Why do onions make you cry when... | Almanac.com

Why do onions make you cry when...

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Why do onions make you cry when you cut them? How can you slice them without crying?
Fumes from onions trigger a reaction in your nose that starts the flow of tears, so the trick is to breathe through your mouth. Hold a slice of bread lightly between your teeth or hold a toothpick between your front teeth while chopping away. If you get weepy and still have lots of chopping to do, walk quickly to another part of the kitchen and sniff something strong — such as brandy, mustard, or perfume. Your nose will “forget” the onion fumes. Another trick is to peel and cut the onion under running water. The water will take the fumes down the drain. According to a newer theory, however, tears over onions are caused by vapors that turn to acid on contact with the eye’s surface. Only one protection works for that — a diver’s mask or safety goggles.