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De-Stink Your Onion Hands With This Trick

August  8, 2018

So, say you're chopping a whole bunch of onions. Just a hypothetical here. The tears that accompany slicing and dicing alliums are hard enough, but to add insult to injury, the harsh onion stink clings to your hands—even after a thorough washing.

If you want a much faster way of getting rid of that smell, skip the soap and rub your hands with a spoon.

You can actually use any stainless stainless steel object: spoons, forks, your sink. Just hold your hands under cold running water while rubbing the object for 10 seconds. The smell slips off almost like magic.

Did someone say magic?

But it’s not magic—it’s science. It turns out that the stinky sulfur present in onions (see also: garlic and fish) is attracted to the metals in stainless steel and binds to it. All it takes is a little contact.

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I learned this tip a couple of months ago from poking around the internet, and I have to tell you how life-changing it is. I don't use a spoon (too small!), but I rub my hands on the bottom of my sink. It's the best way I've found of getting rid of that horrible smell.

Now you know how to neutralize the odor, you shouldn’t be afraid of any of our most onion-y recipes. Here are eight I think you should try without fear:

What are other foods that stink up your hands? Any tips for neutralizing the odor?

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • HannahEast
  • ngfriedman1
Katie is a food writer and editor who loves cheesy puns and cheesy cheese.


HannahEast April 7, 2021
Nothing worked for me not vinegar or lemons or even bleach. The only thing that worked was a deep sea mud mask (clay mask)
ngfriedman1 January 10, 2021
OMG. I work at a pizza place and my hands reek of onions. I just tried this trick and the smell is almost completely gone. Thank you so much