How to get rid of garlic breath

It is official. Eating raw garlic comes with the price of smelly breath and there is no hiding!  Or is there? How to get rid of garlic breath?

I have heard about many methods, tested most of them, and came to the conclusion that you simply cannot get rid of garlic breath instantly and completely.

There are a few things that will soften the immediate unpleasant smell out of the mouth. Mind you: food we consume does stay in the stomach, which also belongs to the upper digestive system, for about 4 – 6 hours on average (unless you overeat and your stomach needs more time to move the food further). This means that in the first 4 -6 hours after consumption of garlic our breath is the most fragrant. So what to do to speed things up? How to push the digestive system to get on with things? How to get rid of garlic breath?!

How to get rid of garlic breath

Drink a strong solution of water with lemon, lime or any citrus or simply a freshly squeezed citrus juice

Firstly drinking lots of liquids is good for flushing unwanted things out of our system and speeding the metabolism up. Secondly, natural antibacterial properties of lemon and other citruses will deal with the bacteria in the mouth to take the first smelly edge off. Consequently, if you are brave enough to just bite in to a nice juicy wedge of lemon, go for it and make sure nothing but the skin is wasted. This along with drinking tea are my number ones because it is easy to execute in a restaurant, at home or at a friend’s place without having to explain why.

Drink tea

If you wonder how to get rid of garlic breath when you are out and about after a lovely meal with a garlic in it drinking tea could be the answer. Sulphur compounds produced by garlic get defeated by tea’s polyphenols (especial in mint and green tea)

Chewing some raw parsley does a good job

Since testing these methods I started adding, or adding a bit more, parsley to my garlic dishes, (Where it does make sense of course! I absolutely refuse to compromise the integrity and the quality of my dishes for the sake of preventing the obviously inevitable consequences when you choose to eat them!), which only proves how considered I am as a cook and a host! Thank you very much!

By the way: cloves, anise seeds, mint, and fennel are also known for neutralizing garlic odour, but except for chewing mint I would probably look for recipes containing these rather than chew on them.

Eat an apple

Yup, if you ever wonder about how to get rid of garlic breath, think apple! Whatever apple hides under it’s lovely skin does work as a fast solution for a fragrant breath, and this apply not only to garlic breath by the way. 

Drink milk after eating garlic

The fatter the milk the better. There a science behind it as per the study conducted by the Institute of Food Technologist and published in the Journal of Food Science in February 2010 (1). I remember my mother giving me a mug of hot milk with a raw clove of minced garlic, teaspoon of butter and another one of honey for cold and flu. I was too little to have any regard for this cold remedy then, and even now, I just can’t get myself to drink milk with raw garlic regardless of how much milk and honey can be packed to mask the flavor of milky garlic…My béchamel sauce I use in Garlic Cauliflower Cheese does contain these 2 together but the proportions plus other ingredients really do make a difference.

Chew a sugar free gum

Chewing a gum, eating a slow dissolving mint or other sugar free treat is obviously the easiest solution right next to brushing your teeth and flushing your mouth throughout if possible right after eating garlic.

I believe that all of the above methods on how to get rid of garlic breath are easy to understand since they represent cleansing and relatively low odour properties. However, I have read and heard that eating a full spoon of mustard, chewing on coffee beans or drinking strong coffee could be a solution. In my personal opinion I believe that these will mask the odour with their own and if this is what you are looking for in a spur of the moment, go for it. Don’t count on any long term effects though!

Refer to the related articles in How to section if you would like to find out how to get the garlic smell off your body and hands.


Food Technologist

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