Share:

How to Get the Smell of Garlic off Your Hands

With their signature aroma and taste, garlic cloves lend a distinct richness to many a dish. After peeling and mincing, unfortunately, that richness also ends up on your fingers. Learn how to get the smell of garlic off your hands using these tried-and-true methods.

By Rory Cooper, Freelance Writer

diced garlic resting beside two large halves and a knife

Shutterstock / brunorbs


From pasta sauce to roasted potatoes, garlic enhances dozens of our favorite dishes. No matter how much you love the allium, however, few enjoy the pungent aroma that lingers seemingly forever on your hands.

If your fingers are funky after handling garlic bread, read on to learn quick tricks for banishing the smell from your hands.


  1. Rub your fingers along stainless steel. Think a spoon, a butter knife—even a faucet. This old wives' trick saves you from having to pause to wash your hands.

  2. Squeeze a lemon over your fingers or dunk them in a bowl of lemon juice. The fruit's citric acid neutralizes garlic's odor and leaves hands smelling lemony fresh.

  3. Wiggle your hands around in some ground coffee beans. They'll mask the garlic smell and gently exfoliate the skin, scrubbing faint traces of garlic from your fingers.

  4. Wash your hands with salt and baking soda. Combine a teaspoon of salt with two teaspoons of baking soda, and add just enough water to create a paste. Baking soda is famously tough on odors—and salt, like coffee grounds, acts as an exfoliator.

  5. If all else fails, use good old-fashioned soap and warm water. Look for deodorizing soap, which gets rid of smells even faster.