How to cut onions without tears?

How to cut onions without raw tears

Every time you cut onions, you feel like you’ve just been beaten up by someone, crying all your tears. Looks horrible! So why not try the following tips to reduce the amount of propanelthial sulfoxide that makes your eyes sting?

Thai onions often sting the eyes.

When you chop onions, you release a gas called propanelthial sulfoxide. If your eyes are in direct contact with this gas, a reaction will occur. Accordingly, it will produce sulfuric acid at low concentrations. It is this acid that sets up a chain of stimulation as a signal to the brain. At this time, the brain will receive the signal and control the lacrimal gland to secrete tears to fight the sulfuric acid.

When you have to do many onions at once, more tears come out. It is a very natural mechanism to protect the eyes. If you want to fix it, you just need to use methods that limit propanelthial sulfoxide.

First of all, you must have a very sharp knife

Because propanelthial sulfoxide is actually a gaseous solvent, if you cut it with a knife, it will make this solvent even more secreted. Therefore, you need a very sharp knife, maybe a stainless steel knife to cut onions.

Using water reduces propanelthial sulfoxide

Water will cause the sulfuric acid to dissolve before it comes into contact with the eyes.

You just need to put a bowl of water close to the place where the onion is cut and continuously dip the knife in the water during the cutting process. This way, the water will cause the sulfuric acid to dissolve before it comes into contact with your eyes, and your eyes will be much less stinging.

Chilled onions

If refrigerated, onion cell structures are less responsive to the eye. Therefore, leaving the onion chilled about 15 to 20 minutes before cutting will help keep the eyes from burning.

Rub the potato on the knife surface

Alternatively, you can use a few slices of potato to rub on the surface of the knife before slicing the onion to avoid burning eyes. You can also use this method if you cut chili peppers.

Use a candle

You can light a candle near the place where the onion is chopped to reduce the stinging of your eyes.

Heat can limit the action of sulfur in onions when chopped. Therefore, you can light a candle near the onion cutting place to reduce the stinging eyes.

Chew continuously

When you chew gum or any food continuously, you will reflexively breathe through your mouth. Thanks to that, the tiny droplets from onions that want to come into contact with the eyes will also be reduced.

Cut back onion root (or front)

Don’t cut the stem first until you’re almost done, this will save your eyes from stinging as the sulfur is more concentrated in this part. Or else, you can pre-cut the base of the onion in the water to comfortably cut the rest all the way through.

Onion rotation

You should avoid letting the peeled onion come into contact with your eyes. Always keep the cut side down on the cutting board. If you have finished cutting apart, you should set it aside to avoid burning eyes.

Let the fan blow in the same direction as the sitting direction

Blow away pungent gases in the opposite direction of your eyes and make them less stinging.

This can blow away the stinging gases in the opposite direction of your eyes and make them less painful.

Suck on sweets

Many people believe that if you breathe through your mouth, your eyes will be less susceptible to irritation. As a result, you will experience less eye irritation.

Apply vinegar to the onion cutting board

Vinegar has the effect of stopping the sulfur reaction. You can apply a layer of vinegar to the cutting board before cutting if you don’t want tears. Note, if a lot of vinegar, part of the onion may be cooked.

Cut onions and use gradually

If you have to use too much for cooking, you can cut onions at a time and put them in the refrigerator to use as needed. That way, you will both save time and not have to shed more tears.

Wear glasses that cover your eyes

Use protective glasses when cutting onions.

It’s easy to avoid burning eyes if you try to cover your eyes with protective eyewear as long as the glasses cover enough to cover the eyes. It looks “serious” but safety comes first, right?

Using a blender

Even simpler, you just need to put all the onions in a blender and grind them as small as you want. If you don’t want to shock the onion, you should leave it “on the scene” for a while to let the gas settle down and open the lid.

Finally, to get rid of the onion smell on your hands, you can use a few green tea leaves to rub on the palms and backs of your hands or rub your hands with a little salt, lemon juice or a stainless steel spoon before washing your hands with water and soap.

Abbas Jahangir

I am a researcher and writer with a background in food and nutritional science. I am the founder of, our reputable online platform offering scientifically-backed articles on health, food, nutrition, kitchen tips, recipes, diet, and fitness. With a commitment to providing accurate and reliable information, we strive to empower our readers to make informed decisions about their health and lifestyle choices. Join us on's journey toward a healthier and happier lifestyle.

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