rubbed directly on all exposed skin surfaces while hands are held under cool running water for about 30 seconds will truly take the smell of onions and/or garlic off, if done soon after the exposure. I use this method all the time.
I don’t understand how it works and would love to have an explanation. Despite an extensive web search I can only come up with “The stainless steel reacts with the smelly organic compounds that make garlic and onion so aromatic and the reaction neutralizes the smell completely.” This is a sad excuse for an explanation and I hope someone else will fill in the blanks on the mechanism.
Kitchen stores sell stainless steel in little bars (like a hotel soap) or in flattened egg shapes. I purchased one of these before I understood that all stainless steel does the same job. There is nothing that these special purchases can do that the back of a stainless steel spoon can’t do.
Another method that works is a lemon juice and salt scrub. I freeze lemon carcasses after using the juice for later use in hand scrubbing. Make a soapy lather, sprinkle on some salt and rub all stinky skin surfaces with the lemon remains. With this method there is the extra advantage of lemon carcass going through the garbage disposal, which adds a lovely lemon smell to the kitchen and cleans the disposal.