Do you love that garlic smell wafting from your cooking food? I bet you don’t love that pungent odor so much when it’s clinging to your hands hours after you prepared it, though. It doesn’t seem to come off even after several thorough hand washes, so what can you do to get rid of it?

Luckily, there are several common household items that can prevent or neutralize food smells on your skin:

1. Lemon Juice

Lemon juice can help to neutralize odors from food, especially fish or seafood smells. The citric acid turns the amines that cause the fishy smell into ammonium salts, which don’t’ smell as bad.

Rinse your hands in a mixture of lemon juice and water after washing, or rub half a lemon over your hands and cutting board.

2. Stainless Steel

This may sound strange, but rubbing your hands on a stainless steel pan or faucet is supposed to get rid of smells. There’s no scientific evidence for this, but lots of people swear by it, and you can buy stainless steel ‘soap’ bars just for this purpose!

3. Coffee Grounds

If you love the smell of coffee, rub coffee beans or grounds on your hands until the offending smell is gone. If you don’t like coffee, don’t try this method!

4. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great odor neutralizer and cleaner. Add a teaspoon to hand soap and wash as usual.

5. Toothpaste

Toothpaste has several uses apart from cleaning your teeth! You can remove scratches from CD’s with it, or clean your car headlights, and it also removes smells from your hands. Wash your hands with some toothpaste, then again with soap.

6. Cold Water

If you don’t like to use any of the above ideas, wash your hands in cold water instead. Hot water opens the pores on your hands and lets the oils of the smelly food seep into your skin.

7. Chlorophyll


Try rubbing a sprig of crushed parsley on your skin. The chlorophyll in it and other fresh herbs absorbs odors. Rub it on your hands, and then wash them.

8. Salt

Make sure you don’t have any cuts on your hands before you try this! Rub table salt on your hands twice before scrubbing with soap and water.

9. Latex Gloves

If you want to avoid the odors altogether, wear some latex gloves while chopping or prepping something that smells.

10. Olive Oil


If you don’t have any gloves or hate wearing them, rub a few drops of olive oil or cooking spray on your hands before handling garlic or onions. This can prevent the smell from sticking to your hands, but don’t use too much – it can make your knife slippery.