Rich in antioxidants, thought to prevent cancer, diabetes, and even the common cold, onions are nothing if not a superfood. But that’s not all they are — the same properties that make onions a great food to eat also make them great for other things, from healing your skin to cleaning metal. Click through to check out some surprising uses for onions, and leave your own tips in the comments section!
Health & Body1. Repel Insects. Rubbing an onion on your skin is a simple way to repel bugs.
2. Soothe Insect Bites & Stings. Forgot to follow tip #1? Rubbing onion onto bug bites will help to ease the pain.
3. Soothe a Sore Throat. Making onion tea is a great remedy for soothing sore throats. On the stovetop, boil water with onion peels in it (about 1 cup of water for the peels of 1/2 an onion.) Bring to a boil, remove onion and serve.
4. Use in Place of Smelling Salts. Overwork yourself? Feeling light-headed? Onions are a great natural remedy to use instead of smelling salts.
5. Ease the Pain of Burns. Rubbing onions onto burns helps soothe the pain.
6. Remove Splinters. Have a splinter that just won’t budge? Try taping (yes, with tape, or a adhesive bandage) a piece of raw onion to it. Hold tight for about an hour before removing the onion.
7. Polish Metal. Slice onion and then crush it. Combine crushed onion with water. With a cloth, dab it on the metal surface. Rub until clean.
8. Get Rid of that Paint Smell. The same mixture described for polishing metal works great for combating the unpleasant, and sometimes unhealthy, odors of paints and varnishes.
9. Clean Sponges. Okay, so this particular use is actually for the mesh packaging that onions are often sold in, but hey — a way to re-use unnecessary packaging, right?! The mesh is a perfect tool to clean all that gunk that builds up on sponges. Cut it up into smaller pieces for best results.
10. Clean Your Grill. Chop an onion in half, and turn on your grill. Using a fork, glide the onion on the grill to scrub it clean.
11. Make a DIY Dye. Onion skins make great dyes! Place the skins in nylon panty hose, tie top shut, and boil in a pot for about 20 minutes.
12. Make Burned Rice Edible Again. Neglected your rice, and now some of it has burned? No need to toss it! Simply place half of an onion on top of the rice. It will absorb the burned taste.
13. Preserve Avocados. Prevent your avocados from browning by storing them in a plastic airtight container with red onions. Place half of an onion in the container first, skin side up, and then place the avocado. You can use red onion to store guacamole, too: Place some slices on top of the guac’ in a plastic container.
14. Cook Eggs Creatively. Want the ultimate oniony eggs? Check out this great recipe!
James Achanyi-Fontem, is a Senior Health Journalist and Communication Consultant. He worked as a health journalist and broadcaster for 30 years with Radio Cameroon and later Cameroon Radio Television, CRTV before retiring in 2005 to engage fully with Cameroon Link (Human Assistance Programme). Cameroon Link is a registered charity, not-for-profit organisation involved in the promotion of community health, humanitarian assistance, promotion of women and child rights through involvement of communities in Cameroon for mother and child health care. Cameroon Link is a partner to Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Farm Radio International (FRI), International Baby Food Action Network (IBFAN Africa), World Alliance for Breastfeeding Action (WABA). As the intermediary of Commonwealth of Learning (COL), Cameroon Link is engaged to implement a Cameroon Rural Radio story design Programming through an investigative research, which aims to discover through interviewing beneficiaries of health programmes on their interests, documenting and disseminating new ideas about how radio stations produce and air Healthy Communities Radio Programs in Cameroon.