16

I was wiping my eyes with my hands as they felt itchy and I immediately felt a sharp, burning sensation and realized that I let pepper juice (jalapeno) get into my eyes. I went to the sink and tried rubbing my eyes and splashing cold water into my eyes, but it didn't help much. After fifteen minutes I was fine, but I need the recovery to be faster.

Is there any faster way to:

  1. Remove the pepper juice (if possible)
  2. Make my eyes stop burning like heck?
18

For quick pain alleviation, put a cold, wet rag on the eye. This won't last, but what will is washing your eye out with milk. Get about a fluid ounce of milk (if you have a shot glass, fill that up). Whole milk works best, but 1% and 2% should also work. You can flush out your eyes with this milk. Rest the cup of milk on the bone at the base of you eye. Pour it on your eye and try to keep your eye open (hold it open if you can). This will be a bit messy, but it is worth it. If you don't feel comfortable washing your eye out in the shower. It won't be as effective, but it still works.

Next time, right after you are done cutting the peppers (or whatever else you do with them) wash your hands with olive oil. Olive oil will wash up the part of the pepper juice that makes it burn.

  • 1
    Also, don't touch your eyes for a while after handling peppers. A day is a good estimate. Just don't touch your eyes. – Justin Feb 26 '15 at 2:04
  • @Quincunx Isn't touching your eyes literally doing about the same thing pepper spray does? I know the active ingredient in the two is typically the same. – cpast Feb 26 '15 at 10:05
  • 1
    Oil will not "break up" the capsaicin, it will just wash it away, which water cannot do since the stuff is fat-soluble but not water-soluble. Soap also works - not great, needs to be done multiple times and of course not comfortable for the eyes. – Michael Borgwardt Feb 26 '15 at 12:40
  • 1
    @Quincunx if you get your hands clean, you don't need to wait a day(!) for that. The thing to keep in mind is that rinsing your hands with water won't remove the capsicin, but a bit of oil for your fingertips/nails followed by a normal soap wash would allow you to, say, scratch your nose without consequences. NB! getting pepper out of your hands is something that you must do before doing things suggested in this answer. Handling stuff around your eyes while your fingers still have capsicin residue will only make it worse. – Peteris Feb 26 '15 at 16:51
  • Is there any easier way? – Anthony Pham Feb 26 '15 at 22:54
13

Remove, pepper juice no.

Deactivate pepper juice effects, yes!

A method that I've personally seen work in an extreme case is :

Mash bananas and rub onto affected areas - typically eyes and area around them.
Apparently ripe bananas work better

Q: Does it work?

A: Oh yes!

This was used on the advice of friends from India. It worked - story below.


Around the web:

  • Many sites suggest that washing in milk works

  • A number of sites say that Aloe Vera in a number of forms works well.

  • Some say that water works - and many say that it doesn't

  • I have seen banana work miracles - see below.


The Banana Experience:

Long ago my then-young son decided to play with peppers in a dish. We told him to leave them alone and that it was dangerous but he persisted.
He was well coated with the juices around and in his eyes before he or we realised.
His skin rapidly reddened in patches and he was in extreme pain.
Crying and yelling accompanied by everything logical we could think of were minimally effective. He was a very unhappy chappie.

We rang friends who had spent several decades in India.
"Bananas" they said. "Ripe ones are best. Squash & apply".
We had none. I headed rapidly for the nearest fruit shop.
Back with bananas maybe 10 minutes later I was confronted by the still screaming, crying red-faced victim.

Peel/squash/splat. Done! Just like that. Instant fix.

Whether he was especially sensitive to the banana remedy and whether it would work as well for others, or for all pepper types I know not. But as the advice was based on extensive Indian experience it may indeed be relatively universal.


Related:

As a well read child I'd heard that the antidote for Stinging-Nettle burn was to rub Dock leaves onto the affected areas. I live in NZ. We have stinging nettles which are usually far worse than the UK/European variety but they are usually only found in remote areas. Dogs and a few people have been killed by them, but its rare. I once got badly burnt by them, but that's another story.

My wife and I visited Britain and continental Europe in 2003. I and my camera tend to clamber and wander off the beaten path. In England I found that a shortcut off the path in Sherwood Forest took me through groves of knee deep stinging nettles. At Tunbridge castle I tried to walk the olde wall from the Mott to the Bailey. Agh - more nettles (maybe deliberately placed?). In Flanders Fields very few poppies grew. I jumped an irrigation ditch to get closer to some I saw. I landed on all fours in a patch of guess what! And more.

On ALL such occasions in Europe, Docks did indeed grow immediately adjacent and squashing their leaves and rubbing onto the affected areas helped greatly (if not a perfect fix).
Bananas may, just maybe, have worked as well but banana palms are at a substantial premium in the European countryside.

FWIW "Stingoes" spray on anti sting "custom medicine" works VERY well for REAL NZ Sting Nettles. Without it I may have needed to be hospitalised. Interestingly, it claims to be nothing except Aluminium Sulphate.

  • I would like to remove the pepper juice too if possible – Anthony Pham Feb 26 '15 at 22:50
  • and if I can use other fruits – Anthony Pham Feb 26 '15 at 23:08
1

Most kinds of shampoo work well for removing hot pepper juice. You specifically want a shampoo that contains propylene glycol.

You are trying to remove capsaicin, an oil that does not dissolve in water and only slightly mixes with regular soap. Water alone will just spread it around and make things worse. Soap will work eventually, but requires many washings and in the meantime will also spread the capsaicin around. Other oils such as vegetable oil will mix with the capsaicin and allow it to more easily be washed away by soap.

Propylene glycol, on the other hand, does a pretty good job of dissolving the capsaicin directly, allowing it to be washed away quickly. Many kinds of shampoo have the added bonus of being formulated in such a way that they won't seriously irritate your eyes.

0

I just had this happened to me minutes ago, jalapeno oil in my eye. I dipped a paper towel in 2% lactaid milk and held it on my eye. Instant relief.

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