6 Little-Known Uses for Onions | Reader's Digest

6 Little-Known Uses for Onions

Use onions for these common home and garden dilemmas.

from Extraordinary Uses for Ordinary Things

Remove rust from knives
Forget about using steel wool or harsh chemicals — how’s this for an easy way to get the rust off your kitchen or utility knives? Plunge your rusty knife into a large onion three or four times (if it’s very rusty, it may require a few extra stabs). The only tears you shed will be ones of joy over your rust-free blade.

Eliminate new paint smell
Your bedroom’s new shade of paint looks great, but the smell is keeping you up all night. What to do? Place several freshly cut slices of onion in a dish with a bit of water. It will absorb the smell within a few hours.

Correct pet “mistakes”
If Rover or Kitty is still not respecting your property — whether it be by chewing, tearing, or soiling — you may be able to get the message across by leaving several onion slices where the damage has been done. Neither cats nor dogs are particularly fond of “eau de onion,” and they’ll avoid returning to the scene of their crimes.

Soothe a bee sting
If you have a nasty encounter with a bee at a barbecue, grab one of the onion slices intended for your burger and place it over the area where you got stung. It will ease the soreness. (If you are severely allergic to bee or other insect stings, seek medical attention at once.)

Use as smelling salts
If you happen to be with someone at a party or in a restaurant who feels faint — and you don’t normally carry smelling salts in your pocket — reach for a freshly cut onion. The strong odor is likely to bring him around.

Use as a natural pesticide
Whip up an effective insect and animal repellent for the flowers and vegetables in your garden. In a blender, puree 4 onions, 2 cloves garlic, 2 tablespoons cayenne pepper, and 1 quart water (1 liter). Set the mixture aside. Now dilute 2 tablespoons soap flakes in 2 gallons (7.5 liters) water. Pour in the contents of your blender, shake or stir well, and you have a potent, environment-friendly solution to spray on your plants.