What to do if you get Peppers or Hot Sauce in your eyes!

Hot sauce, or any substance derived from chili or jalapeno peppers (Tabasco, Sriracha, etc.), can cause horrible pain if it gets in your eyes.

Even small amounts can cause extreme irritation and burning sensations, as you may know if you have ever handled chilies or pepper products with your hands and then absent-mindedly rubbed your eyes.

Here are some tips to follow if hot sauce is in your eyes, derived from the Nemours Foundation:

  • Thoroughly wash your hands before touching the affected eye
  • Do NOT press or rub the eye
  • Gently flush the affected eye with lukewarm water or a saline solution for up to 15 minutes
  • If water does not bring relief, try gently pouring a small amount of whole milk into the eye. Milk neutralizes capsaicin, the chemical in peppers that causes spiciness.
  • Flush the milk out of the eye with water

In extreme cases you can call your local poison control center's 24-hour hotline for specific instructions, at 1-800-222-1222.

The burning and irritation will likely subside well before you feel the need to call poison control.

In strong doses, capsaicin can be a potent neurotoxin - hence its use in pepper spray.

However, a study published in the journal Investigative Ophthalmology & Visual Science found no long-term damage to the protective corneal tissue of the eye from a single exposure to capsaicin, though it is possible that repeated exposure can cause degradation and long-lasting changes to cornea sensitivity.

An insect repellent can be made from hot peppers!

Capsaicin the ingredient that puts the "hot" in hot peppers has been shown to be an effective repellent to insects.

Note that this is REPEL and not KILL. l.

A study done in 2002 indicated that whiteflies and mites were repelled for almost 2 months.
These studies were conducted in a greenhouse so it is highly unlikely that the spray would last for that long in an outdoor situation.

Capsaicin is likely to help control insect infestations especially mites and whiteflies.

Because it is a repellent rather than a poison, don't expect it to wipe out the pests overnight, or eradicate them for long.

Homemade hot pepper sprays will not be as effective as commercial sprays, primarily because commercial producers put more time and effort into making sprays than homeowners. Most commercial sprays include additives that allow the spray to stay on the plants for a longer period of time those homemade sprays will.