How can I suppress bad breath after eating garlic or onion?

  • 2
    I think you should dump your partner if they don't appreciate that smell :P... anywho back to the point, sometimes the bad breath is coming from your stomach (especially when burping is involved) and other times it's coming from your mouth. So there the usual, brush, scrub, and gargle. I'd recommend eating parsley.
    – dassouki
    Aug 13, 2010 at 12:00
  • would sucking one of these help I wonder?
    – Sam Holder
    Aug 13, 2010 at 12:01
  • 1
    My buddy literally oozes garlic out his pores when he sweats, he had to cut it from his diet because his wife was complaining. Ouch! Aug 13, 2010 at 13:30
  • 5
    Am I the only one who feels this is off topic?
    – hobodave
    Aug 13, 2010 at 21:38
  • 2
    It's eating-related,ingredient-related, possibly addresses a unique aspect of sulfurous foods, includes foods (herbs, lemon) as components of the answers. I think it's borderline. It would be better phrased to add the 'why' garlic and onions have this effect, so that the food-science is better explained (as well as for potential cures).
    – Ocaasi
    Aug 14, 2010 at 1:52

7 Answers 7

  1. Brush and floss your teeth
  2. Scrape your tongue
  3. Chew gum or mints
  4. Chew mint, parsley, basil, fennel, licorice, anise, cardamom, clove, or cinnamon
  5. Gargle with baking soda and salt
  6. Gargle with hydrogen peroxide
  7. Gargle with water and lemon
  8. Gargle with alcohol or mouthwash
  9. Hydrate
  • 3
    hydrogen peroxide? in the mouth? are you sure?
    – iwein
    Aug 13, 2010 at 21:41
  • 3
    @iwein 3% hydrogen peroxide can be used as an oral debriding agent (it kills the surface cells and bacteria). It's on the standard bottle instructions for every unit I've seen in the US. Over the counter, any drug-store or market. Gargle for 1-10 minutes. It tingles, foams a bit. Don't swallow. Almost 100% sure.
    – Ocaasi
    Aug 13, 2010 at 22:08
  • Make sure it's "Food Grade" Hydrogen Peroxide however.
    – jontyc
    Mar 30, 2012 at 9:23
  • @jontyc: It doesn't have to actually include the words "food grade" on the bottle. Simply make sure that the bottle label says you can use gargle with it. Jan 6, 2016 at 2:33
  • 1
    @jontyc: Also, "food grade hydrogen peroxide" (hydrogen peroxide 12% or 17% or 35%) is corrosive and dangerous, according to an FDA news release. The Illinois Poison Center writes: "Don’t buy it! Don’t try it! Don’t bring it in your house!" Instead, buy a bottle of hydrogen peroxide 3% that says on the label that you can gargle with it. Look for it in your local drugstore. Jan 6, 2016 at 2:45

Raw veggies are your friend, the more chlorophyll (the green stuff) the better. I say raw because the fibers clean your teeth. The chlorophyll reacts with the sulfur and neutralizes the bad smell. Just keep chewing and you'll be fine.

Eating vegetables if of course not a replacement for proper mouth hygiene, but interestingly with garlic it is more effective to chew parsley than to brush your teeth.


Nothing can really deal with allium breath. The sulfur compounds in the alliums are absorbed into the bloodstream via the gastrointestinal tract, then released into the alveoli of the lungs, where they are exhaled along with carbon dioxide waste when you breathe out. The smell isn't coming from your mouth, it's coming from your lungs. Some of it may also appear in your sweat. None of these recommendations will work. The only way to avoid the smell is to cook the onion/garlic until the sulfurous compounds break down.

  • 1
    +1 here's a source with some references to research: breathmd.com/garlic-breath.php It should be noted that garlic breath comes from both the lungs andthe mouth. You get rid of the mouth part by all the ways mentioned. I suppose you can speed up the release of the sulfoxide by increasing your metabolism. So after brushing your teeth, go for a run and sit in the sauna for half an hour.
    – Peter
    Mar 31, 2015 at 20:53
  • This should be the Best Answer. Sep 2, 2020 at 16:21

I think it makes a lot of difference how you cook with the garlic (or onion). If you put the fresh garlic on a very hot flame for a minute or two, and then put the fire down, you keep all the good attributes of the garlic, but dramatically reduce the smell it creates from your mouth.

Bad breath could also come from other problems. Getting advice from a dentist can help there.


You should drink milk. It is much better than trying to rinse with water. It is actually proven, the study was published in the journal of food science.

The most important sentences fo the abstract are:

Fat-free and whole milk significantly reduced the head-, mouth-, and nose-space concentrations of all volatiles. Water was the major component in milk responsible for the deodorization of volatiles.


Milk was more effective than water and 10% sodium caseinate in the deodorization of allyl methyl sulfide, a persistent garlic odor, in the mouth after garlic ingestion.

The work being a bit theoretical, they also insist that mixing the garlich with milk before consuming it results in less bad breath than if you drink milk after eating garlic. In fact, I often don't have the possibility or inclination to do it, and I would be wary to extend the findings to other dairy products (if they had tried yogurt insead of milk, we'd know that tzatziki is a more business-friendy form of garlic than a tomato sauce).

The whole study is available online, no paywall.

  • +1 tried. actually help. Yogurt works even better i found.
    – KMC
    Feb 20, 2012 at 11:18

Chewing coffee beans suppresses the bad smell from your mouth. People usually look at me sideways when I order a couple coffee beans in a restaurant, but it really helps. It does not however suppress the odor of your skin a day after you eat onion or garlic.


If a toothbrush isn't handy, Altoids can cover for you for a while.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.