Pepper Spray Removal

Pepper spray is an excellent option when looking for a non-lethal and reliable self-defense tool. A majority of individuals use this weapon to protect themselves as well as their loved ones from potential danger. Using pepper spray can be quite challenging especially without the right skills. It’s not uncommon to hear of someone accidentally pepper spraying themselves. This sums up the reason why it’s equally important to learn pepper spray removal.

Knowing how to clean pepper spray off your face and how to wash pepper spray off skin is very vital. This information enables you to know how to react in such events and swiftly. Pepper spray contains an inflammatory compound called capsaicin that contributes to its burning effect. When you accidentally expose yourself to pepper spray, the effect will be on your eyes, skin, nose, and throat. Therefore, these are the areas that you should focus on flushing out first.

In this article, we discuss what to use to wash pepper spray and the most effective pepper spray cleaner to use.

Understanding Pepper Spray

Before you learn how to remove pepper spray effectively, you must understand what pepper spray is and how it works. Pepper spray also known as OC spray is a product whose main ingredient is Oleoresin Capsicum. OC is an inflammatory agent derived from chili peppers. It’s responsible for the pungent smell and taste of pepper spray.

OC spray causes pain, irritation, and temporary incapacitation to a person or animal. The effects last for a substantial amount of time allowing you to escape to safety. Once one is exposed to pepper spray, they experience a burning sensation in their eyes, excessive tearing, choking, temporary blindness, and burning of the skin. It’s important to note that although these effects are temporary, they can cause immense discomfort. Therefore, you have to know how to flush it in case of accidental exposure.

How to Clean Pepper Spray Off Face

The face is the most common place that pepper spray is usually directed at. Even while testing it out, you will most probably be holding it a few feet from your face. Therefore, the face is where you should focus your pepper spray removal on. The face has several affected areas and for each there is a method you should use. These areas include;

1.The Eyes

The first step once accidentally exposed to pepper spray is to stay calm. The burning sensation in your eyes can be quite intense but by staying calm you will be able to relieve this feeling faster. Once you’re calm, carefully remove your contact lenses (if any). Do this step with preferably clean hands and avoid touching or rubbing your eyes.

The most effective and safe way of cleaning your eyes is using water. If you can, get a friend to help you with this step since you may be having trouble seeing. Gently squirt your eyes with water continuously until you start feeling a reduction in the burning sensation. Although water does not bind the capsaicin, it helps to clear most of it from your eyes.

When removing pepper spray from your eyes, you can also use a mixture of water and a saline shampoo. Place this mixture in a spray bottle and spray it directly in your eyes. Another method you can use although less recommended is a mixture of milk and an antacid.

2.The Skin

A common question most people ask is how to wash pepper spray off skin. What is the effect of pepper spray on skin? The skin has a large surface area and hence it also gets largely affected. The first step should be applying milk to the affected area. Use a spray bottle to do this or alternatively splash it across the area. Once done, dip a clean in whole milk and lay it on the affected area. Although milk does not remove the oil from pepper spray, it helps to relieve the burning sensation.

Once the burning dies down, use a dishwashing soap to clean the area. The most recommended soap is dawn. Using the soap along with cold water removes the oils from pepper spray. Ensure you clean the area for a maximum of eight to ten times. On the first time, be careful not to rub the area as this will cause more irritation. Pour the soapy concoction onto the affected area or soak it in before you can start lightly rubbing it.

An important step you must not overlook when determining pepper spray to remove from skin is removing any clothing you had on. Be careful when doing this so as to avoid further contamination. If possible, use gloves while performing this step.

When Does Pepper Spray Wear Off?

How long until pepper spray wears off? There are several factors that determine how long for pepper spray to wear off. They vary depending on the individual, the OC composition of the specific pepper spray, and the amount of exposure. Generally, the effects of pepper spray range anywhere from around 20 to 45 minutes.

The effects, however intense, are temporary and eventually wear off on their own. The effects last longer and are more intense for individuals with sensitive skin or respiratory conditions such as asthma. Does pepper spray reactivate? The answer is no, once the effects subside completely, do not expect them to come back. If you are wondering how long does pepper spray reactivate there are only two rare symptoms that can cause this, one of them is re-exposure or incomplete removal or cleaning of the pepper spray. To avoid this, ensure that you eradicate pepper spray and wash thoroughly.

How to Clean Pepper Spray Off Surfaces

Cleaning pepper spray off surfaces is different from cleaning the skin and face. Ensure that there is ample, free circulation of air in the area you are in. If possible, ensure you get rid of any items that may have been exposed to the pepper spray.

Use a mixture of soap and water to gently rub on the affected surfaces with a sponge or cloth. For areas that can tolerate vinegar, it’s also a recommended product you can use. In case there are delicate areas or surfaces in your home, consider hiring professional services to assist you in cleaning. This way you can rest assured that the cleaning will be thorough and your surfaces are well taken care of.

Does Pepper Spray Dissipate?

Dissipation refers to the breaking down of particles depending on the environment. Pepper spray does indeed dissipate. However, there are various factors that determine this. One of these is ventilation. By allowing fresh air to flow freely in your space, you can replace the contaminated air.

Another factor is the type of surface the pepper spray has been sprayed on. Some surfaces do not hold pepper spray particles to last on them for long. This increases the rate of dissipation. Higher humidity and temperature levels also speed up the rate of dissipation of pepper spray.


With the rise of the use of pepper spray, it’s important to know how to use it as well as how to remove it. It’s not uncommon for a person to accidentally expose themselves to pepper spray when testing or spraying an assailant. Therefore, knowing how to clean your face, skin, and affected surface is vital.

Once you know how long the pepper spray residue lasts you are able to know how to clean it. By using the above guidelines as well as all the recommended products, you can effectively remove pepper spray. Whether you are cleaning parts of the body or surfaces in your house, you must know how to go about it. With the right skills and swift action, you can save yourself from the intense effects of pepper spray.


Written by: Georgina Njoki
Freelance Copywriter and Travel Enthusiast.








Leave a Comment