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How to get garlic smell off your hands with one simple trick

How to get garlic smell off your hands with one simple trick
Posted at 6:30 AM, Jan 30, 2024
and last updated 2024-01-30 08:30:14-05

I love garlic. I don’t, however, love its lingering smell, on my breath or my hands. In fact, to escape the latter (and save time), I usually use pre-minced garlic in recipes where chopped or minced garlic is required.

However, sometimes a recipe calls for mashed garlic or whole cloves, or I don’t have the pre-minced kind on hand. The garlic scent from handling the pungent allium can linger under my nails even after a good soap scrub.

Garlic, it seems, requires cooks to know multiple kitchen hacks: Even if you’ve mastered the art of separating garlic cloves quickly, we all still need a trick for that garlicky scent stubbornly clinging to our fingers. So I was intrigued after hearing that one way to get rid of the garlic smell on your hands is by rubbing your wet palms and digits on stainless steel.

This is not a new idea, by the way. And people continue to have mixed results with the method. NPR’s test was not positive. But Martha Stewart is a longtime proponent of the stainless steel trick, as this older clip republished on Stewart’s TikTok channel shows:

@marthastewart

My quick tip for keeping clean and fresh while doing Thanksgiving cooking! #marthacooks #tiktokpartner #learnontiktok #thanksgiving #cooking #tiptok

♬ original sound – Martha Stewart

MORE: How to store potatoes, onions and garlic

The idea behind the idea is that rubbing your hands on stainless steel binds the garlic (and the stinky sulfur in it) to the metal and removes the smell from your hands.

The theory behind the hack is that the rust-resistant chromium that covers stainless steel (with iron underneath this surface) is what’s reacting with the sulfur in the garlic. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, stainless steel is an alloy of several metals and contains about 18% chromium, which is what makes it “stainless” — tough and resistant to corrosion, and perhaps able to remove garlic smell from your fingertips.

Using stainless steel to get rid of smells on your hands supposedly helps with fish, peppers and onions too.

Kitchen knife and garlic cloves on counter
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

MORE: 10 Kitchen Tricks Every Home Cook Needs To Know

Many sources say running your hands under water while doing this is the most effective method, but really, you can use any stainless steel surface you can find, including the sides of your sink or even your faucet. You can even buy stainless steel soap bars for this exact purpose. But why buy something extra if you’ve already got stainless steel all around you?

I decided to test the theory.

My sink was far too dirty for me to want to try rubbing my hands on its sides. And I don’t have any large stainless steel ladles for a good surface area. So I used the side of my widest knife. You could also try the sides of some appliances, though you risk leaving messy streaks behind.

Writer rubs fingertips along flat blade of knife
Anna Weaver/Simplemost

After chopping the garlic and rubbing it on my fingers, I rinsed them and rubbed my wet digits on the flat side of the knife. Then I sniffed to see the result. The garlic seemed to dissipate. I repeated the same steps, and the garlic smell disappeared.

I redid the whole garlic-smearing process another time with the same results. The stainless steel appeared to get rid of the sulfur smell from the garlic. I will be doing this going forward whenever I’ve got to handle persistently smelly ingredients in the kitchen.

If you haven’t tried this trick yet, you should! It’s easy and effective.


How to get garlic smell off your hands with one simple trick originally appeared on Simplemost.com

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