The Simple Trick To Remove Onion Smell From Your Hands

There are numerous reasons why you might find yourself chopping onions. They are a vital ingredient in soups and stews, and they're excellent when you're roasting or sautéing meat. Consumed raw, pickled, grilled, sauteed, caramelized, or roasted, onions are incredibly versatile. The only downside? The eye-watering fumes and the lingering smell.

Regardless of how well they complement a meal, dealing with onion-smelling hands and watering eyes can be quite an inconvenience. Luckily, the eye-watering tends to stop once you're done chopping, but the smelly hands can persist for hours. If you're cooking for yourself, you might not mind the smell so much, but if you're entertaining friends, and family, or possibly spending time holding small children or babies, the smell might not be welcome.

You might think that giving your hands a thorough scrubbing with soap and water will get the smell off, but that onion smell is stubborn. Instead of scrubbing your hands as if you're about to perform surgery, consider your kitchen sink. The enzymes causing the onion smell can be deactivated by the ions in your stainless steel sink. Hence, rubbing your hands on your clean sink after washing your dishes might just get rid of that onion smell. Have you ever wondered why onions stink? Well, they're merely trying to protect themselves.

Why this trick works

Since onions grow in the ground where many insects might want to eat them, the onion has evolved to protect itself. Inside the cells of the onion, there's a compartment housing a protective enzyme, known as syn-propanethial-S-oxide. Once the onion is cut open, this enzyme is released in a bid to deter pests. It's one reason why onions make you cry and why their smell clings to your skin.

Because this enzyme is designed to linger, it absolutely will stick to your hands for a while. But, you can use stainless steel to deactivate it. After doing your dishes, wipe down your stainless steel sink, then rub your hands along the surface while rinsing them under cold water. The layer of chromium oxide that protects your sink from corrosion contains ions that interact with the onion enzymes, neutralizing them. If you don't have a stainless steel sink, don't fret. There are other ways you can get that onion smell off your hands without having to wash them over and over again.

Other ways to remove onion smell from hands

If a stainless steel sink isn't part of your kitchen setup, there are likely other resources in your home already that can assist in eliminating the onion smell. Start by opening your silverware drawer. Try rubbing a stainless steel spoon on your hands while rinsing them under cold water for a few seconds. This might work because the ions in the silverware react similarly with the onion's enzymes.

If you don't have stainless steel flatware at your disposal, you can turn to other items from your pantry. Ingredients that are highly acidic will help break down the compounds in onions that cause the smell. Lemon juice, vinegar, and rubbing alcohol can work.

If you're looking to remove the onion smell from your hands while also exfoliating them, you can use a combination of dish soap, baking soda, and salt. Combine these three ingredients and then soak your hands in the mixture for 30 seconds to a minute. After soaking, rinse under running water. You'll end up with soft, onion-smell-free hands.