Chopping an onion? Tears come to your eyes, a common frustration. But, no need to fear – there are natural ways to reduce or even stop the irritation.
- Chill the onion before cutting it. Put it in the fridge or freezer a few minutes before slicing. This slows down or deactivates the volatile compounds causing eye discomfort.
- Light a candle close by. The flame helps neutralize the irritants, creating a “shield” around you.
- Apply vinegar to your board. Soak a paper towel in vinegar and wipe down the board. Acetic acid counteracts the onion’s irritants.
- Wear goggles. They act as a physical barrier, so the irritants don’t reach your eyes. It may seem strange, but once you experience onion-prep without tears, you’ll be grateful.
The causes of onion eye irritation
Onion eye irritation can be caused by a range of elements. When onions are cut or chopped, volatile compounds are released, which can move easily to our eyes and irritate the sensitive membranes, making tears form. Also, the sulfuric acid present in onions can worsen the eyes and cause uneasiness.
The force of the irritation may differ dependent on the individual’s susceptibleness and the amount of exposure to the onion fumes. To decrease onion eye irritation, it’s necessary to understand the sources and explore effective preventive measures.
These sources include:
- Volatile compounds from onions, such as syn-propanethial-S-oxide, which evaporate quickly and form a potent gas that affects the eyes.
- The sulfuric acid in onions, which when in contact with moisture can cause reactions in the eyes.
- The close proximity between onions being cut or chopped and our eyes.
- The varying sensitivity levels of individuals.
- Longer exposure or working with large amounts of onions.
Though one may think peeling onions under running water can help lessen eye irritation, this provides only minor relief due to water’s limited ability to dissolve or dilute the volatile compounds. Wearing protective eyewear is a better way to protect your eyes, and may stop or reduce irritation significantly.
I remember a friend’s story about onion eye irritation. She was a chef preparing dinner for a special occasion, and got tears due to the onion. With little time left, she found swim goggles by the kitchen sink and used them as a shield for her eyes. This smart solution not only protected her eyes from the volatile onion fumes, but also made her guests laugh.
So, comprehending the causes of onion eye irritation gives you the power to take proactive measures to reduce distress. Whether it’s using protective eyewear or inventing imaginative solutions like my friend did, there are natural ways to combat this pungent problem.
Common remedies for reducing onion eye irritation
Cutting onions can be a teary affair.
But there are ways you can reduce the eye irritation. Use a sharp knife; it causes less damage to onion cells. Cut onions near a running faucet; the water helps wash away the irritants. Chill the onions before cutting; it slows down the release of volatile compounds. Light a candle nearby; it burns off sulfur compounds. Wear protective eyewear; it creates a barrier. Also, breathe through your mouth instead of your nose.
Everyone’s sensitivities to onions differ though. So experiment with these methods to find what works best for you.
Ancient Egyptians also had their own remedies. Cleopatra surrounded herself with rosemary branches while cooking, to reduce her tears. Natural solutions have been around for centuries!
Natural remedies for soothing onion eye irritation
To ease onion-induced eye irritation, try these natural methods:
- Rinse with cold water – splash your face as soon as tears start forming. This will help wash away the irritants and cool down the area.
- Apply a cold compress – grab a clean cloth or towel, moisten it with cold water, and gently place it over closed eyes. Cold temperature can constrict blood vessels, reducing inflammation and soothing the stinging.
- Use cucumber slices – cut thick slices of cucumber, chill them in the fridge, and place on closed eyelids for instant relief. Cucumbers have natural anti-inflammatory properties.
- Try holding a wet green tea bag against eyes. The tannins in green tea can reduce puffiness and ease discomfort.
- Handle onions carefully to minimize eye irritation. Chop near a lit candle or running water to disperse irritating compounds.
- Cut off both ends of an onion before peeling it. This limits the release of volatile compounds responsible for tears.
- There are a few natural remedies to reduce onion eye irritation.
- Cut the onion under running water – this washes away the irritants.
- Refrigerate the onion before cutting – cold temps slow down irritant release.
- Use a sharp knife – this minimizes damage to the onion’s cells and lessens irritants.
- Wear goggles or put a slice of bread in your mouth while slicing onions – this prevents tears.
Pro Tip: If you often cook with onions, it’s worth investing in onion goggles for long-term eye protection.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Why do onions make our eyes tear up?
Onions contain a chemical called syn-propanethial-S-oxide, which stimulates our eyes’ tear glands when it evaporates, leading to eye irritation and tearing.
2. How can I reduce onion eye irritation?
There are several natural ways to minimize onion eye irritation: 1) Use a sharp knife to reduce onion damage and release fewer irritant compounds. 2) Chill onions in the refrigerator before chopping; this slows down the release of irritants. 3) Cut the onion near a running water source to rinse away the irritants.
3. Does cutting onions under water help?
Yes, cutting onions under running water or in a bowl of cold water can help reduce eye irritation. The water absorbs the irritant compounds released from the onion, minimizing their contact with your eyes.
4. Can wearing goggles prevent onion eye irritation?
Yes, wearing goggles or any form of eye protection can create a barrier between the onion’s irritants and your eyes, significantly reducing eye irritation while chopping onions.
5. Does refrigerating onions before chopping help?
Absolutely! Refrigerating onions for about 30 minutes before chopping slows down the enzymes that promote the production of irritant chemicals. This can significantly reduce eye irritation while cutting onions.
6. How effective are onion goggles at preventing eye irritation?
Onion goggles are specifically designed to protect your eyes from onion vapors, resulting in little to no eye irritation. They create a seal around your eyes, preventing the irritants from reaching them.