How to Remove Lingering Food Odors from Your Hands

We all hate those lingering smells that embed themselves into your fingertips after a few hours in the kitchen. Whether it be garlic, fish, or onions, somehow certain food odors seem to stay with you long after the meal has been finished. Perhaps your first solution may be to avoid using the ingredients all together. However, doing so would deprive you of a wide range of flavors and culinary potential. So we know that is not going to work.

Often your next thought is to wash our hands in scalding water with a grease-cutting soap. Sadly, that too often won’t do the trick. So how can this problem be solved?! Easily. With seven everyday kitchen ingredients, you can instantly banish many of the kitchen’s most offending odors.

Bonus: The first one you’re guaranteed to always have on hand.

1. Stainless Steel

This might be the simplest and most overlooked solution to getting those unwelcome odors off your hands. Simply use a spoon, knife, or sink and rub your fingers back and forth across the stainless steel metal. It’s that easy to remove the offending scents.

However, we do recommend that you use a knife as a last resort. We wouldn’t want your fingers to slip and you to hurt yourself!

2. Coffee Grounds

Charing Cross ➕ #sundaymorning

A post shared by NinEnOnA_Staralliance (@ninenona_staralliance) on

Sure you could compost your coffee grounds. But, you could also keep a backup stash just in case you need to whip up an odor-removal scrub.

Not only will your hands smell like a mug of fresh morning joe, but coffee also exfoliates your skin, which helps get rid of funky smells faster while leaving your hands silky smooth. 

All you have to do is dunk your fingers in some excess grounds and rub them around for a minute or two before rinsing them off in warm water.

3. Lemon

Lemons are good for almost everything in the kitchen. Using them to get rid of stinky smells on your fingers is no exception. Just squeeze some juice over your skin and rub it in.

Once you wash it off, you’ll be lemony fresh.

4. Vinegar + Baking Soda

#FeralCleaningGmaEmmiesGlassPot #StoredInSandRoom #VinegarBakingSoda

A post shared by Bouffée de Chaleur (@bouffee1) on

So if you didn’t know, leaving out a saucer of vinegar in your kitchen overnight does wonders for removing odors. Similarly, it gets them off your hands exceptionally well.

Simply make a paste of vinegar and baking soda and slather the foam all over your hands. Once it’s dry, rinse it off, and voila!

5. Tomato Juice

If tomato juice can get rid of skunk odors, it can certainly get rid of some lingering garlic.

Just pour out a can of V8 and soak your hands for a minute or two. When you rinse them off, you’ll be back to normal.

6. Salt

Wash your hands and then scrub them with salt.

A vigorous scrubbing will remove all the excess dead skin cells on your hands and the smell will disappear with them.

7. Antiseptic Mouthwash

Mouthwash does double duty on smelly hands. It neutralizes odor-causing compounds and kills and odor-causing bacteria that’s left over.

Plus it will leave a minty fresh scent on your hands that will mask anything that is stubborn enough to be left over.