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It is no word of a lie that one minute we are sipping on a margarita, chopping jalapenos like there’s no tomorrow, prepping for that fun Mexican night with our friends. Then, before you know it, your make up slightly running, or you wipe your nose, and BOOM, the pain is real.
Working with chilies can be difficult. Especially chilies we use so commonly. Rubbing our eyes or wiping our nose is a natural instinct, but the reaction caused by wiping jalapeno remnants all over is anything but natural.
Capsaicin – the active component of chili peppers that provides heat – can stick to your hands for hours, not only causing pain to people with sensitive hands but also means that anything you touch will become impacted by the chili. Whether that be your eyes or your mouth, it is something to avoid!
I mean, it is common knowledge that there is nothing on this planet that is powerful enough to stop us from throwing a fun, Mexican-themed dinner with fajitas served, so how can we avoid this excruciating pain caused by a single plant, a vegetable, an item that has nothing valuable besides its delicious taste?
Today I am going to teach you the simple steps towards being able to work with one of the most appetizing, flavorful peppers out there – jalapeno – without letting it completely sabotage the rest of your night.
Table of Contents
- Avoiding the Issue – How to get jalapeno off hands
- Best Ways to Get Jalapeno Off Your Hands
- Final Thoughts
Avoiding the Issue – How to get jalapeno off hands
Sometimes it is possible to prevent getting jalapenos, or any chili pepper for that matter, on your hands in the first place when working with them. There are a couple of ways you can do this.
The easiest way to avoid getting spicy juice from any form of hot pepper is to wear latex gloves. Understandably, a lot of people don’t have plastic gloves handy and so this may not always be possible.
However, if you are planning to be regularly working with any form of chili pepper, or if you have a big dinner party planned and don’t want to accidentally get chilli in your eyes and spend the whole night crying, then it may be worth purchasing a pair of gloves!
You can lightly cover your hands in cooking oil, such as olive oil or other vegetable oil (or even a mix of frying oils), before prepping the chilies. This will work as a protective layer between your hands and the peppers and can help prevent the sting from happening on your skin.
However, the chili will still be present on your hands, so it is still important to avoid touching your face.
Best Ways to Get Jalapeno Off Your Hands
If you do end up getting chilli on your hands, there are a few methods that can help get it off if regular warm water and dish soap are not helping.
Both chili oil and capsaicin are more soluble in alcohol than water. If you end up with chili on your hands then a little splash of rubbing alcohol, or even strong and pure alcohol like vodka, can help wash this away.
You can splash some onto a cloth and clean your fingers with the cloth as well to save you from covering your hands with rubbing alcohol.
Not only will olive oil help protect the chili from damaging your hands, but regular cooking oils will help dissolve the chili in hot chili oils if it is already on your hands.
This can help break down the chili and then if you follow it up with dish soap and the warm water it should completely remove any remnants.
Whole Milk or Yogurt
As many of you are probably aware, adding yogurt to your spicy food can help cool it down, and drinking milk instead of water can help put the fire out in your mouth after eating something spicy.
Well, similarly, if you use high-fat food or liquid on your hands, it helps to break down the chili. This works in a similar way to oil. It is said that fats and oils help to break down chili remnants more than water does and so this is a useful tip for both your hands and your mouth!
If you do end up getting chili in your eye, you can also use milk to help wash it out. This is meant to help more than adding water, as it is believed that water will just spread the sting as opposed to breaking it down and washing it out.
Weak Bleach Solution
You can create a five-to-one solution of water and bleach – this means it is very weak in bleach. However, the bleach will turn the capsaicin into a water-soluble salt, and this will then wash away.
So, to avoid getting any chili on your hands in the first place, you can always wear a pair of latex gloves when working with spicy food, or add a very thin coat of cooking oil to your fingers to help protect them.
Alternatively, if it is too late to protect your hands, there are a number of ways to help break down the chili and wash it off your hands. Fat and oils are believed to break down chili better than soap and water, so this is important to keep in mind!
Instead, you can use a weak bleach solution so that you don’t spend hours with chili on your hands.
So, next time you are cooking something hot, remember that water is not the answer, and your best fighter is fat!
Do hot peppers actually burn you?
Spicy hot peppers do not cause any tissue damage in the same way that a normal burn would. The sensation you feel from chili peppers comes from the compound capsaicin, which binds with our pain receptors and intimidates a similar feeling to one we would feel from actual heat.
How long does chilli burn last on your hands?
The feeling of chili burning on your hands can last for hours. This is because the remnants of chili is hard to remove and so the sensation will stick until it has been fully washed away.
How do you neutralise hot pepper on your hands?
You are better off breaking down the hot pepper on your hands by using fat or olive oil and then following this up with soap and warm water to wash off the remnants. Milk or yogurt can be a great way to do this. Cold water may seem like a good option as it is with regular burns, however this will just spread the peppers further on your hands as opposed to breaking it down and removing it.