Jalapeño In Eye? Here’s What You Do

Hot peppers make for some incredible cooking, but they can be tricky (and painful) to work with in the kitchen. Take for instance the intense pain of chili burn. It’s bad enough experiencing it on your fingers or in your mouth, but how about a little jalapeño in the eye? Or, worse, something even spicier like a habanero pepper? How do you go about getting rid of that intense burning sensation and constant tearing?

Table of Contents

Go get the milk from the refrigerator.

That’s right, head right to the fridge and grab whatever variety of milk you have in there.

Wash your hands with soap, and then soak your hands in milk to rid any chili oils from your fingers. It’s important to get rid of the chili oils that likely caused the issue from the start.

Soak a paper towel in milk and then gently pat (don’t rub) around the eye. Let the milk-soaked paper towel then rest gently on the eye.

Once the most immediate pain dissipates, try getting a few drops of milk in your eyes to calm down the rest of the burn. And then again pat around the eye gently through the process with another milk-soaked paper towel.

Whatever you do, don’t go for water.

Water won’t work for jalapeño in the eye – in fact, it’ll spread around the burning sensation, making you feel even worse. It needs to be milk. Why? Milk is acidic and breaks down the capsaicin in hot peppers, relieving the pain. Water is repelled by the oil-like capsaicin, and just like oil and water in real-life, they don’t mix well together.

For general chili burn on the hands and in the mouth, there are other remedies as well that work. Take a look at our post on treating chili burn for some other simple solutions.

Prepare for the next time you handle jalapeños.

If you plan on cooking often with chilies, it’s best to be prepared. Preventing chili burn is a ton better than treating it. Use food preparation gloves, at minimum. Even consider using eye goggles when handling hotter chilies (like habaneros or ghost chilies.)

The gloves keep your hands from burning, and they are a good reminder to not touch your eyes while handling jalapeños. At the end of prep, simply remove them from the base of the glove and throw them away.

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03/21/2023 03:33 pm GMT

UPDATE NOTICE: This post was updated on December 5, 2022 to include new content.
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Kate

I was putting on some jarred jalenpenos on my sandwich and what I didn’t realize is that my poor senior cat started clawing at me and I turned around only to have a drop of jalenpeno juice drip into his poor eye. The milk trick saved his little eye. Poor dude, hates me now temporarily, but he seems to be getting back to normal. Thanks!

Samara

My mom got jalapeño in her eye and started having a breakdown. She hates drinking milk but this was the perfect thing. Milk saves the day. Thanks so much.

Ken Pledger

Brilliant many thanks for a working cure

Patty

Yup, worked for my hubby and sayin thank you to YOU!

Rory hoven

Great advice. Did you know that international delight Irish cream on a dish towel will do the same thing? Just found out

Fran

Thank you! The milk in the eye really worked for a scotch bonnet burn in my eye.

Nick

Thank you some much, I had Carolina reaper in my eye, I had washed my hands after handling the pepper but I geuss that didn’t do the trick

Julia

I got the juice of Scotch Bonett in my eye. I initially siaked it in water…. woooo… I had to google chilli in eye, one eyed! So glad I found this site. Pain gone! Thanks

Lucy

my cousin got pepper in her eye and we didn’t know what to do.so i got on my laptop and searched this and it helped us a lot. thank you so much!!!!!

Jill

Thanks, this really helped me to help my son when he rubbed his eye and had jalapeno on his hand. This was a cat induced accident. Many thanks!

Tracylee

Thank you! I made a Spicy bean curry and after my hard work rubbed my eye! Ouch! I found this website as I was using water, than milk as suggested! Many thanks!

Josh

Thank you!!!!! I ate jalepenos for lunch and accidentally rubbed both eyes at the same time. Even thought I had washed my hands twice, my eyes were on fire. Your recommendation gave me immediate relief.

Conrad

Like magic! Thank you!

Tori

Thank you so much, I want to cry. I didn’t realize I had some residue from the jalapenos and my eye INSTANTLY FELT 1000000X BETTER.

Barbara

My son says thank you. He is standing in the kitchen with a milk soaked paper towel on his face and singing your praises.

no u

my mom was dieting. she had put the oils of the happens in her eye. she is so grate full. ################# thank you

bvail

Not just the eyes that can get contaminated! Be careful when using the bathroom.

Keith Grayson

My best friend as a kid was Mexican and I recall his Mom telling Carl (my buddy) to use his hair to absorb the oils from his eye, she was adamant, my poor pal was in agony, he was a Momma’s boy anyways so the drama ingrained that tidbit of data in my skull o mush. My girlfriend had a little canister that resembled breath spray, the label was rubbed off and missing in a way it appeared to be a leopard pattern to me when I snatched it out of her purse one night when we were at a… Read more »

Arene Windolph

Thank you! I got habanero pepper in my eyes! The milk was a miracle cure for my eyes and hands! Bless you ❤️❤️❤️❤️r

Chris Vandenberg

Thank you so much! Was dying! Cut up a jalepeno and forgot and rubbed my eye!! You saved me!!

Robin

You’re the man! Thank you for posting the article. It started helping in a matter of seconds! And such useful knowledge to now know.

debi Derryberry

This is helping! My poor cousin called me in a panic…

no Idea how grateful i am

Thanks you #!#& bastard! You saved my eye!!!

Forest

THANK you to whom ever wrote this I had tai chili on my hands Andy started to cry and rubbed it in my eyes.
Thank YOU

Ross

you ##### saved my life, whoever wrote this article. God bless you.