Can you get sick from eating old onions?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “Can you get sick from eating old onions?” with an in-depth analysis of how to store onions. Moreover, we are going to discuss the shelf life of onions and onion tears.

Can you get sick from eating old onions?

Yes, you can get sick from eating old onions. Cut onions can attract a lot of bacteria when these are uncovered. So these are more likely to be spoiled and if you consume these onions then you can get sick.

Can old onions cause food poisoning?

Yes, old onions can cause food poisoning. If you consume a large number of old onions that have harmful bacteria on them, you can even get food poisoning with symptoms like diarrhea, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain. So, it’s better to discard them to save yourself from health issues.

How long do onions last?

The onions can last for 2 to 3 months if you store them properly. If you don’t check them often or soft spots or visible signs of spoilage, then these can last for 2 to 3 weeks.

One spoiled onion can also spoil the other onions a bunch. So if you find one spoiled onion then remove it from the bunch to keep other onions safe.

For how long do cut onions last?

Cut onions last for 1 week if these are stored in an airtight container in a fridge. You should use these onions as soon as possible to maintain quality and freshness, but if they are not slimy to touch or have a bad smell, they are fine to eat.

For how long do green onions last in a fridge?

Fresh green onions should be kept in the freezer. In the freezer, these can last for  1 to 2 weeks. To keep them safe from drying out, put them into a plastic bag that should have air in it.

For how long do cooked onions last?

Cooked onions can last for 2 to 3 days if kept in the fridge in an airtight container.

How to know if your onion got old?

  • Your onions should always have crisp and dry outer skins, and the flesh should feel firm when squeezed. The flesh should be moist, not dried out in any way.
  •  If there is any discoloration, powdery green mold, or any green growth on the top then it means your onion is old and you should not use it now.
  • If there is a small amount of silver-green powdery mold present on the onion you can remove that part and the remaining onion is safe to use.
  •  A spoiled onion has a different smell like rotting compost. If the onion smells of anything other than that zingy onion smell then it should be discarded.

What are the identifications of spoiled onions?

  • Mold or discoloration of the skin
  • Wet skin or dry out the flesh
  • Soft flesh
  • Green growth on the top of the onion
  • Weird compost-like smell

These identifiers will indicate that the onion has expired or will expire soon.

Why do onions cause tears in the eyes?

Onions have a defensive mechanism that is designed to protect from hungry animals. When their skin is broken they spew enzymes and sulfenic acid. These compounds combine to produce propanediol S-oxide, which is an irritating gas.

Propanethial S-oxide is a lachrymatory agent, which means that it generates tears when it comes in contact with the eye. Propanethial S-oxide turns into sulfuric acid when it contacts the water layer that covers and protects your eyeballs.

If you’re more sensitive or allergic to onions  your reaction may be more severe or include the following symptoms:

  • hives
  • itching
  • tingling

What are some home remedies for onion tears?

 Here are some tricks to reduce tears from onion irritation:

  • Create a distance or a barrier between you and the onion that you are cutting. Put the sliced onions under the glass or cover them.
  • Wash your eyes with cool and clean water.
  • Place cool cucumbers on your eyes to reduce irritation.
  • Use lubricating eye drops to clean out the eyes.
  • Use other eye remedies too, such as cotton balls soaked with aloe vera gel and water to reduce irritation.

Here are some other effective remedies that you may use while cutting onions.

How to store onions properly?

You can store your onions properly by following these methods:

  • The onions should be stored in a ventilated, cool, dark,  dry place and away from direct sunlight.
  • The unpeeled onions should not be kept in the fridge because they will absorb moisture and change the texture of the onions.
  •  Pre-peeling or pre-dicing of onions is not recommended, as peeling and cutting significantly increase the rate of degeneration of the onions.
  • The cut onions can be stored in an airtight container or a bag in a fridge to maintain their freshness.


In this brief study, we answered the question “can you get sick from eating old onions?” with an in-depth analysis of how to store onions. We also discussed the shelf life of onions and onion tears.


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