How to Get the Smell of Garlic or Onions Out of Your Hands

Onions and garlic are staple ingredients for so many tasty dishes and while you could go the dehydrated or powdered route, the true aficionado will opt for the fresh clove of garlic and the fleshy onion bulb. The scent of freshly cut and fried onion and garlic is a hallmark of many a busy kitchen and calls diners into the kitchen more effectively than a loud yell across the yard.

Yet with cleanup also comes the question about the smell of garlic and onions, and while removing them from your breath is one thing, getting that smell out of your hands is an entirely different subject! It is interesting to note that while you can scrub with scented soaps and dish detergents until your hands are beet red, you will not eliminate the smells this way! Instead, you will have hands that smell like lemony freshness – with onions and garlic.

Instead, reach for your flatware drawer and pick out a butter knife (or spoon, or fork) fashioned from stainless steel. Next, gently rub the stainless steel across your fingers and hands (for obvious reasons, do not use a serrated knife!) and you will find that the odor is greatly diminished! Any kitchen store junkie will know that chunks of soap-sized stainless steel (think Rub A Way Bar) are sold there for just that reason, but this is an expenditure that anyone who abhors using uni-taskers in the kitchen will stay away from.

Unfortunately, this only works well if you do it right after cutting onion and garlic. If you wait until the organic compounds of these foods had a chance to be absorbed by the deeper layers of the skin, you will be able to lessen the scent, but not completely remove it.

In this case you might try to follow up the stainless steel routine with some moistened baking soda that you use to scrub your fingers and hands. Do not forget to use hand lotion afterwards to ensure that you are not irritating the skin of your hands!

Others swear by the use of fresh lemon wedges which may be rubbed over the fingers and hands, followed by regular hand washing. Keeping in mind that freshly cut lemons have their own aromatic oils, you may just exchange one pungent smell for another, but then by and large most cooks agree that the scent of lemons on the hands is more pleasing than the scent of garlic and onions.

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