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help! chili pepper on fingers and have to take out contacts soon


I'm rather stupid and diced a chili without gloves. How can i get the fire off of my fingers so I can take my contacts out?


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  1. Rubbing alcohol will remove some of the pepper. I don't know if it will remove all of the pepper.

    Or try gloves: rubber/latex, wash them first (while on your hands).

    When I am concerned about what may be on my fingers, I use disposable latex gloves.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Alan408

      Hi I made jalapeno stuffed poppers today for a bbq had to cut 20 peppers... well I was ok for about twenty minutes until the burn came... it was horrible it felt like my hands were on fire like in a ragging fire and they were about to fall off... worst pain in my life. Well it was going on for about two hours... I tried tomatoes lime lemon juice eggwhites milk ketchup bleach washing a million times and nothing worked I then tried peeing on my hands and that didn't even work. My husband who's a doctor finally suggested taking a vicodin or a percocet because it will relieve the pain from the nerve ending and trick them well after about a half hours my hands felt fine and I was able to fall asleep it's about eight hours later and I just woke up and there is a slight burn but nothing crazy... moral of story must wear gloves lol worst pain ever I'm my life

    2. I'm guessing here that as long as you only touch your contact lens and maybe put some drops on your finger first, the contact lens itself may protect your eyes from the burning oils of the chili pepper. I recently had a corneal abrasion from a freak accident at work; was blowing up a balloon to decorate a co-worker's office who was returning after 6 months of cancer treatments and the balloon burst and snapped back into my eye. (it wasn't even halfway inflated!)...co-workers drove me to optical center and they promptly referred me as an emergency to an opthamologist. I was not wearing my contacts that afternoon and we wondered if I had been that it may have protected my eye from the abrasion, not sure. Eye is all healed up now but I was in bad pain for 2 days.

      7 Replies
      1. re: Val

        Umm, the problem will be for when the OP put the contacts back in. I've ruined a number of pairs of lenses by doing such a thing. I didn't notice any burning when I took out my lenses, but when I put them back in, boy did my eyes burn!

        1. re: Val

          oh nooooo, don't do that!! I tried it once, also thinking that there would be no direct contact between eyes and capsaicin. I was so so wrong -- I think there's enough fluid moving around the eye that unless you do it with surgical precision (which I did NOT have) you end up getting a little bit of the chili in your eye. And that is all you need to insure a few very unpleasant minutes of burning.

          I like the idea of using latex gloves. Or even just wrap your finger with some plastic wrap before removing the contacts.

          1. re: MichaelB

            Contacts really protect your eyes, I have extended wear so they are in most of the time and when I cut onions without, it's so weird to feel my eyes tear. Anyway hot stuff, always use gloves, it's so worth it (since you can get 100 gloves for $3 and change). But anyway this thread is so old, I don't think it's an emergency anymore!

            1. re: coll

              even extended wear contacts should be taken out daily, leaving them in is about the worst thing you can do. make sure to use plenty of eyedrops to lube if they get sticky.

              1. re: divadmas

                Well I've been wearing them this way since 1982, so far so good. Never sticky or irritating, my eyes feel worse when they're out, no protection. Just lucky I guess.

                My eye doctor not only approves but says I can reuse the lens a second time to save money. When I first started wearing them, the suggestion was 30 days before taking out, so I have dialed it back quite a bit.

                1. re: coll

                  I know this is way old but still be careful with extended wear contacts. I assist in surgery and you would be surprised how many patients we have had to surgically remove fused contacts from. They can actually imbed into the eye and the patient can lose not only vision in the eye but the eye itself. In 17 years I have never worked with an ophthalmologist (eye surgeon not the one who checks your vision) who approves of continuous contact wear, even with extended lenses.

                  1. re: Haha37

                    While I'm no fan of extended wear and have treated many a corneal infiltrate and ulcer from contact lenses, I have never seen or heard of imbeded lenses in the cornea and know no one that has had to surgically remove a lens from the cornea. Single use lenses rock.

        2. I know that drinking milk works on the palate, surely it could work on your fingers as well. Soak them for a bit, and then wash like hell. A good way to tell if you have removed all of the offending oils would be to touch your finger to your tongue.

          Good luck- I hope that whatever you do works out.

          1. contacts are porous so i do not think that they would protect the eye...

            1 Reply
            1. re: Yaxpac

              They would protect your eyes from splashes and so on While porous, they are porous on a microscopic level to permit the movement of oxygen and ions across the contact lens barrier. If you splash something in your eyes, they would protect your eye provided you use an eyewash bottle and remove the contacts too, to prevent whatever it is from permeating the contact and resting on your eye. Of course, this depends on what is splashed, too, but we are really just thinking about cooking here.

            2. You might want to wash your fingers in a citric acid based solution, like lemon juice mixed with water.

              Lemon juice and sugar is sometimes used to tone down the heat of an over-spiced dish. It might work on your chili-ed fingers.

              1. The people's pharmacy site says

                "To remove capsaicin from the hands, milk or vinegar may be more effective than water."


                Another site suggested yogurt.

                You also might rub your hands with dry salt. Personally, I'd use each and every one of the suggestions in this thread eliminating anything water-based which just spreads the oil. I've stupidly gotten chile in my eyes twice this year and it is not pleasant.


                1 Reply
                1. re: rworange

                  I would believe the milk (and maybe yogurt) suggestion since the casein (a lipophilic protein) acts as a detergent, neutralizing the capsaicin. However, I'm not speaking from experience since I can barely deal with contacts even with clean hands. :p Good luck!

                2. Assuming these aren't disposable contacts, the only sure thing is to wear gloves that someone else helps you put on or that you do with extreme dexterity to avoid possibly getting anything on the glove fingertips. By the time you put them back in, you should be OK,

                  These other things work some, sometimes, but if it were me, I wouldn't be willing to experiment with my corneas...

                  1. By gloves I mean the thin latex ones - I think pretty much all drugstores have them these days.

                    1. put your hands in 2 thin, clear, plastic Glad or produce type bags - you should be able to maneuver through them. Of course anyone who does chilis and raw chix often should own a box of thin rubber examination gloves - but I'm assuming you would be using those already if you had them. So, please do go buy them soon.

                      1. If my fingers are stinging after handling hot peppers, I massage them with yogurt for 2-3 minutes, then wash thoroughly with soap and hot water (make sure to get under your nails).

                        1. A weak bleach solution is the best bet. First, wash your hands vigorously with an oil soap and hot water (or with a dish detergent which "cuts oil"), to lift any lingering oil of of the crooks, crannies and textures of your hand, then soak briefly in a dilute bleach mixture... then , wash again, as you REALLY don't want bleach in your eyes either... but unlike the capsaicin oil, the bleach is water soluble, so you can wash it off.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Booklegger451

                            This is the best solution - in every sense. Bleach reacts with capsaicin, effectively destroying it. The other methods are trying to remove it.

                          2. Wash your hands thoroughly. Then rub them thoroughly on something stainless-steel -- a sink would be best, but a large spoon is fine.

                            Then wash your hands again, and take out your contacts.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: Das Ubergeek

                              I know that works to get smells out of your hands, like garlic and onions. I've never heard of that for getting hot pepper off!

                              1. re: Kagey

                                I used to wear contacts (pre-LASIK) and this worked for me. YMMV.

                            2. I recall reading that the ladies who handle the roast chilis "wash" their hands with cut open lemons.

                              1. I know this is more than likely too late, but Head & Shoulders dandruff shampoo works for me. I discovered it by accident, don't ask, but it works really well - then wear gloves when handling peppers in the future.

                                1. Well, what happened? Are you still alive? Can you see???

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: rabaja

                                    Yeah, but if the OP is blind ... we'll never get an answer. I would be interested in what method was used. I'd would have chosen for the latex gloves ... but doing everything else ... Head & Shoulders ... huh.

                                  2. Well, I'm currently candying a bunch of very hot peppers in my Crockpot, and am working my way through the above suggestions to see what will remove the pepper oil from my fingers. These are extremely hot peppers, so I want to be sure that I've removed all the oil before I inadvertently rub my eyes. So far I've tried several scrubs with hot, soapy water no good. Then I used that Dawn concentrated grease-removing detergent -- ditto. Now I'm off to the kitchen to try yogurt and lemon juice. Will report back.

                                    2 Replies
                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                      Cool. Don't forget the head and shoulders. Uh, when you report back ... how EXACTLY are you testing this ... rubbing your eyes after each experiment seems above and beyond and painful.

                                      1. re: rworange

                                        Don't forget the stainless steel, either.

                                    2. No way am I going to put one of these fingers in my eye! I'm simply touching different parts of my tongue after each "treatment." This is tenacious stuff! The lemon juice helped a little, as did the yogurt. Rubbing my fingers on stainless steel seemed to do nothing. Think I'm going to have to sandblast my finger tips.

                                      2 Replies
                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                        Really? Wow. Maybe I have freaky fingers, then.

                                        1. re: Das Ubergeek

                                          I think that these were just insanely hot peppers (when I went to bed last night, my fingers were still burning) -- the candied peppers are gorgeous, but so incendiary that the only people I can think of who might enjoy them are Korean.

                                      2. This reminded me of a story my in-laws were telling me about last night. They were young, just came from Portugual, been in Canada for three months and were craving some comfort from home. They decided to make some hot pepper paste (malagueta.. I guess 'massa de malagueta' for a more exact translation), though they had never before attempted to make it themselves. Not thinking to use gloves when preparing the peppers, the stuff got all under her fingernails and pretty much set them on fire. They went to the hospital where they didn't know enough english to explain what had happened and no one could help her.

                                        ...No good ending to this story, but she uses gloves all the time now. And I have the fruits of this year's malagueta labour in my fridge as of yesterday ;)

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: NovoCuisine

                                          That happened to us. We pickled a lot of hot peppers and thought nothing of it, washed our hands, cooked and ate dinner, and went to bed. Neither of us could sleep. Got up the next am, tired but wired. We bounced, buzzed, and otherwise flailed about all the next day. Somewhere we read that capsaisin in long enough contact with skin acts sorta like legal crank. It took about 24 hours for it to wear off. Sheesh!

                                        2. Ok, I was one of the geniuses that worked with jalapenos with no gloves. Having a 6 month old baby that wasn't the smartest thing in the book. I tried EVERYTHING from sugar and baby shampoo to scrubbing the top layer of skin off of my hands. I figured I was doomed. I woke up the next morning and got some orange juice concentrate and rubbed it on my hands the washed my hands with Dawn dish soap and hot water and it worked!

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: jena03218

                                            The Dawn is probably genius because of it being famous for cutting oil. It is often used to clean up birds caught in oil spills. I almost want to run out and buy a jalepeno to try this out. Of course, if you rub your eyes, Dawn won't help you there.

                                          2. The one time this happened to me, I took my contacts out using my knuckles. I'm not really sure how, but it worked...

                                            1. My first choice would be latex gloves. Second would be to have somebody else do it. Third would be good tweezers like Tweezerman where the tips are really thin -- but only if you have a delicate touch.

                                              1. I'm a chemist and I've had to get rid of chili oil before (not the contacts part, though). Wash your fingers with some fingernail polish remover. Then wash with a lot of water. Nail polish remover is mostly acetone and will dissolve most of the oils in chili peppers. Acetone is soluble in water so that's how you can get rid of it. Acetone may damage your contacts, espcially if they are plastic ones. That's why you need to wash with water.

                                                1. I've done this before with scotch bonet pepper's. Infact I forgot about it and touched several sensitive areas of my body before the burning began! In a panic I grabbed a carton of milk and essentially bathed in it. This turned out to be very effective. So I suggest you wash your hands several times with soap and water, and then with milk.

                                                  1. OK it is late November and I came across this thread. What did you do?

                                                    4 Replies
                                                    1. re: Alacrity59

                                                      Late November, and also three years later!

                                                      1. re: coll

                                                        Well, the thread HAS been seeing a bit of activity lately. It's a zombie! (By the way, I still stand by my bleach solution solution. It's the only sure thing I've found, and it's like magic. Or like science, actually!)

                                                        1. re: Booklegger451

                                                          Well, I hope the OP has managed to remove her contacts.

                                                          1. re: Paulustrious

                                                            I did; I just cant remember which technique I used1

                                                    2. No matter what method you use you should be able to taste your fingers and see if it is effective before proceding with the contact removal.

                                                      1. A box of disposable gloves belongs in every kitchen.
                                                        To protect your hands, to protect you from your hands....

                                                        Some of the poison ivy soaps (like Tecnu) are really good for both removing poison ivy oils and other too fragrant oils as well. These really cut into dirt and oils and anything else on hands (like removing onion smells before you are assembling a cake and don't want to take a chance on spreading scents.)

                                                        1. I did the stupid Christmas morning w/chipotles & late last night removed my contacts -- youch did it burn. This morning after washing my hands -- thinking that would be enough, put my contacts in -- youch again. Reading all the advice I went for a 50/50 bleach water soak, soaking each hand for 10 mins, followed by a detergent wash followed by 10 mins of yogurt soak, followed by a detergent wash. Sucking on my fingers I detected no burning. I adjusted one contact w/out any burning. So if you're ever as stupid as I was handling dried hot peppers w/out gloves, the bleach yogurt combo soak seems to have worked. Happy New Years to all.

                                                          1. I have used a scouring pad on my fingers with plenty of dish soap. The way to tell if you have been successful is to put your (hopefully) cleaned finger on your tongue. You will feel/taste any leftover hot stuff.

                                                            1. Wash your hands in milk then in lemon and finally with soap and warm water

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: mastercooker

                                                                i just cut and seeded one jalapeno by hand then washed, no finger pain, well a little. but i must have touched my lips because now my whole lip region is burning. now to cut up more jalapenos for pickled jalapenos and carrots.

                                                              2. I know thus years later. But I thought it best to post it here. I had burning fingers from cutting red chillis and the tiny bird chillis. I resolved it by putting my fingers in cold milk for about 15 mins and later fresh aloe Vera gel from the leaves itself. I happened to have the plant in my garden. I thought if it sooths sunburns it will surely do the trick. Yes it did!!! I had to put it on 3 times before the burning feeling was totally gone.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: Tengku

                                                                  Next time use latex or nitrile gloves

                                                                2. 8 years later...
                                                                  Obvious answer is that if you didn't wear gloves to chop the chili, wear gloves TO PUT THE LENSES IN. (rim shot)
                                                                  That is all.
                                                                  Good night and good luck.