Do Cut-Up Onions Prevent the Spread of Germs?

Will dishes of cut-up onions absorb household germs and keep you from getting sick? Nutrition Diva has the surprising answer.

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS
1-minute read

Do Cut-Up Onions Prevent the Spread of Germs?


There’s a ridiculous myth making the internet rounds lately, claiming that placing dishes of cut-up onions around your house will absorb germs and keep you from getting sick (or speed your recovery). Judging from the number of questions I’ve gotten from readers and listeners lately, it would appear that bad information is even more viral than the flu.

We all know that it’s good manners to cover our mouths when we cough or sneeze, to avoid spreading germs.  I think it’s time we extended our notion of good hygiene to include the information we pass around so freely. 

Before you forward an email or re-post something on your Facebook page, why not take a moment to evaluate its veracity? Snopes.com is an excellent resource for fact-checking email and internet rumors.

Thankfully, you've come to the right place to get the facts straight because our very own Ask Science has done a wonderful episode about The Mighty Onion which dispels myths about onions' supposed antibacterial superpowers. Make sure to check it out to get the facts.

If more people covered their mouths when they coughed, flu season would be less virulent. And if more people checked the facts before forwarding the latest internet myth, we'd all be a lot less panicked!

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Onions photo from Shutterstock

About the Author

Monica Reinagel, MS, LD/N, CNS

Monica Reinagel is a board-certified licensed nutritionist, author, and the creator of one of iTunes' most highly ranked health and fitness podcasts. Her advice is regularly featured on the TODAY show, Dr. Oz, NPR, and in the nation's leading newspapers, magazines, and websites. Do you have a nutrition question? Call the Nutrition Diva listener line at 443-961-6206. Your question could be featured on the show.