How can I get Rid of Garlic Breath?

Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

Though there are many methods for reducing or covering up garlic breath, the only way to avoid it altogether is to not eat foods with garlic in them. Eating mints or chewing gum can help cover up the odor, but they won't really reduce it, since the smell is actually caused by a byproduct of garlic which is produced when it is digested and absorbed into the bloodstream. The most effective ways for reducing garlic breath are consuming milk and brushing your teeth.

Head of garlic.
Head of garlic.


There are a number of things you can do to mask garlic breath. Rinsing with mouthwash, flossing and brushing your teeth are a few ways to clean your mouth of any lingering fragments of food that might cause odor. Don’t neglect your tongue when brushing. You can clean it by adding a bit of toothpaste to your brush and working on your tongue from back to front, thereby removing some of the odor.

Rinsing with a mouthwash may help get rid of garlic breath.
Rinsing with a mouthwash may help get rid of garlic breath.

Certain foods and beverages can also help get rid of garlic breath. One of the most effective ones is milk, which contains fats that neutralize allyl methyl sulfide. For the best results, you should drink the milk as you eat the garlic, not afterwards. Foods that contain polyphenols, like apples, spinach, and green tea can also help neutralize odors. You may also be able to reduce odors by eating parsley, mint, anise seeds, cardamom, cloves, and fennel work in the same manner. Other ways of eliminating or minimizing garlic breath are sucking on lemon wedges or chewing on coffee beans or grounds.

Avoiding garlic altogether is the only way to ensure not having garlic breath.
Avoiding garlic altogether is the only way to ensure not having garlic breath.

There are also pills that claim to be able to reduce garlic breath; however, they vary in terms of effectiveness. Many contain oils from known odor-reducing foods like parsley or fennel. Some supplements are also designed to be odor-free. Most of these have a specialized coating which keeps the supplement from being broken down until it reaches the stomach or intestines. Though this can keep you from having bad breath immediately after taking them, you might still get an odor afterwards when the supplement breaks down.

Sucking on a lemon wedge or eating mint may help reduce bad breath.
Sucking on a lemon wedge or eating mint may help reduce bad breath.


Garlic breath is caused by a substance called allyl methyl sulfide, which is produced when garlic is broken down in the body. The smell lasts for a long time because the allyl methyl sulfide is absorbed into the bloodstream. Since the body can't absorb this, it is released over the course of a few days in sweat and in breath, which is why the odor can last for several days. Besides the chemical component, garlic bits stuck between the teeth or in the mouth can also cause lasting odor.

Chewing gum can help get rid of garlic breath.
Chewing gum can help get rid of garlic breath.


The only way to totally avoid garlic breath is to avoid eating any foods with that particular ingredient in them. This includes things that have spice mixtures made with garlic, like salt mixtures and curry powder. If you take garlic supplements for your health, you can try getting odorless tablets.

Regular tongue brushing removes harmful odor causing bacteria.
Regular tongue brushing removes harmful odor causing bacteria.
Spinach can neutralize garlic breath.
Spinach can neutralize garlic breath.
Chewing on fresh parsley can help to freshen breath.
Chewing on fresh parsley can help to freshen breath.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which can neutralize odors.
Green tea contains polyphenols, which can neutralize odors.
Chewing fresh mint leaves can help minimize garlic breath.
Chewing fresh mint leaves can help minimize garlic breath.
Consuming garlic can give someone bad breath.
Consuming garlic can give someone bad breath.
Chewing on cardamom pods may help relieve garlic breath.
Chewing on cardamom pods may help relieve garlic breath.
A tongue scraper, which can help with garlic breath.
A tongue scraper, which can help with garlic breath.
Foods that contain polyphenols, like apples, can help eliminate garlic breath.
Foods that contain polyphenols, like apples, can help eliminate garlic breath.
Chewing on coffee beans can help with garlic breath.
Chewing on coffee beans can help with garlic breath.
Drinking milk can help get rid of garlic breath.
Drinking milk can help get rid of garlic breath.
Brushing your teeth and tongue can help alleviate garlic breath.
Brushing your teeth and tongue can help alleviate garlic breath.
Brushing the tongue can help prevent bad breath.
Brushing the tongue can help prevent bad breath.
Diane Goettel
Diane Goettel

In addition to her work as a freelance writer for wiseGEEK, Diane is the executive editor of Black Lawrence Press, an independent publishing company based in upstate New York. She has also edited several anthologies, the e-newsletter Sapling, and The Adirondack Review. Diane has a B.A. from Sarah Lawrence College and an M.A. from Brooklyn College.

You might also Like

Discussion Comments


I eat lots of garlic, but the truth is, I do not like the smell of someone else who eats garlic.


Stir 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda in a glass of water. Rinse your mouth with it. Follow with oil pulling.


The benefits of eating row garlic are so fantastic for your health that I do not care about the smell. I eat one row clove per day, and cooked in all my meals, even though as you know, when cooked, it loses most of its fantastic benefits.


I could never smell garlic breath. Perhaps it's because I consume a lot, or am not that sensitive to garlic smell. But I know lot of people who have bad breath. More men than women, I think.

I think I will take garlic breath any day over bad breath. Well, I know it helps to fight infections naturally so all the more reason for me to use it. The cold has kept me awake all night and hence the posting on this blog this late.


If you don't mind garlic breath, you've never smelled the kind of breath my husband gets. It's like he's breathing fumes; there's an alcohol kick to it. The worst thing is that it continues into the following day.


Eating fennel seeds may help.


Making out with someone who just ate raw garlic is so hot!


I also have a problem with not being able to get rid of the taste of raw garlic and raw onion. I don't have a problem with cooked garlic and cooked onion - at least not as far as I know. I think I have a worse problem than others because I don't know anyone who has this problem. I can brush and floss and brush again and scrape my tongue and use a neti pot (just to be sure to clean out the back of my throat) and a few minutes later the awful taste is back.

I love garlic and onion in food and occasionally like both raw. It's disheartening so many people are going on and on about cooked garlic reeking, but in my opinion, it does not leave an unpleasant taste or smell. It just smells like whatever one ate and goes away after brushing. Anyway it's not than big a deal with most people.

And I'm not talking about someone munching on a whole clove of garlic and breathing in someone's face. And I certainly do find the "sausage smell" (what garlic seems to remind me on on someone's breath and skin), coming out of people's pores unpleasant, especially when someone is not very clean. But one has to eat an awful lot of garlic -- usually repeatedly and usually raw -- for it to really leach out of their pores in the way some people go on about it.

So, I just can't understand people's high sensitivity to a mild smell after eating even slightly garlicky food.

I have conservative business friends who also love garlic, yet won't touch it, and to be honest I eat very little garlic now, and never if I will be seeing anyone I don't know well.


I love garlic, but I consider others when I consume it. A little is OK, but if you will be with people the next day or two, a lot is both rude and a bad idea. It does not just take the form of garlic breath; it is seeping from your pores and lungs (as noted earlier) and forming a cloud around you.

I can smell a garlic eater from across the room (they don't have to be sweating for me to smell them). Simple: moderation is the key if you don't want to be a jerk.


I love the taste of garlic, and I love the smell of it. I just hate people complaining about me stinking.


I love garlic and eat it often because of all the benefits everyone here has been talking about. But I work in a high fashion retail concession and my manager always smells it on me whenever I've had it the night before. So now I guess I'll have to eat it when I know I'll have off two days in a row.

It's such a shame that I can't even enjoy a food I so thoroughly enjoy because of stupid work. I hate depriving myself of such a miracle food and yet now I have to because she can smell it on me the next day. oh well. guess when I retire I don't have to care if I smell like an Italian restaurant!


I just read in a magazine that drinking milk (preferably whole milk) after eating garlic will eliminate bad breath.

I intend on trying this out as soon as possible. Will check back in to let you all know if it really worked!


Swish mustard around in your mouth, then swallow a teaspoon of mustard. This will get rid of the smell both in your mouth, and down deep in your stomach! Good luck!


i ate five cloves of raw garlic last night and have brushed my teeth several times since but my breath is still like a bio hazard. my girlfriend hates garlic and i have a date tonight with her. if garlic breath is impossible to cure can anyone suggest anything that might mask the smell, like mustard or ginger? anything? I really need help with this one.


I try to eat it if I'm not planning to go out or work in the next few days and family. Well, like one of the people above I add it to the evening meal, or even if friends come over then we all smell the same, and ultimately neither of us smell the garlic breath.


I love garlic breath! Seriously it's not that bad.


Just polished off hummus made two days ago with mucho garlic and my cat won't come near me. I will make dinner with lots of garlic so when the family comes home they won't be able to tell if it's me or dinner.


I love garlic because it is healthy. I use garlic for cooking everyday and almost every meal. My hubby told me to slow down with it because of the breath it causes. Oh well. So fried, crushed, minced and fresh garlic can always be seen in my cupboard.


Garlic is a very important ingredient in Middle- eastern and Asian cuisine.When it comes to taste and flavor there is no substitute for garlic. Taste apart, garlic has beneficial medicinal properties, which have been listed in the previous comments. The after effects of eating garlic are so offensive, only a person who has been at the receiving end can know.

Anyone who claims to like garlic breath needs to have his head examined. The only way to avoid garlic breath is to avoid eating it. Once you have eaten garlic, there is no way you can mask the foul odor. It takes its own sweet time to wear off. Chewing gum or mint or coriander leaves does not help because the foul odor is coming from your lungs with your every breath. So brushing and flossing does zilch.


Garlic is tasty and good for you, but all things in moderation.

It's a matter of courtesy and respect towards your fellow men. If you talk to people with something reeking out of your mouth, you are hardly considering how they might feel about it. It's offensive.


90 percent of these posts are great. I wish it would be acceptable in society, but since it isn't I hide the garlic lick beside my bed when I have new company over.


Try swallowing your garlic: you don't get garlic breathe that way. As for the smell seeping through your skin, try not to get sweaty. I assure you that is one good way to prevent garlic breath. Really we can't compromise our health just because it is kind of embarrassing.


i eat garlic when I'm on the pull. it makes me stand out. garlic rules guys. it's like a superfood.

Although my breath is stinking, my heart is healthy. Also bodybuilders take four whole garlic cloves in shakes like myself as it increases white blood cell count, increases blood flow as it thins the blood.

It is also a parasite killer and the list goes on so eat it!


I like the general trend here to accept and even embrace garlic breath. That might be because I've had it for a couple of days now.

Three days ago I made a big batch of pesto and had it with penne for breakfast. It was delicious and I want it again but the earlier garlic breath is just now beginning to fade -- or is it?

I heard if you chew roasted coffee beans, it will dramatically reduce the problem. Can't seem to get my head around that.


Garlic has a tendency to hurt my stomach and when i have garlic breath, it gives me a headache and makes me want to puke! Why did i eat that salsa?


Great article! I love garlic too. I do not mind the garlic breath though. --Mary-Anne


I hate garlic. can't stand the smell or taste of it! Yuck!


I've never had an issue with garlic breath either on myself or somebody else. I consider it a natural smell. I don't find it offensive, like when your breath stinks because of bad hygiene. I've never been able to understand what the big deal is. You smell like what you ate, so?


Not so good when you are visiting the dentist.


i agree. i don't think it is a bad things. garlic breath is like other things you may think it isn't good and we should change to accept it. above all it is good for our health.


I have a cold, so I thought maybe I should eat some garlic. What a mistake!


I just ate a whole head of garlic. My mouth stinks so bad! Eww!


I love garlic parmesan wings from Wingstop, just can't be around anbody after eating a 20 piece. Best way to get rid of garlic breath is to eat an onion.


yeah. I love garlic a lot, when I see them I cannot avoid eating them. the worst thing is that I am going out with my girlfriend tomorrow and I don't know what to do with this bad smell?


I eat about five raw garlic cloves at once every month. I get serious garlic breath and the only thing I do is chew gum when I'm around people other than friends and family. The real problem is the people without garlic breath!


eating the round head off several cloves (the spice clove) will seriously reduce garlic breath.


I love garlic, I just hate it the next day and your month feels so rough. I don't mind the smell but I would like to get rid of the hangover feeling in my mouth. and oh yes I ate loads of garlic last night!


LMAO at the post above mine, man like its when his fiance has garlic breath..LOL


I actually LIKE garlic breath. is that weird? When my fiance has garlic breath, I kind of like it...I don't know.


"Doggy-do" or garlic breath? One is fecal matter; the other is the after-effect of eating something which most people consider either a health benefit and/or a food enhancer. Yes, garlic does not have a pleasant smell, but it sure beats "doggy-do"!


Ha! Very good. I adore garlic too but unfortunately there's no getting away from the fact that it is pretty horrible for those who receive it 'second hand'

A bad smell is a bad smell, you might just as well say let's change the perception that 'doggy-do' has a bad odor....


I agree! Both garlic and onion are so tasty, and I like the way my mouth tastes after eating both. (like after eating a donair with garlic paste & onions) Let's start a revolution!!!


hey, what's so bad about garlic breath? you like garlic, i like garlic, what's the big brouhaha about it? i think we need to change society's perception of garlic breath and make it a good thing! same goes for onion breath! ;-)

Post your comments
Forgot password?