Got Garlic Breath And Onion-y Hands? Here's How To Fix It

When you smell something tantalising emanating from a kitchen, there’s a good chance that garlic and onion have a role to play. These two simple ingredients can up the flavour quotient of any dish and of course, no Indian food is quite the same without them. But sadly, what tastes so good in a meal can be quite unappealing anywhere else, and for the rest of the day or night, you’re left to battle their lingering effects on your hands and on your breath. 

This prolonged odour is thanks to sulfurous chemicals in both garlic and onion. They both belong to a category of vegetables called alliums and when the sulfur in these vegetables mixes with bacteria in the mouth, it causes a reaction that can last for hours and sometimes even overnight.

But don’t despair, you can still cook and enjoy these delicious dishes without worry if you plan ahead and take some measures to ensure they don’t stick around all day long. 

Go Herbal

Fresh herbs such as parsley, mint, basil and coriander can help combat bad breath and residual odours on your skin. These herbs contain plant chemicals such as chlorophyll and polyphenols which bind to sulfur compounds in garlic and onion to help neutralise the odour. So chew on some herbs or rub them briskly between your hands to get rid of the smells.

When Life Gives You Lemons…

…use them to clean your hands. The citric acid in lemons can neutralise the compound in alliums which causes the odours so rubbing your hands with a slice of lemon can ensure that the juice gets into all the nooks and crannies of your hands and gets rid of any residual smells.

Brush Your Teeth, And Your Hands

A great way to eliminate garlicky breath is a thorough brushing to remove any particles from your mouth, but did you know it can work on your hands too? The same chemicals like chlorine dioxide that help loosen the bonds between food and your teeth can clean off your hands, and make them minty fresh too. 

Caffeinate The Right Way

Coffee grounds are a natural exfoliant and we all love the smell of fresh coffee right? Club these two traits together and you’ve got yourself the all-in-one odour eater. Just grab some whole beans or grounds (not instant coffee though, that would just be messy) and scrub your hands to erase the smells and soften the skin.

Try Stainless Steel Soap

This method is hotly debated with some people swearing by it and others swearing that it’s an old wives' tale. In theory, the molecules in a stainless steel bar have the ability to bind with the sulphur molecules from alliums and disintegrate the bond with your skin, theoretically eliminating the odour. Might be worth a shot right?