How can a clean my hands well after cutting hot peppers?

I cut some jalepenos earlier, and needed to clean my contact lenses. So, I washed my hands very slowly and carefully, using lots of liquid soap. TWICE.

But still, when I put in my lense… It was pure hell in my eye. If I had shoved a red-hot poker into it, it would have felt BETTER.

Is there an effective way to get all the capsaicin off the hands? Do I have to wash my hands ten times?

No answer, but I’m curious, too, as I’ve done this on several occassions. Washed my hands three times in hot soapy water. After the last time, I just gave up on wearing my contacts. The worst part is putting the contacts in, and then your eye seizing up such that you have to pry it open to get the damn contact out.


Wash them in milk first. Capsaicin isn’t water-soluble, but it will dissolve in milk.

I’ve had good results from rubbing my hands for a couple of minutes with a tablespoon of vegetable oil and then throughly washing with dishwashing liquid, paying special attention to under my nails.

I’ll bet an alcohol based hand sanitizer would work wonders, too.

Usually, though, I use latex gloves and the problem is minimized.

Whatever else you do, don’t touch your naughty bits!!! Owies!!!

If you wear contancts, it’s a particularly good idea to wear rubber gloves when handling hot peppers.

Isn’t that what soap is for, dissolving the stuff that isn’t water-soluble?

Ceciel talks a bit about peppers. Water doesn’t work because the hot stuff is a lipid (oil-based). Soap can have some effect on removing it, but it needs to have a detergent component (one half of a detergent molecule binds to water, the other to lipids).

Me? I use automotive hand cleaner after cutting up peppers. Works fine.

Or anyone elses! - I’ve done that before :eek: nothing for me that evening :smack:

Think laundry detergent would work?

LOL!!! :stuck_out_tongue: :stuck_out_tongue:

Get some latex or vinyl gloves, box of 50 about $5.
Use them when working with the hot peppers of all kinds, dispose of, and wash per above suggestions. An “Ounce of Prevention…” and all that rot. :slight_smile:

I second or third or whatever woashing your hand with milk. Some people recommend drinking milk instead of water if you’ve eaten something too hot for you. It isolates the ouchieness out of the peppers. So I don’t see why it shouldn’t work for your hands. Oh, and the higher fat content it has, the better.

If you don’t have latex gloves handy, use a couple of Ziplock or sandwich bags.

I think I hafta agree with spingears on this. It’s not like disposable “rubber” gloves are that expensive. And they’re a good idea for a variety of kitchen tasks. {My skin reacts in somewhat allergic fashion to citrus. And I like to make my mother’s version of “ambrosia” at times. This requires separating the sections and removing the “skin” (membrane which surrounds the individual sections) from them, for both oranges and grapefruit. About 20 years ago, I realized that my hands were practically raw by the time I finished this very picky task. :slight_smile: Guess what I came up with as a solution to the problem?}

OTOH, I know what will kill the capsaicin burn in the mouth. I learned that from the “afters” provided in restaurants serving spicy hot Asian cuisines. I’ll bet many Dopers have eaten such meals, and been offered fresh orange slices or peppermints when the plates were removed. And ignored them. But either will cool your mouth (and, to a slightly lesser degree, the peppermint will also soothe your esophagus and stomach) right down, and until I tried it, I had no idea how good fresh orange slices would taste, as kind of dessert following Vietnamese or Sze Chuanese cuisine.

However, I have no reason to trust that rubbing your hands in mint - or even using whatever brand of “orange cleaner” you prefer - will get the capsaicin off your hands. And I do not recommend taking a chance on getting the burny stuff on or into a sensitive place!

My favorite cousin ate some hot stuff at his brother’s cookout, some years back. Later he felt the urge, and went to relieve the pressure in his bladder. He said it was hours before the burning sensation went away. :eek: :smack: