Picture this: it's Thanksgiving morning and you're up to your ears in chopped onion and garlic for stuffing the Turkey.
Or perhaps you've finally fulfilled your long-held dream of making ceviche or bouillabaisse. Whatever your reason for handling smelly ingredients, there's always potential for some of that odor to mysteriously remain behind on your hands — no matter how many times you scrub them.
If you don't want to give up your love of seafood or the Amaryllidaceae family for the sake of fresh smelling hands, get ready for the science-backed method for removing odor: stainless steel. That's right—odd as it may seem, stainless steel works wonders on stubborn smells. Other methods like vinegar, lemon juice, olive oil, or just plain ole soap and water may partially remove or even mask the smell, but stainless steel actually eliminates the molecules responsible for the odor.
Garlic and other odoriferous substances contain sulfur (tiny molecules, nothing that can hurt you), and when you rinse your hands, water molecules react with the sulfur, creating sulfuric acid that is harmless in that minute quantity, but smelly. Enter our hero: stainless steel. Steel acts as a magnet to the sulfuric acid molecules, removing them from your hands as you rub them against the metal. And you thought high school chemistry would never come in handy!
Multiple companies have capitalized stainless steel's unexpected properties by creating a variety of scrubbers to keep by your sink to rid your hands of noxious aromas. While you can technically use any stainless steel you have handy (the dull side of a knife blade comes to mind), these bars are specifically shaped to rub all over your hands without fear of slicing off a vital digit. Here are some the most popular stainless steel bars on the market:
Amco Houseworks Rub-A-Way® Bar
It gets the job done without pretense
This no-frills-but-gets-the-job-done bar should be on your next holiday tchotchke list. It's small, inexpensive, and is easy to rub all over your hands and fingers to remove every last whiff of gnarly scent. Use it exactly as you would a bar of soap: rinse your hands with cold water and rotate the bar back and forth between your palms, using it to swab between your fingers and the back of your hands as well. Good-bye odors!
Uncommon Goods Stainless Steel Soap
Just "un" common sense to use it
While this guy is a tad more pricey than the Amco bar, it does come with its own plastic soap dish, and its oblong shape may be moderately easier to rub across your mitts. Fans of this product include everyone from the occasional kitchen experimenter, to professional chefs.
Kikkerland® Magic Soap
Fits neatly into the palm of your hand
If you prefer the smooth rolling feel of a cool steel sphere, Kikkerland's Magic Soap is the one for you. Plus, its five-inch diameter fits neatly in any sized hand.
Kikkerland® Design Fish Magic Soap
Don't let this guy swim away
Made by the same company as the original Magic Soap ball, this fish design is whimsical without sacrificing any functionality. Kikkerland pride themselves on their unique takes on everyday, banal household items. Their Tea Holder Fisherman, for example, snaps onto the side of your mug as you pour in hot water, securing your teabag while it steeps. The Ora Teapot is a glass double-walled teapot that not only looks chic, but also prevents tea leaves from sneaking into your daily cuppa.
It's My Style Odor-Removing Stainless Steel Soap
Nope, not a flying saucer, but its cleaning powers are out of this world
This pocket-sized six-centimeter disc is perfect for small spaces. You can slip it into a mesh bag or keep it nestled next to your other kitchen gadgets underneath your sink.
Stainless Steel Even Removes Body Odor
While a stainless steel bar may not fully rid your body of the grime and sweat that accumulates after a particularly sweaty Soul Cycle, it will neutralize some particles that cause body odor, and won't irritate or dry out your skin. Stainless steel may not be an everyday solution for your stinky pits, but it can get the job done in a pinch.
Whether you're handling seriously stinky ingredients or need to deodorize your pits, there's really only one thing to reach for: your brand new stainless steel bar!