So, I foolishly ignored advice about wearing gloves while handling hot peppers. I thought since they were "just" anaheim peppers I'd be fine... I was wrong, and I repent.

Does anyone know of a way to stop the burning? I have washed my hands repeatedly with soap in hot water and tried OTC burn spray.

I'm really worried about getting it off b/c I have a little baby & I don't want to get it on her, too. Can the oil transfer to someone else still?

  • 2
    Oh no! Is this related to the double roasted peppers from the salsa thread?
    – hobodave
    Aug 1, 2010 at 3:26
  • 4
    It can feel much, much worse. I'd rather not elucidate. -- Not directly in answer to your question, but as far as preventing it in the future. Wear gloves; avoid touching the seeds and white parts inside; after removing core and seeds, cut with the outside facing up; use a little bit of lemon juice to break up the capsicum oil when washing. Aug 1, 2010 at 3:30
  • @hobodave Yes, yes it is. Note for the future: wear gloves. Salsa's good, though. I'm about to start canning it. Aug 1, 2010 at 3:32
  • 1
    ...and for goodness sake, wash your hands thoroughly BEFORE going to the toilet!!!
    – SF.
    Nov 5, 2013 at 6:29

6 Answers 6


Capsaicin is oil/fat-soluble so try washing your hands with a little whole milk, or rub with sour cream or vegetable oil and see if that helps.

Just as you can get it in your eyes if you rub them with your fingers, I'm sure you can easily transfer it to your baby.

I'm just surmising here, not speaking from experience so if you try any of these, be sure to let us know how they worked....or what you did instead.

  • 4
    You are my hero, seriously. I happened to have some sour cream in the fridge. Aaaaahhhh. Much better. Can I send you some salsa as a prize? :) Aug 1, 2010 at 2:41
  • I'm glad to hear it worked! Since dairy helps attract capsaicin from nerve-endings inside the mouth I figured it could likely do the same to the exterior too. Salsa is always welcome! Aug 1, 2010 at 2:57
  • 1
    +1 Dairy is the only way to go. One reason that buffalo wings come with bleu cheese or ranch dip.
    – squillman
    Aug 1, 2010 at 4:25
  • 3
    @squillman: You actually use that? Weak. :-D
    – hobodave
    Aug 1, 2010 at 6:04
  • @hobo: haha, didn't say that I actually USE it :P
    – squillman
    Aug 2, 2010 at 2:26

Mythbusters tested capsaicin cures a few years ago.

It was Episode 91 - "Shooting Fish in a Barrel"

Whole Milk was their control as the already known go to cure, and nothing beat it.

They Tested:

  • water
  • beer
  • tequila
  • toothpaste
  • petroleum jelly
  • wasabi
  • 1
    Way to go Mythbusters! Sep 24, 2010 at 17:48

Capsaicin, the active ingredient that makes chili peppers hot, is not soluble in water, but it does dissolve in fat or alcohol. BTW, it is not an acid, but is a complex chemical similar to the main flavoring in vanilla; it directly stimulates the nerves.

While washing your hands in vodka might be a little extravagant, you might try vegetable oil, and then washing that off with soap and water.

Be very careful not to touch your eyes or other sensitive areas until the capsaicin is removed from your hands.

  • 3
    +1 on the vodka. Best use for cheap vodka? Solvent.
    – papin
    May 5, 2014 at 12:32
  • 4
    The most important tips for newbies to a crab picking : wash your hands before using the bathroom.
    – Joe
    May 5, 2014 at 12:33
  • 1
    +1 for vegetable oil because vodka is 40% ethanol, very harsh for your skin. Capsaicin is soluble in most non-polar solvents, which includes both oils and alcohols. May 5, 2014 at 18:16
  • "vodka is 40% ethanol, very harsh for your skin" hehehe...Mischa...
    – jsanc623
    May 5, 2014 at 20:35

I heard today that pepper juices have barbs in which make them very difficult to wash off. The person I was speaking to said that rubbing your hands with milk is the best way to get rid of pepper oils and smells from your skin.

I haven't tried it myself but it's worth a go and you can let us know if it does work!

  • 6
    little mini barbs? you have to be kidding me
    – zanlok
    Jan 28, 2012 at 17:19

Rinsing your hands in a bleach solution (a few tablespoons in a bowl of water) will make the oil water-soluble, so it can be washed off.

  • Can confirm this as working, even if it is often called a myth. Jan 11, 2016 at 9:57
  • On second thought, I am crazy and it worked for me a few times when I used the bleach neat .. maybe it just corrodes the contaminated few microns of skin off your hands :) Jul 17, 2018 at 22:54

I tried everything from alcohol, lime juice, dawn detergent, vinegar...nothing helped until I finally used aspercreme with aloe. Sat with it on my hands (still burning) and waited about 10 minutes. It finally started working and I am finally now without pain..... Phew....3 hours of burning can take its toll. Thank God for aspercreme.

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