12 A-Peeling Tips to Eliminate Onion Odors

Amy Pawlukiewicz
Written by Amy Pawlukiewicz
Updated April 19, 2022
 Top view of a man chopping an onion
Photo: Philippe Roy / Image Source / Getty Images

Smell ya later, onions

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Cooking with onions can infuse your food with beautiful layers of flavor, but the smell of onions can set up camp in your home for days afterward. And though their scent is lovely rolling around with garlic and peppers, the odor left later gets stale and downright unpleasant. Here are 12 tips for a stench-free home so you can get rid of that onion smell.

1. Open Windows While You Cook

If you know you're going to be cooking onions and don't want to have to deal with cleaning unpleasant smells later, open up the windows before you begin cooking. The reality is that everything in your home, from the carpet to the walls, absorbs odors, so encouraging good airflow while you're cooking aromatics will help to stop the smell from lingering.

2. Use the Exhaust Hood

When it comes to chasing odors out of your home while cooking, the exhaust hood on your stove is your best friend. Turn it on whenever you’re cooking anything fragrant on the stovetop, and it’ll suck up the odors and send them outside where they belong.

3. Get Rid of All Traces of Onions

Even if you have an airtight trash can that seals in odors, some smells will manage to escape every time you open it. Empty your trash can after cooking with onions to get rid of all scraps. This will not just ensure that the pungent scent of onions won't linger, it'll help eliminate smells from a trash can, too. 

And don’t forget to check your garbage disposal. It can be easy to forget you’ve rinsed some onion scraps down the drain, but those suckers will let you know they’re there when the smell hits you next time you run the hot water.

4. Deep Clean

 A woman vacuuming her living room
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If it’s been a while since you cooked onions and still notice a smell in your home, it’s time to do a deep clean. The “onion” smell may not be onion at all; it could be a combination of things causing your home to retain a musty scent. Start by vacuuming and dusting everything, then clean your carpet to eliminate any carpet smells

Another option if you don’t have the time to do a deep cleaning anytime soon is to hire a local carpet cleaner or a professional house cleaner near you to get rid of that onion smell, pronto.

5. Use Baking Soda

There’s a reason you’re supposed to put baking soda in your refrigerator and freezer. It has the fantastic ability to absorb even the most unpleasant smells. If you leave a bowl of it out in your kitchen overnight, it should help to absorb at least some of the odors lurking around. You can also use baking soda to wash your hands if the onion smell is clinging to them.

6. Keep Plants and Flowers

Plants and flowers spruce up your home and help it look nice, but they also help purify the air around them. Keeping plants or flowers in your home or bringing some in after you’ve cooked something stinky will keep your home smelling great and looking beautiful.

7. Use Other Scents Like Candles or Incense

Burning scented candles or lighting incense will help mask the smell of onions, at least while they're burning. You can also go over your home with your favorite air freshener to leave a better scent while finding the root of the problem. Remember that these tactics will help mask the smell but won't eliminate it.

8. Try Essential Oils

Essential oils are all the rage for their wide variety of uses. Diffusing an essential oil into the air will help your home smell nice, and it can usually be found at your nearest grocery store if you don’t have one on hand. However, be careful which oils you choose if you have pets—some of the scents are toxic to animals.

9. Set Out Vinegar

A man spraying a countertop with a vinegar solution
Photo: DGLimages / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

Cleaning with white vinegar is an everyday staple in organic cleaning, and it works on just about everything. It's popular because it has antibacterial properties, which work as an alternative to chemical cleaners. Setting out a bowl of vinegar in your kitchen either while cooking onions or after you're finished will help neutralize the smell. The only downside is you'll have to deal with the smell of vinegar instead.

If you’re not into the scent of vinegar, mix in a few drops of vanilla and set the bowl next to you while chopping onions. The vinegar and vanilla will neutralize the onion odor.

10. Steep Green Tea

Steeping green tea in the pots and pans you use to cook onions is one method to remove the smell from those cookware and has the bonus of making your home smell good. Boil some water in your pots or pans, drop in some tea bags, and let them steep. You can either drink the tea afterward, dispose of it, or use it in other ways like cleaning or skincare.

11. Simmer Spices or Fruits

We all know how lovely our home smells if we mull some cider on the stove with cinnamon sticks. Well, you don't have to wait until a chilly autumn day to do so. Boiling water on your stove with a combination of fruits and spices will help drive the onion smell out of your home. Apples and cinnamon work well, but you can also use citrus peels, cloves, or even pine needles.

12. Bake Some Cookies

When you bake, your whole home fills with the scent of whatever delectable treat you’re making. If you’re experiencing lingering onion smells in your kitchen, bake some cookies or a cake. You’ll get rid of the smell and have the bonus of baked goods at the end.

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