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The tiny, brilliant $9 kitchen tool that set me (and 12,000+ fans on Amazon) free

The Rub-Away Bar removes the smell of garlic, onions and more from your hands.

My go-to contribution for potluck parties is a colorful kale-and-red-onion salad. Since folks are inclined to bring their highest-octane comfort dishes to potlucks, I discovered (through sheer last-minute laziness) that anyone who brings a clean green salad (to cut the richness of the rest) is an instant hero. Such an easy win.

The thing is, chopping red onions an hour before a social event creates a certain challenge — because onions don’t just wash off. They soak in and scent skin like the evil twin of a lavender bath. You can wash and wash, and still the scent lingers leaving you unintentionally wearing Eau de Onion.

That is, until I found this brilliant little treasure. Known by a number of names, the Rub-a-Way Bar is some sort of miracle. It’s a soap-shaped doodad made of lightweight stainless steel that magically and instantly removes the smell of onions (and garlic and shallots and scallions) from your skin. Just rub it in your hands as if it’s a bar of soap with or without water, and all signs of aromatics are gone. I swear.

This Amco version has over 14,000 five-star fans on Amazon!

$9 at Amazon

The science behind this transfer of scent is beyond me, but for those who understand, apparently it has something to do with steel molecules binding with the (stinky) sulfur molecules on hands, thereby lifting them away. That sounds like something that should cost some cash, but this lifesaver sells for under 10 bucks.

"Gets the stink off!!!" raves a five-star fan. "...I’ve used it to get union and garlic smell off my hands after chopping and preparing meals. If it’s a smell you can’t get off your hands USE this it works! Should last forever!!"

The first time I used an odor remover bar, I thought I was imagining the effects. I called my teenagers into the kitchen to sniff (they did not budge, because when you say “Come in here and smell my hands” to teenagers, turns out they don’t even actually respond). I marched to the living room and forced the issue. And I heard the magic words. “What? I don’t smell anything.” Followed, of course, by: “Move, please, Mom. I can’t see the TV.”

I started my love affair with these smell-removing bars by purchasing this understated Norpro version from Amazon. (Buy extras — your friends will love them!)

$8 at Amazon

One huge fan writes: "This little disc blew my skeptical self away. It ACTUALLY lives up to the hype."

Back to my savior kale salad: During the holidays, I make it sparkle with fresh pomegranate; in fall I use dried cranberries, and at the peak of summer, cherry tomatoes. The secret sauce (quite literally) is a dressing made with good olive oil, fresh garlic and a sweet balsamic. Style it with some long slivers of red onion on the very top, curving toward each other. And then, of course, don’t forget to “rub away” that last onion infusion with your brilliant bar.

You’ll arrive at the party smelling fresh as a rose.

The reviews quoted above reflect the most recent versions at the time of publication.

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