14 Surprising Uses for Onions


Rich in antioxidants, thought to prevent cancer, diabetes, and even the common cold, onions are nothing if not a superfood. But that’s not all they are — the same properties that make onions a great food to eat also make them great for other things, from healing your skin to cleaning metal. Click through to check out some surprising uses for onions, and leave your own tips in the comments section!

Earlier: 7 Healthy Snacks for Couch Potatoes


Health & Body

1. Repel Insects. Rubbing an onion on your skin is a simple way to repel bugs.

2. Soothe Insect Bites & Stings. Forgot to follow tip #1? Rubbing onion onto bug bites will help to ease the pain.

3. Soothe a Sore Throat. Making onion tea is a great remedy for soothing sore throats. On the stovetop, boil water with onion peels in it (about 1 cup of water for the peels of 1/2 an onion.) Bring to a boil, remove onion and serve.

4. Use in Place of Smelling Salts. Overwork yourself? Feeling light-headed? Onions are a great natural remedy to use instead of smelling salts.

5. Ease the Pain of Burns. Rubbing onions onto burns helps soothe the pain.

6. Remove Splinters. Have a splinter that just won’t budge? Try taping (yes, with tape, or a adhesive bandage) a piece of raw onion to it. Hold tight for about an hour before removing the onion.

Related: 15 Ways to Use Broccoli



7. Polish Metal. Slice onion and then crush it. Combine crushed onion with water. With a cloth, dab it on the metal surface. Rub until clean.

8. Get Rid of that Paint Smell. The same mixture described for polishing metal works great for combating the unpleasant, and sometimes unhealthy, odors of paints and varnishes.

9. Clean Sponges. Okay, so this particular use is actually for the mesh packaging that onions are often sold in, but hey — a way to re-use unnecessary packaging, right?! The mesh is a perfect tool to clean all that gunk that builds up on sponges. Cut it up into smaller pieces for best results.

10. Clean Your Grill. Chop an onion in half, and turn on your grill. Using a fork, glide the onion on the grill to scrub it clean.

11. Make a DIY Dye. Onion skins make great dyes! Place the skins in nylon panty hose, tie top shut, and boil in a pot for about 20 minutes.

See Also: The Healthiest Foods For Your Money: A Shopping Guide



12. Make Burned Rice Edible Again. Neglected your rice, and now some of it has burned? No need to toss it! Simply place half of an onion on top of the rice. It will absorb the burned taste.

13. Preserve Avocados. Prevent your avocados from browning by storing them in a plastic airtight container with red onions. Place half of an onion in the container first, skin side up, and then place the avocado. You can use red onion to store guacamole, too: Place some slices on top of the guac’ in a plastic container.

14. Cook Eggs Creatively. Want the ultimate oniony eggs? Check out this great recipe!

More Like This:
7 Biggest Diet Myths (Slideshow)
13 Surprising Uses for Honey
6 Interesting & Unusual Vegetables


Jennifer F.
Jennifer F.yesterday

Some of the uses for onions are fantastic!

Joanne p.
Joanne p.3 days ago


Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly6 days ago

I love onions but if I had taped a piece of one over a sliver,it wouldn't have lasted 5 minutes.

Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly6 days ago

When my son was a toddler still wearing size 12 month nightgowns ( My biggest baby) we were cleaning up after dinner and he was going back and forth into the downstairs powder room from the kitchen in our apartment. The 3rd or 4th time we noticed and stopped him. He had put a couple of potatoes in the toilet and was on his way to deposit an onion. I guess he wanted to see the flush work and he was a good year and a half away from toilet training. So I see an onion, it makes me smile.
P.S. The nighty went all the way down to the floor on him.Imagine how small he was. He had long curly hair and a baby nighty but he'd pushed the sleeves up because this was he-man work. What an awesome boy.

Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly6 days ago

They also roll.

Helga Ganguly
Helga Ganguly6 days ago

Onions rock.

Elizabeth McGowan

Cool thanks! :)

Tania N.
Tania N.7 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

Charmaine M.
Charmaine M.8 days ago

Help reduce CO2 emissions and fight global warming! Plant trees for free by simply clicking on the link. Reduce carbon emissions and fight global warming. http://ecologyfund.com/
When You Plant It Forward, You Change Lives.

Edith B.
Edith B.9 days ago

Thanks, I did not know about most of these.