This genius damp kitchen roll hack could stop you crying while chopping onions

Could this clever kitchen roll hack stop the tears while chopping onions? (Getty Images)
Could this clever kitchen roll hack stop the tears while chopping onions? (Getty Images) (Getty)

Onions are a staple for many a classic recipe, which is why it's so frustrating that chopping them leaves us crying our eyes out every darn time.

Thankfully, one woman has come up with a simple yet genius solution to banish the tears while cutting up the humble vegetable.

Though it isn't necessarily a new trick, @cerealeatingghost recently shared her clever method for ensuring she doesn't cry while chopping onions and it is getting plenty of love on TikTok.

In her explanatory video, the user explains that if you simply place a damp piece of kitchen roll on the chopping board, the acid in the onion will be drawn to the wet paper towel instead of your eyes.

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Since @cerealeatingghost posted the simple hack, people have been sharing their gratitude for helping prevent them getting red-rimmed eyes every time they chop an onion.

"Learning this after 10 years cutting onions with my swimming goggles on," one TikTok user wrote.

"This actually worked," commented another. "Thank you from the bottom of my soul".

"The heroine we all needed. Give this sister a Nobel," agreed another.

So what do the experts say about this seemingly too-good-to-be-true onion-chopping hack?

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Why does chopping onions make us cry?

“If you’ve ever wondered how cutting an onion makes your eyes stream so quickly, it’s because there’s a powerful chemical reaction going on," explains Dr Lorenzo Motta, consultant eye surgeon atOphthalmic Consultants of London.

“Onions naturally contain sulphur, and when you slice into them, enzymes in the onion’s flesh react with this sulphur to produce sulphuric acid.

“This acid is volatile, meaning it can easily vaporise and find its way into your eyes.

“Your eyes respond to the acid by producing tears, in what’s widely assumed to be your body’s effort to water down the acid."

Dr Motta says the kitchen roll hack works on a similar principle because the paper is wet, it absorbs and waters down the acid.

In effect the wet paper towel method works because the sulphuric acid is drawn to the water in the paper towel around the onion, meaning your eyes could be exposed to less of the compound and will hopefully therefore cry less.

Anecdotally, Dr Motta says his mother taught him that water is the key to keeping the tears at bay.

“She swore by cutting onions in the sink, with the tap running over the onion to absorb the acid," he explains.

"Alternatively you could try cutting the onion in a bowl of water, though this can be fiddly.

“I’ve also heard of people cutting their onions on the hob under the extractor fan, with the idea being that the extractor fan sucks the acid vapour out of the kitchen before it can get in your eyes."

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It is the acid in onions that makes us cry while chopping them. (Getty Images)
It is the acid in onions that makes us cry while chopping them. (Getty Images) (Getty)

Meanwhile Sharon Copeland, Contacts Lens Optician at Feel Good Contacts says there are some other suggestions that supposedly help you cry less while chopping an onion.

"Onions contain amino acids called sulfoxides, and when you cut into them, you damage the skin," a spokesperson explains.

"This skin damage converts the sulfoxides into a chemical. The onion releases it into air and it then wafts into your eyes. Your eyes respond by stinging and producing tears to wash the chemical away.

Copeland says the most effective tricks are those that slow the creation of the stinging gases, like freezing the onion for 30 minutes.

Additionally you can protect your eyes so that the gases never get to them.

"If you wear contact lenses, keep them in when chopping onions," she explains. "The lenses protect your eyes from the gases.

"Goggles that keep air from getting to your eyes will also help."

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