In making hot sauces and other things that use hot peppers I am getting used to accidentally contaminating sensitive areas of my body with the oily resin that makes peppers burn.
As a matter of fact in a couple of my videos you hear me warning my help not to rub their eyes after using hot peppers. Without fail they always seem to get burned. It almost always happens after they wash their hands and think they have the hot pepper resin off of their hands.
Since I got tired of feeling guilty for laughing at them I decided to do some research to see how to cook with peppers without getting burned and the solution is actually pretty simple.
Soap doesn’t do much to remove the oleoresin capsicum from skin, generally only time works. Fortunately since it is an OILY resin it is possible to saponify (turn to soap) it.
Much like using sodium hydroxide to turn fat to soap calcium hydroxide (in bleach) can make the the oil water soluble.
Mix a 10% beach solution using bleach and water and dip your hands in the solution from time to time as you are working with peppers.
When you wash the solution off you also remove the pepper residue.
Now don’t be stupid an use the bleach on sensitive areas like your eyes or genitalia, and make sure you wash the bleach off very thoroughly.
Use common sense and I think you will be very pleased. I know that in the video below I found this to work much better than expected.
I tried this (well a version of this using a less caustic chemical) to get the same saponification process last time I got pepper sprayed for certification. The science was valid, it was well documented in a paper from the poison control center (using milk of magnesia) – unfortunately it did not work.
I do know, from experience, and from the video above, that bleach solution DOES work on the hands and kitchen utensils to allow you to cook with peppers without getting burned.
It clearly removes the hot pepper oil off of surfaces. Just once again. DO NOT use it around the eyes or mucus membranes.