How To Make Pepper Spray

KJ Barber
By KJ Barber August 12, 2019 07:47

How To Make Pepper Spray

Even though pepper spray has been around for a long time, I have never bought any. One of the reasons is because I’m a little unsure of all the ingredients, even though they are listed…or, supposed to be listed on the container. Even if the list is accurate, it rarely gives the amount of each added item. And, do we really want to be exposed to anything potentially harmful that lists things with 3 or more syllables?

Regardless of what you would like to use a pepper spray for, making your own at home is quite easy. Sure, there are a few complicated recipes you could find. But, you can have it made relatively quickly, inexpensively, and with the exact ingredients you prefer. In other words, you can customize your own pepper spray to the strength you prefer.

Uses for Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is often thought of as a self-defense tool, and it is. It’s effective and easy to carry wherever you go. A small amount of a potent spray can help you get out of a dangerous situation. The key would be to make sure it’s potent. The hotter the peppers you use, the better. Another important tip when making it for self-defense is to store it in a small bottle that can shoot a long distance. When using it for self-defense, it would be far better to be able to reach the attacker before they could reach you. This might take some time in finding the right container. But, they do exist.

Or, maybe you want a less potent batch, one just strong enough to shoo away unwanted guests in the garden. If so, you wouldn’t necessarily need a sprayer that reaches long distances. Something such as an empty window cleaner bottle would work just fine. And, it wouldn’t matter how big or small the bottle is, because you wouldn’t have to carry it with you.

So, what about the peppers?

Related: Make Your Own Peppermint Oil – The Best Insect Repellent

The Scoville Scale

If you like spicy foods, then you might be familiar with the Scoville scale, which measures the heat index of various peppers based on heat units. The higher the heat unit number, the hotter the pepper is. Here is an example:

Heat UnitsExamples of Peppers
800,000 - 3,200,00Pepper X, Carolina Reaper, or Dragon’s Breath
350,000 - 800,000Chocolate Habanero or Red Savina
100,000 to 350,000Habanero or Scotch Bonnet
10,000 to 100,000Cayenne or Malagueta pepper
1,000 to 10,000Guajillo or Jalapeño
1,000 to 10,000Banana Pepper or Cubanelle
0 to 100Bell Pepper or Pimento

If you are thinking of a pepper spray for self-defense, use a more fiery pepper, such as the habanero or hotter. Cayenne could work as an irritant, but probably not enough to stop the person for very long. So, you would have to be quick in your getaway. The stronger the pepper, the longer it should incapacitate the assailant. And, to add yet another layer to slowing the attacker down, add some black pepper to stimulate coughing.

However, please keep in mind that a pepper spray will have the same effect on an innocent person as it does an assailant. So, be careful where you store the spray, as well as how it’s handled.

For getting rid of the garden nibblers, something as low on the Scoville Scale as the jalapeno could work. You can also combine peppers to make your own strength.

I’m going to make a batch with a mix of cayenne and habanero. I don’t want the heat to be too high, because I will use it primarily to protect the plants. However, with a little bit of added habanero, I will add a little to a smaller spritzer that I can carry for self-protection.

The Necessary Supplies

The hotter the pepper you use, the more important using gloves, masks, and goggles becomes. I’m not going to be using anything excruciating, so I will just wear gloves and my glasses.

Here is a complete list of supplies you should have on hand for the recipe I am going to make:

  • Red Cayenne Pepper
  • Habanero
  • Empty Spray Bottle
  • Gloves
  • Vodka (optional, can help preserve it longer)
  • Vegetable Oil (optional, can help it adhere to the target)
  • Knife or Immersion Blender
  • Coffee Filter
  • Water
  • Funnel

That list of supplies might make it seem as though the process is complicated. But I assure you, it’s not.

Related: I Used To Cut This Plant…Until I Saw This!

The Recipe for an Easy Homemade Pepper Spray

Can’t stress this enough…if you are working with fresh peppers at 10,000 level on the Scoville Scale, make sure to wear gloves. If it’s hotter than that, add glasses or goggles. And, make sure to not rub or go near your eyes until the gloves are off and hands are washed.

#1. Add 2 tablespoons red cayenne to a bowlHow To Make Pepper Spray#2. Chop fresh peppers (make sure to wear gloves), and add to the cayennecut the pepper#3. Add 1 tablespoon vegetable oil (optional, but will help the spray to adhere to the target)How To Make Pepper Spray#4. Add 2 tablespoons vodka (optional, to preserve the spray longer)add vodka#5. Add enough water so that all the pepper and seeds are fully immersed.How To Make Pepper Spray#6. Pour (using the funnel) the content into your spray bottleHow To Make Pepper Spray#7. Let the content in the bottle sit for a few hours, up to a week (shaking occasionally)let it sit#8. Strain the mix (using the coffee filter)Strain the mix#9. Place the mix back into the spray bottle…and you have homemade pepper spray!How To Make Pepper Spray#10. Spraying the plants to protect themHow To Make Spray#11. A little leftover for self-protectionHow To Make Pepper SprayAfter taking out a little for my personal pepper spray, I added a little water to the mix because it doesn’t need to be quite as strong for plant, and I wanted it to go a little further. But, in concentrated form, this could help you get out of a bad situation. Just aim for the eyes…their eyes!

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KJ Barber
By KJ Barber August 12, 2019 07:47
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34 Comments

  1. young prepper August 12, 15:31

    interesting,certainly less effective than my knife but also certainly more legal and less brutal (in terms of mortality)
    might test this next time i end up in a scuff, will probably make an obscenely hot spray (mixing a good few of the hotter peppers and at least two of the hottest) for my friend so she doenst have to deal with muggers through means of a knife or gun like most people need to in her neighborhood.

    Reply to this comment
  2. RedRover August 12, 16:14

    Interesting article! You mentioned to store the liquid pepper mixture in small containers that shoot a long distance and they were available, but may take some time to find. It would be appreciated if you helped out with this for those of us considering making our own spray by providing either a link or a manufacturer to at least get us pointed in the right direction. I don’t want to appear negative as I appreciate the information presented in this article, but would like the container info as well. Thanks!

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    • A. E. August 12, 21:09

      What about a small plastic container with a nozzle?
      One could squeeze it and get some distance with it, although not as precise as a spray probably.

      Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck August 13, 03:33

        A.E. You want to make sure that whatever your container is it does not leak. It takes a while, but pepper spray on your clothing will eventually react with your skin. It won’t be incapacitating, however it is highly annoying.

        No need to ask how I happen to know that bit of information first hand.

        Reply to this comment
  3. left coast chuck August 12, 17:33

    For home use, get a one quart spray bottle at Wally World or your local grocery store. Be sure it has a stream function and not just mist spray. Fill it with pure ammonia which can be purchased in the cleaning aisle of almost any store. Keep the nozzle set on stream. Keep the spray bottle where the kids can’t get it if you have them but also within handy reach of any place you think you might need it. It is also highly effective on animals, so if you have a pest dog in your neighborhood, you can use it on the dog.

    Ammonia is strongly pungent. Even just sprayed on clothing around the face will cause choking. Sprayed in the eyes it is disabling and may even cause blindness. You want to be sure any time you use any kind of spray that you have the wind, however slight at your back otherwise you will disable yourself as well as your target.

    I have found with dogs, you don’t even have to hit them. They have a much keener sense of smell than you and even a whiff of ammonia will cause them to take off. It is my favorite way of getting rid of pest dogs. Have never even had to hit them with it, just get close and it works.

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  4. A. E. August 12, 17:51

    I once read about a “pepper” weapon for women, and that was to carry a small container of real pepper with you.
    If attacked, throw the pepper into the assailant’s face.
    Once thrown, it also cannot be used against you, as some weapons might. Maybe not as effective as pepper spray, but better than nothing.

    Reply to this comment
    • Sunny August 14, 05:49

      Wasp spray. Directional spraying…around 30 feet. Cheap, less than $3. Carry one for car jackers as well in car. Set by bed and doors. Legal and very effective. Then, get on to plan B.

      Reply to this comment
  5. John August 12, 19:17

    Not to knock pepper spray, but hair spray does a pretty good job of putting someones lights out for a while.

    Reply to this comment
  6. Mart Narvo August 12, 19:36

    Make a big batch and put it into one of those big sqquirt guns they selll now adays.

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck August 12, 20:12

      That’s okay for around home, but if you waltz into Wally World with a big squirt gun you might draw some odd glances — OTOH, considering some of the sights I have seen at WallyWorld, maybe not.

      Reply to this comment
  7. Raven tactical August 12, 20:20

    Eh it’s not super effective. Painful yes but adrenalin will defeat it and your in danger with a pissed guy.

    Just carry a gun

    Reply to this comment
    • left coast chuck August 12, 23:12

      Adrenalin and some popular drugs lessen the effect of pepper spray. You’ve all heard the comment, “He was feeling no pain.” Alcohol is a central nervous system depressant, thus feeling no pain.

      Reply to this comment
    • young prepper August 13, 17:51

      not everyone can carry a firearm, and some choose not to,i’m 15 and cant carry legally,my sister is 16, i personally would sooner take this semi-ranged weapon and a three inch folding knife as opposed to something that i cant carry legally let alone use,and effectiveness has everything to do with recipe i made some quite powerful spray for my sister yesterday and she tested it on a (willing) friend, the guy was incapacitated for an hour

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      • Raven tactical August 13, 21:20

        Yeah… we used the highest grade 20 percent oc spray. Adrenalin will allow you to continue the fight. Sorry it might panic the weak willed. I would suggest maybe a taser or get trained in knife fighting. At least your only a few years from a handgun

        Reply to this comment
        • young prepper August 15, 17:26

          knife fighting is far simpler than most think, the spartans won wars by doing this: stabbing,repeatedly. its a fast and fatal way of combat

          Reply to this comment
          • Raven tactical August 15, 17:35

            Lol you need a few more years on you. That is by far the dumbest to say. Knife fighting nobody win. Try looking up knife fight wounds and see how terrible it is. People fear a knife more then a firearm.

            Reply to this comment
      • Yosemite August 13, 22:42

        I would HIGHLY suggest some form of Martial Arts. BIG mistake to pull a knife if they have pulled a knife. You have TWO good arms Elbows and grasp or punch hands and TWO Good knees and feet to put use. They have only one arm. The advantage is all yours!. YOU KNOW where the Bad Guy’s weapon is. A human brain and body can be the most effective and deadly weapon out there.

        I also HIGHLY suggest to learn all of the pressure points in/on the Human body and memorize them and put them use IF you ever get into a fight.

        IF you do not know how to fight with a knife DON’T use a knife in a fight! .IF you legally could carry a firearm….you would not carry one you did not now how to use would you??

        It takes practice,practice,practice, AND MORE PRACTICE to become proficient with a knife and a firearm and every other including developing our body into a weapon. No age limit on taking such classes…..
        REMEMBER THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS A FAIR FIGHT! IF you have to fight FIGHT TO WIN!

        Learning unarmed fighting skills is the best option and honing those skills will benefit you over your lifetime combine with learning to use implements such as a Bo Staff. A simple walking staff….also in capable hands a most effective weapon.
        Always maintain your Situational Awareness.

        One must always use MINIMUM FORCE before escalating to DEADLY-LETHAL FORCE. Pepper spray is a Less than Lethal Force.

        Reply to this comment
      • left coast chuck August 14, 02:10

        Rather than giving a thumbs down, this young man should be encouraged in his efforts to, 1, stay with the law, even though in the opinion of many of us it is an ass, and 2, trying to find the means so that his sister can protect herself.

        Young Preppier, I applaud your efforts and hope you continue to explore the means of self-protection for you and your sister.

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        • Yosemite August 14, 19:02

          Left Coast Chuck
          I don’t consider that I was giving him a Thumbs Down or was not supporting him.

          I was offering him the best “Legal” alternative and safest and best alternative for him to defend himself Legally.That is the same information I would share with an Prepper or woman or anyone else that has the want, desire, and accepts responsibility to be responsible for their own safety.defense, security Legally.

          People that think firearms are the only answer are wrong. We MUST be able to defend ourselves without a firearm or before using a firearm. Using a firearm or other Deadly/Lethal Force Should ALWAYS be a last resort UNLESS there is no time for Lesser means.

          If you drop the firearm and the Bad Guy is still in the fight……..What are you going to do? If you cannot get to our firearm…..What are you going to do? IF you run out of ammo or have a jam and no time to clear it….what are you going to do?

          So being able to fight with only your body an be most effective is to learn how to use your body as a system of weapons and ho and where to strike for the most effect and to be effective. Pressure points/ Nerve centers.

          A person roughly around 21 feet or so with a knife in hand can be deadly before you can draw and bring our firearm into the fight. Some say that is a Myth…..Some say it is a fact….No matter which are true…could you disarm the guy and take him don if you did not have a firearm and your life and perhaps others are on the line?

          As far my comments on knife fighting I stand by them.
          Pulling a knife because the other person has one is in general a very bad idea and limits ones options in the fight.

          Like a firearm…Take the time and patience to LEARN HOW to properly use one and to practice,practice, practice and practice some more.

          This also applies to learning to fight using only your mind and body and learning Pressure points and Nerve centers. Time and Patience.
          These can be learned without fear of Legal repercussions. No matter the style…Akido Judo Tae Kwon Do or whatever It is something one can learn and do about self protection. Which is better than breaking the Law OR doing nothing

          Also this young Prepper is doing something to help protect and defend himself while waiting to become of legal age to purchase Pepper Spray or exercise his Constitutional Right to Legally own and carry a firearm.

          Reply to this comment
          • Raven tactical August 14, 19:07

            Sorry If someone attacks me it’s going to end up with the use of a firearm. I am not playing wwe to see who’s a better hand to hand fighter nor will I challenge him to knife fight. Simply put you attack me. I’ll end your life with a magazine full 10mm jhp.

            Less than lethal is not a option I would consider for people who can carry.

            Reply to this comment
            • Yosemite August 15, 23:31

              Raven Tactical

              You misunderstand my intent….everyone should learn to use other methods besides a firearm. Say you cannot reach our firearm because the Bad Guy has you in a bear hug.. Do you know ho to break such a hold or escape from it?

              This is a 15 year old and far younger than I am and maybe you. He does not have the option of a firearm!
              The Laws of Deadly/Lethal Force an ALL WAYS USING THE LEAST AMOUNT OF FORCE O MINIMUM FORCE AS POSSIBLE. are in effect in every state. depending the Use of Force Policy in your community/ city/ state. You violate them you are gong to be charged and arrested and put in a cell.

              I am not telling you not to use a firearm and you cannot shoot to defend/protect yourself or perhaps others…. I am not saying to grapple or exchange punches or hits.

              What I am saying we must be able to defend ourselves without a firearm…in case it fails/runs out of ammo //the magazine goes bad or whatever MISTER MURPHY decides to visit. and gift us with..OR maybe our firearm s locked up in your car or at home….if attacked you can respond by attacking and using your hands your knees or cane o a can of soup or something. Knowing and being able to fight back snapping and elbow or breaking their knee or fingers wrist o a hard hit to a nerve bundle whatever… ou ill never be unarmed even a Victim rich environment I mean a No firearms allowed zone.

              Knowing the Use of Force in your state/city/whatever tells you EXACTLY when you can use Deadly/Lethal Force and following that Policy can and will keep you from being charged arrested and out of prison. For example showing you have a weapon without drawing in might be enough to make the Bad Guy(s) change their mind and decide to seek an easier target…. Telling them loud and clear to leave you alone is Minimum Force……..Some places if you pull your weapon you can and no doubt ill be arrested and charged with Brandishing a firearm.

              Is /are they showing or have weapons in their hands? Most places Castle Doctrine aka Stand You Ground Laws you are allowed to meet Force with Force….Some places require you to run away if it is possible….

              Laws can and do vary. I do not want to see or hear about you or anyone being arrested and charged and or be sued or go to prison and lose your Right to own a firearm for the rest of your life.

              Does this help you understand my point?

              Reply to this comment
  8. Wiseman57 August 12, 23:28

    A little large to carry around but any wasp and hornet spray has about a 20′ spray distance and works very well when hit in the face of the attacker. My friend keeps a can under the seat of her car and has had a chance to use it when someone tried to carjack her while stopped at a traffic light. Needless to say, they did not get to her or her car. Could keep a can in a purse if you have a big purse.

    Reply to this comment
  9. IvyMike August 13, 00:29

    Habanero pepper spray is an excellent garden spray, 3 habaneros pureed in the blender with 2 cups of water, pour through cheesecloth into a gallon of water, add a tablespoon of vegetable oil and a teaspoon of dish soap. Best miticide there is, wipes out aphids and mealies, but it will severly burn rose bushes so not a good idea for fruits in that family.
    Yucateca Habanero sauce (their green one) is the best sauce for everything I’ve ever eaten, but be careful with that,too, burning will result…

    Reply to this comment
  10. Stein August 13, 01:00

    Take chemistry class and actually pass it if long words in ingredients listings concern you.

    Reply to this comment
    • young prepper August 13, 17:55

      most people dont have the time,funds,or desire to do so. especially preppers, and some dont have the memory strength to “actually pass”, not all things can be solved with study.

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      • left coast chuck August 14, 02:33

        I studied judo for four years, first under an eighth degree black belt which was the highest rank achievable then without some political connections in the judo world.

        I can state unequivocally that unless the skill levels are vastly disparate, such as an eighth degree against a brown belt, size does matter.

        When I was competing, there were no weight categories. You might meet an 85 pound junior high school student or a 200 pound Japanese fireplug. You competed in your belt category without regard to size.

        In, I think, 1966, at the world judo championships at the Kodokan in Tokyo, a Dutchman, Anton Gesink won the world championship. It shocked the judo world. Up to that time Japan owned judo. The repercussions reverberated through the Japanese judo world.

        Anton Gesink was a giant of a man, he stood well over six feet tall and weighed almost 300 pounds. The old line judoka, of course, fell back on the old saw,” if your technique was pure, you would have overcome his size. Pure technique overcomes size.”

        The Japanese judoka who had faced him on the mat replied in the Japanese equivalent of, “If you had been on the mat with that big mutha, you wouldn’t be spouting that baloney.”

        Not long after that weight categories were added to judo contests.

        We had a big, 6’3″ fellow in our judo school. He was a immensely strong but a total klutz. He had zero technique, but he was so strong that he could move you around the mat without strain. He couldn’t throw you, but if he wanted to pull you left, he pulled you. If he wanted you right, you went right. Backward or forward you moved as he jerked you around. Conversely, at 5’8″, even when I had his balance completely broken, he was too tall and heavy for me to compete the throw. If I hooked his leg, I didn’t have leverage against those long legs of his to take him down. Now, I was not the most advanced student in the dojo, but I noticed all the black belts also couldn’t throw him and if he managed to get you down and flopped on you, it didn’t matter that he didn’t know how to apply the holds, pins or submission arm and leg wringing, just laying his gigantic size on you and spreading his arms and legs was enough to keep you pinned for the requisite time.

        Long story short, the best technique for handling someone significantly larger or stronger than you is a baseball bat applied vigorously to the head. If you miss and come down alongside the head, you can probably break the collar bone which is a real pain and makes raising one’s arms very painful. Or run as fast as you can and hope you are faster than Bluto.

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      • Raven tactical August 14, 02:36

        The other issue nobody bothers to mention my guess is they never certified or used it. Any shift in wind will blow it back to you. So be forewarned when using it…especially in a spray…

        As much as I hate oc. It’s only did two things. You either panicked or got pissed off and fought back

        Reply to this comment
  11. Dragon4Ma August 13, 07:23

    Curious as to where Ghost Peppers fall on the Scoville scale? I know they are HOT & can cause serious irritation
    with just the oils alone, but now I’m curious as to where they fall on the scale.

    Reply to this comment
  12. Will August 13, 16:37

    I wonder if a Super HOT Pepper Mix with DMSO would Kill Roaches? It would Definitely Ruin an Attacker’s Day.

    Reply to this comment
  13. Fester August 13, 18:30

    Try a disposable syringe. Just pull off the cap and push the plunger. We used these as squirt guns when I was a kid. We bought them from a veterinary supply store.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Yosemite August 13, 21:09

    While aiming for the face/eyes……. Something one might consider is getting the spray around the upper chest throat area as the vapor/fumes are going to rise upwards…..Sensitive areas such as armpits or between the toes or the besides of those hoodlums that wear their underwear down around their butt crack getting sprayed in their Butt Crack or saturating the groin area. SHOULD have an effect soon as it reaches the skin BUT may some time to reach them The eyes and nose are an immediate effect. getting that spray in sensitive areas may take a few minutes…….BUT when it does..

    Just saying…..Sounds great in theory and if you ever used it in such manner Let me know…..

    Wasp and Hornet spray as a weapon can leave you open to a lawsuit from the Federal Government if you read the label about using the product for other than intended use. That being said “IT is better to be Judged by Twelve, than be carried by Six!”

    There is a percentage of people that pepper spray/mace will not have an effect.

    Reply to this comment
  15. leonard August 17, 02:47

    about police issue pepper spray. in the late 1990’s in hayward wisconson, i witnessed a friend being sprayed by a city police officer outside a bar during winter. it was about 20 degrees below zero outside so whem the cop sprayed my friend, my friend just wiped his face with his hand and said to the officer “I DONT THINK THEY TESTED THIS CRAP AT 20 BELOW ZERO” AND ADVANCED TOWARD THE OFFICER WHO TURNED TAIL AND HAULED ASS IN THE OTHER DIRECTION!! BACK UP WAS NOT AVAILABLE!

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