preventing eyes from tearing when cutting onions


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preventing eyes from tearing when cutting onions

Tears often come when chopping onions. But, worry not! There are ways to keep those eyes dry. Let’s uncover some onion-cutting tricks.

Why do our eyes get watery when we slice onions? It releases a gas called SPE. With more cutting, the gas increases, causing tears.

You can reduce this unpleasant effect. Chill the onion in the fridge before slicing. This slows down the gas release and decreases irritation.

Light a candle near the cutting station. The flame absorbs some gas before it reaches your eyes.

Wear goggles while slicing onions. This will keep your eyes tear-free and give you style in the kitchen!

Now you know how to conquer onions! So chop away with confidence. Don’t let onions conquer you; instead, conquer them with these strategies!

Why do eyes tear when cutting onions?

Onions can be really crying-inducing! Why is this? It’s a gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide. When cut or sliced, this gas is released and can reach our eyes, resulting in tears.

Let’s look at ways to prevent this uncomfortable experience:

  1. Firstly, chill the onion before cutting it – this reduces the gas production. Put it in the fridge for 30 minutes before slicing.

  2. Second, cut the onion under running water or near steam. This creates a moist environment that reduces eye irritation.

  3. Wear goggles or protective eyewear while chopping onions – this creates a barrier between the eyes and the gas.

  4. Finally, use fans or ventilation systems in the kitchen – this will disperse the gases away from you.

Understanding the science behind onion tears

Onions are infamous for making us cry, but why? It’s due to syn-propanethial-S-oxide released when we cut into them. This compound mixes with our tears to create sulfuric acid which irritates our tear glands.

The cell walls are broken when sliced, releasing alliinases which create the precursor molecules for syn-propanethial-S-oxide. This vapor travels to our eyes, stimulating a reaction which causes tears. Red onions have more of these substances, so they make us cry more. White onions have fewer, so they cause less eye irritation.

We can reduce tear formation by cutting onions under running water or chilling them first. Diluting the vapor and slowing enzyme activity helps. Wearing goggles or chopping near a fan also works. A study showed rinsing onions for 20 seconds under cold tap water can reduce syn-propanethial-S-oxide levels and tear production.

Understanding the science behind onion tears can help us minimize discomfort and enjoy cooking more.

Tips for preventing eyes from tearing when cutting onions

Cutting onions can make one’s eyes tear up and make meal prep difficult. But, there are great ways to avoid this problem! Try out these tips and you’ll be able to avoid tears and have a great time in the kitchen.

  • Put the onion in the freezer for 15 minutes before cutting.
  • Use a sharp knife when slicing.
  • Leave the root intact.
  • Cut under running water or in a ventilated area.
  • Wear safety glasses.
  • Dip onions in water before cutting.

Plus, did you know chewing gum can also help? It keeps you from breathing in irritating vapors.

Jane had always experienced teary eyes when cutting onions. She looked for ways to solve this and ended up trying to chill the onion beforehand. To her surprise, it worked! From then on, she could chop onions without tears streaming down her face.


Cutting onions can be a tearful experience. But, there are ways to prevent it:

  1. Chill the onion in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  2. Wear goggles or glasses.
  3. Cut onions underwater or near running water.
  4. Use a sharp knife to minimize cell damage.
  5. Breathe through your mouth, not your nose.
  6. Work in a well-ventilated area.
  7. New products like Onion Goggles provide complete eye protection.

The ACS found chilling an onion before cutting it reduces its tear-inducing effects.

Frequently Asked Questions

FAQs about Preventing Eyes from Tearing When Cutting Onions:

1. Why do onions make our eyes tear?

Onions release a gas called syn-propanethial-S-oxide when they are cut, which irritates our eyes. This gas reacts with the moisture in our eyes and forms sulfuric acid, leading to tears.

2. What can I do to prevent my eyes from tearing while cutting onions?

To prevent tears while cutting onions, you can try chilling the onion in the refrigerator before cutting, using a sharp knife to minimize cell damage, or cutting the onion under running water to wash away the irritant gas.

3. Does wearing contact lenses help in preventing tearing while cutting onions?

No, wearing contact lenses does not provide any significant protection against tears caused by cutting onions. The irritant gas can still reach your eyes, making them tear up.

4. Are there any natural remedies to prevent tearing when cutting onions?

Yes, there are a few natural remedies you can try. You can light a candle near your cutting area, as the flame helps to burn off the irritant gas. You can also chew gum while cutting onions, as it encourages you to breathe through your mouth, minimizing contact with the gas.

5. Does cutting onions underwater prevent tearing?

Yes, cutting onions underwater is an effective method to prevent tears. The water prevents the gas from reaching your eyes and causing irritation. However, be cautious when handling sharp objects near water.

6. Can wearing goggles or glasses help prevent tearing when cutting onions?

Yes, wearing goggles or glasses can create a barrier that prevents the irritant gas from reaching your eyes, thus reducing tears. Choose goggles or glasses that provide a good seal around your eyes for maximum effectiveness.

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