Lots of meals just wouldn’t be complete without garlic and onions to add flavour, but dealing with the bad breath afterwards can seem like too high a price to pay.

The smell is caused by sulphur containing chemicals in garlic and onion, and as we know, it can linger around for hours, or even overnight.

If you’re going to be working or socializing with people, you may choose to avoid garlic or onions, but there are actually several home remedies that can prevent or eliminate garlic and onion breath, so you don’t have to miss out on a flavourful meal.

Green Tea

One study showed that a drink of green tea cleared up bad breath more effectively than mints, chewing gum, or parsley oil products.

Green tea is good for your mouth in other ways, too. A study showed that a mouthwash containing catechins – which are compounds in green tea – was able to reduce plaque as well as an antiseptic mouthwash.

Chewing Gum

Gum stimulates saliva production, which can help wash away any bacteria and food particles. A minty flavoured gum can mask any unpleasant odours, and chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes after a meal can reduce the risk of tooth decay, according to the American Dental Association.

Drink Lemon Water

Lemon juice may well neutralize the odour of garlic or onions, but it may make you grimace at the sharpness! Try adding a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice to a glass of water and drink it after eating onion or garlic.

Remove the Garlic Core

While you are preparing a meal, you can cut each garlic clove in half and remove the stem from the middle of the bulb before adding it to the dish. This is supposed to reduce the risk of getting garlic breath.

Drink Milk

Milk can reduce the amount of compounds in the mouth that contain sulphur, so it may help if you drink milk during or just after a meal with garlic or onions. Full-fat milk is better than skimmed milk at reducing odours.

Apple Cider Vinegar

Some people recommend drinking a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar in water either before or after meals. This isn’t a medically approved method, and you should always check with your doctor before using apple cider vinegar as a remedy.

Herb Leaves

Parsley is an ancient remedy for combating garlic or onion breath. If you chew some fresh parsley after eating garlic or onions, it should help to cleanse the palate and mask bad smells.

Apple or Raw Lettuce

A study published in the Journal of Food Science shows that eating raw apple or raw lettuce after consuming onions or garlic significantly reduced the smell on the subject’s breath.


A mouthwash containing peppermint can mask the garlic and onion smell. There has been research to suggest that mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide are very effective at removing plaque, bacteria and food particles.


Humble water can wash the remains of garlic or onion from your tongue or between your teeth. It also encourages the production of saliva, which helps to remove bad bacteria from the mouth.

Brush and Floss

Brush and floss your teeth after a meal, and you can significantly reduce the number of bacteria in the mouth. It will also help to remove plaque and food particles.