How To Get Rid Of Rotten Potato Smell?

There are plenty of reasons to love potatoes. They are easy to cook, inexpensive, rich in vitamins and minerals, extremely versatile, can be stored in a cupboard, and have an impressive shelf life.

However, once a potato goes bad it can emit a truly foul, highly offensive, and long-lasting odor. Few items in your fridge or pantry will smell as bad as rotted potatoes.

If you have ever had a batch of potatoes go bad and turn into a slimy and reeking pile, you already know exactly what I’m talking about. If it’s your first time being blindsided by the unpleasant, death-like smell of rotten potatoes then you are probably wondering what to do about the stink that is beginning to overpower your pantry and kitchen.

So, How Do You Get Rid Of The Smell Of Rotten Potatoes?

To rid your kitchen or pantry of the smell of rotten potatoes, you first throw away the offending vegetables. Then take some warm water and dish soap and wipe down any rot slime and chunks of rotten potatoes that are left over.

Unfortunately, cleaning with soap and water will not be nearly enough to make the stench disappear, so take some white vinegar and use it to further wipe and disinfect the area. The acidic nature of the vinegar will cut right through the stench and significantly minimize the presence of offending odors.

The longer you take before you throw the bad potatoes and clean the area with the method above, the harder it will become to get rid of the smell. Therefore, make sure to clean out the cabinet as soon as you notice the bad smell.

The smell of potatoes rotting

What If Vinegar Is Not Enough To Deal With The Rotten Potato Smell?

Every once in a while you will find a particularly pervasive rotten potato smell that won’t disappear even after using soapy warm water and vinegar. So what do you do when soap and vinegar are not enough?

In these cases, I strongly recommend that you look toward one of the most powerful and readily available deodorizing ingredients in modern households: baking soda.

Baking soda is a fantastic odor-neutralizer because it alters the pH levels of whatever it touches, and brings both acidic and basic odor-causing molecules down to a more neutral state.

So, if you have a particularly putrid rotten potato smell making your home stink, take some baking soda and sprinkle a thin layer over the affected area.

Left overnight, the baking soda will work to significantly reduce the rotten potato smell. The next morning, you can take some warm, clean water and use it to scrub down the area covered in baking soda. The resulting thin paste will add an extra layer of odor removal.

Additional Tips To Get Rid Of The Smell

The steps above should be enough to tackle even the stinkiest and most offensive rotten potato smells. However, there are a couple more things you can do to further facilitate your odor-removal tasks.

Store Your Potatoes In A Paper Bag

Notice I said paper, not plastic. Storing your potatoes in a paper bag will prolong their shelf life and prevent rotting. Keeping them in such a bag will also be helpful if you do accidentally let them go bad.

Put potatoes in a paper bag to keep them fresher longer

If everything is contained in a nice little paper bag, you can just toss the whole thing and avoid any dirty mess in your cabinet. 

Improve Ventilation In Your Home

When you find yourself dealing with any sort of offensive smell at home, improving the ventilation and promoting positive airflow will do a ton of work toward ridding your household of any bad smells.

How do you improve ventilation at home?

Start by opening as many windows and doors as you can. If it is cold outside or it is raining, you can still crack them open and get much of the same benefit.

Next, turn on any fans you have and point them towards the open windows or doors to promote positive airflow to carry odor-causing molecules out of your home.

PROTIP: turn on your kitchen’s exhaust fans, as well as the exhaust fans in your bathrooms. Leave them on for an hour or two. Doing so will help you circulate air out of your home.

Brew Some Coffee

Use coffee to cover up the smell

The beautiful aroma of freshly brewed coffee does wonders to cover up any bad smells including rotted potatoes. Coffee is my go-to for odor coverups. It takes only takes a few seconds to get the beans in the machine and you’re good to go.

Simmer Pots

Not a fan of coffee? Try a simmer pot where you boil clean water with some fragrant and aromatic ingredients that will easily and efficiently suffuse your home with pleasant smells to counteract the noxious fumes released by the rotting potatoes.

Simmer pots are extremely easy to set up and need very little supervision. To start, simply fill a pot with clean water, add your choice of aromatics, and set it to low heat so that the mix is allowed to simmer and release its aroma.

My favorite simmer pot recipes, and ones you should try:

Pumpkin Spice with plenty of cinnamon, ginger, clover spice, nutmeg, and allspice.

Mulled Wine with fresh orange slices, star anise, cinnamon, and honey.

Citrus Vanilla with lemon slices, mandarin peels, and vanilla extract.