How To Get Rid Of Onion Smell From Your Hands & More

I was asked recently how to get rid of onion smell from hands after cooking, and from other things around your house that seem to absorb this distinctive odor.


I figured this was a great question to pose on the sister site, Household Management 101's Facebook page, so I did and I got lots of ideas and home remedies.

Here's what I posted:

how to get rid of onion smell on hands?


What follows are some of the best suggestions I received from readers, as well as tips for removing this smell from other items as well.

If you've got a tip as well make sure you share it with me here, and I'll add it to the page.

Temperature Of Water Important

Edna says: I always use cold water and dish soap.

Susana agreed that the temperature of the water was important, saying, "Never use warm water, always cold."

Use Salt

Several readers also suggested salt, in some form, mostly for the fact that it can be a gentle exfoliator for your skin.

For example, Danette said: Wash your hands with salt. I do a mixture of salt and hand soap and scrub my finger tips. It's like a body scrub.

Similarly, Paula said, "Lather up with your favorite hand soap and then pour or have someone else do it, salt into your hands. Continue to wash. When you rinse, the smell goes with soap. Also, defoliates dead skin."

Not everyone thought the soap part was necessary though. For example, Sarah said, "Wet them and rub with salt" only.

There are actually lots of uses of salt around your home, so click the link for even more ideas for how to use this common substance.

Use A Naturally Acidic Substance Such As Vinegar Or Lemon Juice

I had one suggestion for vinegar.

But most people that made this suggestion instead recommended using lemon juice, which I think would leave a much more pleasant scent on your hands anyway.

For example, Stacy Jo suggested lemon juice, and Rita said, "lemon and a lot of salt under cold water!!!"

Again, lemon juice is an amazing cleaner around your home. I've collected lots more uses at the link for anyone interested.

Other Foods Suggested To Rub Your Hands On:

I also got several suggestions to use other food items to remove the smell.

For example, Angie said, "I use a raw potato.....rub hands on...works every time!!!"

Bonnie said: I use coffee grounds. I just scoop some used ones out of the coffee maker and add a bit of liquid soap. Works every time.

Modest Maiden says: Wash your hands with flour and soda bicarbonate.

Use Toothpaste

Finally, Trina and a couple others suggested toothpaste (which she also said she uses after handling raw fish, to get that fishy smell off her hands as well).

Toothpaste is another substance that can be used in a lot of home remedies. Here are even more uses for toothpaste.

Most Common Suggestion: Stainless Steel

By far though the most common suggestion was to rub your hands on something stainless steel to remove this smell.

This was such a huge suggestion that I've added more information about it below.

First photo courtesy of ewige, and second photo courtesy of SoraZG

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Stainless Steel For Onion Smell On Hands: Does It Work?

Lots of people have heard that touching or rubbing your hand on something stainless steel will work to remove onion smell from hands.

Amco rub away barAmco Rub Away Stainless Steel Bar
Click here to purchase on Amazon.com
After all, there are even stainless steel products, such as the item shown to the right, designed specifically to remove these smells (along with garlic and fish) from your fingers and hands.

However, some readers were skeptical. None flat out said it didn't work, just that they'd heard the trick, but hadn't tried it for themselves. I will admit it does sound a bit strange.

However, several people were adamant that it did work. Here are some of their statements:

Jamie says: Rub your hands on your stainless steel sink. Or you can buy a bar of soap made out of stainless steel at Williams Sonoma, but that's pricey. Always works for me.

Pam says: Wash your hands with plain old soap and a spoon. Don't use a knife, you might get cut. Don't know why it works but it does. Williams-Sonoma sells a silver bar that looks like a bar of soap, just use a spoon save the money.

Sarah says: Rub your hands on the metal of your kitchen sink. The metal seems to absorb the smell. It has worked for me in the past.

Irene says: I do the stainless steel tip. Works everytime. If you have a stainless steel sink just rub your fingers on a dry part of the sink, onion smell gone. Or a spoon, that works too.

April says: Use stainless steel and rub out the smell. I use the top part of the knife as I am cleaning it to make sure there isn't a smell under my nails or on my finger tips.

Anita says: I have a stainless steel bar that looks like a soap bar. I use it under cold water and whyyyyyyyla, smell is gone.

Melissa says: If you have a stainless steel faucet rub them along that. Works every time for me.

Juliette says: I know it sounds weird but hold stainless steel and run cold water over hands. Takes away onion smell every time.

Kelly says: I do baking soda and lemon juice and then rub them on my stainless sink. Not only removes the smell, it also cleans the sink!

So there you go! All these people can't be wrong. Now scroll below to get even more tips for removing this odor from other items around your home as well.

Photo courtesy of Midtown Crossing at Turner Park

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How To Get Onion Smell Out Of Plastic Food Containers & Tupperware

by Jaimi

Jaimi says:

Put newspaper in the bottom of a plastic bag or a sealable container, along with your Tupperware, and put the whole thing in the freezer (or outside in the cold) over night.

It works to get onion smell out of Tupperware for me!

Taylor says:

Thanks for the tip Jaimi.

You can read even more tips for cleaning plastic items here, or share your own tips.

Anyone else have home remedies or tips for getting onion odor out of things around your home? If so, share your tips with me here and I'll add them to the page!

Related Pages You May Enjoy

Helpful Household Hints For Your Home

Onion Stain Removal Guide

Go From How To Get Rid Of Onion Smell To Home Page

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Comments for How To Get Onion Smell Out Of Plastic Food Containers & Tupperware

Click here to add your own comments

put in freezer first
by: Dwina

I buy frozen, chopped onions and use them for everything. Problem solved. But if I wanted to cut one I'd put it in the freezer a few minutes then cut. The cold inhibits the oils.

disposable gloves
by: Melissa

I tried the stainless steel soap bar, didn't work. Now I just wear disposable gloves.

coffee grounds
by: Sandy

Rub them with coffee grounds, leave the grounds on your hand, put Dawn dish soap on it. Makes a scrub. Works great.

how to remove the smell from plastic
by: Dahlia Tamayo

Wash plastic containers with soap and water, as you rinse with hot water pass around a piece of cloth inside and outside. This does not only remove onion odor but removes grease too.

I use tin foil - works for hands and smell in garbage
by: Mary

I found a great way to get rid of the smell of onions on my hand, and it was all by accident. I had a partially used onion in my fridge, wrapped in tin foil. I cut the onion, putting the skin, and the leftovers I wasn't going to save back in the foil when I was done. I wrapped it all up very tightly and threw it in the garbage. I went in the kitchen to wash my hands and use some steel to get the smell off when I realized there was no smell to them. I don't get any smell in the garbage when I wrap them tightly in tin foil either. I thought it was a fluke, and the next time I had to cut up onions I grabbed a little piece of tin foil and rubbed it all over my hands...no smell at all. I buy the sheets of foil at Sam's or Costco that are the size you'd need to wrap a sandwich in, and keep them real handy now.

no more odor with the stainless steel bar
by: MKS

I use a stainless steel "soap" bar with my hand soap. Works like a charm every time. Been using this for years.

lemon wedges
by: Jenni

Seafood restaurants serve a lemon wedge with every dinner. It is supposed to be used to remove the fishy smell from diner's hands. If lemon juice takes away the smell of fish, I think it would be ideal to take the onion smell away.

tomato juice
by: Charles

Wash your hands in tomato juice. It's good for skunk, onion, and who knows what else. I have seen pizza sauce work too.

I used to deliver pizza, and one day the manager dumped a spoodle of pizza sauce in his hand and washed his hands with it. He had to explain to me why he did it, because I was looking at him like he was SERIOUSLY crazy. He said he couldn't stand the smell of onions, and the smell would wake him up in the middle of the night. He knew that tomato juice was good for skunk, so maybe pizza sauce would work. It did.

Onion odour on hands
by: Chickadix

For years I have just run cold water on my hands and then washed my faucet. I swear by this method to get rid of onion odour from your hands. It's a long time since I've used fresh garlic and can't remember if it works for that.

cappuccino soap
by: Anonymous

A few years ago I bought a bar of homemade cappuccino soap from a gift shop in a small town in B.C., Canada. I use it on my hands every time I handle onions, fish, etc, and it works great to get rid of the smell.

rubber gloves
by: Jo

I wear rubber gloves when chopping onions, so my hands don't smell. Can't bear that smell! I clean the gloves by washing them in dish soap.

Stainless steel - It works!
by: Anonymous

I hate the smell after I cut onions. I just use a spoon from the drawer. Works 100% every time.

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