The Easy Trick to Get Rid of Onion Smell on Hands

Onion smell belongs in your cooking, not on your hands.

Close-Up Of Onions On Table
Photo: Thu Thai Thanh / EyeEm/Getty Images

While most savory dishes and recipes are made better with the addition of onions (looking at you spaghetti sauce, grilled cheese, and a good old-fashioned cheeseburger), they're not the most amicable vegetable. Dice them up, and you'll likely shed a tear or two in the process; handle them for just a few minutes, and their odoriferous quality lingers all day, no matter how much you scrub with soap, or dishwashing liquid, or whatever other scent-laden cleanser you use to try chase the onion stench away. But it doesn't have to be that way!

Prepare to have your life changed … at least in the cooking department.

Take Preventative Measures

If you employ a pair of disposable gloves, you won't even have to concern yourself with odor removal. Both latex and non-latex gloves are used with frequency in restaurant kitchens, and help those working in food service to keep their hands clean and odor free. Once you have a box of these kitchen helpers handy, you will be set for the long haul.

The Stainless Steel Solution

Next time you're rocking that eau du onion, put down the soap, and pick up a spoon or fork instead. Turn on the sink and rub the spoon or fork under cold running water for several seconds. Voila! The smell will virtually disappear right off your hands.

It's all about the metals invovled, so make sure you go with stainless steel utensils, rather than your grandmother's sterling silver. You can credit it to a little kitchen wizardry, or hand this one to science: The sulfur that gives onions their unpleasant odor binds with the metals in stainless steel, leaving your hands stank-free.

And the trick isn't limited to utensils: If your sink is stainless steel, you can wipe your hands all over it while the water runs, instead. It'll get the job done more quickly than massaging a small spoon or fork.

Whole and Sliced Lemons and Limes on White Background
Getty/Géza Bálint Ujvárosi / EyeEm

Have You Tried Acidity?

Lemon juice works to remove onion smell due to its acid level. This is why vinegar is also a solution, as well as tomato juice, celery juice, mustard, and rubbing alcohol. Any of these can be put onto a wet towel, and used to scrub while you run water over your hands.

Remember that bits of onion can work its way under your nails, so pay extra attention. You might want to use a nail brush just to be sure your cleansing works the way it should. The bonus to using lemon juice is the lingering smell. You will feel rewarded for your cooking in a whole different way when you choose this citrus fruit to aid in odor removal.

Salt Soap Does the Trick

Your hands will thank you when you use the salt soap method of odor removal. Mix 2 tablespoons of hand or dish soap in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. This comes out as a paste, and you will want to coat your hands in this mixture. Don't forget to apply between your fingers. Once your hands are coated, let them sit for a full 30 seconds encased in the salt soap. When the wait is over, simply rinse under running water. Not only have you removed onion smell from your skin, you have also exfoliated! Now you just need to apply the right moisturizer and you are halfway through a fabulous manicure.

A Cleaning Product You Already Have

Would you believe that combining toothpaste and mouthwash will aid in the removal of that pesky onion smell? It's the truth, and the most optimum way to work this combo is to mix them together first, be sure you have running water started, and then work the toothy mix between your hands. Rub your hands together for at least 30 seconds.

No matter which of these quick odor fixes you choose, you are now ready to make all your favorite onion dishes, from Vidalia onion soufflé to French onion soup, and still shake everyone's hands at the dinner party later, no lingering odors involved. We'll call that a win-win.

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