How to Get Rid of Onion Smell from Hair – Without Shaving Your Head!


Did you know that onion juice can be a helpful, all-natural remedy for thinning hair? Unfortunately, the tradeoff is that you have to go through life smelling, well, like you just bathed in onion juice.

Aside from home remedy hair treatments, anyone who has ever cooked before knows, sometimes the scents of your ingredients linger in your hair and clothes – and not in a delicious way. Especially if you’ve been touching your hair after handling onions;  that smell can linger even beyond dessert.

Whatever brings you here today, are you ready to lose that oniony-hair smell? Read on to find four methods that work, and what makes them useful.

How to get rid of onion smell from hair – 4 Methods you can do at home.

Method 1: Wash Your Hair with Citrus Shampoo

Why this works: (Only try this if you don’t have an allergy to citrus). This may seem obvious: if your hair stinks, wash it. Make sure you use a shampoo with citrus oils, like lemon, orange, or grapefruit for maximum results. The science behind this method lies in the citric acid contained within the oils. Citrus fruits contain low acidity, which is enough to break up the molecules that cause bad odors but isn’t strong enough to burn your skin or ruin your hair. This is why so many organic soaps contain citrus juices or oils: because they are excellent at breaking down odors.

It’s worth reading the ingredients label on shampoo bottles before you invest in citrus shampoo to ensure that it does contain actual citrus oils or juices. The last thing you need if you’re trying to eliminate onion odors from your hair is to buy a fancy new bottle of shampoo that uses artificial chemicals to create a citrusy smell. And who knows, maybe you’ll find a new shampoo that you love for everyday use – onion hair smell or not!

Method 2: Lemon juice and water rinse

ways of getting smell of onions out of hair
Lemons for Onions

Why this works: Again, make sure you don’t have an allergy to citrus before using this method. Go ahead and skip to the next two methods if you already know you have a citrus allergy or if you aren’t sure and have no way of testing yourself safely.

For most people, though, the small amount of acid in lemons is perfectly safe to use on the scalp when mixed with water. Make sure to protect your eyes if you use this method.

For the same reason mentioned above, lemons and other citrus fruits contain a small amount of acid. Since bad odors are generally alkaline – which is the opposite of acidic – the molecules in citrus creates a chemical reaction with the alkaline odor molecules. In basic terms, this means that the lemon juice breaks apart the smell of the onion odor in your hair. You’re not just covering up the smell; you’re erasing it from existence.

This is a more concentrated and direct method than using citrus shampoo to wash your hair. It also works well if you don’t have the time, energy, or funds to rush out and buy a whole new bottle of shampoo. Use this as a pre-rinse to neutralize onion odors before washing your hair with non-citrus shampoo.

Method 3: Tea Tree Oil and Witch Hazel

Why this works: Tea tree oil is pretty much Mother Nature’s panacea: it fights germs and bacteria. In essential oil form, this can be used to clean even the most stubborn stains as well as eliminate odors.

When the stink of onion clings to your hair, you can’t just cover it up. Witch hazel is an astringent. That means it closes pores – including those in your hair. For odors, witch hazel acts as a neutralizer. It doesn’t just cover up bad smells, it eliminates them. That’s good news for getting rid of strong odors like onion.

Tea tree oil and witch hazel need to work as a team, though. Simply pouring tea tree oil into your hair won’t do much but make your hair smell like onions and tea tree oil. Essential oils need a partner to help them penetrate bad odors, and that’s why you need witch hazel, too.

If you’ve never heard of or used witch hazel before, it’s easy to find at most regular drug stores in the first-aid aisle. Tea tree essential oil can be ordered online or purchased from almost any store that carries organic health and beauty supplies. Because essential oils are so concentrated, remember that a little bit goes a long way; to use in your hair, mix 1-part witch hazel to 3-parts regular water, and add just a few drops of tea tree essential oil.

Method 4: Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

Why this works: Apple cider vinegar, or ACV, is a natural deodorizer and anti-bacterial agent. There is no shortage of websites out there hailing the benefits of ACV for everything from treating a cold to killing weeds in your garden.

Although it is vinegar, with all the funky smells that come with any other vinegar, ACV will help rid your hair of onion smells. This might seem like trading one odor for another, and in a way it is: but ACV smell is easier to get rid of than onion smell. A well-mixed ACV wash should rinse cleanly out of your hair when you’re done, taking the vinegar smell with it. Feeling sassy? Add essential oils of your favorite scents, or some fresh herbs or flowers to your rinse.

As a bonus, a diluted ACV rinse can help clean your scalp and restore the natural pH balance, inhibit bacterial growth, and even exfoliate. To dilute, mix 1-part ACV to 3-parts water. Your rinse is ready in seconds.

Before You Shave Your Head…

There’s no need to go to extremes just because your hair smells like onions. Put the clippers down and try any one of these remedies for getting rid of onion smell from your hair.

  • Citrus Shampoo (with Quality Essential Oil)
  • Lemon Juice & Water Rinse
  • Witch Hazel & Tea Tree Oil concoction
  • Good Ol’ ACV Rinse (Apple Cider Vinegar)

If you have a citrus shampoo on hand, you’re already ahead of the game. If you cook with onions a lot, consider investing in fresh lemons at home or a big bottle of ACV. Mix up a spray bottle of the witch hazel and tea tree essential oil combo to keep on hand, not only for deodorizing your hair but for using as an all-natural air freshener, yoga mat cleaner, or household all-purpose spray.

Let the chopping and prepping be the only reason you cry over onions.

Where to Next? Learn about Sewer Odor or Learn about Mold and Fungus

Recent Content