how do I wash peppers off my hands?

murkwellAugust 25, 2005


My super chilis are dangerous! I've been drying some in my air conditioned kitchen. Last night I had some pad thai take out and after I started eating it I realized that they hadn't put any pepper in it at all.

It dawned on me that I had the super chilis in my kitchen. This is the first time I've grown hot peppers and I hadn't tried any of the dried ones yet. I chose one, cut off the stem, cut it lengthwise, took out the seeds, and then chopped it up finely on a cutting board.

I used my fingers to sweep the pepper bits into a small bowl and a bit of the dust onto my noodles. I then washed my hands carefully twice.

A few minutes later I realized that one of my nostrils was kind of burning. I figured I must have touched it while I was chopping the peppers. Nope. I touched the tip of my tongue with my index finger and it made my tongue burn. It then carefully washed my hands and tried again. Same thing!

I then used some lotion and aloe vera and then washed with soap. It think that got most of it. I figured it is the oils that are hot and I need something that will mix with oil to wash it away.

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Use rubber gloves when handling chiles. I just bought a packet of the surgical gloves, because even how carefully I try not to touch the inside part of a chile with my bare fingers, I always get the capsaicin on my hands.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 2:01PM
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erik417(z6 K.C. MO)

svalli is right, some latex or nitrile (if you have a latex allergy) gloves are essential. The capsicum gets imbedded in the skin of your fingers, and under the nail, and can come back to haunt you for days. If you must handle the peppers, wash your hands with HOT water (as hot as you can stand) and a liberal amount of soap--more than once. A fingernail brush is also helpful, and I tend to finish off with the juice of a lemon or lime to breakdown/rinse away anything I missed with soap/water.
It only takes a few times of unintentionally burning your eyes, nose, or going to the restroom and burning the hell out of you-know-where before you'll run to the drugstore and buy a box of gloves.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 2:19PM
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rubber gloves, not latex, the molecules of capscium are smaller then the holes in the latex and will pass through.

believe me I learned the hard way... burning hands for 3 days.

I also use a grease/oil cutter like dish soap, since the capsicum is an oil, the dish soap will wash most of it out.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2005 at 4:03PM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

Waterless hand cleaner helps

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 8:48AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)


Has anyone tried dishwashing gloves?

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 11:53AM
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Todd_In_Texas(Zone 8A Dallas)

Here's a sure-fire method to clean those oils off your hands:

1) Sit in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing.

2) Wipe your eyes with a clean tissue to clear any residual wateriness or discharge.

3) Extend your capsicum-contaminated finger.

4) Tip your head back.

5) Gently pull down your lower eyelid and look up.

6) Gently rub the whites of your eyeball with your contaminated finger taking care not to scratch your cornea.

7) Blink your eyes so the capsicum spreads over the surface of the eyeball.

8) Wipe away any excess liquid with a clean tissue.

9) Repeat this procedure for the other eye if your fingers continue to show signs of pepper oil.

Note: Please don't do this. Just a little Friday humour that's all. ;-)


    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 4:37PM
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After cutting peppers I always wash my hands with spiritus. That's a household cleaning fluid containing85% alcohol. After that I never have any oils left on my hands and am safe to do anything

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 7:50PM
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You're seriously ill [-o

    Bookmark   August 26, 2005 at 8:21PM
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I normally dont have a problem with the hands being hot since I use gloves. I have had the gloves leak. I usually wash with lavender soap several times and then apply aloe to the area that is burning.
My problem stems from breathing the air when I cut into a hot pepper. It closes my throat off and I go on a coughing frenzy. Watering eyes and all. Does anyone else have this problem? I do remove myself from the area and seek fresh air. Thanks any advice would be appreciated.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2005 at 1:25PM
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I'll say what I do but I also want to say it comes with its own dangers.

If I am thinking I wear gloves. Thinner gloves give better dexterity than thicker ones.

If I do the whole thing without gloves I clean my hands with bleach right from the jug. You will feel them warm slightly and that is a sign that you wouldn't want to leave that stuff on your hands long. Add a little dish soap and work up a good lather, then rinse, rinse & rinse. If that soapy feel doesn't go away pour a capfull of vinegar on your hands and that slimmy feeling goes away. rinse again and you should be fine.

When I have bare skin contact with my hands with the realy hot peppers I do this treatment. It sounds harsh but it is far better than having a "chilly willy" or "Hunan hand" incident!

    Bookmark   August 31, 2005 at 9:20AM
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jiggy(z8 M/cr, UK)

I use a fork to hold the chilli steady rather than use my delicate fingers! this works very well provided you're using a very sharp knife, if it's a bit blunt it won't work so well and will just tear at the chilli.

    Bookmark   September 11, 2005 at 9:35AM
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SmokyDogJoe(northwest ohio)

try Germ-X. it seems to get all hot pepper traces off my hands/finger tips

    Bookmark   September 12, 2005 at 7:12PM
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From my experience, the more I handle peppers the more tolerance I have for it. I can rub my eyes and it just stings a little, used to kill me, now it's not a problem.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 2:37PM
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This may sound a bit sick and twisted, but I generally just suck my fingers when I'm done cutting or crushing hot peppers. It obviously burns my lips and mouth for awhile, but I think that there's something in saliva that cuts the traces that remain on my hands quite nicely. And it's a better alternative to getting the capsicum in my eyes, etc.

And no, I'm not a masochist who tries to make everything as hot as humanly possible...

Mike ;)

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 6:52PM
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habbob(San Diego)

I'm with lynxville, i've built up a tolerance over time.

Huachuma i'm going to try your method next time. :P

    Bookmark   September 19, 2005 at 7:04PM
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opqdan(z5 NE OH)

Capsaicinoids are not soluble in water but they are soluble in fats and alcohol. Thus, the solutions involving alcohols do a good job of washing it off. You could also try using milk (fatty), I hear that works but I don't like to waste it.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2005 at 2:46PM
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crazin_capsaicin(z7 OK)

Lynx and HabBob,
I'm sure there is an adapted tolerance factor, but I also think some people are simply less sensitive, at least to external contact.
I have never even felt a slight irritation on my hands after handling peppers-including Thai, habs, etc.
Yet my wife has called me begging to know how to stop the burning when she was making hab-salsa for me.
I'm not saying I have some super tolerance to hot peppers either, if I touch my fingers to my mouth or toungue after slicing up my Thai hots or habs believe you me I feel the burn!
It is as if my fingers lack the receptors for capsaicin.
Not sure if that is possible, but...

    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 2:25AM
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Before processing peppers, or cooking with hot peppers, purchase a liter of 180 proof (90%) grain alcohol. One brand name that comes to mind is Everclear.

Just before handling the hot peppers, mix up a tall glass of V8 or tomato juice, several shakes of Worchestershire, and a liberal amount of Everclear over ice. Season the mixture with your favorite Cajun spice rub, and toss in a Bay Leaf.

Then take a long, red, hot pepper ... or any other variety you're planning on processing ... and split it longwise. Use it as a swizzle stick to mix the tomato concoction. Now drink most of the concoction, saving just enough to scrub your hands with after handling the hot peppers. The effects of the coctail will allay the effects of the capsicum somewhat.

After processing the peppers, if you still notice any unbearable burn, you may thoroughly wash your hands with the remains of your drink, and rinse with Everclear before a final wash with Dawn Complete.

An after-process coctail is optional.

Les Bon Temps Roulette.


    Bookmark   September 24, 2005 at 8:09AM
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laura_sue(4 MN)

I can't remember who asked what. but here's what works for me.

Yes to the dishwashing gloves. I also use a pampered chef chopper that makes it real easy to chop with out much dextarerity. And I keep all finger tips this way.

As for the coughing. Oh yes. I always noticed this and was then diagnosed with cough varient asthma, the pepper is most certainly an irritant. I now where a mask when chopping peppers if I'm doing many of them as when I can salsa. It helps some.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2005 at 8:43PM
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Use 1 can tomato paste, place it in a bowl and soak you hand for 15 to 20 minuets!!!!
*(NOTE TO SELF: only soak one hand at a time so this way you have one free hand!!)*

I made salsa for the first time today...needless to say my hands and face began to burn from the Jalapeno juice and i was frantic searching online for some sort of "cure". LOL! I will tell ya what I did, First I seen that i could use lemon juice and i put some in a bowl and placed my right hand in it and began soaking, 2 minuets into this my hand began to burn seriously. Two fingers began to blister. I started thinking about tomato sauce and how it gets the skunk smell so i decided to try it. Well i didnt have tomato sauce but i had TOMATO PASTE and IT WORKED!

    Bookmark   October 4, 2005 at 8:49PM
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I am normally not bothered by handling peppers any more, but I do know how much it can hurt (trying taking out a contact lens sometime). The one thing I have found that works is old coffee grounds. I will pull out the filter from that mornings coffee and use it like a pumice soap, rinse and then use regular dish soap.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 12:30AM
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scents_from_heaven(z9b Orlando FL)

Dampen hands, coat thoroughly with salt, rinse well, wash with a waterless hand cleanser, wash with soap and water, rinse, then rinse with rubbing alcohol and finish with a very good hand moisturizer. Wear mask while working with peppers, I use a fork and thin sharp knife, cut peppers in half, remove seeds with knife point and then place in a small Cusinart chopper for chopping using pulse method and use a spatula to remove pepper from bowl.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2005 at 2:57PM
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OK, I joined this site tonight just so I could post this and hopefully help someone out. I cut up 3 jalepeno peppers tonight, sans gloves, and got jalapeno juice under my nails. Ow! I did a google search for remedies and found this site. I washed with regular soap and dish soap about 10 times, rinsed with alcohol about 5 times, tried lime juice and hand cream but nothing helped. I even cut my nails really really short thinking the oil was on my nails and not my skin. Didn't work. I was about to try a milk soak when my boyfriend came for dinner. I started grating cheese to put on his chili and, OH GLORIOUS DAY, the burn started to go away!! I happily dunked my singed fingers into the cheese and rubbed the grease in. Seems the grease from the cheese removed what was left of the pepper oil and the burn is now completely gone!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2005 at 1:28AM
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txsummer(z8 TX)

Yummy, pepperjack cheese! ; )

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 1:01AM
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byron(4a/5b NH)

I wonder, has anyone tried tomato juice or vinegar??

    Bookmark   October 13, 2005 at 7:05PM
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georgew79(Z5-6 MO.)

Hi all, I had a bad encounter deseeding some Chocolate Gongo habs. I used latex gloves rather than rubber, big mistake I tried every thing, milk,vinegar,soda powder,alcohol, soap and water several times. I ended up just sufering with it and the small blisters between the fingers. I won't make that mistake again, also if you use a blender to powder dried habs or other hot peppers use a mask and gogles to protect the eyes from the very fine powder that is picked up by the air when you first open the blender up. It Burns like hell if you get any of it up your nose or in your eyes, Just try to wash them out!! I had this happen once and believe you me never again.!!
Good rubber gloves is your best bet, when processing hot peppers.
George W. Z5 Mo.

    Bookmark   October 22, 2005 at 12:40AM
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I made Salsa yesterday and cut up a huge bag of jalapeno peppers. Within an hour of finishing I was left with the absolutely intolerable burn in my hands. I tried everyone of the above solutions and NOTHING worked for me. I spoke with the health center and the poison center who told me that I had a chemical burn and there's nothing really that I could do about it. I went to the drug store and purchased the strongest burn cream that I could buy (Betacaine $20 for a tiny tube) and it did nothing. The olny relief was sinking my hands in ice water every 30-40 seconds.

Finally after 8 hours I couldn't take it any more and drove into the clinic to see a doctor. They applied Flamazine cream to my hands and wrapped my up like a mummy. The pain was unbelieveable for about an hour and the only relief was my husband driving me around so I could stick my hands out the window of the car and feel cool air blowing on them. The doctor also gave me a prescription for T3's so I took that and a Benadryl (allergy medicine) becuase half the problem is your skin having an allergic reaction to the pepper juice. Once I got all of this into me the drugs knocked me out and I was able to get a good nights sleep and woke up in the morning to NO BURN!!! Thank GOD!!!

    Bookmark   October 23, 2005 at 3:33PM
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dilbert(z5 IL)

I discovered that habanero juice on the hands is not a problem, if washed off within 30 seconds of first contact. The burning is not from what is on your hands, but what has soaked into your hands. No amount of washing with anything will remove what has already diffused under the skin.

Incidentally, I saw this on some PBS TV show. There are these natives (I forget where) who weave these hand gloves out of straw and insert live stinging fire ants, butt side down, into the interstices of the glove. Then, as a test of manhood, they see how long they can wear the glove. Anyway, there is a plant that is used as a topical antidote. Maybe, that would work on pepper burns.


I am amazed that you got a burn from jalapenos. Just think how bad it would have been with habaneros.

    Bookmark   October 25, 2005 at 12:05PM
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hydrocortisone 1% cream works right away!

    Bookmark   January 8, 2006 at 2:53AM
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yoyo27983(Eastern NC)

I had a friend give me a few cayennes last week for seed. I cut open two peppers and removed the seeds. I washed my hands 2 or 3 times before I went to the bathroom. Sometime shortly after, I had a very bad burning coming from a most sensitive spot! Lasted all day. Late that afternoon, after washing my hands some more, I rubbed my eyelid! OUCH!!

    Bookmark   January 10, 2006 at 6:24PM
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Well, this certainly seems to be a real "Tower of Habble" :o)

The wife decided to omit the required step of gloves (just like the rest of the victims here) whilst messing around with some rather nasty peppers. The results were typical of what you have seen throughout the post.

We tried:

* Milk
* Sugar
* Alcohol
* Screaming
* Water (of course)
* Scrubbing with dish soap

and probably a couple of other things too.

No dice.

The wife also suffers from eczema; another complicating factor.

Here's what finally worked on two REALLY hurting hands --

1) Clean hands THOROUGHLY of all oily residue or corruption from trying everything else which didn't work

2) Grab a couple of plastic grocery bags (without holes -- blow up and check)

3) Fill a deep pot with the hottest water you think the victim can stand

4) Get a comfortable chair ready and set the pot just adjacent thereto

5) Goosh the contents of a small can of pure tomato paste (thanx dalpaz, above) onto the hands

6) Put the bags on over the hands; leaving the tops open

7) Immerse the bagged mits in the water

There is some relief right away; however..

YOU NEED TO SIT LIKE A DUMMY FOR UP TO THREE HOURS while the combined action of the heat from the water in the pan with the mild acids from the tomato paste works the residual pepper traces out of your pores.

Wiggle/squeeze your fingers from time-to-time to keep a fresh layer of paste in contact with the injury.

Keep the hot water coming! Keep the heat up as far as it can be!

Obviously, if you have a helper this'll all go much more smoothly :o)

Your mileage may vary (depending upon the appendage) -- but it sure FIXED THE PROBLEM here...

    Bookmark   May 18, 2006 at 8:22PM
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Ok, so true story. I was cutting up a bunch of Jalepenos for a barbque yesterday (so tasty) and I cleaned each one out of seeds and everything and washed up and had no problems that I could detect. Until later that night when after some intamacy with my wife she started to complain and had to go wash up because of serious burning. I found your site and helped her with a few of the remedies which seemed to help (quick application and it was "second hand").

So remember folks, practice safe pepper handling because it may not hurt you but it may hurt the ones you love. And chance are if you hurt them then you may be lonely for some time to come in bed, like me!

--Packet (Aka the firery finger)

    Bookmark   May 30, 2006 at 2:40PM
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Ol' genius here fergot to wear gloves to chop jalapenos for salsa. (Only a few - not a big deal - - right?) A couple of hours later, I was in agony with chemical burns under several nails and the inside surfaces of 10 fingers. Desperate web research for help led me here, and I thank all of you for your insights and suggested remedies.

I had already tried copious washing with dish soap and milk, plus dancing around and swearing loudly, but nothing was working. I hadn't yet got to Prep-Sol (an automotive pre-painting degreaser) or lacquer thinner (if we're gonna degrease, then let's degrease!), as I'm not a great fan of skin contact with petro chems.

At any rate, my point is that although I hadn't yet tried everything in my unique little personal home arsenal, my successful experiment wasn't "pure" in the sense that I had started (late, perhaps) with washing with both soap and milk. Those steps may or may not be part and parcel of my eventual success. I doubt that my roundly cursing the jalapenos - and my own stupidity for that matter - had anything to do with it ...

Your posted info and musings suggested to me that white vinegar might be worth a try as an alkaloid neutralizer - not so difficult as a bagful of tomato sauce; easy to massage into the skin; and immediately soothing as a cool application. (Also on hand right here in River City, and this IS home-chem 101, right?) Low viscosity suggested that it might "reach deep" and get down to all the absorbed capsaicin.

IT WORKED! I used perhaps 1/4 cup in the bottom of a shallow bowl in each of two wash sessions roughly 30 minutes apart. Terrific relief, and no additional pain 6 hours later. Simply washed my hands vigorously with the stuff.

I do not know if there was any actual neutralization or similar reactive disablement, or whether the vinegar was simply an effective suspension and flushing agent (I suspect the latter), or whether it had any effect as an emollient as would aloe. The list of "magic uses" for vinegar is nearly endless, and I'd not be surprised to learn of various good properties regarding the question at hand.

I noticed during the first application that the vinegar in the bowl became slightly cloudy, and that there was a definite accumulation of something on the surface - most likely the oily alkaloid being washed from the skin. Same for the second, but to a much lesser degree. And that after a LOT of washing with dish detergent between rounds of vinegar!

Discovered that pain was greatly reduced after first use, but still aggravating, and so tried the second after about a half-hour. The much lesser surface contamination apparent in the second dish suggested that I had indeed washed out sumpin' ugly with the vinegar, and was releasing a lesser amount. Another application with fresh vinegar would probably have rooted out a bit more.

There is still some minor pain 6 hours after the last vinegar app, as I'd not done anything about it until hours after contamination, so some actual chemical burning did thus take place and will take time to heal. However, it's quite low-grade, and I thank the vinegar for saving me from days of agony - I was able to get to sleep shortly after the vinegar escapade. I am mildly fragrant, but that wasn't really objectionable at the time, and is hardly noticeable now. I washed hands with soap after first vinegar app, but specifically did NOT after the second, with the thought that if the stuff had any kind of residual chemical action, then I didn't want to wash it away.

TEST - I could barely stand to hold a cup of coffee by its handle. Excessive pain in fingers from both pressure and heat made my usual brew an exercise in agony. (I'm one a' those what takes terrific pleasure from a cuppa, and it's not often that I don't enjoy it, regardless.) After the vinegar wash, my cup of head-straight was again a painless treat.

I was also careful, for what it's worth, to continually change wash water and cloths so as to avoid re-contaminating with capsaicin, just as I changed the vinegar. They may be possible to wash out or suspend, but oils like that are very hard to destroy, and can at best be diluted to the point of minimal ill effect.

I'm sure that there's still some alkaloid left in/on my skin, and will wash with both soap and with vinegar another couple of times today (the day after) as a precaution.

Ennahoo, I'm REALLY happy to report success, and hope that my little tale may be of help to someone else.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2006 at 10:08AM
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After reading all this stories I'm actually quite surprised.
I never use any gloves at all, and never got my hands burned. Even when handling really hot peppers(chocolate habs, orange habs etc.) The only problem I've had when taking a shower afterwards, my face burns just a little, but not really painful or anything, more like a little sunburn. So I guess some people are just more sensitive than others?

    Bookmark   June 11, 2006 at 5:52AM
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try rubbing your hands in some cooking oil before messing with them, or just use gloves. Whatever you do, dont touch a contact lens you plan on ever wearing again. (learned the hard way)

    Bookmark   June 12, 2006 at 2:37PM
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My wife last night had Hungarian hot chilli powder on her face & hands. Since Mint is cooling I took a tea bag, of peppermint tea, and put it in ice water. She rubbed the affected areas and said that it was very soothing.

    Bookmark   July 3, 2006 at 8:55AM
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jah_in_ma(z6 MA)

Find the best tacos or buritos in town and enjoy! Other than when I get it in my eyes, I enjoy the burn on my lips, face, forehead etc. People pay big money for this kind of treatment. Habs stick with your hands for a few days.

Oh, and a big ice cream cone of your favorite flavor helps!

    Bookmark   July 5, 2006 at 8:24PM
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I made my way to this site the same way most people did, I made the horrid mistake of not using gloves to make salsa last night. I am by no means a huge heat lover and really salsa is about all I use peppers for ... jalapenos. Anyway, last night I finished up the salsa, washed my hands two times and thought everything was OK. Until at night when I was ready for bed and I went to take out my contact lenses .... OH MY GOD!!!! I have never felt burning like this before! I sucked it up and got through the pain and went to bed thinking that in the morning whatever pepper was left on my fingers would be gone. WRONG! This morning I went to go put in a fresh pair of contacts and thought my eyeball was going to burn out of my eye. Luckily the burning subsided after a few minutes and I made it to work. Upon my arrival I immediately started to Google "clean pepper hands". I found this site and am so thankful for all your great suggestions. After work I am going home to try all of them one by one until something works to remove the oils from my fingers. THANK YOU for posting your methods!!!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 26, 2006 at 10:41AM
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I tried everything on this page with no luck, and then my husband suggested beer. I soaked my fingertips in beer, and that took the burn away from beneath my fingernails! It did not help the burning on my skin, but if your problem is the pain underneath your fingernails, soak your fingertips in beer!

    Bookmark   July 29, 2006 at 9:35PM
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bluejean(z6 OH)

This weekend I had my first pepper idiot moment- DESPITE having read this thread beofore! I am growing "garden Salsa Peppers": from park seed. They are supposed to be a "mild" pepper, so I didn't think much of wearing gloves. As my husband and I were cutting and preparing the peppers to be canned (for my special chili pepper mix to be added to a batch of chili as needed) everything seemed to be running smoothly. Hubby did most of the cutting as I sterlized jars, prepared vinegar solution, etc. Then Jars were ready so we put a jar funnel on the jars and I hand packed all the jars with my right hand. Everything was still running smoothly. Then we began clean up of the first batch and prepared for the second load of jars. I wiped my eye with my left hand.. HOLY $H1T!!! It hurt horrible, I quickly ran to the bath room and bit my tounge as I yanked the contact from the offending eye (yes I had contacts in- see stupid moment comment above!) I dunked the contact in solution and prayed it would be useable the next day (it was my last pair!) In the mean time I realized my right hand was burning. I couldn't remember what I was supposed to do so I washed my hands several times with dish soap and baking soda and prayerd it would just stop hurting. I looked at hubby and repeatedly asked him why his hands weren't burning (he works on boilers all day and his hands are quite tough I guess). Well, my hand stopped burning on Sunday and when I went to put my contact back in I cleaned it off only to realize that it had fallen apaprt. I guess the "mild" peppers are a little tougher than I originally thought! It appears the oil had eaten through the contact! (maybe I am wrong??)

New contacts and another day later, I am feeling much better and have officially learned my lesson- wear gloves no matter the projected heat of the peppers. (better to be safe than sorry!)

Happy Hot Pepper-ing!
bluejean in ohio

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 1:20PM
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Hazmat suit is the only way to go.

    Bookmark   July 31, 2006 at 9:50PM
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warpath(NY State)

YOWSERS!! Some entertaining stories indeed.

I, too, learned the hard way. And let it be known that facial hair is also an evil depository for these dreadful oils. M'lady can attest to that:p (Not to imply that she has facial hair, I think you understand what I mean).
So after consuming a food coated with a habanero based sauce, I wash my facial hair with a liberal dose of shampoo.

When slicing ANY chile, I no longer take any chances. I use a pair of clothe gloves coated with a thick rubber exterior. And when done, they get rinsed off and placed into a plastic baggie for future use.

Fiery naughty bits is no laughing matter...well, wait a second...yes it is. As long as it's not you or your loved one...LOL

    Bookmark   August 1, 2006 at 2:59AM
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My husband always cuts hot peppers with his bare hands, so I didn't give it a 2nd thought. I cut the peppers and it wasn't until about 1/2 hour later that my nuckles started to burn- over 1 pepper!?!?! I came to this site and tried a few things and here is the results and the process in which I found relief- my case may not be as serious as the poor girl that drove with her hands out the windows, so maybe this will only work for minor cases?

1st- scrubbed with dish soap and water: still burned
2nd- scrubbed again with soap and water: still burned
3rd- soaked and washed with cold milk: felt great but still burned after I stopped
4th- scrubbed with rubbing alcohol: a little relief, but still burning
5th- hydrocortizone 1% cream
6th- white vinegar: its getting better
7th- purell application about 5 times, felt good, but still burns
8th- soft scrub with bleach: I actually cleaned the bathtub at the same time and scrubbed my bleach saturated hands- now it feels better, still a little burn when touched, but definately better

Hope this helps anyone on the journey to relief. I am still going to put gloves on before I pick my baby up or touch him at all- the last thing I need is for him to be on fire!

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 2:53PM
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ucovinero(7 Atlanta, GA)

seems like you have enough input here

    Bookmark   August 17, 2006 at 2:57PM
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After reading this (and being a newbie at hot peppers), I believe my habanero and super chili peppers are strictly ornamental. I may pickle (carefully my cherry bombs). Wow, I don't think I want to experience the BURN! I must be chicken.

    Bookmark   August 18, 2006 at 7:56AM
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afraid that i learned the hard way too. cut up a small orange colored pepper my wifes uncle had in his garden, making some picante sauce. washed my hands & took a road trip with a buddy. eye itched, i rubbed it. 30 seconds later, blind in that eye, other one watering so bad i can't see. rinsed eye with milk for about 15 minutes & survived. now i ASK folks what that thing is (it was an orange habenero, i learned a bit late) one bad side effect-if the police ever show up at my house, i think i'll shoot first, before they get within pepper spray range of me! (just kidding!) c-p

    Bookmark   August 20, 2006 at 11:39PM
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I just did this same thing tonight. Went to make pepper jelly. No gloves thought I was tough. NO I AM NOT. My hands burned so bad. I couldn't do anything but keep them in cold water. Tried everything. They are feeling better now. Think it was everything on here that I tried. I am not goingt to mess with these peppers again,

    Bookmark   October 9, 2006 at 10:56PM
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seems to be very handy. just cut a thick peice. rub it onto your hands like you would soap and the burn will be much less and WONT spread ;)


    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 11:36AM
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Try Aloe Vera.

Here is a link that might be useful:

    Bookmark   October 10, 2006 at 6:33PM
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This happened to me last night. I was all inspired and excited to try a new recipe for Chicken Chili. I stemmed seeded and chopped up 3 pobalno chilies, 3 Anaheim chilies and 2 jalapenos. I didn't feel any burning at the time, so I didn't think there was a problem. About 2 hours later I noticed that ny hands felt burned in spots. The pain got gradually worse to the point of being almost unbearable. I tried several things before I found this site and none of them worked. I would like to share what I did and what finally worked. They are:

1) Soap and water dozens of times.

2) Ice water - Felt good only when hand was in the water

3) Hand lotion - 3 to 4 times

4) Dawn dishwashing detergent

5) Milk

6) Sour cream

7) Milk and sour cream

Went to internet and found this site. Also took a muscle relaxant due to the neckache and headache that were simultaneously developing. Then tried:

8) hand sanitizer

9) gin

  1. old coffee grounds

  2. tomato paste (with basil and oregano-it ws all I had)
    Started to feel some relief with this tomato paste,
    but still wondered if I was imagining it.

  3. white vinegar (too warm)

  4. iced white vinegar

  5. water

  6. tomato paste mixed with old coffee grounds and scrub
    a dub dub - hard.

  7. butter

  8. Dawn dish detergent with piping hot water-agonizing.

  9. iced white vinegar - ahhhhh

  10. cold water

  11. tomato paste for 5 minutes

  12. iced white vinegar

  13. cheddar cheese

  14. Dawn and water

  15. iced white vinegar

  16. cold water

  17. cortisone cream

By this time the muscle relaxant had kicked in enough to where I was feeling sleepy and my hands felt much relieved. I think the tomato paste, iced white vinegar and hot water with dawn detergent brought the most relief. The cortisone seemed to help too. Went to sleep and woke up with burning hands, but was able to go back to sleep immediately and in the morning my hands were fine.

Sometimes we learn things the hard way. Thanks for the ideas. Hope this helps someone.


    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 2:35PM
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Louise, holy crap! What a treatment regiment.

As someone said way back on this thread I think some people are just a lot more sensitive than others. I've never had any problem at all with my hands no matter what kind of pepper, how much or how long I 'process'. But I can wipe my eyes, nose, face, lips, etc. and it's on!
After grinding dried peppers if I don't wait a few minutes before taking the top off of the grinder the 'fumes' burn the hell out of my nostrils and give me a coughing siege. And I almost always forget to wait.
Some of us never seem to learn.

    Bookmark   January 4, 2007 at 4:33PM
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larry_c(z6 Stl. Mo.)

I use a quick hot water rinse to remove the dirt and then soak my fingers in "Hot Damn Schnapps" I lick that off...something about the alchohol must break the oil down...and the salivia removes the oil filled schnapps..something works here..cause that is some damn hot schnapps fer ser...I usually end up on the patio by the fire pit drying my hands and singing with my dog afterwards :(

True story...first ever hot peppers..long green things..given to me by dear father in law..ate one..nothing..two...oh my gawd..rubbed my eyes as they starting tearing...oh my gawdII...crawled to the shower..groped for the controls..spent the next hour attempting to regain only thing worse is have to go ...u know..right after touche allowed..

    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 1:27PM
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Its amazing some of the stories above. My favorite is of the would be boyfriend my daughter had over for dinner one day. I had some really really hot peppers at the time. He commenced to say how much he liked hot peppers and the hotter the better. I warned him that he had never eaten a hot pepper. He just bragged how much he loved them. I handed him a yellow pepper from Ecuador. He took a bite. He took another bite. He nibbled a couple of more times. He got a very funny look on his face. 15 minutes later he looked like Fred Flintstone with a red area around his mouth. He was eating butter and swishing milk around in his mouth and groaning between sips. For some strange reason, he never came back. Now I have a use for really hot peppers!

My MIL decided to cut up some Red Savina's and put them in a jar with vinegar. She did this in her kitchen. First mistake, she didn't know how to cut the peppers by handling only the outsides and quickly getting them in the jar with vinegar. Second mistake, she had no ventilation. She was smart enough to use very good gloves. In 5 minutes, the pepper oil in the air was so thick the kitchen was uninhabitable for 2 hours.

The best thing you can do if you get pepper on your hands is to immediately wash it off. Bleach works by taking the surface layer of skin off. Oven cleaner does the same thing but also absorbs some of the oil. Use some serious hand lotion afterward if you use either of these. You can buy an aloe hand lotion that is perfect for this.

If you wait until the pepper has been absorbed into your skin, all the washing in the world won't remove it. You can get some relief with acids such as tomato paste. It is a bit more effective is you mix a bit of cooking oil with the paste. The ice bags mentioned above will help relieve the pain for a while but you can count on at least 8 hours of misery.

I've been fortunate in never getting a serious pepper burn. But I've had lots of burns that were very very painful.


    Bookmark   January 21, 2007 at 2:45PM
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I tried a whole bunch of ideas I read on this board and nothing worked, my hands were on fire just as much as before but then my instincts just told me to soak my hands in ice water and I did. Now my hands feel perfectly fine! Try it :)

    Bookmark   February 7, 2007 at 9:29PM
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Surprisingly enough the thing that helped me after 7 hours of intense pain, and having every possible remedy poured and soaked onto my hands - A stainless steel bar; they are specifically designed to get smells off hands. I was extremely skeptical because as already mentioned I tried EVERYTHING, but the pain went away IMMEDIATELY- if only I had known 7 hours ago!

    Bookmark   May 6, 2007 at 11:19AM
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carduus(5 - NE OH)

I've had plenty of accidents with chilis and sensitive stuff, whether it be hands, eyes, or ...other areas. Best thing I've found is a combination of two other ideas on here: vinaigrette. I don't know if it's the combination of oil and vinegar that neutralizes and absorbs, or if there's some third factor, but it really does the trick if you have some around.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 4:04PM
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pkapeckopickldpepprz(z9 a/b FL)

I never need gloves. Yeah the burn and sting is uncomfortable for a little bit, but I've learned to enjoy it and actually now I kind of enjoy it. I used to freak out when the burn got in my eyes now I kind of laugh about it as I wait it out till I can open my eye that the capsaicin got into. Weird thing is once the tearing stops my eye that got burned is clearer looking and pure white while my other one looks normal. I wouldn't be surprised if this is actually a good thing since the eye gets purified.

    Bookmark   May 8, 2007 at 7:32PM
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Thank *goodness* I found you guys and this thread!

Tonight was my first ever adverse reaction to cutting jalapenos without gloves. It was *under* my nails! I was *desperate* to find some relief since I was about to pass out from the pain.

I tried almost everything:

*Cut my nails
*Washed (and scrubbed with a nail brush) multiple times using dishwashing soap and hot water
*Soaked in ice water
*Slathered on hydrocortisone cream
*Slathered on topical Benedryl
*Took a Zyrtec
*Took a few Aleve
*Slathered on Neosporin (because it's my miracle cream)
*Soaked (and brushed) in white vinegar
*Slathered on tomato paste
*Soaked (and brushed) in heavy whipping cream
*Soaked (and brushed) in milk
*Soaked (and brushed) in cottage cheese
*Soaked (and brushed) in lemon juice

Everything provided some relief, but nothing substantial. UNTIL I used cotton balls soaked in acetone.

WOW is all I have to say! I've had to re-apply the acetone multiple times, making sure to avoid re-using and unnecessarily touching the cotton to prevent spreading the oils.

So far it's doing great! *fingers crossed*

Note to self: Don't take any chances and always wear gloves when handling peppers.

    Bookmark   June 2, 2007 at 9:39AM
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It might be worth checking to see what the police use, after they spray their suspects, before they send the suspect to jail. (BTW, does anyone else think this is one of the most inhumane things one can do to another human being?)

    Bookmark   June 3, 2007 at 5:30AM
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after trying almost everything i read here today, the only thing that worked for me was saliva!

just put your fingers in your really burns at first because of your body heat, but eventually you will feel relief.

it makes sense to me because our mouths don't burn for hours and hours after eating a hot pepper, right?

hope this helps...i feel your pain (seriously, i did!)

    Bookmark   July 8, 2007 at 2:49AM
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like most of the people posting here, I was working with some jalapenos and ended up burning my hands. I tried just about everything on this forum and then finally what worked for me was Aloe Vera. I'm suprised it wasn't mentioned already. I have a few Aloe plants and some pure aloe vera in my fridge. Both worked pretty well, especially the chilled stuff. I just applied it, washed my hands with soap and water when they started getting warm again and applied the aloe again. I repeated that process a few times and eventually, I washed all the Capsaicin oil off my hands. Be sure to wash under your finger nails too. That was where I had it the worst, but only realized that after most of the senation throughout the rest of my hands had passed.

I am definitely going to get some disposable gloves for next time. Good luck to anyone else who gets blind-sided by this problem.

    Bookmark   July 10, 2007 at 5:09PM
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salvialvr(Utah Zone 6)

The best trick I've found is to use a VERY liberal amount of purell or germ-x. Rub it all over but before it evaporates and dries, add some dish soap and really hot water to rinse. It's worked great for me and all my friends do it now days as well.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2007 at 9:56AM
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I burned my hands today with chili peppers. What I discovered, after reading a lot of messages, and trying at least 10 home remedies, is that the best solution is to put your hands in vegetable oil for half an hour. After that, you will feel MUCH better! and you won't even feel the burning sensation. Is good to also use a 1% hidrocortisone after the oil thing. Please do this, and you will thank me later.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2007 at 2:23AM
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When this happened to me I tried everything but nothing seemed to work. Then I found the solution - wrap your hands around an ice cold bottle of beer, drink quickly, and repeat until burn dissipates. Took about 4 beers and all was well :)

    Bookmark   July 19, 2007 at 9:01PM
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I chopped jalapenos for the first time today. (Ithink they're jalapenos; they're about 3-4 inches long, smooth, and dark green). I knew from the get-go that there were hazards in handling hot peppers, but I thought I read somewhere that it was only the seeds that were hazardous. Nonetheless, I had no gloves, so I used a paper towel to hold the pepper while I chopped it up. It was slow-going, cuz it was a not-so-sharp knife, and I was on my second glass of wine. Long story short...I only needed to chop one pepper, and I managed to keep my handling of it to a minimum. AND, I kept my touching of the seeds to an almost non-existant happening. Result: I thought I was being cautious enough, and after the chopping, all I did was rinse my hands under the kitchen faucet with water, and then without thinking, put my hand to my eye. I felt a little burn, not bad, but I totally could empathize with someone that bare-handled a pepper, seeds and all, and then touched their eye. My reaction was to google "how to wash off the hot from hot peppers and I immediately thereafter came here. I learned a lot. I went thru' a few postings before I saw someone suggest washing with Dawn dish liquid, which I happened to have on hand. Worked for me; but, I really think the KEY is to avoid touching the seeds. Am I right? Does anyone else concur?

    Bookmark   July 28, 2007 at 6:20PM
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As I sit here trying to type a few words before dashing my hands back into the bowl of ice water that sits next to me...
Here's what I've tried.

Dish soap and water
Hand soap and water
Hand sanitizer
Sugar mixed with water (scrub)
Aspirin mixed with water (scrub)
Jajoba oil
Tomato paste
Hydrocortizone cream
Lemon juice
Coffee grounds
Stainless steel

Conclusion: None of the above works. Only ice water, and only while my hands are immersed. (sigh)

    Bookmark   August 5, 2007 at 10:50PM
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Thank everyone for sharing. I am laughing my head off, through the fire around my nose. Yes, like many posters, I was working with chiles, albeit dried anchos and guajillos for Pozole Rojo, with no ill effect to my hands, bare no less. Then I touched my nose - can you say Santa Claus?? Eye tearing, nose running, ON fires - or should I say "en feugo" (sp?). I came to this site and tried first just ice water - only relief while on the face. I read the posts here and laughed so hard I was crying - (special thanks to Louise) then I thought - if milk works when you eat something too hot - then it might work to remove the oil on the skin. I soaked my washcloth in repeated dunkings of half & half (higher fat than milk), with ice cubes underneath, and it's almost gone. This was only 1 hour total time. But seriously, I don't feel like such a dope now that I know other experienced cooks have done this. Thanks everyone.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 3:19PM
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I just feel like throwing my "war story" if for a good laugh. You always hear about people getting the pepper on their hands and then rubbing their eyes. I forgot to wash my hands after cutting up HABS and went to the bathroom to take a leak. Lets just say that when I went to "put myself back in" BURNED LIKE HELL! I learned my lesson real quick. I wear gloves now.

I guess this has nothing to do with getting the burning off your hands, but it lets you know WHY to wash your hands immediately after touching peppers.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2007 at 11:46PM
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hendrik_vanderdekin(Northern Cal)

Hmmmm, gives a whole new meaning to the term "Hot dog"

    Bookmark   September 3, 2007 at 5:55AM
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I got it once real bad in my eyes.
I had a friend flush my eyes with saline solution. It worked GREAT ! It worked within 5 minutes & the pain did not return.

He said that the mucus membranes in your eyes will absorb the saline solution and naturally flush out the capsaicin.

If you don't have gloves handy, it seems like a pre-rinse with a vegetable oil and a post-rinse with soap and/or any salad dressing (non low-fat) with vinegar&oil would be effective.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 1:44PM
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I've found that Tecnu Skin Cleanser works, especially if used shortly after exposure.

Tecnu is sold as a cleanser to remove Poison Ivy/Oak oils from the skin. I figured I'd try it on pepper oil and it worked great. Burning disappeared within a minute. Since it is intended as a skin cleanser it might be easier on the skin than some of the other methods.

My kids are very sensitive to poison ivy so we always keep some around.

BTW, I have no affiliation with Tec Labs other than as a customer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Tecnu Skin Cleanser

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 2:33PM
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So..tonight I decided to get festive and make a recipe I had just seen on Rachael Ray that called for poblanos. Since jalapeos don't really bother me, I started seeding bare handed (do we see where this is going?) I started coughing about 2 minutes later and about 5 minutes into the dicing my pointer finger and my middle finger were on fire. First, I washed my hands with dawn and put on gloves...too little..wayyy too late. Next, I ran to my aloe plant, picked a big stem and started slathering away. No dice. Dancing around the kitchen I googled pepper burn and was directed here. Thank goodness! Reading all the stories gave me something to do as I tried plunging my hand in milk. It felt really good but didn't really take away from the burning. Next was white vinegar that worked ok. Then iced white vinegar. That one was nice. Keep in mind I'm trying to finish making dinner with one hand. I started switching back and forth between fresh milk and vinegar. After dinner I tried one last thing as my fingers were bright red and I wanted to start crying- I put them in my mouth. All of the sudden all of the pain and flame that was on my fingers was now in my mouth. And now I can type with both hands and make it to the birthday party we have to go to tonight not looking like a freak. So the short of it is there has to be something in saliva to break down that oil- it worked for me 2 1/2 hours after contact!

    Bookmark   March 1, 2008 at 6:58PM
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After having the night from hell, feeling like I dipped my hands in scalding hot water from cutting these peppers...I tried everything and when nothing else worked, I figured it wouldn't hurt to try peroxide. Well, it did offer some relief so I could wrap my hands in ice and fall asleep.
It is used to draw germs out of wounds, so I figured it would draw oil out of skin. It does seem to work. Good luck to anyone that is going through this horrible experience.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2008 at 11:42AM
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A 60 minute soak in whole milk, yogurt, cream, half and half or ice cream will cause the burning sensation of hot peppers to go away. A wash cloth wet with these substances can be placed on other parts of the body to alleviate the pain of places touched accidentally. Rubbing or scrubbing should not be used, as this only causes the very same receptors to be aggravated. That said, here is why:

Capsaicin is present in large quantities in the placental tissue (which holds the seeds), the internal membranes and, to a lesser extent, the other fleshy parts of the fruits of plants in the genus Capsicum. Contrary to popular belief, the seeds themselves do not produce any capsaicin, although the highest concentration of capsaicin can be found in the white pith around the seeds.

The burning and painful sensations associated with capsaicin result from its chemical interaction with sensory neurons. Capsaicin, as a member of the vanilloid family, binds to a receptor called the vanilloid receptor subtype 1 (VR1). First cloned in 1997, VR1 is an ion channel-type receptor. VR1, which can also be stimulated with heat and physical abrasion, permits cations to pass through the cell membrane and into the cell when activated. The resulting depolarization of the neuron stimulates it to signal the brain. By binding to the VR1 receptor, the capsaicin molecule produces the same sensation that excessive heat or abrasive damage would cause, explaining why the spiciness of capsaicin is described as a burning sensation.

The VR1 ion channel has subsequently been shown to be a member of the superfamily of TRP ion channels, and as such is now referred to as TRPV1. There are a number of different TRP ion channels that have been shown to be sensitive to different ranges of temperature and probably are responsible for our range of temperature sensation. Thus, capsaicin does not actually cause a chemical burn, or indeed any damage to tissue at all; it causes only the sensation of one.
Dairy products (lipids) and alcohol (solvents) will alleviate the burning sensation. Water makes matters worse as the undissolved nonpolar capsaicin will be spread across the surface of the mouth among the polar water molecules.

Capsaicin is not water-soluble, so water and most other liquids will only dull the pain by cooling the area, but will not have any lasting effect. Dairy products are one of the most effective forms of relief; casein, a phosphoprotein found in milk, acts as a detergent to dissociate the capsaicin from nerve receptors, allowing it to wash away. (Dustrophsky, 2006).

    Bookmark   June 29, 2008 at 1:03PM
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Thank you for this forum, not only was it helpful but VERY entertaining. To my defense, I was cutting a *bucket* of fresh SWEET Carne del Toro peppers from my local farmer, i found out a little too late that a extremely hot Anaheim or the like fell in the bucket. I am also a massage therapist who works with hot stones, I couldn't afford my hands to be on "fire" and normally don't even touch the hot peppers, i leave that to my partner.

I tried many of the remedies on here... found the most significant though temporary relief from sour cream. Thanks to that whole 5 minutes of my hands ceasing to burn, my brain was able to make a connection. Although it FEELS like they are "burning" it is actually Contact Dermatitis, much like Poison Ivy/Oak. I'm, actually a little bit of an "expert" on that, especially since getting it in a VERY uncomfortable place.

I have a whole "Poison Ivy" kit with various topical applications for the relief, removal, eradication of Urishol, the PI oil. One such product is "Zanfel" - its a ridiculously expensive little tube of scruby stuff with very particular instructions. It feels a lot like sand paper is removing your skin when applying, but it actually worked. My hands were slightly "burning" when i went to bed, but a tolerable & significantly less amount. When I awoke, absolutely NO pain. YAY!

So, I realize that you may not have this on hand... but I will surely keep it around. It does double duty! Poison Ivy & Hot Pepper Oil

Here is a link that might be useful: Movement & Massage Blog

    Bookmark   August 31, 2008 at 4:14PM
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Bleach. Regular old household bleach will take it out. Rubber gloves avoids the problem to begin with, but if you must get it out of your skin then bleach works great. Fast too.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 12:41AM
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scarpetti(Zone 9)

All men!!!!!! Just make sure you wash it all off or use gloves while handling chilis before any hanky panky with the wifey!!!!!! I almost had my whole chili garden gutted because I didn't follow correct procedures!!!!!

    Bookmark   September 8, 2008 at 11:10PM
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I've found that I have a very high tolerance for Capcaisan when it comes to hands as well. I can cut all sorts of Peppers and not feel anything. When I lick the fingers (and especially under the nails), then it burns. So, I've never used gloves. Have made sure to not burn my wife though.

Anyway, I thought it was never going to be a problem. But, this year, I've had loads of Fatali, Habs and Scotch Bonnets. I've sliced them in 2 and put them in the dehydrator. There's a couple of days, where I've been cutting those kinds of peppers for an hour straight. What I've found, is that with exposure lasting that long, it will seep through the skin and burn "on the inside" of the fingers. Literally feel like the entire finger-tips are on fire. I seem have a pretty high tolerance for that kind of pain as well, so I've just let burn and die out after a day or two. I noticed that it burned the worst when I got my fingers wet. Since I swim 3 days a week, my fingers were hurting the worst when doing that. Being in the Sauna or hot-tub after-wards were distinctly a very painful experience. I did not use those the second time I cut that many peppers this season.

In the end, I'll probably just keep on doing it how I'm doing (unless, I for some miracle actually remember to get Gloves at the store sometime before next season!). I'll just make sure I cut them after a work-out session in the pool so that it will be at least a day and a half before I go again. Gotta love it :)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2008 at 2:34AM
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It isn't the oil on the skin that is the only problem, it is that capsaicin "bonds" with the skin cells,including nails, and there is no way that I know to release that bond(the stainless bar might do the trick). The skin has to wear off. Fortunatly we shed cells quickly and soaking in acidic products or scrubbing with an abrasive removes them faster. Cortisone, aloe and ice water will all give some relief from the pain until the cells are gone.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2008 at 3:24PM
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habbob(San Diego)

Haha, our buddy made the mistake of handling bonbero peppers and then taking a leak without washing his hands at all. He thought his Mexican heritage would protect him or something.

I did it with a chocolate hab which is many times hotter. The worst part of getting the burn down there is there is nothing you can do about it. Our buddy tried to wash it off and just ended up spreading it around his package. Cold water only helps while you're under it. As soon as you remove certain body parts from it, it's right back to burning. He spent about 20 minutes on the floor curled up in a ball. All I could do is laugh cause I had it so much worse than him.


    Bookmark   September 28, 2008 at 4:36PM
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Make a batch of iced tea, and save the grounds. Make a poultice out of the grounds,making sure they are very damp, almost wet and wrap tour fingers in them. 30 minutes and there is no residual heat.

I mused this after remembering a muscle pull when 15, took hot shower and applied the old brand "HEAT". Total pain!

The occasion that called for the musing was making a 15 gallon batch of Bhut Jolokia chili, not using gloves like a dumass!

    Bookmark   September 30, 2008 at 12:21PM
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I, too, have been a victim of my own carelessness with hot peppers. My husband loves hot salsa, and eats jalapenos plain with almost every meal. He once complained my salsa wasn't quite hot enough so I decided to oblige him with the secret addition of some habeneros. I cut one in half and put it through a garlic press, took it out and put it through again aloing with a piece of garlic to help push ALL the oil through I possibly could. No problem cutting or handling the peppers (probably because I do it on a regular basis and have developed a tolerance) but when I ran the garlic press under steaming hot water at the sink I accidentally inhaled a couple breaths of the steam and coated my throat and upper airway with the oil. I choked until I thought I would faint from lack of oxygen! When I didn't stop gagging and coughing my husband came in to see if I needed real help. When he saw what happened he almost passed out from laughing at me! We'll probably be laughing about it until we're too old to remember our names. Lesson learned here - no matter what you do to protect yourself during the preparation PLEASE be careful during clean-up. Don't let your guard down till you've cleaned up everything! And he loved the salsa!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2008 at 3:21PM
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Thank you, Thank you, Thank you to all who gave suggestions on how to stop the burn! I used waterless hand cleaner, alcohol AND grease cutting dish soap WITH hot water. THEN I put aloe gel on my hands. Now I am down to a slow burn instead of excruciating pain. I will NEVER cut peppers without gloves again!

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 2:26AM
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what i did was this: after trying everything i just washed of with milk. that helps and also is good for post burning. also once when my nostrils where on fire i jumped into a pool for like 10 minutes it was fun and the chlorine removed the capsicum . 1 more question are there any other forms of hot materials beside capsicum like in hot paprika or is it the only hot substance known to man?

    Bookmark   April 16, 2010 at 2:52AM
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Unbelievable how much that hot pepper juice can hurt! After reading the posts here, I tried ketchup (not having tomato paste on hand). The ketchup has the advantage of also containing vinegar. Instantly I felt cooling, but after ten or fifteen minutes the hot tingling would begin again and continue to get worse. I rubbed rubbing alcohol into my hands, followed with bag balm, a very healing ointment available at most drug stores. That completely stopped the problem.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2010 at 11:48AM
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I prepared peppers last night; no problems. But woke up this morning with my fingers burning like crazy.

While reading this thread, I started sucking on one finger (as some have suggested). Amazing how much spice is still there. By the time I finished this thread, that finger wasn't spicy anymore.

So, now I have 9 more to go.
Thanks for the advice :)

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 9:25AM
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Never Ending Hot Pepper Stories.
I can handle any kind of hot pepper. It does not botter my hands that much.
But if I forget to wash my hands right away with SOAP AND WATER, and touch accidentally
my other parts of body(mostly eyes ) then I feel the heat.

As already mentioned the hot stuff in peppers is some kind of oil. So good soap-n-water can wash it away.
But if your mouth, eyes, nose is on fire you cannot used soap-n- water.
Use sour yogurt, vinegar, lemon juice instead.
I think acids also desolve that hot oil.
To prevent that hot stuff from penetrating your hands' skin, take some cooking oil and rub it into you hands,
before handling hot pepper. Even a thin layer of oil can be a barrier, or can just absorb the
hot oil from pepper.
For me it is funny to wear plastic glove while cooking. Kitchen sould not be like a hospital. lol

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 10:48PM
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    Bookmark   July 11, 2010 at 3:52PM
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chesnok(z6 AR)

The best thing i have found is MUD. Works very well and very fast. Much better than soap and water or milk or alcohol, etc. I think it is similar to how mud is used in spas or how charcoal absorbs chemicals.

Several years ago, my parents bought about 10-20 pepper plants, including a couple of habaneros. I was making a bunch of salsa (which ended up hurting my stomach for hours) and forgetfully scratched near my eyes. my eyes burned for an hour. Some spots around my eyes are scarred and still itch on and off every day.

    Bookmark   July 14, 2010 at 1:14PM
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Okay ... thanks to all that suggested remedies. I've tried them all today. The ONLY thing I found that works is MILK. COLD MILK. Hot water just opens the pores in your skin so it stands to reason the pepper oil will soak deeper. Therefore, COLD is better. I soaked in cold milk for 30 minutes and no more burn (except when I stick my hands in hot water). SIMPLE MILK! NOTE TO SELF: PURCHASE GLOVES (OR A COW)!

    Bookmark   July 17, 2010 at 11:02PM
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I was making Texas Caviar and decided to mix up all of the ingredients (including the chopped jalapeno) with my bare hands. I had no idea this would be such a problem! After much burning and reading through this thread... I can say that acetone works. Thanks the suggestions to try!

Seems like those little peppers need to come with big warning labels! =)

    Bookmark   January 1, 2011 at 11:47AM
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I was making chili and did not were gloves to chop up the jalapeno peppers. It wasn't until a hour after I chopped the peppers that my hands started burning. I used dawns, baking soda didn't work. I realized that I have hand Sanitizer it took out the buring almost instantly cause of the alcohol. I did have to do it a few times.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 1:46AM
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I cut five banana peppers having NO idea that they were HOT. As I'm getting them in the jar, my fingers start to burn...a burn that just gets worse and worse as time passed.

I tried just about everything that's mentioned in this post and more - fresh aloe, milk soak (felt great but didn't last), tomato rub, alcohol wipes, rubbing alcohol, mineral oil, dish soap, vinegar, baking soda, witch hazel, and a liberal dose of beer (taken internally!). All soothing, but the burn kept coming back.

My daughter read that some folks use WD-40. I sprayed a lot on my hands and made sure it got up under my nails. It didn't stop the burn right away but within a few minutes the burn became bearable and started to fade away.

I took a couple of benedryl that knocked me out like a light. Woke up this morning feeling slightly tender but no burn.

So, while it could have been just a matter of timing, it seemed like the liberal application of WD-40 cured me.

    Bookmark   May 30, 2011 at 9:50AM
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augusthottie02_yahoo_com getting jalopena pepper juice out of my.eye

    Bookmark   June 23, 2011 at 11:45PM
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try murphys oil soap.... worked the first time

    Bookmark   July 1, 2011 at 7:41PM
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Work a blob of butter into your hands and fingers well, then squirt some dish-washing liquid onto that and work in well, then rinse with(comfortably)hot water. This works in the same way as a waterless hand cleaner(Goop or GOJO type). Don't wait until you've cut up 5lbs of pods, but clean your hands at least a couple of times throughout the process.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2011 at 3:27AM
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If you get it in your eyes try rubbing your hair on your eyelids it takes like 10 minutes of rubbing but it fixes it

    Bookmark   July 3, 2011 at 10:03PM
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OK, gloves for cutting peppers. What about for picking them? Will simply picking Bhut Jolokias or other super hots cause your hands and fingers to become contaminated to the point you would be in a world of hurt if you happen to subsequently touch your fingers to your eyes, mouth or other sensitive areas?

    Bookmark   July 5, 2011 at 3:13PM
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I've always just used dish-washing soap, though I've been a little more careful lately after going to the bathroom and having my junk burn for couple hours.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2011 at 7:31PM
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The first time I cut up fresh jalapenos, I scraped the seeds out with my finger nail. I didn't know that was a no no! My finger nails burned for 2 or 3 days! So, the next time I cut some up, I scraped the seeds out with a spoon and I had no problem at all. (I still did not wear gloves.) So last night, I cut up some peppers and scraped the seeds out with a spoon, just like before. The only difference this time was the peppers had been in the fridge for about a week, and the skin was starting to wrinkle. I didn't notice anything until 1:00 this morning, when the pain on the fingers and palm of my left hand woke me up! I thought I must have burned it my hand on a hot surface while I was fixing dinner. The pain was almost unbearable! There was no redness, it just burned like crazy! I finally remembered cutting up the peppers and realized they were the cause. So like a lot of people who have posted here, I googled "jalapeno pepper on hands", and found this forum. I tried almost all of the remedies posted. I didn't try the straight bleach. That just seemed too risky. Several things did seem to help. The vinegar, tomato juice, and milk all seemed to ease the pain. But, I think what made the most difference was washing several times with Soft Scrub With Bleach. I was finally able to go back to bed at 6:00 and get some more sleep. The next time my husband wants fresh jalapenos in something he will have to cut them up HIMSELF!

    Bookmark   July 11, 2011 at 10:03AM
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I read this in my search for help, "USE rubber gloves, NOT latex, the molecules of capsicum are smaller then the holes in the latex and will pass through.
believe me I learned the hard way... burning hands for 3 days.
I also use a grease/oil cutter like dish soap, since the capsicum is an oil, the dish soap will wash most of it out."

I made the mistake of using latex and the gloves let my hands get burned. I also used a hand towel to dry my hands after washing and I am convinced that the oil from the towel was reapplied with the drying process. Cold vinegar in a tall plastic cup kept me from crying but I couldnt sleep. When I took them out they started to burn again. Washed with lemon juice, washed and scrubbed with dish washing liquid and a brush, washed with vegetable oil, washed with alcohol, appiled aloe vera with lidicaine-no help, applied Solarcaine-no help. Soaking in cool cider vinegar made it tolerable. However, I didnt change the vinegar and wash in between. Now I read about the guy who used white cool vinegar, and actually saw the oils in the vinegarso I should have changed the vinegar after each soak. I was up till the wee hours in distress, glad that after the last scrubbing with the brush and dish soap I looked at the towel and realized that I might have been putting oil back onto my hands-duh! So next time I will use real rubber gloves, wash hands and use disposable paper towels for extra good measure.

    Bookmark   September 8, 2011 at 1:45AM
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Yup, I made the latex mistake myself.

Thought I was being all careful with my superhots, with my fancy gloves. Half an hour later I went to the bathroom.

You ever had 1 million scovilles on your crotch? Holy fark!

    Bookmark   September 9, 2011 at 2:11PM
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Cut peppers all the time with no problem in the US. I moved to Thailand and made a batch of salsa because it does not really exist here. Anyways, cut up all these thai peppers and my hand was on fire. After reading all these post I had to get creative with not having anything at my new apartment. I put my hand in a empty bag of Lays potato chip's. The fatty oils from the chips soaked up the pepper oil and my hand was better before I got done before getting threw the 100+ post in here.

Must say I enjoyed these stories. My wife was laughing her arse off about the post where Husband drove wifey around with her hand out the window.

    Bookmark   October 16, 2011 at 3:13PM
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vajeff(7b VA)

Painful story, but interesting discovery...

I finally got around to making jalapeno poppers today. They were supposed to be mild, so I didn't bother using gloves. Well, I washed my hands after cleaning a few and went to the restroom. Needless to say, not even 10 minutes later the burn kicked in. And I thought these were supposed to be mild! I've used them in salads, salsa, and barbecue sauces, and they weren't hot at all.

Anyway, I tried everything.... dish detergent, lotions, shampoo, bodywash, cold water, hot water, salt, etc etc etc. Well, I finally found something that worked: wash with bodywash (or shampoo) that has menthol under warm water, dry, use rubbing alcohol, wash again under warm, then again under cold, apply conditioner (I used Dove Revival with pomegranate and some other mess), rinse under cold. The burn was gone!

Went back to cleaning the jalapenos, but used gloves this time. Well, half an hour later my hands started to burn like mad. I guess I still had capsicum on my fingers. So anyway, tried the same method again and sure enough the burn faded away. Still a little tingle, but hardly noticeable.

Just adding my two cents... and embarassment.

    Bookmark   October 17, 2011 at 3:00PM
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This is from Wiki (I alternated light scrubbing with a soft toothbrush, vegetable oil and dish soap, under running cold water - it did the trick):

"For external exposure, bathing the membrane surfaces that have contacted capsaicin with oily compounds such as vegetable oil, paraffin oil, petroleum jelly (Vaseline), creams, or polyethylene glycol is the most effective way to attenuate the associated discomfort[citation needed]; since oil and capsaicin are both hydrophobic hydrocarbons the capsaicin which has not already been absorbed into tissues will be picked up into solution and easily removed. Capsaicin can also be washed off the skin using soap, shampoo, or other detergents. Plain water is ineffective at removing capsaicin, as are vinegar, bleach, sodium metabisulfite, topical antacid suspensions, and other home remedies.
If ... ingested, cold milk is an effective way to treat the burning sensation (due to caseins having a detergent effect on capsaicin[59]). The burning and pain symptoms can also be relieved by cooling, such as from ice, cold water, cold bottles, cold surfaces, or a flow of air from wind or a fan. In severe cases, eye burn might be treated symptomatically with topical ophthalmic anesthetics; mucous membrane burn with lidocaine gel. The gel from the aloe plant has also been shown to be very effective."

    Bookmark   December 10, 2011 at 4:23PM
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I FOUND THE CURE...........
I have cut fresh peppers before, but this time my hands caught on fire! It was unbearable!!
A FRESH ALOVERA LEAF!! Took the pain right out. Your hands will fell hot, but its manageable heat, the aloe takes away all the pain.
I spent hours soaking my hands in....
1.Milk Bath 5.Malox
2.Tomato sauce 6.Lemonjuice
3.Clorox Soak 7.Vinegar
4.Dawn Dishsoap 8.Ice Bath
My daughter cut a piece of her Aloe plant, My husband peeled it, I rubed the Aloe slime on my hands and got INSTANT RELIEFE!

    Bookmark   May 5, 2013 at 10:04PM
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Good to know. Thanks for sharing.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 11:34AM
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juliesierra - Dawn didn't work for you? It always works really great for me, but, maybe I do it differently than most. I squeeze some out in my hand and treat it like hand cream, I rub and rub until it is completely absorbed, then I add water to rinse. It has never failed me.

    Bookmark   May 6, 2013 at 6:41PM
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I tried several of the ideas offered and finally figured capsasium oil must be similar to the oil of poison ivy. I went immediately to Ivyrest and then used Cortaid post ivy exposure cloths. Used the cloths, followed it with a good scrubbing of GoJo. "Broke" the oil chain with the poison ivy cleaner and cooled it with the Ivyrest.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2013 at 10:33PM
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seysonn(8a WA/HZ 1)

One of the ,perhaps, oldest threads, running for some 7 years !!

Let me put my 2 cents in the hat here:

There are several issues here that have gotten all mixed up.

1) how to prevent the HOT PEPPER oil from getting into your hand. This is a PREVENTIVE measure. No doubt, wearing some kind of glove, Saturating your hands with some kind of oil, ... can work in most case.

2) You do not do (1) above. Obviously your hands are infected. Then there are 2 possibilities:
(a) your hands feel ok even without washing but the problem is if you touch your other body parts with your hands( like your nose, eyes,etc ...) then you'll have a problem. So lets call this CASE 2a: In this case you need to wash off your hands with something that can disolve the pepper oil off your hands. We know that the stuff that burns is some kind of OIL. So you have to treat your hands with something that will disolve and remove it. Any dgreaser can do this, to some extent. Oils also wash and dilute other oils. Have you tried to clean your greasy hands with motor oil ? It works. Then you use soap and warm water to remove the motor oil.
I personally after handling hot pepperes with bare hands, wash my hands with liquid soap(no water) first. I try to continue doing it and leaving it on for a couple of minutes. Then I wash it off with the warmest water that I can stand. Repeat if necessary.

CASE 2b: You handled hot peppers without any preventive measure and then your hand are burning BADLY. You may try above mentioned washing method, but SORRY, it might wash the residue of the stuff , but it is NOT going probably stop your hands from burning and itching. It is too late. Your body (hands in this case) are showing allergic reaction. The stuff has gotten into your system already. Probably, an itch cream or burn oinment can help. It all depends on the sensetivity of your body. We can all develop tolerance to this over generations and life time. I have seen in a documentary (I think it was Wrigley's Believe It Or Not) that is East Indian woman crushed Bhut Jolokia in her hands and then robbed it all over and inside her eyes, without showing any reaction. When an Indian infant is breast fed fed by her mother, that milk is already hot and spicy. That is how they develop immunity against hot peppers.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 1:41AM
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I got a Hob seed in my eye once. Not a good thing Wear safety glasses when dealing with super hots.Took some time to get the seed out Some things you never forget

    Bookmark   September 3, 2013 at 8:48AM
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Dilute Clorox solution has always worked for me.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2013 at 10:55PM
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I can personally vouch for the remedy recommended jwpopp (from wayback on Jun 10 2006).

I was spreading some Capzasin cream on my wife's shoulders (capzasin being the fiery component of pepper juice). A couple of hours later, I was awoken from sleep with burning fingers.

Following jwpopp's suggestion, I soaked my fingers for 10 minutes in a bowl of normal white vinegar and the relief is tremendous and sustained.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 3:20AM
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chilliwin(EU DK 7)

It is a good subject for the people who are a bit careless like me :-) I usually use glove when I do handling hot peppers sometimes I did not.

I use olive oil to wash my hands, I massage my hands for a few minutes and cleaned with paper towel and wash with soap again. It works for me.


    Bookmark   November 25, 2013 at 12:07PM
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