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Removing Garlic Odor

Q: How can I remove the odor of garlic from my hands after cooking?  Just washing them with soap doesn't seem to be enough.

-- Joan

The odor of garlic comes from sulfur-based chemicals.  Sulfur binds easily with many metals, so rubbing something metallic will usually remove the smell of garlic.  Try using a piece of aluminum foil, something made from stainless steel like a spoon, or even a handful of pennies.  Rub the metal in your hands, holding them under warm running water, then wash with soap and rinse.

Other suggestions I have heard include rubbing your hands with salt or baking soda, or rinsing them with mouthwash.  If at first you don't succeed, ...


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Another addendum to the question above: how do I remove the garlic smell from my mortar and pestle? My husband and I had been pounding garlic with salt and butter in the mortar and pestle, and now....the smell seems impossible to remove! We have tried baking soda, to no avail...any suggestions are welcome.


I have very dry skin. I was cooking and rinsing my hands often with water. I then chopped garlic. I have been fighting the smell for 4 days. When my hands are dry I don't notice the smell, but when I shower and my hands get good and moist the smell is still there and pretty strong. What can I do? Will the smell go away on it's own.

Another suggestion is to, first of all, wash your hands with cool soapy water. If you start with warm water, your pores open and some of the garlic oil getting pushed deeper into your skin. If you start with cool water -and lots of soap- you'll remove most of the oil. Then follow up with a warm-soapy wash. This works for onions as well.

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