A Recalcitrant Wife and Mother Tells All

Just the Tip Tuesday: How to Deodorize Stinky Hands

I know stuff…weird stuff…like how to remove somebody else’s chewed bubble gum from your preschool daughter’s most holy of holies. (Yeah, that really happened once…Vaseline on a paper towel…took it right off.)

So when I started this blog about 4 years ago, it was a perfect way for me to share some of my random tips. I did it as a joke at first, but over time, I realized that I actually had some practical knowledge worth sharing and that finding new and better ways to do things made my heart sing.

But then Pinterest came along and I got a little discouraged. Why would anyone want to read my goofy tips?

And then In The Powder Room asked me to join their team as one of their Tuesday columnists and I jumped at the chance, abandoning my Just the Tip Tuesday feature.

But you know what? I’ve missed it. And I’ve learned the hard way that there is a lot of shit on Pinterest that looks pretty, but doesn’t really work! Either the directions are horrible, or the projects are way too hard, or the people writing the tips take themselves way too seriously and I feel like I need a hug and a Xanax smoothie after I visit their blogs.

So I asked my editor at In The Powder Room if I could move my column to another day and take back my Tuesdays. And she said yes! (Thank you, Gigi! XO)

Drumroll please…

Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to announce the return of:

For my first foray back into the world of Tips and Tricks, I thought we could discuss something that happens to all of us at one time or another: stinky hands. 

No, I’m not talking about Bucket Head’s favorite new game, although I suppose this trick would work for that too.

I’m talking about what happens after you chop a bunch of onions, and no matter how many times you wash your hands with soap and water, you can’t shake the stank off.

This happened to me the other day and it was driving me nuts. I had made a big beautiful pot of Ratatouille for dinner and later that night as I was lying in bed, trying to fall asleep, the pungent scent of Vidalia onions was wafting from my fingers to my face, actually gagging me.

Desperate for relief, I suddenly remembered that used coffee grounds are a great odor neutralizer! That’s why perfumers keep jars of coffee beans around to cleanse the palate between samples.

Luckily for me, that morning’s coffee grounds were still in the coffee maker (sometimes it pays to be a slacker). So I pulled them out and scrubbed my hands with them over the trash can, and then rinsed off the extra coffee grounds in the sink. (Sniff sniff?) It worked like a charm!

If it hadn’t been so late at night, I would have done the deed outside in my garden, because coffee grounds are like crack for worms and hydrangeas!

Yes, according to Karianne of the breathtaking Thistlewood Farm blog, adding coffee grounds to the soil around your hydrangeas is THE secret to spectacular blossoms. My hydrangeas are always blue, not pink like Karianne’s, so I’m not sure if the coffee grounds have an impact on the color or just the overall robust health of the plant, but it seems wasteful to throw coffee grounds into the trash when they are so great for the soil and the planet in general.

(Please note…I brew my French Roast old-school using unbleached biodegradable Melitta Bamboo Coffee Filters.* I don’t know if this would work with Keurig K-Cups, although I’m guessing a row of upturned K-Cups could be lovingly hand-crafted into a garden bed border if that’s your thing. Hey, whatever rocks your dinghy. No judgement.)

Alrighty then! Now you know what to do when your hands are all jacked up with stank. And as a two-fer, those coffee grounds are great for your garden. Giddy up!

Thanks for stopping by! And don’t forget to enter for a chance to win a $50 Amazon.com gift card from DealAngel. Giveaway closes this Friday.


*This post contains an affiliate link to my Amazon.com store.



  1. Lady Estrogen

    Wait! You learned that from Beverly Hills Cop, right? Cuz of the cocaine, rrrright?


    But I’m still never cutting onions or oranges. Blech.

    Also? Just The Tip Tuesday? LOVE IT.
    Wish my hubs would be into that.

    • Bernie Bickers

      Too funny – my very first thought also. I figured Iris picked up this tip when she was a drug mule and gun runner in Nicaragua before she got all domestic-y…

      • The Bearded Iris

        Hey, I can bring home my kilos AND fry ’em up in a pan. Drug mule! That’s funny!

    • The Bearded Iris

      What? You don’t cut onions? I won’t peel an orange….that’s why I got married.

  2. Mike Sakasegawa

    I took a cooking class with my wife once wherein the teacher claimed that rubbing your hands with stainless steel will take garlic and onion odors off of your skin. Then she tried to sell us a $20 piece of stainless steel shaped like a bar of soap. We declined, and instead I just rub a meat tenderizer on my hands under the faucet. Which seems to sort of work, but is also kind of weird.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Good to know! (And I bet that meat tenderizer feels really good…like a hand massager and destinkifyer all in one!)

  3. Kareby

    Someone gave me a stainless steel bar of soap and it works!!
    Of course, you can rub your hands on your stainless steel sink, as well. Who’d a thunk it?

  4. Melissa

    Yep, the coffee grounds affect the color. Hydrangeas are like blooming litmus paper – acidic soil yields pink blooms, alkaline soil yields blue. Coffee grounds add acidity to the soil. Ta-dum! 🙂

    • The Bearded Iris

      I heart chemistry! Thanks Melissa! I guess I need to add a lot more coffee grounds if I want a pink bush. Or I could just buy some pink Betty Beauty {heh heh heh}.

  5. Heather S.

    The stainless steel sink thing really does work. I have a double stainless sink and I look like an idiot doing it, but I just rub my hands up and down the center divider.

    • Ann

      Me too and the whole time I’m doing it I’m praying nobody sees me because I look like fool! But I sure smell goooooood!

      • The Bearded Iris

        I have a giant stainless steel pepper mill…I bet I could have a lot of fun rubbing one out with that. What?! I’m talking about stinky hands!

    • The Bearded Iris

      That’s hot! 😉

  6. Julie

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. My hands reek of onions from TWO DAYS ago, and I’ve scrubbed them with everything.

    I love JTTTs!

    • The Bearded Iris

      YAY! Glad to help Julie!

  7. Karin

    Hooray! So glad JtTT is back! And the coffee ground deodorizer is something we’ve used for a while. I wish i knew where I learned it. You’re totally right though, it works like a charm!

  8. Recovering Supermom

    Great tip! We always leave coffee grounds in the coffee maker, so I’ll get to try this when I need it.

  9. Lisa Hewitt

    WTH – You also cook and garden?! Impressed.

    • The Bearded Iris

      Don’t worry Lisa, I’m a jack of all trades, master of none! But I do know a thing or two about a thing or two. 🙂

  10. Eliesa

    I did this very thing this weekend when my family was here – they thought I was nuts! But it works, so I just ignore them 🙂 Lemons work too, but I kinda like the mini-hand massage you get when you use the coffee grinds. Hands smell clean – and they are softer too! Winning!

    • The Bearded Iris

      Agreed! Ignoring family is always fun, and the mini hand massage is a winner! Thanks Eliesa! 🙂

  11. Glen

    It sounds like a lot of effort to me – surely it’s easier just to get someone else to cut the onion?

    • The Bearded Iris

      Excellent point, as always. My husband is a great onion cutter, but then I don’t want to smell the onion-funk on HIS hands, so either way, there will be some dirty rubbing going on, preferably involving coffee grounds.

  12. Cathy Flynn

    I thought lemons were the miracle stink cure. I would definitely prefer coffee grounds. I always seem to have hangnails and lemons are torture. Gotta start saving my Kuerig cups.

  13. Becky

    Thanks for the tip!

    I definitely think you should pass along tips. Pinterest is great for daydreaming about projects or a some-day home (I agree with you the projects aren’t always do-able), but not too many useful tips like this one.

  14. Susan

    Well, no that really is a VERY useful tip. My coffee grounds are always sitting there waiting for me to do something with them. My hydrangeas have been begging me for help as well. I’m all excited now. I think I will go stink up my hands on purpose just to try it out!

  15. Thistle

    You go girl! Your hydrangeas will be standing up and lifting their glasses in honor to you! Thanks for the shout out my funny friend!


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