Martha Stewart's Tip For Removing The Garlic Smell From Your Hands Is Genius

Cooking with garlic is normally accompanied by two things: a delicious meal and a stubborn smell that lingers on your hands. If you often make recipes that call for the allium, you know that it's simply the price you have to pay if you want to incorporate the flavor into your food. Garlic powder and the pre-minced kind that comes in a jar can work in a pinch, but nothing truly compares to using fresh garlic bulbs.


Considering she's been cooking on TV since 1993, it comes as no surprise that Martha Stewart knows just what to do to rid your fingers of the garlicky smell, and no, it isn't just washing your hands with soap and water. As the celebrity chef revealed in a viral TikTok video, all you have to do is repeatedly run your fingers over the dull side of a knife. If you do this under warm water, the smell of garlic should be gone immediately after.

Why a knife can remove the garlic smell from your hands

If you rub your garlic-contaminated hands on a ceramic or plastic knife instead, they will still smell like garlic. That's because the knife itself isn't the reason Stewart's hack is so effective; it's the fact that the knife is made of stainless steel. Stainless steel interacts with compounds in certain foods, for example, avocados, which can prematurely turn brown upon coming in contact with a knife made of the metal alloy. Garlic and stainless steel, however, create another chemical reaction of their own.


BBC Science Focus explains that garlic gets its distinct taste and smell from its high levels of sulfuric chemicals, primarily allicin. When allicin is exposed to the chromium that forms the outermost coating of a stainless steel knife, it automatically adheres to it. So any allicin that lingers on your hands will transfer from your hands to the surface of the knife, and as a result, much of the smell should be gone.


My quick tip for keeping clean and fresh while doing Thanksgiving cooking! #marthacooks #tiktokpartner #learnontiktok #thanksgiving #cooking #tiptok

♬ original sound – Martha Stewart

Martha Stewart's tip isn't a perfect solution

While effective, the knife hack Martha Stewart shared isn't a complete replacement for soap. If all you do is rub your hands against the surface of the knife, NPR found that the garlic smell might still linger. There are stainless steel "soap" bars you can buy, however no matter the source of stainless steel, you'll still probably need to scrub in order to fully deodorize your hands.


If you're not entirely satisfied with the results of Stewart's tip, you can attempt to get the remainder of the smell off by washing your hands with soap, but, there are other tips and tricks you might try. Spice World recommends trying salt or baking soda. While the stainless steel will take care of most of the allium, the salt can slough off any other garlic residue, and the baking soda will soak up whatever leftover odors remain, leaving you with clean-smelling hands every time you cook with garlic.