12 Onion Uses That Will Make You Cry (For Joy)

Onions are one of those vegetables that people have used for centuries for different purposes. Onions can be used for medicinal needs, cleaning, cooking, gardening and more! Part of being prepared is knowing how to reuse items for multiple purposes. That’s why knowing multiple onion uses can be so important. Comment below to tell us what you’ve used onions for.

Saratoga Farms Onions - Onion UsesReduce bruising
If you are cut and bruise easily, onions might be your best friend. After you’re cut, immediately press the cut end of a raw onion on a superficial bruise and keep it there for 15 minutes. The reason this works is because of allicin. Allicin is the same compound that makes your eyes water. This will stimulate the lymphatic flow in the blood, pushing away excess blood in the tissue - decreasing the causes of bruising.

Dyeing Easter eggs
You can use a lot of natural elements to dye Easter eggs different colors. Use 4 cups of yellow onion skins in 1 quart of hot liquid to create sienna-colored eggs. Let them soak for a few hours. If you want to create lavender-colored eggs, combine 4 cups of blueberries with 1 quart of hot water.

Repel caterpillars from your garden
Do you have a lot of caterpillars eating up your cabbage? Peel 2 medium-sized onions and grate them into a large bowl. Add 1 gallon of water and let the mixture sit overnight. Strain the mixture and put the liquid in spray bottles. Spray this liquid all over the leaves of your cabbage and other vegetables and watch the caterpillars turn away. To make the plants smelly enough, you may need to spray twice.

Remove rust from knives
If you have a kitchen knife that has a little bit too much rust on it, simply poke the knife into a large onion a few times and the rust should begin to shine again.

Clean your BBQ
If you love to barbecue as much as I do, then you’re grill is probably pretty dirty. You can easily clean the barbecue by heating it up and using a fork to hold the onion. Scrub the onion on all the grease and grime in your barbecue and watch as they get wiped away.

Treat acne
Does your child have a big dance coming up and can’t get rid of that nasty spot? You can come to the rescue by mixing crushed onions with water and applying the mixture to the face. The vegetable’s chemical components will gradually reduce the visibility of the zits.

Reduce crying by freezing

Do you tend to cry when you’re cutting onions? The National Onion Association recommends tossing the onions in the freezer for 10-15 minutes before you cut them. This should minimize the fumes coming out of the onions.

Get rid of scorch marks
In my first apartment, we had a dryer that would always put little burn marks on all of our clothing. I wish I would have known that I could easily remove these marks with onions! Just cut an onion in half and rub the scorch mark. Let the clothes soak in cold water overnight and then re-wash. This technique works with washable cotton clothing.

Get a splinter out
We’ve all had that painful splinter that won’t come out. Now, just place a ¼-inch slice of onion over the splinter. Wrap the area with a bandage to keep the onion in place. Leave the onion and bandage in place overnight. By the morning, your skin should have shrunk and allowed the splinter to work its way out. And, as a bonus, your finger will smell like an onion for the rest of the day.

Keep frost off your windows
No one likes to scrape frost off their car windows, especially when you’re late to work. To avoid having to scrape the frost off, slice an onion and rub the halves against the windshield the night before a freeze. This should keep frost from forming.

Eliminate new paint smell
If you just painted your bedroom and need to get rid of the noxious smell, place several freshly cut onion slices around the room. Place each onion slice in a bit of water. The paint smell will be absorbed within a few hours.

Send a message to your pet
Many pets don’t like the smell of onions, so if your cat or dog has a favorite couch that they like to destroy, leave small onion slices around the area. That should keep them from returning to the scene of the crime.

Soothe a bee sting
Let’s say that you are outside barbecuing after the football game this weekend and get stung by a big bee. Quickly place one of those onion slices that was supposed to go on your burger and place it over the sting area. This should soothe the pain. If you do have a severe allergy to bee stings, seek medical attention.

Now, let’s discuss
So what do you think? What have you used onions for? Comment below to tell us what onions have helped you with and share your wealth of knowledge. Don't forget to browse the latest in food storage items and stock up while you're here.

58 thoughts on “12 Onion Uses That Will Make You Cry (For Joy)”

  • Expert Prepper

    Great Content! I've also heard of native american tribes using the onion to deliberately cause tearing as a way to cleanse the ducts and deter some of the itchy eye symptoms that come with season allergies.

  • gena

    I have used onion slices on hamburgers, sandwiches, and almost everything else I eat. :)
    Glad to see the advice about onions for bruises and bee stings, didn't know that, now will have more uses for the onions.

  • faithmarie

    In 1919 when the flu killed 40 million people there was this Doctor that visited the many farmers to see if he could help them combat the flu...
    Many of the farmers and their families had contracted it and many died.

    The doctor came upon this one farmer and to his surprise, everyone was very healthy. When the doctor asked what the farmer was doing that was different the wife replied that she had placed an unpeeled onion in a dish in the rooms of the home, (probably only two rooms back then). The doctor couldn't believe it and asked if he could have one of the onions and place it under the microscope. She gave him one and when he did this, he did find the flu virus in the onion. It obviously absorbed the bacteria, therefore, keeping the family healthy.

  • Dave O

    Onions can also cure an ear infection put an onion in the microwave in a glass cup and cover with a moist papers towel and then hold the cup over the ear and it forms a suction. Do it two or three times for a day or two. I didn't belive it till I tried it.

  • David

    I like them sliced on grilled burgers.

  • Mary

    Onions are poisonous for pets. Please keep them out of reach

  • Chad

    You can make your own insect repellent using onion and mineral oil. Place chopped or minced onion in a dish and cover it with mineral oil. Leave the dish near a window for approximately 5 days and then remove the onion pieces from the oil. Put the oil into an empty spray bottle and add a cup of water. Shake the mixture well and your spray is ready.

  • Angel

    The juice from the onion is good for earaches. Just a few drops and lay down. Garlic juice works as well.

  • Chanel

    Great suggestions except one for pets. Is not a good idea to leave slices of onions where pets can reach some dogs/cats get attract to eat or just taste the onion. DON'T FORGET ONIONS ARE POISON FOR DOGS AND CATS!!!!!

  • Linda

    Probably not a good idea to leave slices of onions around a couch if you have a dog. Onions are toxic to dogs and can be lethal if eaten.

    Otherwise, what a great article! I never knew so much can be done with a silly onion.

  • Goofy918

    You can use an onion poultice for colds and chest congestion. Saute' sliced onions in water (you can add chopped ginger too). Put the onions in a towel and fold the long sides over and then the short sides making it look like a package. Let it cool enough so that it won't burn your skin. Place on your chest & cover with your blanket for 20 minutes. When it cools you can reheat in the microwave and reapply.

  • Venita

    I keep fresh cut onion in each bedroom during flu and cold season. For some reason it really seems to prevent or shortens the illness.

  • Bob

    My grandmother warmed onion juice and treated my earaches when I was child. It worked!

  • Charles

    The indian folks in the Ecuadorian Andes taught me to rub a cut onion on a flea bit. Relief is instant.

  • wp

    Put a cut onion in a sick persons room and the bacteria will be drawn to the onion. Discard it of course afterwards. For that same reason try to use all the onion when cooking rather than storing it. Buy 2 small instead of 1 medium.

  • S.W.

    Another goo use for onions is as a natural insect repellent. Plant a row around your garden and the number and types of insects is reduced.

  • Phillip Edge

    Eat one or more small onions just before meeting with someone with whom you do not want to stay long.

  • Dee

    When I was a small child my brother and I had very high fevers, my Grandmother made a bandage of clothe and onions and wrapped them on or chest and feet. We recovered quicker than most that were in our neighborhood.

  • Donna

    faithmarie, what you wrote about the doctor taking the onion from the flu-less farm family in 1919--you can't see a virus under the microscope, so whatever he saw on the onion, it wasn't the flu virus. Otherwise, this is a fascinating story, and it appears to be corroborated by what Venita writes about putting onion in each bedroom during cold and flu season.

    I had NO idea you could do this with onion. I'm copying this into my "natural flu remedies" folder. It sounds wacky, but if it might work, it'd be worth trying! Thanks for your input, folks. And thanks for another in your series of cool articles, ReadyStore. :-)

    • Tracy Powell

      The sliced onion on the bottom of feet does work. If it's really bad, place on palm of hands also. It's a Native American remedy, pulls the toxins out & can literally turn the onion black. Using overnight, your room will smell like fried onions.

  • Virginia

    I use onion and garlic to make an organic(but smelly) pest control spray for my vegetables. I also make a "tea" with tomato plant leaves for the same purpose.

  • Betty Edwards

    Snopes says the Onions vs. Flu Virus is FALSE.It pays to check them before publishing folk remedies!

    • Tom

      Betty Edwards............Snopes has been discredited on so many subjects..........I can't believe people still reference them..........the onion thing is true..............my grandmother and mother used it on us when we were kids............as did most everybody in the community.........it worked.........

    • Cyber Geezer

      Snoops is put out by a married couple who work out of their kitchen in Southern California. EVERYTHING they produce is tainted by their own small biases with very little research at all. They have ZERO credibility.

  • Jo

    My grandfather used onions to rid us of fevers... he's put a thick slice on the soles of our feet then put our socks on before bed... I must say, the onion taste in my mouth in the morning wasn't pleasant, however, the fever broke everytime!

    He also said, once you cut into an onion, never store it in the refrigerator, because it picked up the odors and was no longer suitble for consumption... so I usually purchase smaller onions or dice them and put in freezer.

  • Maegan

    Onions cant possibly be toxic to dogs. My husband is an onion farmer and we have several fields of them around our home. Each year during harvest my dogs go and steal onions out of the fields and eat them on my back lawn and they have never gotten sick from them. As far as the onions absorbing toxins, it does work, maybe not as well as the post says but they really will absorb the bad stuff! Onions are very usefull little things!

  • Kimberly Reddin

    The comment about onions being effective against the flu is indeed a folk remedy. Onions do have anti-bacterial properties, but the scientific evidence is lacking to say they can guard against the flu. A widely circulating email is making this claim and the National Onion Association has been working to spread the truth.

    • Tom

      If the "Big Pharma" sanctioned the onion phenomenon it would cost them billions.........any idea why they don't sanction it..........

  • mary

    Onoins have been used successfully for hundreds of years by probably millions of people, but because the scientist who are paid by big pharma,(who gets money when you buy their drugs, sort of like a drug dealer) say it isnt true,that it doesnt work. So that means that it isnt true???? How does that work.... Thats sort of like the belief that scientist have found a way to date things back millions and trillions of years ago???? and ya'll believe that too.... But we are the gullible ones because we believe the people who have used them, and many of us have used these ideas and found them to work.... Thats funny!!!

  • Lyn

    When I was a young girl and had whooping cough which was miserable. My Grandmother would make "onion tea" for me. She would peel the onion and cut the top off, she would sprinkle a little sugar on the cut onion top and let it seep over night. I loved the taste of it and it helped my throat. I am not sure what kind of onions she used but they probably were mild sweet ones.

  • Kathy Davis

    Regardless of what anyone says, Every time someone in our home is sick-I take a homegrown onion (store bought onions are weak!) I cut it into 4 pieces and place it in each corner of the bedroom. I also have made a poultice with onions. For boils, I add diced onion to a potato, dry mustard, turmeric, garlic, and to draw out the infection.For pneumonia, chest colds, etc. I dice onions, crush fresh garlic, and the same mustard as above and place it inside a hot hand towel on the back, chest, or neck area. Ive also made a simple onion, garlic, and beef bone broth when anyone in the house gets sick. We incorporate fresh yellow onions and garlic to almost everything we eat! We even keep a small bottle of vodka in the fridge that has been infused with onion and garlic for sore throats, chest, and sinus infections. Works well, and we stay pretty healthy. I hope you do take the time this winter when the cooties come knocking, to try out one or all of these things. The other thing we do is pray! GOD is the ultimate cure all! But, HE has also Blessed us ALL with wonderful herbs to keep ourselves healthy.

  • Sue

    Hey, what's the deal...if someone feels the remedy works, why make them feel bad with the "scientific evidence"? Sometimes science just doesn't want to do the investigating, and who says Snoops knows everything! It's really a pretty cheap remedy to try, as long as everyone realizes that if it isn't working, do something else!

  • Iolaire1

    I enjoy the articles on this websight and all posts even if they are 'folk remedies', or naysayers. As far as Snopes, that amounts to no more than two people in their living room with computer access, no special powers, or intelligence. And, virus's can be seen through a microscope - just not a regular one used circa 1919.

    "But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong." 1 Cor 1:27

  • Kelly Girl

    Raw onions & garlic both are great to use straight up or mixed with other foods, when you have a cold. Definite antibacterial properties there.

  • desperate

    i am trying the onion now in my socks an cut up in a bowl in the bed right beside me. i have low immune system tried antibiotics for acute bronchitis got a little better then relapsed even worse. i feel like i have flu now. been sick for 3 weeks now. lots of congestion ears hurt as well as throat . nothing to lose. will let you know how it turns out.

  • Vivian

    When my eldest child had the colic, made onion tea and gave him a teaspoon of the juice every 4 hours or every two if extremely sever. Took care of that problem and eased his discomfort. Just could not stand for him to be uncomfortable.

  • Robby

    I use onion skins (both yellow and red) to make a "tea" for hair dye. It covers my gun-metal gray if I use it as a rinse after shampooing, leaving it on my hair for 15 minutes under a shower cap, not ever rinsing it out but instead air-drying. I do this about once a week, and it really works.

  • ben

    hi dave o I want to know what kind of ear infection that onion will cure inner ear or outer er infection?

  • Jo

    A bucket of warm water add to it an onion cut into 1/4's and you get a great window cleaner - makes the windows sparkle and no streaks

  • Vickie

    This is in response to Jo. She wrote:

    He also said, once you cut into an onion, never store it in the refrigerator, because it picked up the odors and was no longer suitable for consumption… so I usually purchase smaller onions or dice them and put in freezer.
    September 21st, 2012 at 8:07 am

    I buy large bags of onions from Costco and the onions themselves are large. So I quarter them and what I don't use, I put into a wide mouth mason jar with the lid on it. It keeps the odors from mingling in the fridge. Then I have fresh onion to use on hand. The frozen onions don't have the same texture as the fresh.
    I also have a recipe for "onion bread". It's a dehydrated recipe and it's different but I like it. If anyone is interested, I will post it. Thanks for all of the sharing!

  • Christine

    Like Lyn we have used cut a cone shaped wedge from an onion and filled it with sugar. Place it in a cup to stay upright, leave overnight and spoon out the gelatinous sweet stuff in the morning. Don't waste the rest of the onion though. Sautee it lightly with some sliced garlic and eat with whatever you want. My husband and I are both in our 60's and have been eating sauteed onions and garlic with our eggs in the morning several times a week. As another contributor said if it doesn't work try something else. However, this works for great for us. Neither of us have had a cold or flu for years since we started doing this nor have we had a flu shot in nearly 5 years.

  • Vicuna

    Brandon, great article! And I love the humor thrown in here and there:)

  • Vickie

    Onion "Bread"
    2 & 1/2 lbs. sweet onions, peeled
    1 C. ground sunflower seeds
    1 C. ground golden flax seeds
    1/2 C olive oil
    3 oz. Nama Shoyu

    Put onions in a food processor with the 's" blade and process until small pieces (but not mushy). Put in mixing bowl with the other ingredients and
    mix thoroughly. The flax will absorb the liquid. Smooth onto Teleflex sheets about 1/4" thick and place in dehydrator for 5 hours, turning over for another 3-4 hours or until dry and crispy. Either break into pieces or cut with a pizza cutter and store in refrigerator in an airtight container.

  • Name Jerry C

    The onion remedies are great. But, remember if you are using the onion for food, once it is cut, it can not be saved. The bacteria absorbing process begins immediately. If you store a cut onion for a min. of 1 day, the bacteria can be detected and could be harmful if eaten. We use onion raw and then either fry the remainder or make a tasty
    Onion Soup, both of which can be frozen for later.

  • ron flinders

    When I was a child, we did not visit the doctors office every time we got a sniffle. If we had a cough or sore throat my mom would whip up some cough syrup. She would simmer chopped up onion in a small pan until it thickened adding a pinch of sugar. That was our cough syrup.

  • Tina

    I have a question: If you are supposed to use / eat all the onion that you are cooking with and not store the left over onion, what about the soup or whatever you made? I guess if it is cooked it loses its ability to attract bacteria?

  • Tina

    I accidently nicked my thumb skin badly with nail clippers and wondered how it was ever going to heal. It was on my R hand and was deep and really, Really hurt! It wasn't getting any better because I use that hand a lot. After a week of sleepless nites and very bad pain I was cutting some onions for my supper and my thumb brushed against the raw onion. It felt so good I instinctively picked up a piece and mushed it against my cut. AMAZINGINGLY it felt So GOOD! I could feel it getting better.
    The next day it looked better (it was almost magical) and so I put some more onion on it for only a minute or so. The cut healed within about 48 hours, (which is a big deal because it was so bothersome and I thought it would never heal)
    I also heard Manuka honey is good for wounds, and I now have a scrape on my foot that I just put some Manuka honey and a bandaid on. If that doesn't work I'm reaching for the onion again.

  • S.Levy

    f you want to avoid crying and burning eyes when peeling an onion, grip between your teeth a couple of matchsticks (with the heads sticking out of your mouths, NOT inside...) until you finish. This stops at least 90% of the pain and crying.

  • filley141

    Please post what success and or relief from onions in socks (against feet) and in your (bed)room. Looking forward to hearing your results. Thank you

  • Jim The Traveling Salesman
    Jim The Traveling Salesman September 2, 2014 at 1:42 am

    DOGS & CATS - Not so likely, They have to consume quite a bit of onion to be a problem. Better to worry about Grapes & Raisins where as few as 6 or 7 can be fatal.

    The onion collecting the virus is a great old tale, but SNOPES says no way.

  • fauna

    Very interesting! So, after all your curing, if you don't want onion perfume on the rest of the day, rub your hands with salt and scrub with soap--works great!!! And since I landed on odors...a friend of mine got tired of her family asking her when dinner was coming, so she put onions on to simmer and because of the smell they knew it was coming and didn't ask!
    Another odor comment...when you are in snowy season and your hands get some awful smell, rub them in snow crystals and it will knock down even the smell of diesel!!

    • Tom

      fauna...........vinegar in a bowl will take the smell out of the air also..........like when you fry fish or something............pour some vinegar in a bowl and set it on the counter or on the stove............not too long afterwards you have an odor free house.....

  • Karl tanner

    Boil 2 large onions in water and let cool to touch. Poor into bath tub on night of prom and place daughter in it. Take daughter out and allow to drip dry. Guaranteed to have positive effects on evening and bring peace of mind for fathers.

  • Nitish

    In many parts of India its believed that keeping an onion in your pocket prevents the person from getting a heat stroke, perhaps it has something to do with onion absorbing the excessive body heat.
    Here in central states of India summers can be as hot as 47°c, heat stroke could be fatal so its common practice to take an onion with you when going outside.

  • don

    @ anyone who believes everything "snopes" says: our family has found snopes to be wrong many times, including re: onions vs. flu. We have been using sliced onions around the house whenever there's ANY virus going around. None of us ever get sick, not even the kids who are exposed to it all in school.

  • Ben

    A lifetime friend rode with me to his uncle's house in New Mexico. He had a cold and was blowing his nose all the way from Georgia to New Mexico. We back-packed in the Gila National Forest up the Gila River. We were ready to stop and rest. Where we stopped was a perfect camp site. We were setting up our tents and I saw a large onion that someone had left or dropped. My friend likes onions so I gave it to him. He ate all of it and got out of his tent that night, through up, and was cured for the rest of the trip.

  • Pam

    I have an unfinished basement that was smelling pretty bad. I read that the bad smells in a basement are caused by bacteria. I sliced some onions in half and placed one half in each room. After a day or two the onions started turning brown and the smell was gone.

  • Tanya

    When I was a kid my family thought I was crazy. I would cut up an onion everytime I felt ill and sprinkle it with salt after consuming a raw onion I always felt better.May not work for everyone but it always worked for me.

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