How can I get That Garlic Smell off my Fingers After I Chop Garlic?

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  • Written By: wiseGEEK Writer
  • Edited By: O. Wallace
  • Last Modified Date: 12 September 2019
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There are many suggestions for getting rid of that garlic smell. Some people suggest soaking the hands in lemon juice or vinegar for about five minutes and then washing with warm water and soap. In all cases, if you’ve gotten garlic under your fingernails, you’ll have to use a good nailbrush, or the tines of a fork too or you won’t get the garlic smell off your fingers.

Another suggested method for getting rid of that garlic smell is to rub your hands with table salt, and then again, washing thoroughly with soap and water. This too may work, but salt, and lemon for that matter, will not be a good idea if you have small cuts on your hands. The old expression “rubbing salt into your wounds" applies.

Some people prefer to avoid the issue completely by using gloves when they prepare garlic. This can work well if you’re using rubber or latex gloves. Don’t get the ones with powder on them, as you may get a little latex in your food. Also avoid this method for keeping the garlic smell off your fingers if you are preparing food for anyone with latex allergies.


Probably the most common suggestion for getting the garlic smell off your fingers is to rub your hands against stainless steel after chopping garlic. While there are metal bars that you can purchase for this express purpose, a stainless steel knife, spoon, or sink will do! It's said that the molecules in stainless steel bond with the molecules of garlic left on your hands, effectively removing the garlic smell off your fingers.

Many suggests the stainless steel method works equally well with onions, and some suggest that if you hold a stainless steel spoon in your mouth while chopping onions, your eyes won’t get weepy. Of course the spoon may obscure your vision, and you might get a cut from a knife if you can’t see what you’re chopping.


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Discuss this Article

Post 8

I like that smell so much! It's almost a fetish. I never wash my hands after having chopped garlic.

A combination of lemon and dishwashing soap should be enough to get rid of most of the odor.

Post 7

a little lemon juice and warm water works perfectly.

Post 6

The stainless steel really works and it's so bizarre!

Post 5

I just tried the baking soda trick and it works!

Post 4

The steel worked a bit but not completely. I did try malt vinegar and warm water next and that worked straight away.

Post 3

When I first read this article, I simply could not believe that stainless steel would help with the garlic smell. Sure enough, I made some spaghetti and used a nice knife of mine to rub my fingers.

@anon44380: I think I will try some fresh mint leaves next.

Post 1

Lemon juice has always worked. Another thought is fresh mint. If you have fresh mint, or basil, available, crushing a leaf or two between your fingers can be helpful.

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