Post Tagged with: "kitchen chemistry"

Does stainless steel get rid of garlic smells?

Anyone fancy a quick food chemistry experiment to do whilst cooking dinner?

According to an old wives tale the best way to get rid of garlic smells on your hands is to rub them on stainless steel. You can even buy stainless steel ‘soap’ for that very purpose. This came up on twitter, the other day, and there was some speculation on the chemistry behind the phenomenon.


But before we get to the ‘how’ question maybe we should figure our if there is any truth in the anecdotes. Now for the experiment? Once your done please report results via the link at the bottom of the page.


A clove of garlic.

A knife.

A timer.

A wooden spoon and a stainless steel table spoon of about the same size.


1. Wash and dry your hands.

2. Cut the clove of garlic in half (don’t peel it, that way your fingers won’t pick up garlic smells when you hold it).

3. Rub the freshly cut surface on the palm of one hand for 10 seconds.

4. Rub the second piece of garlic on the palm of your other hand for 10 seconds (so ensuring an equally fresh and identical sized piece is used on each hand).

5. Rub one palm with the back of the stainless steel spoon and the other palm with the wooden spoon. Again for 10 seconds each. Make sure you remember which hand was rubbed with which spoon.

6.. Find a willing volunteer, ask them to close their eyes.

7. Hold a hand under their chin (thus keeping each hand  the same distance from the test subjects nose) and ask them to smell it. Then do the same with the other hand.

8. Ask them which hand smelt stronger of garlic.


Please report them here.


I’ll  get back to you with a conclusion when enough results are in. Then we can start working on whatever chemistry involved.

Originally posted at

By October 26, 2013 3 comments fun, Uncategorized