You Need These Tricks to Get That Garlic Smell Off Your Hands

Garlic is delicious in your dinner—but on your hands, not so much. Use these easy tricks to get it gone.


Though fresh herbs, spices, and veggies can help you whip up a delicious, nutritious meal, many of them leave less-than-wonderful smells on your hands. Garlic is perhaps the worst offender, even though it makes sauce recipes so tasty and garlic boasts serious health benefits. Here’s how to keep loving the taste without being stuck with the smell for hours afterward.

  • Do an acid wash. Lemon has been long used to kill germs and bacteria, and it’s also great at neutralizing odors. Try rubbing fresh lemon juice and salt together in your hands to banish garlic’s lingering smell. Just be careful that your palms are free of cuts and blisters, or the acidic citrus juice will make them sting.
  • Save your java. After too many scent spritzes in the perfume department, attendants may offer you coffee beans to smell as a way of returning your nasal passages to normal. The cleansing effect help with garlic too. Add a little water to leftover coffee grounds, and rub them on your hands after you’ve cut garlic. You’ll exfoliate your skin as a bonus!
  • Silver cure. If you’ve ever Googled “how to get rid of the smell of garlic,” you no doubt found multiple hits for rubbing your hands on stainless steel. If you want to try this method, reach for the sink—and not a stainless steel knife. An ER visit for a laceration is way worse than the funk of garlic on your fingers.
  • Protect yourself. Avoid the problem in the first place by wearing kitchen gloves, so you can smash, dice, or chop even the stinkiest ingredients without stinking up your hands.