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Posted by on Dec 29, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

Why Do Onions Make Our Eyes Water?

Why Do Onions Make Our Eyes Water?

Onions contain mildly stimulating oil. This oil readily forms a vapor (gas), which escapes into the air when the onion is cut or peeled. The oil not only gives the onion its strong taste and odor, but it also irritates sensitive nerves connected with the eyes and nose.

The eyes react by blinking and producing a rapid flow of tears to wash away the irritating vapor given off by the onion. The same thing happens when smoke or smog gets into our eyes. The eye automatically blinks and tears begin to flow to wash the eye and protect it against the irritant.

How can we prevent this reaction?

.Use a sharp knife to cut the onion to reduce the amount of damage to the onion cells.
.Cool the onion in a refrigerator to suppress the scattering of the lachrymator.
.Soak the onion in water to dissolve the amino acids, cutting onions in half or quarters before soaking them is even more effective.
.Wear swimming goggles or ski goggles while cutting the onion.
.Use a ventilator or fan to blow the allyl sulfide away.

Content for this question contributed by Donna Bargetto, resident of Soquel, Santa Cruz County, California, USA