Did You Know | Why Cutting Onions Make Us Cry

2 min


Why Cutting Onions Make Us Cry

You will come across many people in your life, who are expert at cooking and for such people, cooking is their passion. Interestingly, if you ask such people about what is the thing about cooking that you like least, most of them would answer ‘Cutting Onions’.

As we all know, cutting onions is not just time consuming and involves lot of efforts, there is something more about it that actually makes the process difficult. Yes, the difficult part about cutting onions is not the time and effort; rather it is the irritation that is caused in the eyes which eventually leads to tears.

Let us understand that why cutting onions leads to tears. When an onion is cut, a chemical named ‘propanethial s-oxide’ is released into air. This chemical is so volatile that it disperses into air rapidly and soon reaches the eyes of the person who is cutting the onion. On reaching the eyes, ‘propanethial s-oxide’ reacts with the moisture which is present on the surface of the eyes and forms ‘sulfenic acid’.

The sulphenic acid, by its nature, irritates the lacrimal gland (also known as the tear gland) in the human eye and as a response mechanism, tears are formed. Now, one would wonder that isn’t the presence of acid in eyes dangerous? The answer is yes, of course the presence of sulfenic acid in eyes is dangerous, but the quantity formed is so miniscule that at the max, the damage it can cause is to irritate the tear glands.

As soon as tears form in the eyes, it dilutes the sulfenic acid, thereby reducing its ability to cause irritation and gradually acid is flushed out of the eyes area. If you think that cutting onions is your No.1 problem while cooking, you can try out several hacks which range from wearing tight glasses to burning a candle besides chopping board.

We hope, you found this article informative.

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Team HopyTapy

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