Did you know that onions rank 2nd (right behind tomatoes) on the list of the most popular vegetables in the world? According to the WorldAtlas, over 93 metric tonnes of onions are produced in the world annually! That’s quite a landmark for a vegetable’s global popularity, isn’t it?

Onions are a goldmine of healing properties. This simple veggie can enhance the taste and texture of any dish you prepare. But have you ever considered the non-culinary benefits onions can provide? 

Yes, this bulb-like vegetable that plays an indispensable role in worldwide cuisines has several uses besides eating! So, in this blog, we will present to you the top 10 uses of onions besides eating!

Onion acts as a soothing agent after a bee/wasp sting.

Do you know the most effective technique to deal with a wasp or bee sting? No, we’re not referring to sophisticated drugs, sprays, or calming balms. We’re talking about something that’s sitting in your kitchen right this moment!

Among the various uses of onions, they’re often suggested as a home remedy to help reduce the pain and discomfort associated with wasps and bee stings. They contain compounds like quercetin and sulfides, which may have anti-inflammatory and soothing properties that can potentially provide relief from pain and swelling.

Wash and peel an onion, and place a slice directly on the bee or wasp sting. Ensure the juice from the onion comes into contact with the sting area. Secure the onion slice in place with a bandage or tape, and leave it on for a short time.

While some people may find relief with this method, others may not experience significant benefits. Also, some individuals may be allergic to onion or may experience skin irritation when using this method. If you notice any adverse reactions or if the pain and swelling persist or worsen, seek medical attention.

Onion keeps bugs away from your garden.

Onions are a natural and chemical-free way to deter various insects and pests from gardens. They can serve as a companion plant by protecting your garden from some common garden pests.

Here’s how onions can help keep bugs away from your garden:

  1. Strong odor: Onions emit a strong odor due to their sulfur compounds. This smell can act as a natural repellent to many insects and pests, including aphids, carrot flies, cabbage worms, and more.
  2. Confusing or masking scents: The strong odor of onions can sometimes mask the scent of other plants that pests may be attracted to. This can make it more challenging for insects to locate their target plants.
  3. Interference with the pests’ senses: Onions’ sulfur compounds interfere with the senses of some pests. For instance, they can disrupt the feeding and reproductive behavior of certain insects, making it less likely for them to infest your garden.

To use onions to help keep bugs away from your garden, consider these tips:

Interplant onions with other vegetables: Plant onions among your other garden crops. Be mindful of the specific pests you’re trying to deter, and choose companion plants accordingly.

Rotate crops: To prevent soil depletion and to maintain the effectiveness of using onions as a natural pest deterrent, rotate your crops from year to year.

Plant different onion varieties: While most onions have a repellent effect, some varieties might be more potent due to their higher sulfur content. Experiment with different types to see which works best in your garden.

It removes melasma from the skin.

Onions can be used as a remedy for treating melasma, a common skin condition characterized by brown or gray-brown patches on the face, particularly on the cheeks, forehead, and upper lip. Here’s how onions are sometimes used for melasma:

Onion juice: Some people suggest using fresh onion juice directly on the melasma-affected areas. The idea is that the natural compounds in onions may have skin-lightening properties and can potentially help reduce the appearance of dark spots.

To use onion juice, cut a fresh onion and extract the juice by blending it. Apply a small amount of the juice to the melasma patches. Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes, rinse the area thoroughly, and apply a moisturizer.

Try to exercise caution when applying onion juice to the skin, as it can be irritating for some individuals. Patch test on a small area of skin to ensure you don’t experience any adverse reactions before applying it to the entire affected area.

Onion is a great rust remover!

Another surprising yet efficient use of onions is as a natural rust remover, especially for small, lightly rusted objects. The natural acids and compounds in onions, such as acetic acid, can help break down surface rust.

Cut the fresh onion in half and sprinkle a generous amount of table salt on the rusty area. Use one of the onion halves as a scrubbing tool. Rub the cut side of the onion over the rusty area, using the salt as an abrasive.

Use a scrubbing pad or an old toothbrush to continue scrubbing the rusty area. Apply gentle pressure and keep scrubbing until you start to see the rust coming off. Rinse and repeat, and check your progress periodically. You may need to repeat the process multiple times for heavily rusted areas.

Once you’ve removed the rust, use a clean cloth/paper towels to wipe the metal clean. Now, it’s a good idea to protect the metal by applying a thin layer of oil (such as vegetable oil) or wax to create a protective barrier.

This method can be effective for light surface rust on small objects, but not on larger or heavily rusted items. For bigger rust issues, consider commercial rust removers or other methods like vinegar or electrolysis.

Make your barbecue grill shine using onion!

Among the many uses of onions, we’ll now discuss cleaning barbecue grills! Onions contain acids and enzymes that can assist in breaking down grease, grime, and residue on the grill grates.

To clean your barbeque grill after a fun party with your friends, all you need are some onions, a grill brush/scraper, and a clean cloth or paper towels!

Start by preheating your grill to a high temperature, which will loosen and burn off some of the residue. Cut an onion in half, creating two halves with a flat cut surface.

While the grill is hot, use a grill brush or scraper to remove any loose debris. Then, use one of the onion halves to scrub the grill grates. Apply gentle pressure and move the onion back and forth to help break it down and remove the residue.

You may need to use both halves of the onion. Continue scrubbing until most of the buildup is removed. Now, use a clean cloth or paper towel to wipe away any remaining debris and residue. After cleaning, rub a little cooking oil on the grates to help prevent sticking and rust formation. Do this while the grill is still warm.

Check out how to use onions to clean your barbecue grill here!

Onion aids in removing stains from clothes.

Onions can be used to remove certain types of stains from clothes, particularly fresh and organic stains. The natural enzymes and compounds in onions, such as sulfenic acid, can help break down and lift stains.

Firstly, determine the type of stain you’re dealing with. Onions are most effective for stains like food, grease, or fresh organic stains.

Start by cutting a fresh onion in half. Take one of the onion halves and rub the stained area of the fabric. Apply gentle pressure and rub the onion back and forth over the stain. Rinse the stained area with cold water to check if the stain is still visible. If the stain persists, repeat the process with the onion.

Now, wash the garment as you normally would, following the care label instructions. Use a mild liquid detergent to help remove any remaining residue. Before drying the clothing, ensure the stain is completely gone.

This method is most effective for stains that are fresh and not set into the fabric. For older or stubborn stains, try other stain removal techniques or commercial stain removers.

Does paint odor make you nauseous? Use an onion to fix it!

By now, we’re all aware of just how versatile the uses of onions are. So, let’s talk about one such unusual use of onion that might amuse you.

You know that smell of fresh paint that some people seem to like? Well, while it might be pleasant for some, the smell of VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) in paint can also make people nauseous. If this is a problem you don’t want to go through, all you need is a bowl of water and a sliced onion!

Add the slices of onion to the bowl of water and leave it in the painted room overnight. The highly absorbent onion will make quick work of the nauseating smell. However, if the problem persists, it might be worth looking into alternative fixes like proper ventilation and air purifiers.

Onion can prevent the browning of your avocados!

Onions can help prevent the browning of avocados when they are stored together. The sulfur compounds released by the onion can help inhibit the browning process of avocados.

Start by cutting the avocado and removing the pit. Place a slice or chunk of onion in the same container as the cut avocado; the container must be airtight. Store the container in the refrigerator, as keeping the avocado and onion mixture cold can further slow down the browning process.

When you’re ready to use the avocado, simply remove it from the container and discard the onion piece. The avocado should have minimal browning.

The sulfur compounds released by the onion can help prevent/delay the oxidation process. However, while this method may be effective to some extent, it may not completely eliminate browning. Using lemon or lime juice is another widely recognized method for preventing avocado browning.

Onion absorbs the flavor of burned rice.

Isn’t it the worst feeling ever when you’re already running late and accidentally leave the rice in the cooker too long? Not only have you added another thing to your to-do list for the morning, you’ve also wasted perfectly good rice!

Well, not anymore! If this is something that has happened to you, we understand just how frustrating it is, and we have the perfect solution for it, too. All you need is to slice some onions, lay the slices on top of the rice, and cover for 15-20 minutes.

It’s possible that your onions might look half-cooked when you uncover the dish, but at least the rice is better now, right!

In the end

Onions are one of the most adaptable ingredients in a kitchen. We know no household doesn’t have a stock full of them. This item is well-known for being essential in preparing many different foods and salads. 

However, we cannot restrict their use to eating alone. This is why we introduced you to the 10 uses of onions besides eating to understand these versatile ingredients better. So, make sure to use this vegetable to its full potential the next time you see it lying on your kitchen counter.