Welcome to One Simply Terrific Thing, our ongoing series highlighting the small tools and kitchen goods that make life better.
I’m usually not a fan of kitchen unitaskers. Even though I’m constantly testing recipes, I don’t have a spacious kitchen, so items have to be pretty special to earn a spot. Basically, if something else can accomplish the same task, I’ll skip it. One big exception to my unitasker rule is my Amco Stainless Steel Rub-a-Way Odor Absorber Bar. My husband took a chance and stuck it in my stocking one Christmas, and now I can’t live without it. It gets a prized spot on the side of my kitchen sink, right next to the actual soap.
The $8 bar is a lightweight piece of metal in the shape of a bar of soap. It’s designed to remove kitchen odors that stubbornly stick to your hands like garlic, onion, and fish. The science on why it works to remove order is a little murky—it seems to have to do with the stinky molecules binding with the metal’s molecules. All I know is, it works.
I should point out that any stainless steel object will work, so you don’t have to buy a special bar. However, I have found that the bar works best if you use it in conjunction with water, which is tricky if you’re rubbing your hands on the front of your refrigerator. For super effective scent removal, give your hands a quick wash with soap. Rub your wet hands all over the bar for a solid 10 seconds, especially concentrating on the fingers where scents like to hide. Wash your hands again, then take a whiff. Goodbye lingering smell!
As a bonus, I’ve found it is also effective at removing chili pepper residue. If you’ve ever absentmindedly rubbed your eyes after chopping jalapeños, then you know how painful handling hot chiles can be. Once I’m done handling chili peppers I follow my usual routine, washing my hands before giving them a vigorous rub with the bar and then washing again. This process seems to get rid of any irritants, and I can rub my face all I want with reckless abandon.
For upkeep, you can wash the bar just as you would your stainless steel sink. I give it a quick scrub every time I clean my sink using Bar Keepers Friend, rinse it well, and then set it on the side to dry.
My only complaint is I wish I’d found the stainless steel bar sooner. After years of chopping garlic, washing my hands vigorously, and then later scratching my nose in bed only to be slapped with the scent of garlic, I finally found a solution. There’s no more stink with this bar by my sink.