Damn Dirty Bus-Riding Hippies!
July 18, 2007 5:11 PM   Subscribe

For a friend: On the way home from work today, I touched a pole on the bus that someone's nasty oiled/lotioned hand had been on. Now my hand reeks, and it's giving me a headache!

It reeks of sandalwood or patchouli or a similar essential oil. I've washed my hands with several different soaps. I took a shower. I even did the dishes. It STILL smells. It really is giving me a headache.

What can I do to get rid of this smell so I can eat my dinner in peace?
posted by monochromaticgirl to Grab Bag (17 answers total)
Rubbing alcohol usually works. It's what they recommend to get rid of perfumes, and it will cut through oils.
posted by occhiblu at 5:15 PM on July 18, 2007

Lava soap is good for motor oil and other such things. I would imagine that it would work with a essential oil as well, if rubbing alcohol fails you(r friend).
posted by dersins at 5:20 PM on July 18, 2007

Slice a lemon open and rub it on your skin.
posted by iconomy at 5:24 PM on July 18, 2007

Stop sniffing it :) If all else fails, maybe try the 'rubbing on stainless steel' thing. It does seem to work for some odors.
posted by hungrysquirrels at 5:26 PM on July 18, 2007

Olive oil has worked for me in a similar situation. Just rub it all over your hand, rinse it off, and wash with soap.
posted by cmonkey at 5:37 PM on July 18, 2007

Do lemon AND vinegar. That oily stuff is the worst. My condolences. If you're really desperate, soak your hand in a bowl of warm water with a couple cap-fulls of bleach. It'll dry your hand out but it will also remove that smelly oil.
posted by snsranch at 5:38 PM on July 18, 2007

Try rubbing it with plain sugar, then washing. That removes garlic smell.
posted by GaelFC at 5:41 PM on July 18, 2007

Stainless steel
posted by rxrfrx at 5:51 PM on July 18, 2007

I have found minty toothpaste to be a good remedy when similar things have happened to me.
posted by not that girl at 6:03 PM on July 18, 2007

I'm assuming you've tried soap and water already. :)

I'd work up from there to rubbing alcohol, since some oils are alcohol-soluble. If that doesn't work then I'd try other oils, which would include citrus oils (lemons, Goo Gone), vegetable/cooking oils (incl olive, although I don't like that smell much on my hands either), or mineral oil. I think I'd probably try mineral oil first since it doesn't have much of a smell. Baby oil is usually just mineral oil with lanolin, so you can try that instead if it's easier to get. And then if that doesn't work, I'd work my way up to stronger solvents, like Clorox.

If this were 20 years ago I'd say go down to the hardware store and just get some MEK, but apparently that causes horrible cancer or something, and you can't buy it anymore.
posted by Kadin2048 at 6:07 PM on July 18, 2007

posted by bradbane at 6:27 PM on July 18, 2007

smash up a Hershey's bar in your hand and rub it in.
posted by Jesco at 7:20 PM on July 18, 2007

Used coffee grounds are great for getting rid of odors.
posted by oneirodynia at 7:58 PM on July 18, 2007

A dab of Vics Vaporub--under your nose.
posted by availablelight at 9:32 PM on July 18, 2007

The real question, I think, is how are you gonna get that smell out of your keyboard after running here to ask? :)
posted by rokusan at 10:00 PM on July 18, 2007

Look up the mix of vinegar and tomato juice that people use for skunk spray, and try that.
posted by davejay at 10:09 PM on July 18, 2007

Take a little bit of what everyone here has suggested, put it in a stainless steel bowl and soak your hand in it.
posted by cior at 10:13 PM on July 18, 2007

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