Why Do My Hands Smell Like Onions?

You chopped a pile of onions for that huge batch of chili/curry/stew/braise and now, hours after you've enjoyed the meal and left a mountain of dishes in the sink, your hands smell awful. They're not even oniony, they're somehow worse. It's like you have onion juice running through your veins instead of blood, and it's not sexy. How did this happen, and how can you get your life back on track?

Simply put, onion juice and fumes are powerful entities. You keep saying you never cry, but we're not idiots: that pile of onions couldn't possibly have brought up that many repressed memories. When cut open, onion cells release enzymes that convert its amino acid sulfoxides into sulfenic acid, the effects of which can be felt immediately, crybaby. That same chemical adheres to the skin and stays there, sometimes for days, until something neutralizes the acid. Soap typically won't do the trick.

Internet remedies run the gamut from peanut butter and toothpaste to good old-fashioned baking soda, but rather than rummage through your pantry with your stinky onion paws, heed our tried, true, zero-waste trick. Do that mountain of dishes, then rub your wet hands firmly against the inside of your nice clean sink for about 30 seconds. The reaction between the onion compound and stainless steel neutralizes the odor and you'll get to know your sink more intimately than you'd ever planned.