7 Clever Uses for Onions

Onion to be used to clean tarnish from silver
Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic

Slice an onion to shine cutlery, clean grills, overcome paint smells, and perform other non-cooking miracles.


Onions are great for sauteing, but the vegetable also is a cheap and effective green cleaner, mosquito repellent, and deodorizer -- just a few non-cooking jobs onions can do.

1. Polish Cutlery

Give metal cutlery a new shine and remove rust by scrubbing with onion slices or a paste of crushed onion and water.

2. Clean Gunky Pots

Scrub a burned or gunky pot with half an onion, and then let it soak in the onion juice. Wash as usual and the mess comes up easily.

3. Shine Grills

Heat the grill, then spear a half onion with a fork and glide it over the grates to remove grease and charred bits of food.

4. Absorb Paint Smells

Place a bowl of sliced onions and water in a freshly painted room to absorb the stinky odor.

5. Repel Bugs

Rub a cut onion over your skin to keep bugs (and people) at bay. To make a non-toxic rose spray that repels red spiders and aphids, mix a mashed onion with equal parts water, strain, and spray.

6. Smelling Salts

When you feel light-headed, revive yourself with a whiff of cut onion.

7. Onion Bags

Never throw away onion bags, which are great as pot scrubbers, bathtub toy containers, suet holders that backyard birds can enjoy in winter, and dishwasher holders for magnets and other small items.


Housing And Real Estate Expert Lisa Kaplan-Gordon
Lisa Kaplan Gordon

Lisa Kaplan Gordon is an award-winning, Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer who contributes to real estate and home improvement sites. In her spare time (yeah, right!), she gardens, manages three dogs, and plots to get her 21-year-old out of her basement.