Do you love the taste of garlic in your food, but hate the lingering smell?
Garlic produces cysteine sulfoxide, which gives it the distinct odor and taste. These sulfuric compounds are similar to compounds produced by the bacteria that cause bad breath.
The worst part is that the smell of garlic may stay in your lungs for 24 to 48 hours after you consume it. Also, your hands can smell of garlic if you’ve prepared the food.
But as garlic has many nutritional and medicinal properties, you cannot simply stop eating garlic altogether. Garlic is an excellent source of magnesium, vitamins B6 and C, and selenium. It also possesses antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and many other medicinal properties.
Luckily, there are several easy ways to prevent or solve the problem of lingering garlic odor.
Here are the top 10 ways to remove garlic smell from your breath and hands.
Apples contain oxidizing enzymes, which is why they change color when cut and left exposed to the air for some time. These same enzymes can help neutralize garlic odor and get rid of garlic breath.
Also, the phenolic compounds in apples help destroy the volatile compounds in garlic that cause the lingering odor.
A 2016 study published in the Journal of Food Science found that eating raw apple may help reduce garlic breath. Other than apples, the study also found that lettuce is good for removing garlic odor in the mouth or on the body.
- When you’ve got garlic breath, eat an apple to get rid of it.
- Also, drinking a glass of fresh apple juice will do the trick.
Milk is another natural ingredient that provides a very easy way to neutralize garlic breath.
In a 2013 study published in the Journal of Food Science, researchers found that drinking milk while eating garlic-heavy food can reduce the malodorous breath associated with garlic consumption.
According to this study, both fat-free and whole milk lowered the concentration of volatile odor-emitting compounds from garlic in the nose and mouth. Due to its higher fat content, whole milk was found to be more effective.
- Simply sip a glass of milk to reduce garlic breath effectively.
3. Mint Leaves
Mint leaves have a significant deodorizing effect on volatile garlic compounds.
The chlorophyll in mint can help mask the garlic smell. Plus, it has mild antiseptic properties that help reduce bad breath caused by bacteria.
- Chew on some fresh mint leaves and you will have minty fresh breath.
- Drink soothing mint tea to fight garlic breath. To make the tea, add 1 tablespoon of crushed mint leaves to 1 cup of hot water. Cover and let it steep for 10 minutes, then strain it. Add a little honey before drinking it.
- Crush mint leaves with your hands and rub mint juice on your hands to get rid of garlic odor lingering on your hands.
Just like mint, parsley is another herb that can successfully combat garlic breath and help remove any odor on your hands. The chlorophyll in it absorbs odors and helps keep you smelling fresh.
- Chew on a sprig of parsley after eating any food that contains a good amount of garlic.
- Put a handful of coarsely chopped parsley in 2 cups of water. Add 2 or 3 whole cloves and boil the water for 5 minutes. Strain and allow it to cool before drinking this odor-fighting parsley tea.
- Rub some parsley leaves or juice between your hands, then wash them to get rid of garlic odor.
5. Stainless Steel
It may sound strange, but using stainless steel is one of the best ways to combat garlic odor on your hands as well as in your mouth.
When your skin comes in with an object made of iron, perspiration from the skin causes the iron atoms to gain two electrons. The atoms then react with oil in the skin, causing them to decompose, which in turn neutralizes the odor.
- Rub your hands against a stainless steel surface for a few minutes, then rinse your hands with water and notice the smell has disappeared.
- For bad breath, run a small stainless steel object (like a spoon) all around the inside of your mouth, including on your entire tongue and the sides. Then rinse your mouth with water.
Another good kitchen ingredient to deal with garlic odor is lemon.
Lemon has citric acid that can neutralize the enzymes produced by garlic and thus get rid of that lingering garlic smell. Also, it helps lower the skin’s pH level, which makes it difficult for odor-producing compounds to stay in the body.
- Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of water and mix well. Use this solution to rinse your mouth thoroughly to reduce the garlic odor.
- Sip a glass of freshly made lemon water after eating any food that has a strong garlic flavor.
- For your hands, rub a lemon rind or lemon juice on them to get the garlic smell off.
The strong aroma of cardamom can help mask the smell of garlic breath. It will even add a nice smell to your breath.
- Chew some green cardamom seeds after enjoying any food that contains lots of garlic.
- Also, you can drink a glass of milk with some cardamom powder mixed in it.
Along with cardamom, fennel, cloves and anise seeds can help neutralize or mask garlic odor.
8. Baking Soda
When it comes any kind of bad odor, baking soda is a safe ingredient to try.
It can neutralize garlic odor on your hands as well as in your mouth. Also, it helps maintain the pH balance of the mouth and inhibits the growth of bacteria.
- Mix 1 teaspoon each of baking soda and sea salt in a glass of warm water. Use it to rinse your mouth once or twice.
- For your hands, mix together 1 tablespoon each of baking soda and lemon juice. Apply it on your hands. Leave it on for a couple of minutes, then wash it off with water.
- Also, you can sprinkle baking soda on both your palms, rub them together for a minute and then rinse them off with plain water.
9. Olive Oil
If you are worried about the garlic smell lingering on your hands after handling garlic, try olive oil next time.
Olive oil will work as a shield and prevent the garlic smell from sticking to your hands. Put a few drops of olive oil on your hands and rub the oil around thoroughly. Now you can peel or chop garlic without any problem.
Also, it will not cause your hands to burn, which often occurs if you need to chop a good amount of garlic.
Be sure not to use too much oil, as it can make your hands slippery and affect your knife-handling skills.
Apart from olive oil, coconut oil and palm oil also work fine.
Another good home remedy for removing garlic odor from your mouth or hands is toothpaste.
- After eating a garlic-rich meal, brushing your teeth with any mint-flavored toothpaste goes a long way in not only getting rid of the garlic smell in your mouth but also the taste.
- To get rid of the smell on your hands, put a little toothpaste on them and rub gently. Then wash your hands with your regular soap.
- To get rid of garlic breath, you can drink some green tea or cinnamon tea.
- For your hands, rub some coffee beans or grounds between your hands until the smell is gone.
- If you don’t have any cuts on your hands, rub some table salt between your hands, then rinse them under running water after peeling or chopping garlic.
- To prevent getting garlic odor on your hands, wear latex gloves whenever you’re chopping garlic.