10 Great Uses for Onions

by Daniel Packer on 30 November 2011 4 comments
Photo: Andy Wright

I'm not a big fan of raw onions. But while I won't be putting them in my salad anytime soon, there are some fantastic uses for onions that I can take advantage of without bothering my taste buds. (See also: 25 Alternative Uses for Lemons)

1. Protect Your Plants From Insects

Mix together four onions, two cloves of garlic, two tablespoons of cayenne pepper, and one quart of water. Set this mixture aside and dilute two tablespoons of soap flakes in two gallons of water. Pour your onion mixture into the soapy water, and put it in a spray bottle. You can use this environmentally friendly spray to keep insects off of your plants.

2. Clean Your BBQ

Love your hamburgers and hot dogs as much as I do? Then you have a very dirty BBQ! Give your grill the green clean and and refrain from using chemicals — remove baked-on grease and grime with an onion. For the best results, heat up your BBQ, then use a fork to hold half of an onion to scrub the grill.

3. Dye Easter Eggs

Did you know onions can be used to make beautiful marble-dyed Easter eggs? It's as simple as wrapping eggs in onion skins, typing them up in a towel to secure them, and boiling as usual. Instead of the bright colors you may be accustomed to, you'll get a more subtle, natural color that's sure to impress.

4. Soothe a Bee Sting

If you are ever stung by a bee, grab an onion slice and place it on the stung area. It will instantly ease the pain.

5. Use as Smelling Salts

Feeling faint? Need something to snap you back to reality? Smell an onion, and the potent odor will bring you back to life.

6. Eliminate New Paint Smell

Is the smell of new paint making you feel too lightheaded? Rather than purchasing expensive deodorizer, place a bowl of freshly cut onion slices in water in the newly painted room. The smell of onions will absorb the smell of paint within a few hours.

7. Clean Rusty Knives

Have rusty knives laying around that you are afraid to use? Take your knife and stab it into a large onion; this action will immediately remove rust. If any rust remains, repeat this process a few more times.

8. Mosquito Repellent

Ingesting onions or garlic, or rubbing onions on your skin will act as a good bug repellent and keep those insects away from you!

9. Wart Remover

Apply a mixture made up of onion slices, crushed aspirin, and water to your wart. This solution will shrink the wart and soothe it. For best results, place duct tape over the solution. After several hours, remove the tape and reapply if necessary.

10. Acne Remover

Onions can also be very instrumental in getting rid of bad pimples! Mix crushed onions slices with water and apply to acne. The components of the onion are harsh on zits and effectively remove them.

Editor's note: Thanks to everyone who pointed out that onions can be toxic to pets. We have replaced that suggestion.

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Jess Y

Slices of onion should NOT be left out for dogs (tip #3) as onions are poisonous to dogs.

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Guest

Onions are also toxic to cats. Terrible advice!

Meg Favreau's picture

Thanks so much for pointing out the pet concern, guys. We've updated the piece.

Andrea Karim's picture

I imagine that the acne tip has to do with the sulfur compounds in onions. Sulfur has bacteria-killing properties, and can be found in some face masks.

I personally like onions, even though the strong taste can be a bit much sometimes (I come from a Slavic background, and my grandmother used to eat raw onions like an apple so maybe I have a higher tolerance for them than some people). Onions are known to have many beneficial health properties, but I've also read that they can contribute to migraine headaches.