Party Shirt is a duo featuring the creatives Ivy and X. The pair tests out TikTok hacks to see if they work and in February, Party Shirt went viral when they discovered a helpful hack was actually real.
The revelation happened when one TikToker, Bailey Elizabeth, presented a super common issue: onion-induced crying.
“Here I am, 20 years old, crying because I’m chopping onions and making lentil soup,” Bailey said.
That’s when the user, @cerealeatingghost, dueted Bailey’s video with some helpful advice.
“Let share my onion wisdom, so you don’t have to cry anymore,” she said. “The acid that’s in onions, it’s attracted to a water source so your tear ducts are usually the first place. All you have to do is get a damp paper towel, fold it up, keep it on your cutting board. That acid will be drawn to the wet paper towel and not your tears.”
Party Shirt tried out the damp towel method and it was a success. The duo chopped red onions on top of a wet paper towel.
“We’ve been cutting for hours. Not a single tear in these guys,” they said. “The life hack of the century.”
The hack test earned Party Shirt 13.9 million views with many people enthused to try the method. Other’s pointed out that red onions don’t have less acid and usually don’t make you cry. But that doesn’t make @cerealeatingghost’s explanation less valid.
When you chop an onion you split its cells, releasing its liquid contents, which causes its sulfur-rich amino acids to combine with its enzymes. Together they form the volatile chemical syn-propanethial-S-oxide, which quickly vaporizes and is attracted by water.
“When propanethial-S-oxide comes into contact with the surface of the eye, it reacts with water to create an acid that stimulates a nervous response, triggering tears to wash the irritant away,” according to the Royal Society of Chemistry.
Not all onions have the same chemical makeup so not all of them irritate our eyes the same. According to Encyclopedia Brittanica, cutting onions while they’re frozen is the most effective method because it prevents the sulfurs and enzymes from spilling out and mixing together.
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