How to Get Onion Smell Off Your Hands

After chopping onions, you might find that the strong odor lingers on your hands. This can be irritating and unpleasant. Luckily, there are several methods to remove the smell, from using stainless steel to natural remedies like lemon juice and baking soda.

Why Do Onions Smell So Strong?

You slice an onion, and before you know it, your hands are broadcasting the aroma for hours. The culprit is a compound called alliinase, which gets released when an onion is cut. This compound reacts with air to produce a sulfuric smell that loves to stick to your skin.

How to Get Onion Smell Off Your Hands

How to Get Onion Smell Off Your Hands

Use Stainless Steel

Water alone won’t cut it. However, stainless steel can neutralize the smell. This is because the metal reacts with the sulfur compounds from the onion, thereby nullifying the odor.

What to Do: Simply rub your wet hands on a stainless steel object like a sink, spoon, or even a specialized “odor remover” stainless bar for about 30 seconds.

Lemon Juice

Lemon juice is acidic, which makes it excellent for breaking down the stubborn sulfur compounds responsible for the smell.

What to Do: Squeeze a lemon and dip your fingers into the juice. Rub it all over your hands and then rinse. Your hands will not only smell better but also feel refreshed.


Just like lemon juice, vinegar is acidic. Research suggests that its acidity can effectively neutralize odors.

What to Do: Soak a cloth in white vinegar and then rub it on your hands. After that, wash your hands with soap to get rid of the vinegar smell.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is an alkaline substance, which means it can counteract acidic compounds. Plus, it’s a natural deodorizer.

What to Do: Make a paste with baking soda and water. Apply this mixture to your hands and rub thoroughly before rinsing to remove the onion smell.

Coffee Grounds

Coffee grounds are known for their absorbent nature. They can effectively soak up the strong onion smell.

What to Do: Take some used coffee grounds and rub them on your hands. Rinse afterward and enjoy the coffee aroma that replaces the onion smell.


Salt is a natural abrasive and can scrub away the sulfur compounds sticking to your skin.

What to Do: Wet your hands and sprinkle some salt on them. Rub your hands together as if you are washing them, and then rinse them to get the onion smell off your hands.

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