I make a lot of hot sauces in my kitchen, and I almost never wear gloves so there have been several occasions where I have gotten hot sauce in my eye. Also, when I am making new hot sauce recipes, I am often unknowingly touching the area around my face and on several occasions have gotten the residuals left on my hands from cutting hot peppers, in my eyes! I should know better but even the mildest hot peppers can irritate areas of the eyes because it is such a sensitive area.
What do you do if you just got hot sauce in your eye?
If you get hot sauce in your eye flush it with warm water for several minutes at a time without touch areas near or around your eye. This will remove any remaining hot sauce or residue from the eye socket. If necessary, blot the area of the eye with a damp cloth to remove what has been flushed from the eye. The pain or stinging should begin to decrease and will go away completely in less than 1 hour.
DON’T touch or rub your eye with pepper-soaked fingers, this will just contaminate it further. Your hands will need to be clean and void of any residue from the peppers. You can achieve this by washing your hands with a dish soap before touching any portion of your eye or other areas of your body. If you get hot sauce or a residual pepper juice in your eye while making hot sauce, here are eight processes that will relieve your eyes from burning.
1. Flush the eyes with water
Many people state that water will irritate the burning sensation of hot sauce much more than other liquids will especially if you got hot sauce in your eye. This is because some liquids such as milk have proteins that absorb the capsaicin, the residue that causes hot sauce sting. However, water will flush out any residue left in or around areas of the eye and according to Healthline warm water help alleviate the pain and inflammation.
2. Drip milk in your eye
Dip a clean cloth or paper towel in milk and gently dab the area where hot sauce has seeped into your eye. Do not rub your eye with the cloth or your bare hands. This will irritate your eye further because you may have residual sauce on your hands. It is ok to get a few drops of milk in your eye as the dairy will neutralize the capsaicin as it does in your mouth if a sauce is too hot. A source in the Health Essentials newsletter from Cleveland Clinic states that milk works better than other liquids because the protein breaks down the capsacin found in the hot peppers used to make hot sauce.
This may seem awkward but can be done by gently pressing the milk-soaked cloth above your eye until a few drops fall into your eye. Tipping your head backwards will allow the milk to drip into the eyes and not roll down your cheeks. Then continue blinking to allow some of the milk to surround areas of the eye.
3. Rub your eye with ice Cream
If you get hot sauce in your eye, rub the area with plain ice cream. A spoonful of ice cream pressed against your eye works the same way as milk and other dairy products do. A plain vanilla ice cream will ensure your eye is void of any contact with chocolate chunks or any other flavorings the ice cream may have. Like milk, the dairy in ice cream will absorb the capsaicin oils found in hot sauce. This same principle will work to cool down your mouth after eating spicey food.
4. Try making yourself cry
If you have hot sauce in your eye then there is probably some degree of tears running down your face already, this is good. Do not rub them out with your hands or fingers but absorb them with a clean cloth or paper towel, gently blinking to allow the tears to enter into your eyes and flush out the hot sauce much like water does.
5. Blink your eyes rapidly
Blinking your eyes rapidly works in the same way that crying does. Blinking at rapid intervals can create tears to flush out any residuals from the peppers or hot sauce and work the sauce out of your eye. Squinting hard for a few seconds at a time can help squeeze out the tears as well.
According to bettervisionnj the tears are an internal substance with protein rich nourishment instead of a foreign substance like water or milk. If you get hot sauce in your eyes this will be a natural reaction in response to the stinging, but it won’t hurt to force a little more blinking.
6. Dawn dish soap
Dawn Dish Soap is notorious for removing grease from dishes and can breakdown the oils in peppers as well. Start by washing the area around your eyes with a soapy towel and water. Be careful to not get too much soap in your eyes as this will irritate it as well.
If you get some soap in your eyes that will only have the same effect of removing the irritants from the peppers but will also sting a little as well. Dawn Dish Soap works wonders at Relieving Your Hands From Hot Sauce Burn. However, if you do get hot sauce in your eye don’t dump dish washing liquid directly into your eye in an attempt to relieve it.
7. Tough it out
Time can heal a lot of things…even hot sauce in your eye Step outside away from the area you’re working at and get some fresh air and wait. There are probably some irritants in the air whether you are cooking hot peppers or just cutting them so leaving the immediate area is best. Walk around outside and take some deep breaths at regular intervals to help keep you from panicking. There is no permanent damage when you get hot sauce in your eye, and it will eventually go away.
8. Use drops of saline solution
Gently drip a few drops of saline solution in your eye and tilt your face down to the ground to flush out the pepper oils or hot sauce residue. Do this a few times until some of the stinging has gone away. Purchase some from your local pharmacy or perhaps you have some available if you wear contacts. WebMD states to flush the eye for at least 15 minutes with saline. Another good thing about saline is that it is a sterile substance without any further contaminants like some unknown substances may be.
9. See a doctor
I have seen this on every list of remedies for treating your eyes after hot sauce contamination and I think it is an obvious answer. If nothing else, you have done is producing any results your personal physician can certainly offer some condolence or possibly a saline solution. The stinging sensation of hot sauce in your eye will eventually go away but perhaps there is something that further irritated an existing condition.
Will rubbing my eyes make hot sauce burn more?
If you get hot sauce in your eye, do not rub your eyes with your hands as this will only irritate them further and you may still have hot sauce on them. It is probably a natural reaction to automatically attempt to sooth a sensitive area with a gentle message, but this will not absorb the sauce and only spread the irritants more.
Hot sauce is stinging my eyes, should I flush it with water?
Do not use water as the first method as it could only spread out the effects of the hot sauce and irritate it further. This seems like a logical solution as water is often used to flush out many irritants from the eye but not all water is pure. Although this seems like a common remedy and you are probably within proximity of a sink, try the other methods first.
Cooking with peppers
Cooking with hot peppers always burns my eyes and makes me cough. The range hood exhaust fan is the best method of removing the irritants caused by cooking peppers but If you are not using a range hood exhaust fan you may want open your windows and prop a small fan to blow away from you. I was recently cooking jalapenos and vinegar on the stove and caused my wife and her guest to start gasping and coughing. The guests were unexpected, but I turned off the stove, opened the windows and turned on the ceiling fan. If I had done this before hand, there may not have been any uncomfortable guests.
Ultimately you will want to use gloves and be careful. When I am in the kitchen I automatically move at a more rapid pace as I may have several burners and the oven on because I am cooking multiple things at once. Slow down and prepare a small batch without any outside interference such as kids, dogs or company to distract you. If you are making a sauce with a high level of SHU, getting hot sauce in your eye can cause serious pain and may cause you to miss your deadline of sauce production.
Guide To The Hot Sauce Business
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