Odor Removal

How to Get Rid of Garlic Smell

Garlic is one of those useful and versatile ingredients that you either love or hate. Many people enjoy the spicy, heavy flavor of garlic, whether it’s raw or cooked. Some people also enjoy eating raw garlic. Garlic has many medicinal and healthful properties that guard against heart disease and the negative effects of cholesterol. Yet the powerful scent of garlic does not appeal to some people. Whether it’s preparing garlic or eating it, the oils and the powerful odor can get into your clothes, skin, and even your breath. If you eat a lot of garlic, the odor can get into your sweat glands that you even smell like a garlic clove.

Garlic is an acquired taste for some people, and it is also an acquired scent. Garlic can be a major turn-off for people with a sensitive sense of smell. If you’re worried about walking around town with the strong and powerful odor of garlic, here are some ways to get rid of them.

Where Garlic Smells Come From

Garlic (scientific name: Allium sativum) is a species that belongs to the onion (Alliceae) family. Almost every part of the garlic plant can be eaten. The bulb is the most commonly used part of the garlic plant. The young and tender shoots, leaves, stems, and even flowers of the garlic plant can be eaten as a replacement for chives and other herbs. Garlic has been used by people for thousands of years as a versatile ingredient in many savory recipes.

The strong odor of garlic comes from the oils found in the bulb. When garlic is digested or prepared, a chemical called allyl methyl sulfide, or AMS, is formed. AMS does not break down during digestion and is released during preparation, so the strong-smelling chemical just passes through the bloodstream unchanged. The sulfur compounds in the garlic are responsible for that strong, pungent odor in the breath and the sweat of garlic lovers.

Other Ways To Prepare Garlic

The smell and the oils of fresh garlic can get into your clothes and the pores of your skin. If you don’t like the strong odor of garlic making its way into your skin, then here are some other ways to prepare the stinking rose:

  • Garlic press. Garlic presses are tools that can finely mince garlic for you. Some people claim that garlic presses release more of the essential and flavorful oils in garlic, but some others say that the taste of pressed garlic is very unappealing. Use a garlic press if you don’t want the smell of raw garlic on your hands or clothes.
  • Roasted garlic. Roasted garlic is a favorite among chefs who want a more full-bodied, well-developed flavor in the ingredient. Simply douse a whole garlic bulb in salt and olive oil, wrap it in aluminum foil and bake it at 450 degrees Fahrenheit for half an hour. Roasted garlic is a perfect accompaniment for bread and mashed potatoes, and can even be used as a base flavor for soups and stews.
  • Fried garlic. Fried garlic has a unique texture and flavor. Deep-fried garlic cloves can be used to flavor many fried goodies like peanuts, chicken, fish, or even vegetables. The neat thing about fried garlic is that you can even eat it by itself.
  • Minced with a cleaver and salt granules. If you’re not keen on using a garlic press but you still need to use fresh garlic, you can use an old kitchen trick. Use a heavy chef’s knife or a cleaver, and crush and mince the garlic over some coarse grains of salt.
  • Garlic powder. Prepared store-bought garlic or garlic powder does not taste as good as fresh garlic, but can substitute for the flavor of the ingredient especially if it’s to be used for cooking. Use only a small amount of garlic powder, because the flavor is more concentrated compared to fresh garlic.

Use Alcohol or Perfume

The strong-smelling sulfides in garlic will eventually pass, but for the meantime you can mask it. A few spritzes of strong-scented perfume, or plain old rubbing alcohol, can hide the garlic smells for a few days until the sulfides disappear. If you’re concerned that excessive sweating will make everyone wonder whether you’ve been eating entire cloves of garlic, refrain from vigorous exercise at public places like gyms and fitness clubs.

Take a Sauna

A great way to remove the sulfides that got into your bloodstream is to take a relaxing sauna or steam bath. If you can’t afford the sauna treatment, you can spend a half-hour inside a hot shower stall to get rid of the sulfides that made their way into your sweat glands. It will take a while before all the smells will be purged from your system, so enjoy the relaxing heat.

Wash With Lemons

A bowl of halved or sliced lemons soaked in water is more than just a way to decorate your kitchen in an unusual way. If you work with a lot of garlic, you can use the lemon-water to rinse your hands and fingers after chopping or preparing garlic. You can also use lemon-scented detergent or laundry soap to get rid of the garlicky odors from clothes and utensils.

Mints, Parsley, Dessert, and Wine

When you’re at a restaurant and you’re served a dish that’s infused and flavored with plenty of garlic, you can use some of the ingredients and dishes already served to you to get rid of the strong smell:

  • Take a couple of breath mints. The mint and sugars found in breath mints can help chemically alter the foul-smelling sulfides in garlic that cause bad breath.
  • Chew on parsley leaves. Those green sprigs of parsley on your plate are more than just for garnish. A few parsley leaves can help remove the garlicky odor from your breath.
  • Eat anything cold. Garlic smells become heightened when you eat something hot. Order a small serving of ice cream, shaved ice, or a cooler to mask the smell of garlic on your breath.
  • Take a sip of wine. Wine, especially red wine, has a stronger scent and flavor that can mask the strong sulfides in garlic.

Garlic is very useful, but some people get turned off by the smell. One of the best ways to get around the problem is to date someone or dine with people who love garlic as much as you do. With that in mind, you won’t be forced to choose between good smells and garlicky goodness anymore. If you enjoyed reading this article might as well read how to grow garlic.

About the author

Nicole Harding


  • If you use any of the Jordan Essentials salt scrub with a bit of the foam shower jell on your dry hands, the odor will be removed. I use the unsented salt scrub and soap foamer, so there is no lingering scent.
    No need to use harsh stainless steel or the like.

  • Dried clove (spice) is traditionally used in my country (Azerbaijan) to suppress unwanted Garlic breath. Just chew several dried cloves after your garlic meal. Don’t just eat them, chew them for some time. The breath will be gone for sure.

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