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9 Brilliant Uses for Onions You Didn’t Know About

They're not just delicious! Onions can be used all over your house, not just in the kitchen.

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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 half a cut onion in a dish on one side of the room, and the other half on the other side of the room. It will absorb the smell within a few hours.

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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. This trick doesn’t actually treat the sting, only the pain, so if you are severely allergic to bee or other insect stings, be sure to seek medical attention at once.

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Ease a burn

Onions aren’t just good for bee stings, they’re also great to grab if you burn yourself. Home remedy experts at The People’s Pharmacy claim that fresh onion juice is the perfect balm for a fresh burn, and will even help prevent blistering. The key word: Fresh. For this hack, you’ll want to grab a whole onion and cut it freshly, because precut slices won’t do the trick. If you don’t have onions lying around, treating burns is also one of the 14 brilliant uses for ice cubes you’ll wish you knew sooner.

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Keep avocados from browning

Fresher avocados? We’re in! TODAY reported that placing a cut onion in the container with your sliced, or otherwise cut, avocado is their all-time favorite method for helping it stay greener longer. “Sulfur dioxide is a compound used to preserve fruits,” TODAY stated. “Sulfur is a component in onions, so it stood to reason it might work similarly. By far, the best of all methods, the avocado was nearly as green as when it was cut.”

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Keep frost off your windows

Believe it or not, onions can help you winterize your car, too. In a separate report, TODAY demonstrated how you can save time scraping ice off your car on those frigid winter mornings, by simply rubbing an onion on your windshield the night before. Evidently, the sugar found in the onion juice will create a barrier between your car and the water condensation in the air. The sugar also helps break down the ice molecules more easily, making it doubly helpful.

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Treat acne

Mix onion, oatmeal, and honey in a blender and spread the paste on your acne and acne scars. Speedy Remedies suggests leaving this DIY mask on for ten minutes before washing your face. Another common onion-mask mixture is 1 egg yolk, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, 2 tablespoons of onion juice, and 2 tablespoons of cucumber juice. Helping your skin looks it’s best is also one of the 26 household uses for Vaseline.

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Make a DIY dye

Save enough onion skins to fill up a pair of old pantyhose, and you can dye your own yarn and fabric. All Natural Dying has recipes that use brown and red onion skins and can create dyes in orange, brown, and rust, and even one that, with the right yarn, will turn green.

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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. Don’t have any fresh onions sitting around? Getting rust and tarnish off flatware is also one of the 45 aluminum foil uses you didn’t know about.

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Clean your grill

Put a freshly cut chunk of onion on the end of a fork, cut side down, and run it along the grates of the grill. The same components of the onion that give it that sharp taste will help loosen up the grime and food bits left over. The Kitchn suggests heating up the grill first to burn down any large food particles and rubbing with the onion as soon as it has cooled to a manageable temperature. We like these tricks a lot, but these onion tricks are nothing compared to the 95 household uses for vinegar you’ve never heard of.

Isabel Roy
Isabel Roy has been a writer and editor for RD.com since February of 2019. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin La Crosse with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing and Rhetoric. She is thrilled to be living and working in the Big Apple although she misses the easy access to freshly made Wisconsin cheese curds and Kopps Custard. When not at the Reader’s Digest office, you can find her downing too many chai lattes and rereading her favorite Harry Potter books.