Hot Pepper in the Eye Remedy

Have hot pepper in your eye? Grab milk (preferably whole milk) and splash it into your eye. Aaahhh blessed relief. Then come back and read my story.


Hot Pepper in the Eye Remedy

First I would just like to say that the number one remedy for bringing relief to the pain of hot pepper in your eye is simply to wear gloves while cutting peppers and NEVER EVER TOUCH YOUR EYE after cutting them.

However, since I was not quite so smart last Friday, I had to come up with another remedy.

It all started so innocently. We needed to leave for our homeschool PE class that morning, but I was trying to get some of the peppers from our garden cut up and frozen before we left. Matt has been the pepper guy at our house most of this summer so I was not aware that some of them were of the very freakishly hot variety. (They were shaped like tiny sweet bell peppers.)

I got all the peppers cut up and put away, cleaned up my mess and washed my hands. I then proceeded to help get the boys ready to head out the door for PE. My eye was itchy…and so I scratched it.

Bad idea.

As if someone had lit a match on my eyeball I shrieked and turned in a circle (because I didn’t know where to go or what to do). I believe that little move is called the Eyeball Fire Ballet Step. I then ran out of the kitchen and upstairs to Matt, who was thankfully home that morning. Neither of us really knew what to do, but I quickly put a cold, wet washrag on my eye. This brought a small amount of relief, which is good because all four boys (who aren’t used to seeing their mom run screaming out of the kitchen) had made their way upstairs to see if I was still alive. At least I was able to look up at them with one eye and a half smile to give them a little assurance that I was okay.

Matt went ahead and loaded up the boys to take them to PE. I decided to stay home and be miserable. The pain was not going away, and was in fact creeping all the way up to my forehead and all the way down to my chin (not kidding), making me feel as though I might pass out. I have a pretty high pain threshold, but wow.

With the cold wash rag over my burning eye, I somehow did a swag search on “hot pepper in the eye” to see what I needed to do. Did I need to go to the ER? Could they maybe take off my face so that the intense pain would stop?

I finally found a suggestion to use a shot glass full of whole milk to wash the eye, which would neutralize the capsaicin in the peppers that was causing the burning. Whole milk I had, a shot glass…not so much. In the meantime, one of the homeschool moms (who had heard of my woes at PE class) called to say the exact same thing (although she didn’t mention the shot glass).

Using one of our little drinking glasses, I was somehow able to get milk into my eye. (Don’t ask me to demonstrate.)  I also did a fairly good job of making the milk run all the way down my face and neck, but whatever.

Instant relief.  I stood there, blinking milkily in unbelief. Could I really have just gone from that much pain to practically no pain with just a few swishes of milk? Indeed I had.

I then decided that I should make cookies, both because I deserved and needed a cookie after my trauma…and because I thought that when the boys got home, they might like to see that their mama was normal (relatively speaking) and okay.

Kinda brings a new dimension to the idea of milk and cookies bringing comfort, doesn’t it?

So let’s review:

  1. Wear gloves when you cut hot peppers and don’t touch your eye.
  2. But if you don’t and then you do…swish your eye with milk.
  3. And then make cookies.

(P.S. It wasn’t until after the flame in my eye was extinquished that I realized that my hands were also burning like mad. Funny how the eye pain overshadowed the pain in my hands. I’m still a little afraid to put my contacts in normally. Good grief did I learn my lesson.)

This post was originally published September 19, 2010.

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  1. Faith's Grandma :) says

    Thanks Laura,

    Good advice here, had not heard this, but will keep it in mind if I ever need to use it…..


    Julianne Reply:

    This is super funny and helpful! Thanks!!!


  2. Trina Rodgers says

    I had a similiar incident. I accidentally squirted jalapeno juice into one eye, and tried to wash that eye out under a tap. Unfortunately, the water picked up the heat, and ran into my other eye which left me unable to see.
    Thankfully, my husband was home. The only thing I knew to use was sour cream. I sat in a chair for about 10 minutes with sour cream wadded in both eyes, but it was a beautiful relief. My pharmacist recommended a daily dose of polysporin in the eyes for a few days because of the bacteria in sour cream, and to use tear drops because my tear ducts were burnt. My tear ducts returned to normal in about a week.
    But I’m so glad that I used sour cream. I think if I would have went to the ER, they wouldn’t have used any dairy products, and I probably would have ended up with damage to my eyes.


  3. Holly says

    My husband thanks you for this eye-saving advice!! However, he disagrees with the making cookies part.. bummer!! At least he helped make the salsa, and his eye is all better!


  4. says

    I posted this in both my personal FB page and my photo page. Thought you’d like to read it! And THANK YOU! hope your readers enjoy it.

    “A slice of modern life:
    About an hour ago wanting to spice up what would otherwise be bland poached swordfish, I chopped up some herbs, chopped up 4 different Mexican hot peppers, and not content with the sliced hot peppers , I ground up (mashed) pepper seeds along with the fresh garlic in a mortar and pestle. I tasted the mix (which made my lips sore and my nose run and figuring it would be fine I started cooking the fish.

    Just now while posting a photo on my nariophotos FB page ( ) , I rubbed my left eye (it was itching) and voila’ ! – apparently I still had hot pepper on my finger… even after washing my hands!

    I knew putting water wouldn’t help so I tried a little olive oil? it was better than water but no real relief. After putting a couple of things to no avail, I went back to the browser and one-eyed with a towel over my eye I one-handed googled “hot pepper in eye”… and the site below, came right up. I read the first paragraph and got milk and cream out of the fridge and AHHHHH… instant relief!!!! – so now you know what to do in case it happens to you! – Thank God for modern life, the internet and Google. God Bless Google! LMAO (I will post photos of the fish later)


  5. Shanniethia says

    It so worked! Ive been making chili for years.. Wearing gloves when I cut my onions, peppers and garlic. But today, Not so much!! THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!


  6. Sarah says

    Thank You!!!!! I thought I ruined my night. Couldn’t see a thing. Tried eyedrops… no relief. Until I used a shotglass of milk!


  7. boots_01 says

    Thank you! I did the Eyeball Fire Ballet. I did the cool rag. I did the search with one blurry eye, and your post came up first. I ran to the kitchen and used my not so whole milk and instantly my eye felt better. I have rubbed my eyes before but never like this. Wow, I didn’t know it could hurt that bad. Thanks again!


  8. traceyt says

    My husband wants to thank you!! We were standing taking and similar to you had washed his hands and then rubbed his eye. He was trying to be composed and did a pretty good job. I picked up his phone and you were the top hit. The milk worked like a charm!! Thank you.


  9. Libby P says

    My incident happened at a Vietnamese Restaurant. I used my fingers to get jalapeño bits in my Pho soup, started eating, eye was itchy then HHOOLLYYYY HELL THE PAIN!! I wanted to curse and do the Eyeball Fire Ballet but I was in a public place with faces already turning to see what was going on. All I could do was clasp my hands to my eye and think ‘that’s it… This is the day I go blind in my left eye… From Pho soup of all things’ I made a beeline for the Bathroom where I drenched my eye in cold water and cursed under my breath. My eye was so red it looked like one of those contact lenses for Halloween. Way to ruin a Friday night…. I wish I had the ability to resort to this magical information to use milk; I will know for the future now since, knowing me, I’ll be bound to do this again someday.


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