The AMCO Rub Away Stainless Steel Bar for Removing Garlic Smell from Hands
mobi-logo

Posted on 12 Aug 2015 21:01




It is claimed that you can remove the smell of garlic, or onion, or any other sulfurous vegetables from your hands by rubbing your wet hands with stainless steel. Some folks say this works wonders, some say it does nothing.

This reaction has to do with the organic sulfur compounds released when you cut into alliums like garlic. Our noses are very sensitive to these compounds. We may appreciate the the slight garlic aroma coming from a big pot of past sauce but we cannot stand to have that smell on your hands. Metal ions are supposed to have a high affinity for sulfur and nitrogen compounds. Thus, these stinky compounds react with the stainless steel, either removing them or rendering them less stinky.

The AMCO Rub Away Bar for Garlic Smell - Do You Need It?

The Amco Rub Away Bar is a bar of stainless steel shaped like a bar of soap, and you can use it to rub away the smell of garlic, etc. It is also claimed to work for onions and for fish. There are other similar products on the market.

Do you really need to pay $8.58 for a hunk of stainless steel that is useful for nothing BUT rubbing your hands, or perhaps becoming a paper-weight? You almost certainly already have stainless steel items in your kitchen. Stainless steal measuring cups will work exactly the same, and you can measure with them!

A stainless steel spoon would also work, and you can use it as a spoon! If you have a stainless steel sink, then you can rub your hands on its edges. Or, perhaps you have stainless steel clad pans, like All-Clad? Try it on any one of these things and see if it works.

stainless-steel-measuring-cups-set.jpg
stainless-steel-measuring-cups-set.jpg

How Do You Do It?

Some folks say to just rub your hands on stainless steel and that's it. Garlic smell gone. Some say your hands must be wet, as I mentioned above. Others say to rub your hands on the steel and then wash them with soap and water, or rinse them. Some say you need to rub your hands on the steel while rinsing them with cold water. It seems like nobody can agree on the proper procedure. But, does it really work?

Does Stainless Steel Really Remove the Garlic Smell From Your Hands?

I actually have found it to work, and I have a very sensitive nose, but only part of the time. I have not found it to work consistently. The chemical reaction that supposedly takes place, as for my results, must be unreliable at best. Informal tests, which many claimed to have carried out, have always resulted in a wash: It sometimes seems to work but not enough of the time to be sure it really works. NPR (National Public Radio), in 2006, asked an independent chemist to carry out a (informal) test. This test indicated that rubbing your hands on stainless steel fails to remove the garlic smell.

Chances are a Rub Away bar will end up bruising your toes when it falls off the counter and lands on your flip-flop clad foot, just as often as it will remove the smell of garlic from your hands. This is almost certainly a useless kitchen gadget. Even if it works, you don't need it because you already have items that will work and that have other functions. And, it probably doesn't work.

This article contains one or more Amazon affiliate links. See full disclosure.

© 2016 by Eric Troy and CulinaryLore. All Rights Reserved. Please contact for permissions.