Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Not About Food >
Sep 18, 2006 08:46 PM

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?


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  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!) 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.