10 Ways To Get Rid Of Garlic And Onion Breath Right Away

Some effective remedies to eliminate the foul odor that these ingredients leave you with.

Medically reviewed by Dr. Thomas Connelly, DDS
Written by Shaheen Naser, MSc
Edited by Arshiya Syeda, BA (Literature & Psychology), PG Dip
Fact-checked by Dipti Sharma, MA (English)  • 

The humble garlic and onion are a mainstay of many dishes. They are used in fried foods, soups, burgers, and pizzas. While they definitely add a kick to any cuisine, they may also cause garlic and onion breath. After all, both garlic and onion have one downside – bad breath. It is off-putting, and greeting someone with a foul breath might result in embarrassing situations. Your self-esteem might take a blow in this case.

The best way to avoid this is to refrain from eating garlic and onion. However, it may not always be feasible to resist the temptation to consume them. Moreover, it is also not wise to miss out on their health benefits. The question then is, how to get rid of onion breath or how to get rid of garlic breath? Don’t worry. We have some tricks to help you get rid of both! Keep reading to learn more.

Why Does My Breath Smell Like Onions?

Onion or garlic breath is a common occurrence in many people. One of the main reasons for this is the consumption of garlic or onion in its raw form. These vegetables have sulfur-containing compounds, which give them a distinctive smell.

While both onions and garlic have a wide range of health and medicinal benefits, many avoid eating them as the bad breath may linger around for hours or even overnight.

Fortunately, there are helpful home remedies that you can try out to eliminate onion or garlic breath.

10 Ways To Get Rid Of Garlic And Onion Breath

1. Brush And Floss

Image: Shutterstock

Brushing and flossing are important steps of a good oral care regimen. They can help you get rid of onion/garlic breath by brushing away the residues that may be left in your mouth post eating, thereby reducing the odor almost instantly. However, they work best with tongue cleaning (1).

2. Use A Tongue Scraper

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Tongue cleaning helps in reducing the volatile sulfur compounds inside your mouth, thereby reducing halitosis as well as onion or garlic breath (2).

protip_icon Fun Fact
Ancient Ayurvedic texts suggest using tongue scrapers made of metals like silver, tin, copper, brass, or gold, as they were believed to have antibacterial benefits.

3. Rinse With Mouthwash

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Following a routine of tooth brushing with toothpaste, tongue cleaning, and rinsing your mouth with mouthwash is a sure-shot way to freshen your breath. Together, these practices were found to give the best results against halitosis or bad breath and may also be a great treatment option for garlic breath (1). Mouthwashes containing chlorine dioxide are one of the best options for getting rid of bad breath (3).

protip_icon Trivia
During the middle ages, people used a mixture of wine and vinegar as a mouthwash to maintain oral hygiene.

4. Baking Soda

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You Will Need
  • 1-2 teaspoons of baking soda
  • 1 cup of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add one to two teaspoons of baking soda to a cup of warm water.
  2. Mix well and use the solution to rinse your mouth.
How Often You Should Do This

You can rinse your mouth with this solution multiple times daily, preferably after every meal.

Why This Works

The action of bacteria on the sulfur-containing compounds from onion, garlic, and other foods is one of the main causes of bad breath. The antibacterial effect of baking soda can help reduce bad breath by fighting the oral bacteria responsible for triggering it (4).

5. Lemon Water

Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1 tablespoon of lemon
  • 1 cup of warm water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to a cup of water.
  2. Mix well and use the solution to rinse your mouth for a few seconds.
How Often You Should Do This

You may do this 1-2 times daily, preferably after your meals.

Why This Works

Lemon juice has a low pH. It deactivates the alliinase enzyme that is responsible for the breakdown of sulfur compounds in the mouth, which results in bad breath (5).

6. Drink Milk

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Surprising as it may sound, consuming milk can actually mask the garlic breath. The effect is even more evident if milk is mixed with garlic before drinking. The high water and fat content in milk help in reducing garlic breath (6).

7. Chew Gum

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Chewing on any mints or mint-flavored gum is usually a quick fix to mask bad breath. However, there are also many gums available that aim at getting rid of halitosis. Chewing gums that contain probiotics, zinc acetate, and magnolia bark, eucalyptus, and allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) with zinc lactate were found to be effective in managing bad breath (7).

8. Green Tea

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You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of green tea
  • 1 cup of hot water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add a teaspoon of green tea to a cup of hot water.
  2. Steep for 5-10 minutes and strain.
  3. Drink the warm tea.
How Often You Should Do This

You can drink green tea 1-2 times daily, preferably right after a meal for best results.

Why This Works

Green tea exhibits disinfectant and deodorant properties that can help in getting rid of garlic or onion breath (8).

Jen Phanomrat, a Youtuber, shared her experience of eliminating garlic breath with green tea in her Youtube video. She said, “You’re still left with a little faint smell of garlic breath but it’s still pretty good (i).”

9. Apple

Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need

A few slices of a cut apple

What You Have To Do

Chew on a few slices of a raw apple after meals.

How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1-2 times daily.

Why This Works

Raw apples can neutralize the sulfur-containing compounds in garlic and onion, thereby helping in the elimination of garlic or onion breath (5).

10. Mustard Sauce

Mustard sauce for garlic and onion breath
Image: Shutterstock
You Will Need
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard sauce
  • ½ glass of water
What You Have To Do
  1. Add the mustard sauce to the water and mix well.
  2. Swish it around in your mouth for a minute.
  3. Spit it out and rinse your mouth with lukewarm water.
  4. You may repeat it if necessary.
How Often You Should Do This

You can do this 1-2 times daily.

Why This Works

Mustard contains oils like allyl isothiocyanate (AITC) that help eliminate volatile sulfur compounds that are responsible for bad breath. This way, mustard may help eliminate bad odor (9). This may potentially eliminate onion breath too.

Infographic: Top 6 Ways To Tackle Garlic And Onion Breath

Having bad garlic and onion breath is surely everyone’s worst nightmare. Imagine going on a date with your crush and having to deal with this off-putting odor! But worry not, we have the perfect solution to save you from utter embarrassment. Check out the infographic below for the top 6 easy ways to combat garlic and onion breath.

top 6 ways to tackle garlic and onion breath (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

Save the high-quality PDF version on your device now.

Download Infographic in PDF version Download Infographic
Download Infographic in PDF version

Garlic and onions add flavor to food and have many culinary applications. But, when eaten raw, they cause bad breath. However, there are some effective ways to get rid of garlic and onion breath. You can brush and floss, use a tongue scraper, or rinse with mouthwash, baking soda, and lemon water to help remove bad breath. In addition, eating chewing gum or apples also helps reduce the bad breath.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is garlic breath a symptom of?

Generally, garlic breath occurs due to the consumption of garlic. However, in rare cases, it may be a symptom of serious liver disease.

Does coffee help reduce garlic breath?

Anecdotal evidence suggests that chewing on roasted coffee beans or swishing freeze-dried coffee in the mouth can help eliminate garlic breath. However, there is a lack of scientific evidence to back these claims.

Why is garlic breath so hard to get rid of?

Garlic contains compounds that can linger in the mouth and digestive system, and are released when we breathe out. These compounds can be difficult to mask or eliminate entirely.

Does toothpaste get rid of garlic breath?

Toothpaste can help mask garlic breath temporarily, but it doesn’t necessarily get rid of the compounds that cause the odor. Additionally, some toothpaste flavors can mix with the garlic flavor and create an even worse taste and smell.

Are there any foods or drinks that should be avoided to prevent garlic and onion breath?

Foods or drinks that should be avoided to prevent garlic and onion breath include coffee, alcohol, and spicy or acidic foods, as they can increase the odor and make it more difficult to eliminate.

How can I enjoy the flavor of garlic and onions without experiencing bad breath?

Cook them in a way that minimizes their pungent qualities, such as roasting or grilling instead of frying or sautéing. Chewing on fresh herbs like parsley or mint can also help to freshen your breath

Key Takeaways

  • Brushing and flossing right after the meal and rinsing with mouthwashes is one way to reduce onion and garlic breath.
  • You can also try sipping a cup of green tea, which has disinfectant and deodorant properties.
  • Although surprising, drinking milk can mask the odor and reduce garlic breath.

The bad breath after eating onion or garlic can become a nightmarish experience in public. The video below details a few ways you can get rid of the bad breath caused by onion or garlic. Watch it now!

Personal Experience: Source

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