Pepper Spray Treatment for Fast Relief

If you’ve been accidentally sprayed with pepper spray or for that matter any defense spray, the first thing you’ll want to know is how to get it off. Pepper spray treatment requires several different steps to ensure fast and effective pain relief which we’ll outline throughout this guide.

Member of the U.S. Coast Guard flushes eyes with water after being pepper sprayed during training.

Member of the U.S. Coast Guard flushes eyes with water after being pepper sprayed during training.

When pepper spray is deployed it produces a number of different symptoms. When contact is made with the eyes it will cause them to close shut, making it nearly impossible to keep them open due to the strong burning sensation.

Pepper spray also causes inflammation of the skin and a respiratory effect which makes it hard to breath. This respiratory effect can be especially dangerous for patients suffering from asthma. Due to all the side effects pepper spray induces you should be very careful when deploying and using it.

Despite popular belief, washing your face with water will only relieve pain for the short term. Remember pepper spray contains oleo-resin capsicum which is an oil, and oil and water don’t mix too well.  Water contains polar molecules and oil contains non-polar molecules which causes an imbalance and makes pepper spray difficult to wash off.

These are some tips you should follow when recovering from pepper spray:

1. Don’t touch the affected area

Since pepper spray is an oil-based product, touching your face will only cause it to spread to other areas making the burning sensation worse

2. Remove any contact lenses

If you are sprayed while wearing contact lenses it’s crucial to remove them right away. You can ask for assistance from another person since your own hands will most likely be covered with residue.

3. Apply milk to reduce the burning sensation

While milk does not remove the oily and inflammatory particles found in pepper spray, it will reduce the sting. Milk contains dairy fat which eliminates the capsaicin’s ability to produce heat. To apply this method, take a large bowl and fill it with cold whole milk and then soak the affected area for relief.

You can also use a spray or water bottle to make it easier to rinse the eyes especially if you don’t have access to a bowl. If you don’t have whole milk around you can use any cold dairy product.

4. Blink fast to tear up the eyes

Blinking will cause an influx in tears and help in flushing out the capsaicinoids which in turn will reduce dryness.

5. Rinse with dish detergent and water

Using a mild dish detergent and water makes for a great pepper spray antidote. Take ¼ of a mild dish detergent and mix it with ¾ of cool water. You’re going to need to wash your eyes up to 10 times so it’s suggested you make around 3-4 liters worth of the mixture.

After you have created the mixture you want pour it into a large bowl and dip your face into it for about 20 seconds at a time. Be sure to change the water after each rinse otherwise you’ll just be reusing the same old pepper spray water on your face.  You can also use a wet towel containing the mixture and pat it on the affected area to decontaminate the face.

You can also use a mild soap as an alternative to dish detergent.

6.  Avoid using any lotions or creams

Lotions or for that matter any product that contains oil should be avoided because it will only cause the situation to worsen and the pain to increase.

7.  Use saline solution

Saline will help flush out any extra pepper spray substance in the eye after the burning sensation has subsided. Be sure to continually blink after applying the solution to help get rid of any remaining oil in your eyes.

8. Use Liquid Antacid and Water

Liquid antacid (L.A.W.) is a solution comprised of 50 percent liquid antacid and 50 percent water.  This mixture is usually what emergency medics use to treat pepper spray. This only applies to aluminum or magnesium hydroxide based antacids such as Maalox and not simethicone based antacids.  Even though medics primarily use this mixture as a pepper spray neutralizer it’s not recommended for those without experience.

Lastly, remember the effects of pepper spray can last from 15 minutes all the way up to several hours.  During the pepper spray treatment phase it’s important to not touch or rub the affected areas since it will only cause the pain longer to subside.

If you enjoyed reading this article on pepper spray treatment and would like to add a comment please do so below or share it via your favorite social network(s).


  1. ... says

    Idk why i wanted to try it i wanted to see how bad it burns. I only put one drop on my finger and tasted it with the tip if my tongue. It then spread to my upper lip. Omg don’t ever do this my face is on fire!!!!! I drank milk so my mouth isn’t burning n now i need to wash my face!!! It burns so bad!

  2. jeremy says

    Fuck mace the only cure is water and time just maced myself directly in the eyes a hour ago still sting. DO NOT DO THIS! If you think you are a bad ass. This will prove you wrong you will scream you will not mask any pain or emotion. Milk relieves pain i tested it on my inflamed ear and my eyes on other hand are fucked!

  3. Lans says

    Thank you so much, sprayed my roommates pepper spray thinking it was a new fancy kind of inhaler and got it on the upper portion of my face and in one of my eyes. Used both milk and the water mixed with dish detergent to try and ease the pain and it worked within 20 minutes

  4. Married Couple says

    I was using the washroom when my husband decided he HAD to try my mace. He ate it like a breath spray. He was coughing and having breathing problems where as I was having a little bit of couching issues. Anyway, he then later puts on a gas mask and sprays the mask wanting to see if it worked. It did. The spray was so intense though that we were waiting outside the bedroom for around 40 minutes coughing our lungs up. It burns.

  5. Jordan says

    I got sprayed for my OC certification. Most intense pain I have ever endured. I recommend baby shampoo since its tear free to help remove from eyes and face. And then cold air blowing on your face.

  6. Kevin Juarez says

    Trust me it does i made my own and it has been burning for 40 mins and i just read this rubbing my face and im like no wonder it hurts more btw im starting to feel better 😀

  7. Brittany says

    This really helped when I accidentally sprayed myself trying to test mine out! My only question is, how long do you avoid using lotions and creams for? I’m assuming that I can’t wear makeup (which sucks, because I scrubbed my skin raw trying to get the oils out).

    • says

      Hi Brittany, you should avoid using lotions or creams until the pain has subsided and you feel there is no more pepper spray residue remaining in the ocular area or your skin.

    • John says

      I feel for you guys. Had a accidental discharge in my pocket with my Sabre tear gas/red pepper spray. Trigger became unlocked and continious spray. My upper leg was on fire until getting home, taking pants off and first used a oriental soap with cold water. Then to stop the burning the cold shower of 15 minutes on the affected area was amazing. The redness on leg was almost gone and the burning had stopped completely. Expiration date on spray 08/2007. Have bought a new one, but never take these weapons foregranted.

  8. SarAh says

    Parents make sure your spray is locked!!!! My three year old ran out to the parking lot I saw a car panicked and grabbed her with the same hand my keys with my pepper spray keychain was on it got on her neck and hand but she started crying and rubbed her eyes I tried to dawn and cold water rinse the whole milk soak and she’s turning red and blotchy what do I do

  9. JD says

    the paramedics instructed me to continue rinsing the face with cold water for a while. I got pepper sprayed at work. N then a minute or two later it started to burn like hell. Once i got home i showered n also washed my hair (seperate times) since my hair had some on it. It started burning again on my neck. Dabbing milk on my neck n ears wit a towel helped and also havin the fan full blast on my face helped. Then the rest of the time is just dealing with the pain. It has been. More than 4 hrs.

  10. eric says

    I was at a Grateful Dead show. After the show, people were not leaving fast enough, I guess! I was sitting with a friend watching about 20 people running and jumping around. Not that unusual for a Dead show. Then more people started doing the same thing. Pretty soon there was probably a couple hundred people acting like this, heading our way! Well all of a sudden we were running and jumping around also! What the cops had done was spray a SMALL CLOUD OF PEPPER SPRAY at the first crowd of people, and it was now floating along causing all kinds of havoc for a bunch of us!!! Thanks for the info! Probably needed at least 10 cows that night!!

  11. Christian says

    I maced my boyfriend and he said it doesn’t hurt or faze him bahahaha I heard him hacking n freaking putting water on his face NOW it’s worse don’t use water it spreads it further lol I just got mist from the fan on and my nose is burning THAT WILL TEACH THAT ASSHOLE FROM LAYING HIS HANDS ON ME

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