attention until it’s time to eat.
Some people love to cook on the stovetop and they are not willing to give it up. If this is your philosophy, then you just need to stay on top of cleaning and wiping down your cabinets and counters. If you don’t have a range hood to suck up the grease, smoke, and steam – it will linger on your hard surfaces. You will need to wipe down your cabinets and counters with a vinegar solution frequently if not after every meal you cook on the stove. You can mix in some Dawn dish detergent with the vinegar and put it in a spray bottle to make cleaning up quick and easy. If you don’t wipe down the surfaces – a residue will build up and collect dirt and will more than likely create an offensive smell in your kitchen.
If you are more concerned with the smells while cooking than the havoc grease will create on your cabinets and counters, you might be able to overpower offensive smells with pleasing smells. Often during the holidays, people will simmer some spices on the stove to make the home smell like someone has been baking all day. When planning a dinner party where you will be serving seafood or anything else that creates a less than pleasant smell, throw some cinnamon, clove, orange peels, or even vanilla into a small crockpot and let it simmer all day. When your guests show up – they will never know your kitchen lacks a vent hood to get rid of strong smells.
Whether you live in a rental and the landlord refuses to install a range hood or you just don’t have the space to install a vent in your kitchen, there are some simple ways to get rid of the grease, smoke, steam and smells that come from cooking delicious meals. While some of the options are cheap, others require some elbow grease or an investment in expensive filters. If you enjoy frying, steaming and boiling your food and you don’t plan to change the way you prepare meals, just follow these suggestions and keep on cooking!