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21 Unusual Ways to Use Onions

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I love onions as a kid. I remember the smell that wafts from the kitchen when my mom sautés something is extraordinary and I was especially appreciative of how onions were able to ward off mosquitos, who seem to love my blood to much.

I remember my Grandma surprising me with helping cleaning silverware with onions. Once I accidentally got my forearm scalded from boiling hot water and our helper treated it with onion and tomatoes (and I though she was marinating my arm for dinner). From that moment on I realized onions, like baking soda, has many uses than merely for sautéing. 

Through the years I found other ways of using onions which are very helpful and can reduce your household expenses.

I love onions as a kid. I remember the smell that wafted from the kitchen when my mom sautés something. The smell was extraordinary and I was especially appreciative of how onions were able to ward off mosquitos. Those insects love my blood too much.

Once I accidentally got my forearm scalded from boiling hot water and our helper treated it with onion and tomatoes (and I thought she was marinating my arm for dinner). From that moment on I realized onions, like baking soda, has many uses than merely for sautéing.

Through the years I found other ways of using onions which are helpful and can reduce your household expenses.

For Medicinal Cures


1. Soothe a sore throat.

When my blend of ginger tea became too strong for my taste  I whip up a batch of onion tea to sooth my sore throat. Boil a cup of water with peels of half an onion. If you have leftovers, you can use it as extra broth to chicken soup.

2. Remove splinters

Place a piece of tape or adhesive bandage over a small piece of onion. Lay this contraption on top of a splinter and leave it there for an hour. When you remove it, the splinter will loosen and easier to pull out. No need for those needles. Ouch.

3. Soothe insect bites and bee stings

If you run out of calamine lotion when a super itchy insect bite happened, rub some onion onto the affected part. This will calm the area down.

4. Alternative for smelling salts

When you feel light-headed and you don’t have smelling salts on you, use onions as natural remedies. The strong door is likely to bring you around.

5. Ear ache remedy

Steam or bake onion with skin on until soft. Crush some cooked onion in a bowl to press out juice. With an eyedropper, put several drops into your ear.

6. Help with nosebleeds

Inhaling a small piece of onion can stop or slow down nosebleeds.

7. Insomnia remedy

Have a hard time sleeping? Make yourself an onion jar. Slice up any kind of medium-sized onion. Put slices in a jar with tight-fitting lid. Before bedtime, inhale the vapours in the jar as long and comfortably as possible. Re-cap the jar then go to bed. You will fall asleep within 15 minutes.

If you’d rather have a drink remedy, dice a medium sized onion into fine pieces. Boil 1 litter of water then remove from heat. Put diced onion pieces into boiled water and let it steep for 5 minutes or until water has cooled down. Add 5 drops or 1 teaspoon of honey to the mixture. Drink. This will help you fall asleep faster. You can store this mixture in the refrigerator for use the next few nights.

For Prevention

8. Regularly (if applicable, daily) eating onions will help with the following:

  • Prevent cancer of the head, neck and colon.
  • Protect yourself from Osteoperosis and Atherosclerosis.
  • Increases insulin in the body and treats diabetes by controlling sugar levels in the blood.
  • Burns bad cholesterol that can cause heart problems.
  • Onion’s vitamin C helps prevent arthritis[1].

For Household Use

9. Polish metal

Crush up a raw onion and combine to equal parts water. Using a damp cloth, rub the moisture on metal surfaces until shiny and clean.

10. Clean rusty knives

You don’t need to buy a sharpener tool or get someone to polish the knife for you. Slice a dirty knife into a large onion several times. The rust will go away.

11. Create a DIY dye

If you need a vibrant red/orange dye, gather the onion skins, place them in a pair of nylon pantyhose and tie knot at the end. Boil in a pot for 20 minutes. The remaining liquid will become a bright dye perfect for paper, yarn or fabric.

12. Repel insects an unwanted animals

When I didn’t had to go out and meet anyone, I would leave some chopped pieces of onions in a corner of a room or rub some onion on skin or clothes to repel the pesky insects.

Keep unwanted animals like raccoons, chipmunks and cats step out of your yard by sprinkling onion slices around the perimeter.

Ants detest the smell of onions. So if you have ants constantly visiting your kitchen, leave a bowl of sliced onions out.

13. Onions absorb smell

Cut up slices of raw onion and put them in a bowl of water. Leave the bowl in a the newly painted room overnight.

If you want to get rid of the smoky smell from burnt rice, place half an onion next to the stove.

14. Correct pet “mistakes"

Are you having a hard time potty training your pet, or getting them to stop cheating, tearing or soiling? Pets don’t like the smell of onion so leaving several onion slices on the scene of their crime will make them avoid the scene altogether.

For Beauty

15. Remove moles

Run an onion through a food processor until it turns to mush. Squeeze the juice out from the mush using a coffee filter into a container. Apply the juice to a mole once daily until the mole is gone.

16. Cure Acne

Mix a solution of crushed onion and water and apply directly to face.

17. Anti-ageing

Inflammation is a factor in many age-related conditions inclusive of arthritis and wrinkly skin. The vitamins and sulfur from onions protect the skin while keeping it supple and smooth.

Massaging your soil with fresh onion juice will increase blood circulation and improve overall skin appearance. Yellow and red onions have very high levels of quercetin, an antioxidant and an important anti-inflammatory [3]

18. Lightens Skin

Extract the juice from a red onion by squeezing it or putting it in a blender. With a cotton ball dab the juice onto your dark spots and leave it on for about 10 minutes. Rinse. Repeat treatment daily.

19. Treat Thinning Hair

Onions have rich sulfur in them. When applying onion juice on the scalp, the sulfur content in the juice improves the production of collagen tissues which is necessary for hair growth. The sulfur content also has anti-bacterial properties. It prevents growth of fungi and bacteria on the scalp reducing hair loss.

Squeeze enough amount of onion juice and apply on scalp thoroughly. Leave it on for 30 minutes or more if you can bear the smell. It will smell pungent but it is effective. Rinse the juice off using water and mild shampoo. Repeat this remedy at least thrice a week for 2 months until you see the results.

20. Treatment for Dandruff and Hair Loss

Make your own onion hair pack. Squeeze or strain onion  with a grinder to obtain onion juice. Mix with equal amount of coconut oil then applyon hair. Cover with shower cap and leave it on for 2 hours. Rinse off with shampoo. Do this twice a month and you will see how the pack improved the ability of your hair re-growth and add up a shiny, glossy look to your hair. See? No added cost to go to a salon.

Other Uses

21. Helps you become more intelligent

Onion extract has also been shown to maintain the hippocampus, a part of the brain that is involved in processing emotions as well as memory. But he warned onions that are over-cooked may lose their memory-helping properties. They should instead be cooked on a low heat [2].

In conclusion:

Keep a good stock of onions in your pantry. Regardless if you like eating them or not, onions have more use that most of us know about. Maximizing the use of onions can also lessen expenses if you are willing to do the work.



Dec 21, 2014 8:27pm
I love onions, especially with tomatoes and eggs like a salad.
Dec 22, 2014 11:32am
Hi asereht1970,

I regularly use onions in my dishes. Just the smell of onions sauteing in a pan just makes me happy. Haha.
Jan 3, 2015 1:10am
Very interesting. I had no idea onions had so many uses. I use them in all my cooking. Only thing is I can't eat them raw as they don't digest well.
Jan 3, 2015 7:12pm
Well it's really hard to eat them raw... especially the red ones!
Jan 7, 2015 12:35am
This gave me a new perspective towards onions. Always knew consuming onions had health benefits, but never thought it had other useful uses as well.
Jan 8, 2015 7:40am
Onions are really wonderfull with magical benefits.
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  1. "Pile On Onions to Help Prevent Arthritis and Tame Fiery Joints." Underground Health Reporter. 19/12/2014 <Web >
  2. "Eating onions 'improves memory'." Independent.ie Lifestyle Health. 19/12/2014 <Web >
  3. "Top 10 anti-ageing foods." allaboutyou. 19/12/2014 <Web >

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