Hand skin

How to Remove the Smell of Garlic from Your Hands

Mary Smith
By Mary Smith. January 21, 2021
How to Remove the Smell of Garlic from Your Hands

Garlic is a staple of the Mediterranean diet, but is also popular in cuisines the world over. Whether making a stir-fry, curry, pasta sauce or even just roasting a whole garlic bulb, the smell will likely fill your kitchen. If you don't use some protection, it will also get on your hands. Since garlic has such a strong aroma and flavor, it can be difficult to remove. Although beautiful in a dish, stale garlic on your fingers can be quite unpleasant.

For this reason, oneHOWTO provides you with our guide on how to remove the smell of garlic from your hands. We provide 6 effective tricks to remove this strong odor and do so without hurting your hands in the process.

  1. Cold water
  2. Lemon
  3. Salt water
  4. Stainless steel
  5. Apple cider vinegar
  6. Coffee grounds

Cold water

Our first method of removing garlic smell from your hands sounds obvious, but there is a trick to it. Cold water is what you should try first. It is one of the fastest, easiest and most effective tricks, and is available to everyone. To eliminate the smell of garlic from your hands, turn on your cold tap, fill up a basin and let your fingers soak for a few minutes.

It is important you do not use warm water or try to wipe your hands with a soapy cloth before trying cold water. The reason is that heat and friction can cause the garlic smell to become further embedded in your skin. By using cold water only and soaking your hands rather than scrubbing them, you may be able to remove the garlic smell completely.


Lemon and its pleasant citrus scent effectively counteract the lingering smell of garlic. If you want to know how to remove the smell of garlic from your fingers, lemon is one of the most useful options you'll find. It is also a natural garlic removal method which won't cots you much money.

To remove garlic smell from your hands with lemon, make a very simple preparation using the following method:

  1. Mix the juice of 1 lemon with some chopped parsley or mint leaves.
  2. After you slice or chop garlic, spread it over your hands and fingers.
  3. Let it dry for a few minutes for the mixture to take effect.
  4. Finally, proceed to wash your hands with soap and water as you normally do.

Make a large batch of the lemon preparation and keep it covered in your refrigerator. This way you can keep it and reuse it any time you are chopping garlic. If you have garlic smell under your nails, you can also get rid of it by sticking your fingernail into the center of a half lemon and making concentric circle motions. Afterwards, wash your hands as normal and you should be garlic-free!

Another strong smell found in cooking is onion which can get into your hair. Check out our tips on how to remove onion smell from your hair if this happens to you.

How to Remove the Smell of Garlic from Your Hands - Lemon

Salt water

The next tip to remove the smell of garlic from your fingers is with salt water. This method also helps you to keep your hands soft and hydrated. Mix two or three tablespoons of table salt in half a glass of water. You don't need to be exact with these measurements, but you want to end up with a loose paste. Spread this over your hands and fingers with gentle circular movements, but don't use excessive force. Finally, remove the paste with water until your hands are completely clean.

The salt will not only absorb the garlic smell from your skin, but its astringent properties will also work as a natural exfoliant. This will get rid of dead skin cells as well as the garlic microbes. Once the mixture is removed, it is best to apply some moisturizing hand cream to increase hydration.

Remember that cuts and abrasions will sting if your get salt in them. In these cases, it is probably best to choose another method. Otherwise it can sting quite a lot.

Stainless steel

Did you know that stainless steel is a material known for its incredible odor trapping properties? In fact, stainless steel is a metal which is known for not being porous. It is so well known for not allowing smells to absorb, stainless steel has even been used to make soap bars.

If you are cooking with garlic and you don't want the smell to stick to your fingers, you can use stainless steel. Ideally, you will use a stainless steel bar of soap. This is because it is believed the molecules will bind with the steel. If you don't have a stainless steel soap bar, you can improvise by taking a stainless steel utensil from the drawer. Whether it is a knife, ladle, spoon or whatever, hold it in your fingers and let the metal do the work.

Since you can't use stainless steel in your mouth, take a look at our article on how to remove garlic smell from your breath.

Apple cider vinegar

There are many beneficial properties attributed to apple cider vinegar. It is a great ally for topical healing, digestive problems and even using as a cleaner in the kitchen. You may have even used it in your washing machine to clean it out. You may not know that it is an effective way to remove garlic smell from your fingers.

  1. Dilute two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar in half a glass of water (the ratio should be approximately 50% water and 50% apple cider vinegar).
  2. Apply this combination to your hands and nails, then allow them to dry well.
  3. Wash your hands with soap as you normally do. Don't worry if you notice a slight vinegar smell on your skin, as it will disappear after a few minutes.

Garlic smell will not only adhere to our fingers and hands. If we have eaten a garlic-heavy meal, we can often smell it on our breath. In these cases, apple cider vinegar can also be helpful. Just use the same mixture you use on your hands, but use it as a mouthwash instead. Brush your teeth afterwards to protect your teeth from the acidity of the apple cider vinegar.

How to Remove the Smell of Garlic from Your Hands - Apple cider vinegar

Coffee grounds

If you still want to know how to remove garlic smell from your fingers, one of the most effective tips is to use coffee grounds. Coffee grounds are very useful, especially if you have a garden, but they can also be used for your skin. You can see this in our tutorial on how to make a coffee face mask. For this reason, you should not throw them away (or at least not all of them).

If you have garlic smell on your hands, take some of the damp coffee grounds and rub them over your skin as if you were lathering soap. Again, don't scrub hard. Then you need to run them under the tap with plenty of cold water. Dry your hands well and you should be free of that strong garlic smell.

If you want to read similar articles to How to Remove the Smell of Garlic from Your Hands, we recommend you visit our Beauty & Personal Care category.


  • If you want to know how to remove garlic breath, keep in mind that some foods, eaten or in the form of a rinse, will help you get it easily. An infusion of green tea, chewing some mint or spearmint leaves, half a glass of lemonade (lemon juice diluted with water) or even a glass of milk will make garlic breath stop being a bothersome problem.
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How to Remove the Smell of Garlic from Your Hands