Onion Goggles Do Work

June 14, 2012 33 Comments

Onion Goggles

Stop Your Crying

I received this pair of onion goggles for Christmas or my birthday last year and thought they were just one of those gadgets that home cooks had to have but didn’t need but I was so wrong. They work and work very well.

Many of you may remember seeing onion goggles being used as a prop on a Modern Family episode where Phil says to Jay, “No more tears when I cook.”

Yes, they do look a little silly, especially on me and that’s why I asked my oldest daughter to model them for me but I use them all the time now whenever I’m chopping onions or shallots.  I only wish they sold them with prescription reading glass lenses.


What Makes You Cry When Cutting Onions?

I did a little research on the Internet and came away more confused than when I started. Amino acid sulfoxides, propanethiol S-oxide, sulfuric acid, highly volatile, allinase enzymes, lachrymal glands and so on.  For the most scientific explanation I could find, check out Mental_Floss “where knowledge junkies get their fix.”

Basically, when you cut into an onion, cells are ruptured and release a form of sulfur enzyme that wafts toward your eyes. The compounds released are very volatile (quickly enter the air) and get to your eyes fast. Your eyes react to the sulfur gasses and start producing tears to wash away the irritant.  That’s it in a very simplistic form but I think you get the picture.

How to Keep From Crying

I’ve learned that to avoid tearing up, you can cut the onion under running water, chill the onion in the refrigerator or freezer first, have a fan standing by to blow the chemicals away from you or get this, “cut fast.”
There are also “tear free” onions being developed but I have never seen them in my supermarket nor do I have any idea how they taste. For all I know, they may taste like carrots.

And then there are goggles. My daughter suggested using swim goggles and I’m sure they would work fine. May be a little uncomfortable if you are cutting a lot of onions but for a few minutes work, why not have a pair standing by in the kitchen drawer?

For those wanting to make a fashion statement, I suggest you try these attractive onion goggles available at Amazon. They are somewhat comfortable because of the foam seal that protects your eyes from the irritation vapors.  They have anti-fog lenses offering maximum clarity and all members of the family can use them although they may not be a perfect fit for everyone.

There is one review I saw that said exactly what I thought,

OK, they look ridiculous and my spouse just shakes her head in dismay when I put them on, BUT THEY WORK. I used to have to cut onions in shifts in between bouts of crying. Now it is slice and dice time with nary a sniffle. If you don’t mind being the butt of jokes for your friends, grab one.

 onlinesources: Onion Goggles

There are lots of sources for purchasing quality Kitchen Gadgets and Housewares including whisks, spoons, measuring devices and all the fun gadgets we home cooks have come to love.  I suggest you check out your local department stores and kitchen supply shops but if you’re looking for a wide selection of products and prices, you may want to check out Amazon.com where I buy many of my favorite pieces of cookware.


Last modified on Sat 4 February 2017 4:01 pm

Filed in: Tools & Gadgets

Comments (33)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Peter Hertzmann says:

    Hi Gary,

    I need to point you to one of my videos. Look at Chapter Two of “Don’t Cry for Me, Mr. Onion” on my site. There info there on the whole tears stuff and how to mitigate the issue, including onion goggles. Peter

  2. chris says:

    even with onion goggles your daughter looks a cuuuutttiiieee, just had to say.
    Excellent pages too!

    Thanks Chris, I’ll tell her. She didn’t like that I posted that photo. – RG

  3. Robin Bailey says:

    Ensuring your knives are razor sharp minimises cell rupture and works for me. Imagine cutting a tomato with a blunt knife, well you would get juice all over the place, the same applies to the onion and trying to minimse acid squirting all over the place.

  4. geoffrey oti says:

    use a chopping machine instead, goggle will one day drop down.

  5. Yong Lin says:

    I tie a long rectangular saran wrap around my eye area all the way to the back of of my head like a sleeping mask. It’s cheap and works wonders.

  6. Kansas says:

    Yong Lin! You put saran wrap on your face! Effective and funny

  7. sherry says:

    what do you do if you wear glasses?

    Great question Sherry. I guess you look for work a rounds. Let’s see, you could:
    Try chopping your onion without your glasses but that could be dangerous.
    Wear you glasses over the goggles but that would look really weird.
    Buy safety glasses like you see on construction sites and see if they work over you glasses.
    Wear contact lens but that could be expensive.
    Try one of the other techniques for reducing tears such as putting the onion in the freezer for a few minutes.

  8. dave says:

    these look just like goggles for riding motorcycles. they are sealed to the face as well to prevent wind from irritating the eye. most motorcycle goggles have a prescription lens option(small form in the box you have your eye doctor fill out, then mail in).

  9. Shaun says:

    All the sulphur compounds are contained in the root of the onion – cut a cone off of the root end of the onion and throw it away before chopping, you won’t need glasses! 🙂

  10. Linda Ennes says:

    I know a way to stop tears when cutting onions. Turn your kitchen facet on and bring your eyes close to the running water. Works every time!

  11. Carolyn says:

    When cutting onions, light a scented candle next to your cutting board. Light the candle while you are cutting the onion and you won’t have any tears.

  12. Diane Amelio says:

    If you breathe thru your mouth the whole time you will not shed a tear

  13. Az.bbm says:

    Try this:

    Switch your range exhaust hood to ‘High’ and put your cutting board under it.

    Quick & easy, no tears ever. Be sure the range is cool, first. 😉

    Like the sound of this one. Will give it a try. – RG

  14. Mark says:

    I tried goggles. They didn’t work. I believe because the fumes enter through the sinus cavity. I’ve been able to mitigate some of the effect by breathing through my mouth rather then my nose.

  15. Mark says:

    The best way to avoid tears is to use a food processor. Come on guys. It’s the 21st century. What are we doing, still using such an archaic device like a kitchen knife to chop, lol!

  16. NavyMan says:

    My son’s science experiement was this subject exactly. It’s all chemistry. Keep the vapors from reaching your eyes. Your eyes react, tears and vapors mix to make mild sulfuric acid – and more burn begins. Key? Keep vapors from your eyes.

  17. Marius says:

    Wrap your head in clingfilm about twice, make a hole to breath through where your mouth is …. this is ofcourse if you dont have swim goggles! 😉

  18. Paul S says:

    FYI These appear to be inexpensive versions of tactical goggles popular with gun users and military folk. As for your desire for prescription versions check out http://www.wileyx.com who makes such gasketed tactical goggles which can have prescription lenses made for them.

  19. kelli says:

    Good idea the googles. I also find that is works to run steamy hot water in the area you are cutting the onion and try not to breathe threw your nose to much. 🙂

  20. gabriel says:

    Hi guys, here’s the grandma’s solution: keep a slice of bread ( not the French baguette…) in between your teeth and breath through your mouth and the slice of bread . Looks funny but it works , I did it hundred of times….

  21. vali says:

    easiest way

    peel the top layers, then cut the onion in 2 and pput in cold watter for 5 minutes. you will not cry any more

  22. Linda says:

    Always cut the root part of the onion very last and you have very few tears. Start at the ‘top’ of the onion.

  23. Ann says:

    I find when I wear my contact lenses I cry very little, if at all, but if I wear my glasses I cry all over the place. I agree with the comment that keeping the knives sharp reduces the tear quotient. If you hear a “thud” rather than a “knock” when the blade hits the cutting board it’s too dull.

  24. sue martin says:

    i have been storing my onions in the refrigerator for 20 years now never do i cry when cutting onions thats my trick and it does work never mind silly goggles

  25. Carlene says:


    Chewing gum while cutting onions always works.

  26. Mike from nigeria says:

    Wow so many funny replies. Av been laughing so hard at most of them (pardon my humour). Well, to avoid tears while slicing your onions is easy. I made this discovery not too long ago when i moved into a new flat recently. The discovery? CUT YOUR ONIONS OUTSIDE or by your window or anywhere close to the open! Simple. Try it and thank me latter. K?

  27. mk says:

    Two methods, which both work: 1) Partially freeze your onions before you cut them. Cutting/chopping becomes easier, and no tears at all. 2) Hold a stainless steel teaspoon in your mouth BEFORE you even make the first cut. It works. But the spoon has got to be in your mouth before you start handling the onions!

  28. mk says:

    Two methods, which both work: 1) Partially freeze your onions before you cut them. Cutting/chopping becomes easier, and no tears at all. 2) Hold a stainless steel teaspoon in your mouth BEFORE you even make the first cut. It works. But the spoon has got to be in your mouth before you start handling the onions!

  29. Maria says:

    I love the idea, but those Oakley Thumps look terrible! I would never wear those. I hope they aganrre a design contest for the glasses or something. ..or perhaps take those glasses apart, design your own glasses and use a 3D printer, but I would still have to figure out where to get the lens part for those custom design glasses.. hmm.

  30. shalaish says:

    just cut a piece of onion and put it on the center of your head now cut the rest of onion without fear of tears….good game of balance too….enjoy!!!

  31. Collin says:

    If you clap your hands three times, then run to the bedroom and back before you start chopping, it works like a charm. =)

    Seriously though… I never cry when I cut onions while wearing contacts. If you’re not nearsighted… sucks to be you!

  32. Lee says:

    The best way to cut onions and not shed a tear is …………….let someone cut them for you!

Leave a Reply