How To Get Garlic Smell off Hands?


When you want to add flavor to a recipe, the easiest way to do this is by sautéing a little onion or garlic and using it in your recipe. With some practice, you now have the mincing, chopping, and slicing of garlic cloves down. That’s great, but you aren’t out of the woods yet. Handling raw garlic leaves a garlic smell on your hands.

Unfortunately, the smell lingers for quite a bit. You’d think cleaning your hands with water and soap would get rid of the smell, but no, the garlic smell is intense. Why? Well, it contains various sulfur compounds that get released when you slice and chop garlic. While these compounds contribute to the great flavor garlic infuses in foods and yield health benefits, they hang around the skin. The smell goes away after the skin metabolizes the compounds. This means that it can go away on its own, but it might take up to 48 hours.

As such, it’s crucial to learn how to get rid of the garlic smell. Try any of the below tips.

Masking Garlic Smell

1. Rub Your Hands On Stainless Steel Utensil

This method is highly recommended. First, turn on the tap with the cold water running and get a stainless steel spoon (any stainless steel equipment will work). Rub the spoon on your palm and fingers thoroughly under the cold running water. Continue with vigorous rubbing for 60-120 seconds before checking if the smell is gone. If not all of it is gone, you should spend a couple of extra minutes rubbing the steel spoon on your hands.

If you don’t have stainless steel utensils, rubbing your hands on a stainless steel faucet or sink will work. Alternatively, you can purchase a special bar of stainless steel soap and use it under cold water. So why does stainless steel work to remove the garlic smell?

Well, the sulfur molecules released when cutting, chopping, or mincing garlic cloves that sit on your hand bind to the stainless steel ridding you of the intense garlic smell.

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2. Squeeze Lemon On Your Hands

When life gives you lemons, use them to mask the garlic scent on your hands. But before you do, make sure you don’t have preexisting cuts on your hands since the citric acid in the lemon juice will sting.

Slice a little lemon in half and squeeze a good amount of the juice into your palm. Then, rub the juice all over your hands with your fingers, being careful to get it under your nails and between the fingers. Lemon neutralizes the sulfur compounds but also leaves your hands smelling great.

Note a mixture of lemon and salt works, but it’ll irritate sensitive skin in wintertime.

3. Use Coffee Beans

If you love coffee, we have some good news for you. Get a spoonful of coffee grounds or a couple of coffee beans in your palm and rub your hands together gently with the coffee. The coffee will exfoliate your skin, mask the garlic smell and leave your skin feeling soft and smelling great.

If you use ground coffee, make sure you rinse your hands afterward.

4. Rub Toothpaste

If you don’t mind smelling like toothpaste, this is an effective method to use. Take regular toothpaste, spearmint, or mint toothpaste is great, and place a pea-sized amount on each hand. Then, rubbing hands together, spread the toothpaste over your fingers, palms, and the back of your hands. Do this for a minute or so, and then wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water.

You can also use mouth wash to remove the smell of garlic from your hands.

5. Baking Soda

Salt and baking soda are a great combination against garlic smell. Mix them to form a paste that you can rub over your hands. Mix 5 grams of salt and 10 grams of baking soda in a small bowl, add a tablespoon of water, and stir the mixture to form a thick paste. Rub the paste into your palm and rinse it off with cool water.

Note: you shouldn’t use this method to get rid of the garlic smell from your hands if your skin is sore or you dry your hands as the mixture will sting.

6. Spray Cologne Or Perfume On Your Hands

Although this isn’t always practical to use cologne or perfume to mask the garlic smell, it is effective for those who need a quick fix. First, spray the back of your hand with cologne or perfume and rub it onto the back of the other hand. Afterward, rub your hands together and spread the fragrance to your fingers and palm.

Do not use this method if you aren’t done handling or preparing food.

7. Vinegar

It has a strong smell like garlic. But, if you don’t mind the smell of vinegar, it’s an effective method. If you dab vinegar onto your hands using paper towels, the garlic smell should dissipate.

How To Avoid The Smell

The easiest way to prevent garlic smell on your hands is not to touch garlic with your bare hands. Below are some ways you can do this.

1. Wear Gloves

Don’t touch garlic with bare skin. Although gloves might be a nuisance and feel like you have an extra layer of skin when you peel garlic or slice onions, they are great at keeping your hands free of garlic odor. Choose nitrile or thin latex gloves for this, as they’ll allow you to continue prepping for food and cooking with ease.

Alternatively, you can use disposable food-grade gloves available at department stores, supermarkets, and food stores.

Don’t use thick gloves as they can make garlic handling a pain

Wear Gloves

2. Crush Garlic With A Garlic Press

To avoid touch garlic cloves, you can use a garlic press. A garlic press is good for mincing or crushing garlic and can be bought from any grocery store.

Though it’s a good tool to use to avoid getting a garlic smell on your hands, bear in mind that it might spend most of its time in storage.

Also, instead of a garlic press, you can use a food processor.

3. Shake The Garlic Bulb In A Jar

Peeling garlic is one of the steps that gets garlic odor under your fingernails. You can avoid this step by getting creative ways to peel garlic cloves. A great way is to put the bulb in a glass jar, close it tightly and shake the cloves for 3 minutes. After all the cloves are peeled, pour the cloves into a bowl and use a fork to remove individual cloves.

When you first start shaking the jar, the bulb will separate into individual cloves, and then the thin papery skin on the cloves will start to peel off.

4. Oil

Rubbing oil on your hands before handling raw garlic helps prevents sulfur compounds responsible for the garlic smell from sticking to your skin. After cutting garlic, you should wash your hands with water and soap.


And there you have it, specific methods you can use to get rid of the garlic smell on your hands. Choose any that fits your style.

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